Jose Joaquin Guzman rode his bicycle to a Del Taco in Anaheim like he'd done many times before to eat but one night he wanted money.
Guzman walked in the fast food restaurant's rear entrance and saw no customers. Edith, the manager, was wiping tables clean. She recognized him, said hello and continued working.
With Edith's back turned to him, Guzman approached and stabbed her three times in the back, four times in the chest and shoulder and once in the forearm. He then hopped over the front counter, demanded cash from a startled cashier and fled on his bike with stolen loot.
According to court records, Guzman told the cop that he came back because the May 2008 robbery netted him only “chump change.”
The Orange County District Attorney's office easily won convictions and Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg sentenced the defendant to prison.
Guzman appealed, claiming that none of his actions had murderous intent.
This month, a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana considered the complaint and ruled.
“Repeatedly striking an unarmed and defenseless victim with a deadly weapon is strong evidence of murderous intent,” Justice William Bedsworth opined for a three-justice appellate pane that included Kathleen O'Leary and Richard Fybel.
Upshot: Guzman, 26, will continue to serve his 11-year sentence at California State Prison Solano at Vacaville.
R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.