The state Supreme Court today refused to consider the case against a man convicted of killing another man with a screwdriver in Long Beach after mistaking him for someone else.
Specifically, the court denied the defense petition that sought the review of the case against Arturo Ruiz Torres. Torres was found guilty in December 2014 of second-degree murder, for stabbing Anthony Ramirez three times with a screwdriver and killing him in November 2013.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that the trial judge should have been required to define the terms “mistake” or “accident” when explaining the provocation for voluntary manslaughter. The 12-page ruling in July also rejected that the jurors should have been instructed on the crime of involuntary manslaughter.
“Here, there is no question that defendant’s acts were objectively `dangerous to human life’ — he stabbed his victim three times with a screwdriver and with such `tremendous force’ that one of the blows cracked a rib. There is also no material issue as to whether defendant subjectively appreciated the danger his conduct posed,” the appellate court justices found in their ruling.
As the Post previously reported, 33-year-old Torres was harassed by an unknown man on November 23, 2013, according to a court testimony on December 22, 2014. He then mistook 50-year-old Ramirez, who was riding by on his bike, for the man who was harassing him. He subsequently stabbed Ramirez three times with a screwdriver, the LADA said.
Torres then fled the scene and left the screwdriver lodged in Ramirez’s body, said prosecutor Lindsay Kurtis. Ramirez died at the scene.
“Torres was with a group of friends when the attack occurred,” said LADA spokesman Richard Santiago. “A witness led police to one of the friends in his group, and that friend identified him as the attacker and later testified at the trial.”
Six days after the incident, Torres was apprehended by police and charged in connection with the crime.
City News Service contributed to this report.