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California Man Convicted of Killing Two Women, Released Same Day

A California man who was convicted of killing a mother and daughter Tuesday was released from custody the same day, after a jury convicted him of involuntary manslaughter rather than murder, and he was given credit for time served.

Unlike many cases of lenient justice, this was not the result of prosecutorial discretion, or a George Soros-backed district attorney, but rather state laws giving discretion to juries in capital cases, and defining voluntary intoxication as a defense to murder.

The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday on the bizarre outcome in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles:

Shawn Shirck, 29, was quickly identified as the prime suspect and arrested hours after deputies found the bodies of Margaret Dahl, 59, and her mother Phyllis Porter, 82, who had both been stabbed to death, on Aug. 24, 2019, in Oak View.

Shirck’s state of mind quickly became a central issue during the trial, as defense attorneys argued that he drank so much before the killings that he was unconscious when the crimes occurred.

According to the state penal code, “If someone dies as a result of the actions of a person who was unconscious due to voluntary intoxication, then the killing is involuntary manslaughter.”

Once the jury convicted Shirck, he was sentenced to over six years in prison, but he had already spent four years in custody and had earned additional days’ credit for spending part of that time in county jail. The judge allowed him to walk out of the courtroom, having received credit for time served.

Had he been convicted of murder, he could have spent life in prison.

 

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