(Santa Cruz County Super.Ct.No. F13512)
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Duffy, J.
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS
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A jury convicted defendant Angus MacIntyre of the first degree murder of his former worker's compensation attorney and the theft of his car. On appeal he claims that the trial court misinstructed the jury on second degree murder principles and erroneously permitted the prosecution to introduce evidence of threats he made to third parties. We find no entitlement to reversal and will affirm the judgment.
A jury convicted defendant of the first degree murder of Jay Broombecker. (Pen. Code, §§ 187, subd. (a), 189.) It found true an allegation that defendant intentionally discharged a firearm, causing death or great bodily injury. (Id., § 12022.53, subd. (d).) It also convicted defendant of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle. (Veh. Code, § 10851, subd. (a).) The trial court sentenced defendant to 53 years' to life imprisonment.
Defendant,*fn1 a military veteran, had strongly held political views. Next to the American flag he had sewn on his Carhartt vest, he had had a seamstress stitch the legend "Try burning this one." He was obsessed with what he perceived as the degenerate state of the United States, which in his view had come to be dominated by, e.g., "filthy [expletive] wetbacks" and "[expletive] immigrant slime liberals that [expletive] run this country." He was angry that Bloombecker, his worker's compensation attorney, sympathized with leftist points of view. During closing argument at defendant's murder trial, the prosecutor acknowledged that "Angus MacIntyre is nuts. . . . You listened to the man testify, and he's got this thought process that is not rational. . . . [¶] However, . . . he isn't nuts in any way that excuses his behavior in the law."
B. The Killing of Jay Bloombecker
In November 2000, defendant filed a claim for worker's compensation benefits arising from his former job as a bulldozer operator. He declared that because of a job-related back injury he could not work at all, but his erstwhile employer disputed the claim. In October of 2001 he retained Bloombecker to represent him on his worker's compensation claim. Defendant began to clash with Bloombecker and his office staff, complaining about his physical pain and a doctor's recommendation that he see a psychologist to help deal with the worker's compensation claim. He believed that the attorney was both gay and a "communist bastard."
Eventually, in 2005, defendant's worker's compensation case settled, and on favorable terms, but defendant continued to fume about it. Defendant told Bloombecker that he had been cheated out of a fair settlement and left angry messages about the outcome. At one point defendant sent Bloombecker a letter declaring that he would take unspecified action if the attorney did not provide better assistance. It appears that defendant sent this letter after the case settled.
Defendant also believed that Bloombecker continually slighted him on the ground that he was insane. Bloombecker, defendant testified in his case-in-chief, would tell defendant that he was crazy.
Defendant carried with him sufficient rage that he told a number of people, including strangers, that he wanted to kill Bloombecker. In two cases he made these comments weeks before he committed the killing. The individuals to whom defendant communicated his desires testified at trial. In some of the conversations he was matter-of-fact about his thinking. Speaking to one man, a patron defendant encountered at a Santa Cruz bar, defendant declared, "I want to hunt the SOB down and put a bullet in his head," "I want to get my .45 pistol and shoot him in the head," specifically in "the back of the head." Defendant told the bar patron that once in prison he would be able to get medical care for his back. Defendant told another individual that it bothered him that Bloombecker, as defendant perceived him, was politically leftist.
Defendant also displayed hostility toward third parties. He left a telephone message about 2:00 a.m., laced with ethnic slurs, threatening to kill former fellow employees. He also left phone messages for Cynthia Kollerer, a claims adjuster on his worker's compensation claim, containing vulgar and profane language and threatening her life.
On June 14, 2006, nine months after defendant last saw Bloombecker, he located him at his office and made good on his threats. He killed Bloombecker with a .45-caliber pistol. Red-faced, he came home and told his roommate that he had killed the attorney. The next day defendant later went to a diner in an agitated state and told the owner and another patron what he had done. Then defendant and the diner patron went to the Santa Cruz Superior Court for defendant to surrender. Defendant told a sheriff's deputy that he had killed Bloombecker and that the gun he used could be found in Bloombecker's car, which defendant had taken.
In a confession that was video-recorded and played to the jury, defendant told Santa Cruz police investigators that he had premeditated the killing of Bloombecker. Defendant explained that he had been planning the "[p]re-meditated, first degree" murder of Bloombecker for "about a month" before the killing; he also said that he had been contemplating the killing for "[a] long time." He was ...