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Pictured Above: Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Source: Al Seib at Los Angeles Times.

Robert Charles Redd has been charged with one count of murder with special allegations that he personally and intentionally discharged a handgun. On July 18, Redd allegedly shot Joseph Rubalcava once in the head in his backyard in Pico Rivera. The 19-year-old victim was then buried in Redd’s backyard. After Rubalcava was missing for several days, friends and family members got worried and started looking for Rubalcava. Last week, he was found  buried in a shallow grave in a backyard in Pico Rivera. If Redd is convicted of murder, he faces 25 years to life in prison.

California law defines murder as the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. Malice aforethought means that the act causing the death is done with a disregard for human life or involves a high degree of probability that death will result. First degree murder requires the intent to kill someone. In the case, since Rubalcava was shot in the head, a jury would likely find that the shooting was done with the intent to kill.

A common defense to murder includes lack of intent. If Redd can prove that the gun accidentally discharged, there is no intent to kill and therefore, Redd would likely be charged with a reduced crime. Another defense to murder is self defense. If Redd can prove that Rubalcava had a weapon and was trying to kill Redd and that is why Redd shot Rubalcava, he would be charged with a reduced crime. Other defenses include insanity, false confessions and illegal search and seizure.

If you or anyone you know is charged with murder, call an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to assist you in fighting your charges or reducing your sentence.

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