A state appeals court panel Wednesday upheld a repeat DUI offender’s second-degree murder conviction for a crash that killed a man in Glendora three years ago.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal noted that Arthur Errol Klein was “well-acquainted with the dangers associated with drinking and driving” at the time of the Aug. 9, 2017, crash that killed Martin Razo.
Klein had two prior convictions from 2006 and 2010 for driving under the influence and had been warned at least three times that he could be tried for second-degree murder if he was involved in a DUI crash that killed someone, the justices noted.
“Like many such cases, the outcome is sad for all. But the fact remains the jury heard testimony that depicted an extremely intoxicated man, who knew from prior experience that he should not be driving while in that condition because of the danger to life engendered by such conduct, yet deliberately chose to spend much of the day doing exactly that, exhibiting conscious disregard for human life,” the justices noted.
The 58-year-old victim was standing next to his truck, replacing his landscaping tools, when he was struck by Klein’s vehicle, according to the appellate court panel’s 14-page ruling.
Klein’s blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.22% about 30 minutes afterward, with a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department criminalist opining that someone of Klein’s weight would have had a blood-alcohol content of as much as 0.25% — more than three times the amount considered legally impaired at the time of the crash.
Klein is serving a 15-year-to-life state prison sentence.