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People v. Jones

August 9, 2010

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
AHMANDA DIA JONES, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of San Diego County, Frank A. Brown, Judge. Affirmed. (Super. Ct. No. SCD215947)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Aaron, J.

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

I. INTRODUCTION

Defendant Ahmanda Jones appeals from her conviction for shooting at an occupied vehicle. A jury convicted Jones of attempted voluntary manslaughter and of shooting at an occupied vehicle after an incident in which Jones shot at a man with whom she had a disagreement concerning payment for sexual services. During deliberations, the jury asked the court whether a person could be convicted of shooting at an occupied vehicle if her body was outside the vehicle, but her hand and/or the gun were inside the vehicle when she pulled the trigger. In response to the jury's question, the court instructed the jury that a person could be convicted of shooting at an occupied vehicle under those circumstances.

On appeal, Jones contends that the trial court erred in instructing the jury that it could convict her of shooting at an occupied vehicle if it believed that her hand and/or the gun were inside the vehicle when she shot into the vehicle. We reject this contention and conclude that the trial court correctly instructed the jury that a person standing outside a vehicle who, while holding a gun, reaches into the vehicle through an open window or door and fires the gun, may be convicted of shooting "at" an occupied vehicle. We therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court.

II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

1. Prosecution Case

On the night of August 29, 2008, Angel Torres arranged to meet with Jones, a prostitute whom he had met a few nights earlier, to have sex. Jones picked up Torres in a borrowed black two-door Ford Explorer and drove to a parking structure in Mission Valley.

After Jones parked the car, Torres paid Jones $60 to have intercourse with her and for her to orally copulate him. The two moved to the back seat of the vehicle, where Jones performed oral copulation on Torres for five to 10 minutes. After that, Torres engaged in intercourse with Jones. While they were having intercourse, Jones and Torres got into a dispute about the length of time that Torres was taking "to finish." Jones demanded more money from Torres to continue having intercourse. Torres said that he did not have more money. Jones then told Torres to get off of her, which he did, and threatened to drive away and leave him in the parking structure.

Torres took the keys out of the vehicle's ignition in order to prevent Jones from driving off without him. Jones became angry and got out of the vehicle. She lifted the hood of the Explorer and retrieved a gun from the engine compartment. Torres was inside the vehicle looking for his possessions when he heard a shot coming from the driver's side of the vehicle. Torres did not look to see where Jones was because he was thinking only about getting out of the vehicle. However, the last time that he saw Jones, she was standing in front of the car. As Torres was getting out of the vehicle, he heard two more shots. Torres ran through the parking structure to escape Jones and eventually made his way onto a nearby freeway, where he collapsed.

Paramedics took Torres to the hospital. Torres had been shot once in the neck and twice in the upper torso. None of the gunshot wounds was life threatening. Torres was treated at the hospital and released the following day.

2. Defense Case

Jones testified in her own defense. According to Jones, when she asked Torres for more money, he became upset and aggressive, which caused her to worry about her safety. Jones became frightened when Torres grabbed the keys out of the ignition. Torres continued to be aggressive with her, and she resisted. Jones saw an object in Torres's pants and grabbed it. The ...


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