Man Convicted of Second-Degree Murder for “Sucker Punch”

Recently, a man convicted of second-degree murder was sentenced to prison for his part in an attack in the Gaslamp Quarter that resulted in the death of another man.  Mahad A. Ahmed received a sentence of 15 years to life for delivering a fatal “sucker punch” to the victim, Michael Beaver, outside an F Street restaurant last year.

Prosecutors had argued that Mr. Ahmed and a group of his friends were in the middle of an altercation with Mr. Beaver when Mr. Ahmed ran up to the victim and sucker-punched him in the head.  Witnesses reported that as Mr. Beaver fell, his head struck a metal rail.  The victim was found unconscious the next morning, and later died in the hospital from blunt force injuries.  Mr. Ahmed was charged in the case and, after a subsequent trial by jury, was found guilty of second-degree murder.  Based on his sentencing last week, Mr. Ahmed could spend the rest of his life in prison and will not be eligible for parole for at least 15 years.

First- and Second-Degree Murder under California State Law

The California Penal Code defines murder as the unlawful killing of a human being with “malice aforethought.”  It further breaks these homicides down into two categories: first-degree murder and second-degree murder.

An individual can be charged with first-degree murder if they commit a premeditated killing, or if they kill someone by means of a “destructive device or explosive,” or for any murder that results from shooting at someone outside a motor vehicle from within that vehicle.  The punishment in California for first-degree murder ranges from imprisonment for 25 years, to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, all the way up to the death penalty.

All other murders fall under the category of second-degree murder.  For a charge of second-degree murder, the prosecution does not have to prove that a killing was premeditated.  A killing that results from a sudden fight, as in the case of Mr. Ahmed and Mr. Beaver, or a murder in the heat of passion, constitutes second-degree murder.  Individuals convicted of second-degree murder can be punished by a minimum prison term of 15 years to life.  In some situations – like where the victim is a police officer or where the accused has served a prior prison term – that minimum punishment can be 20 years, or even lifetime imprisonment.

San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer

The Law Offices of David M. Boertje handles all misdemeanor and felony criminal cases and represents individuals throughout San Diego County and Southern California.  We have successfully represented many defendants, including those facing murder charges.  We are dedicated to protecting your constitutional rights and freedom.  We will take all measures necessary to fight for your legal rights and advocate for your best interests.  If you, or someone you love has been charged with murder or is currently being investigated for a murder, call us today and ask for a free consultation to learn how we may be able to help.