A DUI murder charge is rare. Typically, a DUI accident that kills another person is charged as either vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated or gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Prosecutors will usually only charge DUI murder if they believe that they can prove the person acted with implied malice. Implied malice means while a person did not mean to kill another person, they acted with a reckless disregard for the life of another. If the person has a previous DUI on their record or attended DUI school, prosecutors can usually prove that they were aware of the risks of driving drunk, making a murder charge appropriate.
NBC Los Angeles reports on a man sentenced to 22-years-to-life in state prison for an accident that killed his girlfriend’s child.
In February, a Murrieta jury convicted William Patrick Causer, Jr., 39, of second-degree murder in the death of 15-year-old Summer Carbone. Causer was also convicted of child endangerment and the sentence-enhancing charge of great bodily injury.
The charges stem from an accident that occurred on the morning of March 31, 2016, when Causer was driving his van on Jefferson Avenue in Murrieta. Causer lost control of the van and slammed into a light standard across the street from the Murrieta Police Department.
At the time of the accident, Causer’s then-girlfriend, Rebekah Joy Davis and her two children, aged 10 and 15, were in the vehicle with Causer. The sisters were sleeping in the rear of the vehicle and were not wearing seatbelts.
Summer Carbone suffered from fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Her sister suffered a ruptured spleen and a broken leg. Both Causer and Davis suffered from minor injuries.
At the time of the accident, Causer was high on methamphetamine. Causer also had two prior DUI charges.