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Name: People v. Shamblin
Case #: E059714
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 04/21/2015

There was sufficient evidence of premeditation and deliberation where defendant strangled his victim during the course of a sexual assault. Shamblin was convicted of first degree murder for killing a 67-year-old woman during a sexual assault. On appeal, he argued there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction under either of the prosecution’s theories: premeditated and deliberate murder, or felony murder. The prosecutor claimed the evidence showed premeditation and deliberation because Shamblin made the decision to kill the victim as he was strangling her. Held: Affirmed. The jury heard expert testimony that Shamblin had strangled the victim with his hands, and that this process took anywhere from one to five minutes, during a sexual assault where the victim attempted to fight him off. A reasonable juror could conclude that Shamblin intended to kill the victim and had ample time to consider the consequences of his actions before choosing to end the victim’s life. The manner of the killing is substantial evidence of premeditation and deliberation. The jury could also reasonably infer from the evidence that Shamblin’s intent was to avoid detection for the sexual assault, which shows motive and planning. Additionally, there was substantial evidence to support a felony murder conviction based on rape or attempted rape.

Appellant’s statements that he “should change his mind about a lawyer” were not clear invocations of his right to counsel. The court rejected appellant’s contention that the trial court erred when it admitted statements Shamblin made to detectives during an interview. Shamblin’s statements that “I think I should probably change my mind about the lawyer now”” and “I think I need advice here” did not indicate to an objective listener a clear intention to invoke the right to counsel, but only that Shamblin was considering the possibility of doing so.