California Supreme Court Refuses to Review Case of Woman Convicted of Second-Degree Murder of 13-Year-Old

The California Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to review a case against a woman convicted of murder after she dropped off a group of at least seven gang members, including her son, at a Long Beach park, where a 13-year-old boy was subsequently stabbed to death.

The court denied the defense’s petition seeking review of the case against Eva Daley, who is serving a 15-year-to-life term in state prison for the second-degree murder of 13-year-old Jose Cano on June 25, 2007.

According to the court, Daley was driving her white Chevrolet Tahoe and dropped off her son and several other members of his gang at the park in rival gang territory, where Cano was stabbed to death that night.

Prior to the incident, Daley’s son and his friends discussed their plans to “rumble” with the rival gang following an argument earlier that day outside the Long Beach apartment complex where Daley and her three children lived, according to the court.

“Based on the totality of the record, there was substantial evidence that a reasonable person in Daley’s position either would have or should have known that the fatal stabbing of Cano was a foreseeable consequence of the planned assault by a group of rival gang members,” the panel found.

During her first trial in 2008, Daley said she was intending to take her son and his friends home when they jumped out of her SUV. She said she did not know there was going to be a fight or that the incident was revenge for her son’s stabbing six months earlier. She also denied she had seen any of the youths with weapons.

During that first trial, Daley was initially found guilty but a state appellate court panel in August 2010 reversed her conviction after finding that jurors were given an “impermissibly ambiguous” jury instruction. The second jury to hear the case against Daley deadlocked in December 2012. In her third trial, jurors deliberated less than a day before convicting Daley of murder.

In an August 14 ruling, a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that there was insufficient evidence to support Daley’s conviction.

“Daley reasons that, even though she may have exercised poor judgment in driving a group of teenage boys to a fistfight, it was not reasonably foreseeable that the fight would end in a homicide. We disagree,” the panel found in its 25-page ruling.

Herbito Garcia, Daley’s co-defendant, was 15 at the time of the crime, and was convicted during the first trial in October 2008. He has unsuccessfully challenged his second-degree murder conviction and is serving a 15-year-to-life prison sentence.

Six other youths, including Daley’s son, admitted to manslaughter charges in juvenile court and were sent to the California Youth Authority, where they can be held until they turn 25.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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