By Alex Jimenez
OAKLAND, CA – A jury is expected to be deliberating Monday here at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Alameda County Superior Court after hearing closing arguments from the prosecution in the murder trial of Richard Curtis Standley Thursday.
Deputy District Attorney Angelina Lisa Clay tackled the highly contentious self-defense claim while also pointing out inconsistencies in the defense argument.
Standley is being charged with murdering a man who chased him after Standley allegedly stole his bicycle on Sept. 14, 2017. The charges include murder, felony murder in possession of a firearm with a prior felony and second degree burglary.
The incident occurred at an underpass near the MacArthur Bart station where the victim lived in his RV. Allegedly, Standley had taken the bike and the victim pursued him. After Standley fell off the bike, the victim continued to pursue Standley, who is charged with pulling out a revolver and firing a fatal shot.
Given that the bike was stolen at an underpass, the defense had tried to negate the burglary charge, arguing that typically, at an underpass, there are abandoned items that could be there for the taking.
DDA Clay refuted this notion, claiming it was clear that residents have been living in the underpass either in RVs or encampments. Furthermore, he stated that the “bike was clearly cared for and not abandoned.”
Clay shifted the topic to the issue of the defense claim to shooting in self-defense.
“The fear of being hurt is not sufficient to use deadly force on someone,” said Clay, quoting Standley’s admission he fired that shot in fear of physical retaliation. The victim, the DDA said, did not possess a weapon nor were any words ever exchanged before Standley pulled out his revolver and thus Clay questioned if a threat ever existed.
DDA Clay had made it a point of emphasis that a person does not have the right to self-defense if they provoke a fight or a quarrel. According to Clay, by stealing the bike, Standley had created the circumstance and therefore cannot claim self-defense.
“You cannot start something and then claim self-defense on the back end when things don’t go your way,” said Clay referring to the legality of self-defense.
Defense attorney Anne Catherine Beles had previously talked about involuntary manslaughter, to which Clay reminded the jury that involuntary manslaughter is unintentional killing of another person because of negligence.
Clay essentially pointed out the flaw in this argument, as self-defense and unintentionally killing someone are two very different circumstances—because in the self-defense argument Standley needed to kill the victim because he was worried about his being a threat, and so killing him couldn’t be a result of negligence.
“You cannot have it both ways, this is not manslaughter…Mr. Standley intentionally fired that shot,” argued Clay.
DDA Clay would then point to some of the inconsistencies in Standley’s testimony, including how he apparently was walking to head over to a drug treatment center. However, the DDA said, the route would not have taken him near the underpass where he allegedly stole the bike.
Judge Scott Patton had intervened a few times but only to clarify a few points to the jury and give jury instructions.
Clay would finish her argument by strongly proclaiming that Standley, based on the evidence, is guilty of first degree murder.
The jury is expected to continue deliberating Monday morning.