A state appeals court panel Tuesday upheld a man’s conviction for fatally stabbing an acquaintance during a fight outside a South Los Angeles fast-food restaurant
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that there was insufficient evidence to support David Carrillo’s second-degree murder conviction for the Feb. 10, 2015, killing of Wesley Morejon, 30, outside the Monster Burger restaurant in the 8900 block of Vermont Avenue.
The appellate court justices found that there was “sufficient evidence from which the jury could conclude Carrillo was not acting in a heat of passion or self-defense.”
Carrillo testified in his own defense that the two men were in the same therapy program across the street from the restaurant, that Morejon would occasionally bump him as they walked past one another and that Morejon would try to instigate a fight, according to the appellate court panel’s opinion.
The panel noted that surveillance video — contrary to the defendant’s testimony — showed that Carrillo was the initial aggressor — at least with respect to the first fight between the two that day, and that Morejon immediately retreated after punching him in the face.
“Rather than putting more distance between them, Carrillo calmly placed his food and drink on the ground and then lunged at Morejon. These are not the actions of someone who is fearful of imminent death or serious bodily injury,” the appellate court panel found in its 30-page ruling.
The justices noted that Carrillo calmly walked away, retrieved his food and drink and casually rode off on his bike immediately after stabbing Morejon twice.
He was arrested 11 days later at a Santa Monica apartment complex following a standoff in which he was bitten by a police dog.
Carrillo, now 35, is serving a 16-years-to-life sentence in state prison.
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