The 1981 California Supreme Court Case People v. Watson made murder charges a possibility in a DUI accident that kills another person. This is one of the rarest and most serious DUI charges a person can face in California. It is not a separate murder charge; rather, it is a second-degree murder charge covered under California Penal Code 187.
For a driver to be charged with DUI murder, also known as Watson murder, they usually must have a previous DUI conviction. When a person is convicted of DUI in California, they are warned that any future instances of DUI may be charged as murder if someone is killed. A conviction of DUI murder can result in a sentence of 15 years to life in state prison.
My News LA reports that a convicted DUI offender has pleaded not guilty in a deadly crash.
On Thursday, 44-year-old Javan Draper, a convicted DUI offender pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, driving under the influence causing injury within 10 years of another DUI conviction, and driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08% causing injury within 10 years of a previous conviction.
The charges stem from an accident that occurred in the early morning hours of February 18th on North Garey Avenue in Pomona.
An investigation revealed that Draper was driving southbound at a high rate of speed while under the influence of alcohol and other illegal drugs. The vehicle hit a concrete barrier in the median and then rolled over and hit a palm tree.
The accident killed his passenger, 26-year-old Anthony Tucker, Jr.
At the time of the accident, Draper was driving on a suspended license and had a recent DUI conviction. Jail records indicate that Draper’s arrest occurred on May 6th and he has remained in custody since.