December 9, 2013 By Wallin & Klarich

If you plan a robbery and someone dies, you can be convicted of murder even if you did not take part in the robbery. In a recent court of appeals case, California affirmed a lower court’s decision to convict the mastermind behind a robbery in which the victim fatally shot one of the robbers.

If you are facing murder charges, you should contact a skilled criminal defense attorney with extensive knowledge of the law and the charges against you. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience helping persons accused of murder get the best possible outcome in their case.

People v. Johnson


Ryan Johnson knew Peter Davis grew marijuana in his backyard so he planned a robbery of his Los Osos, Calif. home. He sent two accomplices to Davis’ home to rob him at gunpoint. During the incident, Davis was able to grab his own gun and shot one of the accomplices in the chest, killing him.

Although Johnson was not present during the robbery, he was convicted of first degree murder (PC 187) in addition to first degree residential burglary (PC 459), conspiracy to commit robbery and two counts of first degree residential robbery (PC 211). He was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison. Johnson appealed the murder conviction, claiming he did not have a deliberate and premeditated intent to kill Davis.

The California Court of Appeal affirmed the decision based on the “provocative act doctrine,” which states that when the perpetrator of a crime maliciously commits an act that is likely to result in death, and the victim kills in reasonable response to that act, then the perpetrator is guilty of murder. Johnson argued that he did not harbor malice because it was not his intent to murder anyone. However, the court ruled that he should have reasonably anticipated the killing after sending accomplices to rob Davis’ home with a gun.

Punishment for First Degree Murder, Robbery and Burglary Charges (PC 187, PC 211, PC 459)

First degree robbery is punishable by three, four or six years in state prison. If you and at least two other individuals act in concert to commit the robbery within an inhabited dwelling or building, you can be sentenced to a prison term of three, six or nine years. There are additional factors that could be considered during sentencing, including the use of a firearm.

If you are convicted of murder in the first degree, you face a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison. The punishment for first degree burglary in California consists of two, four or six years in state prison.

The Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are Here to Help You

If you are facing charges of murder, robbery or any other serious crime, contact the experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today. With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is a knowledgeable Wallin & Klarich attorney ready to assist you no matter where you are located. Click here to read how we have been able to have all charges dropped in some cases when our clients were facing burglary allegations.

Contact us today at (888) 280-6839. We will be there when you call.

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