Gangster Charged With Murdering Pal Shot Dead By Fullerton Police Appeals Case
Based on the circumstances, it was obvious that just before 2:41 a.m. on Dec. 29, 2006, Edmundo Gomez and Arthur Kenneth Gallardo III thought the best place to hide while they were passed out in their sedan was in a Fullerton traffic intersection.
Gallardo: How can I be guilty of murder if I didn't shoot anyone?
The two wasted, Fresno hoodlums were in the midst of a three-day drug binge and apparently ready for a gun battle. Gallardo, the passenger, held a semi-automatic handgun and Gomez stored a shotgun by his right hand. But no enemy was in the vicinity.
Arriving police officers found the two incoherent men and tried to wake them. Gomez responded by ramming several police vehicles and Gallardo fired his weapon. Cops returned fire, shooting Gomez in the head and riddling his body with about a dozen bullet holes; Gallardo suffered minor injuries.
After a 2011 trial where his defense included the notion that he was too high to have formed the necessary intent to commit crimes, Orange County prosecutors won seven felony charges and enhancements, including for attempted murder of police officers.
Though Gallardo didn't shoot anyone, he was also convicted of murdering Gomez, his buddy, under the provocative act murder doctrine.
The legal theory is that the defendant's gunshots caused the cops to return fire ending in the driver's death.
Gallardo appealed to the California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana, but a three-justice panel declared this month that prosecutors had sufficient evidence to win the case.
Upshot: The 34-year-old convict will continue to serve his 45 years to life punishment inside Corcoran State Prison.