DUI murder is a second-degree murder charge in California. It became possible after a California Supreme Court decision that held that someone who drives drunk and kills someone can be charged with murder. It is generally reserved for those that have a previous DUI conviction on their record. This is because as part of a typical DUI sentence, most serve probation where their probation officer warns them of the possibility of a murder charge if they drive drunk and kill someone. Most DUI offenders are also required to attend DUI classes, where they are warned of this possibility as well.
My News LA reports that a jury has deadlocked in a DUI murder trial. A jury deadlocked on Tuesday in the trial of a convicted drunken driver accused of fleeing the scene of a DUI accident that killed his friend. The accident occurred five years ago in Westminster. The jury was deadlocked 11-1 in favor of guilt in the trial of 30-year-old Aaron Samoff. A hearing is scheduled for Friday where attorneys will discuss a new trial.
Samoff is accused of second-degree murder in the March 8, 2014 death of his friend, Isaias Tang. Tang was 25 at the time of the crash. When Samoff pleaded guilty to a DUI charge on Nov. 20, 2009, he was warned that driving drunk again and killing someone could result in a murder charge. As a part of his sentencing, Samoff was ordered to participate in a three-month, first offender program for drunken driving. He was also ordered to attend 12-step meetings for drug addicts and alcoholics.
On March 7, 2014, Samoff was kicked out of a sober living home for violating rules. He had befriended Tang at the home. A witness told prosecutors that he saw both Tang and Samoff at a gym at about 10 p.m. that night. The witness described Samoff as being intoxicated and smelling of alcohol and marijuana. The pair then visited Tang’s cousin, who expressed concern that Tang should not get behind the wheel. Samoff said that he was the designated driver. The cousin said that Samoff “appeared fine.”