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The People v. Reyes Carrillo-Garcia

August 1, 2012


(Super. Ct. No. 0835256)

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

P. v. Carrillo-Garcia



California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

On Mother's Day 2008, three mothers awoke to a horrific tragedy. Broken hearted, 18-year-old defendant Reyes Carrillo-Garcia stabbed his ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Carrigan, eight times and her new boyfriend, Steven Furtado, 35 times in Jennifer's bedroom. The prosecution argued the murders were premeditated and committed while lying in wait for his unsuspecting victims; the defense argued he was guilty of voluntary manslaughter, not murder. The jury convicted him of two counts of first degree murder with the special circumstance of lying in wait.

On appeal defendant claims his confession was involuntary and his lawyer was ineffective for failing to request an instruction encouraging the jury to consider provocation in determining the degree of the murders. He also alleges a series of instructional errors. To preserve his right to a federal appeal, he raises three arguments he acknowledges are non-meritorious in California. The grief occasioned by this case is unfathomable; the legal issues, however, are straightforward and without merit. We affirm.


Because there is no question that defendant stabbed and killed the two young victims, we need not recount much of the grisly forensic evidence. We provide a brief chronology of the events leading up to, and following, the stabbings as relevant to the instructional issues raised on appeal.

Defendant and Carrigan had had an off-and-on relationship with each other since they were 13 years old. When they broke up, Carrigan would date other boys. In March 2008 she met Furtado at an interscholastic honors band event and they began seeing each other. Defendant told a friend that he would kill Furtado if he ever hurt Carrigan. On one occasion defendant was seen driving his car slowly by a house where Furtado was staying with a friend, and on another, sitting on his bike looking toward Carrigan's house at 10:45 p.m. By May, Carrigan's mother acquiesced in her daughter's request to let Furtado spend the night.

Meanwhile, defendant and Carrigan continued to work together at a grocery store. The evidence about their relationship at the time is ambiguous. Defendant, as well as some others, reported they were still having sexual relations. They spent time together. Indeed, during a senior "skip day," a tradition where participating students stay out all night "partying" because they do not have to be at school until noon the next day, Carrigan got drunk and passed out in defendant's car. Some witnesses testified they were cuddling and acting normal together. But defendant became angry when he read text messages on Carrigan's phone that Furtado had sent to her. He threw the phone, stating, "This is bullshit." At that time, defendant had no prior arrests, convictions, or juvenile adjudications.

On May 10, 2008, neither defendant nor Carrigan attended their senior prom. Carrigan planned to spend the night with Furtado. She and Furtado were watching television together in Carrigan's bedroom when her mother said goodnight and locked the front door.

Defendant attended a party with his cousin and some friends. He played beer pong and, to at least one witness, seemed to be in good spirits. (2 RT 461-462, 524-525) He opened beer bottles for other guests with a knife that had a three- to six-inch-long blade. But he left without saying goodbye and drove to Carrigan's house. He gave three different accounts of what happened after he arrived. We will describe his interviews with the police in discussing our first issue in part I, post. Suffice it to say, he ultimately confessed to entering the home and stabbing the victims. The forensic evidence, including fingerprints and blood evidence, left no doubt he was the perpetrator of the bloody carnage.

Defendant claims to have little recollection of what transpired thereafter. He went into the bathroom and put bandages on the cuts on his fingers. Apparently he left the house, but discovering he did not have his car keys, he climbed back in through Carrigan's window. He took keys to Carrigan's and Furtado's cars and moved them down the street.

The corpses were rearranged. A clean knife was put in Furtado's hand. A blanket covered a pattern of blood on the carpet in the living room. Carrigan's mother awoke on Mother's Day morning unaware that anything had happened. Because the doors to her daughter's room were closed, the bloody carpet was covered, and the cars had been moved, she assumed Carrigan had reported for her 7:00 a.m. shift and Furtado had left. She did not discover the bodies until close to noon, after receiving a call that her daughter had not come in to work as scheduled.

Defendant called his cousin to help him retrieve his car keys from the trunk of his car. Eventually, he drove home and slept for a few hours before his friend came to the house and told him something had happened to Carrigan. The police arrived at his house shortly after the bodies were discovered.

Stepping out onto his front porch, defendant admitted to Detective Jeremy Beatley that he had driven over to Carrigan's house, parked in a parking lot behind a nearby Chinese restaurant, and planned to go into Carrigan's house to talk to her. He told the detective, however, that he changed his mind when he saw Furtado's car and decided to leave. His departure was delayed when he discovered he had locked his keys in the trunk, and he called family members to assist him. He agreed to a follow-up interview at a nearby sheriff's substation. The admissibility of the statements he made during those subsequent interrogations raises the threshold issue on appeal.

I The Motion to Suppress

Defendant contends the trial court improperly admitted the statements he made to Sergeant Greg Hagwood on May 11 and May 12 because they were the result of police coercion and therefore involuntary. He does not argue any deficiencies in his Miranda advisements.*fn1 But he does insist that Hagwood, taking full advantage of defendant's age and inexperience, coerced him with implied promises of leniency and implied threats that his failure to cooperate would work against him. The trial court found the statements were voluntary and denied the motion to suppress. The record supports the court's ruling.

The Interrogations

The first interrogation at the substation began approximately five minutes after defendant arrived. For the first half hour, defendant repeated the story he had given earlier; that is, he had gone to Carrigan's house but he had not gone in. For the next half hour, the sergeant urged defendant to be more forthcoming. He described the evidence the killer had left at the scene and suggested it would be good for defendant to confess, better for him to do so before the prosecutor arrived and the forensic evidence independently established his guilt, and best for him to provide a mitigating explanation for the killings such as that he had acted emotionally without intending to kill.

Rather than relying on the scientific evidence, the sergeant told defendant: "I think there's a more kind of, kind of human way to understand. You know it makes a difference in the way, in the way of how things work out. It makes a big difference. But this is our time here right now I think to deal with it in a, in a compassionate and kind of a personal way that makes sense." The sergeant warned defendant the district attorney was "on his way up right now" and "[i]ts [sic] better now to say I did it, it wasn't meant to happen it wasn't supposed to happen I didn't want to happen emotions things but, but it did and its [sic] an opportunity for you to tell me that you know its [sic] not what you wanted to happen but it did . . . ." He then assured defendant, "[W]e can talk to the District Attorney and say he feels horrible he didn't, he didn't want that to happen he's, that he's honest and he's remorseful and please consider that when you have to make the decisions," and a confession "mean[s] a lot."

Defendant asked to speak to his mother. Once again, the detective tried to leverage his contact with the district attorney to persuade defendant to talk. He stated: "Let's get through this then I'll let you talk to your mom for a long time, you can sit privately with her for a while. Let's tend to our business and let's get through this. The District Attorney when he called on my cell phone he was on his way, I want to be able to go to him and say listen we got a nice kid here, we've got a nice kid in a bad situation. I don't want to go to him and say prove it through the science, prove it through the blood and the fingerprints . . . . [¶] . . . [¶] [W]hen you've done it the weight of the world will be lifted off your shoulders and I want to show the people that your, that your, that you were heartbroken, that your [sic] sad, that your [sic] ...

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