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Name: People v. Karapetyan
Case #: C048289
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/27/2006

Appellant was convicted of second degree murder for his participation in an assault which resulted in the victim’s death. On appeal, he contended that the trial court erred when it instructed the jury that an aider and abettor to assault could be liable for murder if death was a natural and probable consequence of the assault. He argued that the instruction was given in error because there was insufficient evidence that death was a reasonably foreseeable result of the assault. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. Assuming the jury believed that appellant aided and abetted his sons in the assault, the jury could have believed it was reasonably forseeable that death was a natural and probable consequence. The evidence was that a group of men challenged a single unarmed victim with a variety of weapons. The victim was stabbed in his heart. The jury could infer from the circumstances that the death was a foreseeable consequence of the fight. The facts do not trigger application of the Ireland rule (that felony murder instructions are improper where they are based on a felony which was an integral part of the homicide.) The natural and probable consequences doctrine does not merge all assaults into the felony-murder rule.