In 1981, the California Supreme Court decided that if a driver drives while intoxicated and kills someone, they can be charged with murder. The case was People v. Watson and the charge is sometimes called Watson murder. It is a second-degree murder charge, and the possible penalty is 25 years to life in prison.
There are specific circumstances that usually must occur before a driver can be charged with Watson murder. Typically, the person must have a previous DUI conviction. This is because, upon conviction, the driver is warned that if they drive intoxicated again and kill someone, they can be charged with murder.
The Temecula, California Patch reports that a man has pleaded not guilty in a DUI crash that killed Amy Litteral.
34-year-old Joshua Asimovic Morris pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges that included second-degree murder.
The charges stem from a crash that occurred at about 4 p.m. on May 22nd. Morris was headed south on Winchester Road in a 2020 Kia Optima. He was driving faster than the speed limit when he entered the turn lane to make a left onto Thompson Road.
He slammed into Litteral’s 2017 Ford Fusion which was stopped in front of him. The impact drove Litteral’s vehicle into the intersection where it was then struck by a Toyota Corolla.
Litteral was rushed to a hospital where she died shortly after arriving. Neither Morris nor the driver of the Corolla was injured in the crash.
Morris is currently on probation for a previous DUI offense.