|Pictured Above: Jorge Alejandro Lopez. Source: Orange County Register.|
This week, Jorge Alejandro Lopez was convicted of one felony count of second degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. Lopez was convicted of murder after an incident occurring on July 17, 2010 while Lopez was homeless. That day, Lopez walked up to a homeless encampment in Santa Ana and punched Marco Rojo Nieto in the face. Nieto fell to the ground and Lopez kicked and stomped on Nieto’s head and then slammed a concrete boulder into the victim’s chest before fleeing the scene. Nieto died at the scene. Lopez now faces 16 years to life in prison for the incident.
Second degree murder is the willful killing of another, that is not premeditated or deliberated. A possible defense to murder includes self defense. Self defense requires that you reasonably believe that you are in imminent danger of being killed, suffering great bodily harm or being raped, maimed or robbed. In these instances, you may use whatever force is reasonably necessary to protect yourself. However, the threat must be imminent and a threat of future harm will not suffice.