In California, the charge of DUI murder is not a separate charge. It is a second-degree murder charge. A second-degree murder charge means that a person did not intend to kill the victim but acted with implied malice. Another name for DUI murder is “Watson murder” which is named after the 1981 California Supreme Court case that made a murder charge possible in a DUI accident. The charge typically requires a previous DUI, but prosecutors may try and charge Watson murder for particularly egregious DUI accidents. If convicted, a person faces 15 years to life in state prison.
The Ramona Patch reports that a man has been sentenced to 34 years to life in prison after a DUI murder conviction.
46-year-old Andrew Milnois was convicted in July on charges of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and hit-and-run.
The charges stem from a Mother’s Day accident in 2017 that killed 29-year-old Jessica Foderingham and her unborn child. Foderingham was eight months pregnant when Milnois rear-ended her Dodge Dart on San Vicente Road. The impact sent Foderingham’s vehicle careening into a tree in the median.
According to the prosecutor, when Milnois crashed into Foderingham, his blood-alcohol content was nearly quadruple the legal limit. He had been drinking at a bar prior to the accident. The bartender recommended that Milnois get a Lyft ride home, but Milnois got into his own vehicle and drove off.
Milnois fled the scene to a nearby hotel, where staff arranged for a Lyft driver. When the driver arrived and asked Milnois where he wanted to go, he said, “Anywhere I can get a drink.”
Police arrested Milnois at a nearby bar. When his blood alcohol content was tested, it was .20%. An expert stated that at the time of the accident, it was likely above .30%.
Just six months before the accident with Foderingham, Milnois was arrested in another DUI accident where he hit a neighbor’s fence before driving home. At the time of that incident, his blood-alcohol content was .28%.