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Consolidated Murder Case Conviction: REVERSED

People v. Turner Docket: A159822 (First Appellate District), Opinion Date: December 23, 2021. Turner was charged with committing two unrelated murders (the Oakland and Hayward murders). The cases were consolidated. At the close of evidence, Turner renewed his earlier motion to sever the charges on the ground the evidence he committed the Oakland murder was weak. The court granted the motion, ruling it would leave the jury to decide only the Hayward case. Turner then unsuccessfully sought a mistrial in the Hayward case, arguing that the jury would be influenced improperly by having heard the evidence of the Oakland murder. The court of appeal reversed his second-degree murder conviction and remanded for a retrial. The trial court abused its discretion in denying Turner's motion for a mistrial. The verdict of second-degree murder does not show the jury was uninfluenced by the evidence concerning the Oakland case. The evidence of premeditation “was less than overwhelming.” The success of Turner’s position that he was guilty only of voluntary manslaughter depended largely on the jury accepting his credibility when he testified that the victim used a racial slur and lunged toward him and that he was afraid of the victim and his dog—credibility that was “surely damaged: evidence this was not the first time he shot and killed an unarmed man. #consolidatedcases #mistrial #casejoinder

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