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Is it murder if you don't remember?

David Del Toro of Eagle Rock, California, was found guilty of killing a woman in his house and convicted to a charge of second-degree murder. Del Toro, 54, was a former Los Angeles fire captain. The victim, Jennifer Flores, was an acquaintance of Del Toro’s ex-roommate. Del Toro testified that when he found out Flores was homeless, he offered to let her stay in his home overnight.

He claims he drank heavily that night and does not remember large portions of the night, but admitted to grabbing her after getting into a shouting match, but he testified that he did not injure her. The Deputy District Attorney questioned his testimony, arguing that if Del Toro did not remember large portions of the night, how he knew for certain that he did not harm Flores.

So how could the prosecution be successful in procuring a guilty verdict when one of the elements of the crime of second-degree murder is intent to kill? If Del Toro claims that he never showed any intent because he does not remember most of the night, is that valid proof that he never had the intent to kill Flores? In most instances, it is not. Just because a person cannot remember an event does not preclude the possibility that the event did not happen. If someone gets drunk and attempts to drive and causes an accident, they are found to be liable for their actions, regardless if they remember or not. A similar principle applies here – Del Toro does not make the argument that someone else committed the crime, only that he does not remember committing it himself. That should not preclude him from being found guilty.

The Orange County law firm of Do Ho, LLP can assist you with murder or any other criminal charge.
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