A DUI murder charge is one of the rarest of DUI charges. Because DUI murder, also known as Watson murder, is a second-degree murder charge, malice intent must be proven. A second-degree murder charge does not mean that someone intended to kill someone, but that they acted in such a way that they knew someone could be killed. In this respect, a DUI murder charge usually requires a previous DUI. This usually indicates that the driver has been warned about the consequences of DUI, including that they might kill someone. Another way this can be proven is if they are in a position to know the dangers of drinking and driving. They can also acknowledge that they are intoxicated while driving.
The Sun-Gazette reports that a woman has been sentenced to life in prison for a DUI murder that claimed two lives.
28-year-old Cheyenne Wyllie was sentenced last week to life in prison last week. Under California law, she must serve 19 years and four months of the sentence before she becomes eligible for parole. Wyllie was convicted of two counts of DUI murder in a trial that took place in May.
The charges stem from an accident that occurred on March 26, 2016. She was driving a 2013 Ford Edge westbound on Avenue 200 when she ran through a stop sign. She slammed into a Honda Pilot traveling south on Spencer Drive. In the wreck, 10-year-old Jamie Esponosa and her 69-year-old grandmother Angelita Espinosa were killed in the wreck. The driver of the Pilot,43-year-old George Espinosa, Jr., spent four months in the hospital, requiring several surgeries.
Wyllie failed a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer revealed her blood-alcohol level to be .229. Later, when her blood was drawn at the police station, it was revealed to have been .21.
In order to prove the second-degree murder charge, a warrant was obtained to go over Wyllie’s cell phone records. A search of the records indicated several text messages where Wyllie stated that she was both drunk and driving. Prosecutors utilized these messages to prove that Wyllie chose to go out and drink and then chose to drive while intoxicated.
Wyllie eventually pleaded no contest to the charges.