A Long Beach jury deliberated for about three hours Tuesday before handing down a guilty verdict on a 35-year-old man accused of killing a man in front of a 6-year-old boy in 2017.
Jason Monroe Daniels was convicted of three felonies after a five day trial: second-degree murder, child abuse under circumstances likely to produce or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death and possession of a firearm by a felon.
The jury also found true that the defendant personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, which caused great bodily injury and death. Daniels faces 108 years to life in state prison.
Daniels was at the home of his girlfriend, Shaunti Falconer, in Rose Park South on April 19, 2017 when her estranged husband, 38-year-old William Hayes, came to visit. Daniels became “agitated” when he saw Hayes spending time with his girlfriend’s 6-year-old son outside and shot him in front of the boy, prosecutors said.
Witnesses for the prosecution, including Falconer’s mother, told the court last week that they saw Daniels shoot Hayes and flee the scene in his SUV. He was found two weeks later in Las Vegas.
Daniels represented himself for most of the trial until closing arguments, when the judge revoked his right to represent himself after he repeatedly ignored her instructions, according to Deputy District Attorney Marlon Duke Powers. A back-up public defender stepped in to finish the case.
In his defense, Daniels said that the witnesses were lying and that they were all actually inside the home when the gun went off, according to Powers. He also told the courtroom that Hayes brought the gun to the home and cocked it in front of Daniels while he was telling Hayes, “You aren’t supposed to be here,” leading Daniels to try to grab it and it went off, Powers said.
Daniels told the court that Hayes grabbed his shoulder and went inside the home before he went back outside and collapsed, according to Powers.
“That didn’t really match up with what the jury saw because the body was found on the other side of the patio from where the defendant said it happened,” Powers said. In addition, there were no defensive wounds on the victim indicating a struggle.
Daniels is due back in court on Aug. 27 for sentencing.
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