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The People v. William James Tasker

September 18, 2012

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
WILLIAM JAMES TASKER, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 10F01930)

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

P. v. Tasker CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Immediately after his 21-year-old son, defendant William James Tasker, fired three shots in his bedroom, another shot at the base of the telephone, and smashed his arm through a window while holding a rifle, Lawrence Tasker told the responding police officer that defendant had pointed a gun at him and said, "'I'm going to fucking kill you.'" At trial, he recanted his statement that defendant pointed the gun at him or threatened to kill him. The father's credibility was the focus of the trial.

A jury convicted defendant of assault with a deadly weapon with the personal use of a firearm, discharging a firearm with gross negligence, malicious obstruction or severance of a telephone line with the personal use of a firearm, making a criminal threat with the personal use of a firearm, threatening a crime victim/witness, and misdemeanor carrying a loaded firearm in a prohibited place. On appeal, he alleges instructional error, prosecutorial misconduct, and sentencing error. The Attorney General concedes sentencing error. We accept the concession and, in all other respects, affirm the judgment.

FACTS

Defendant lived with his dad rent free, did not work, and did not go to school. He did smoke marijuana and he did own guns, courtesy of his uncle. Lawrence drank too much, but he professed his love for his son.

Following a heated telephone conversation with a friend on March 20, 2010, defendant told his father, "If he ever shows up here and threatens me, I'm going to shoot him." Lawrence admonished his son not to threaten people, which only "set him off." There is no dispute that defendant went into his room and fired two shots. Lawrence told him to "[k]nock it off." He was on his way to call the sheriff when defendant fired a third shot.

Defendant came out of his room and told his father, "Go ahead and call them. I don't give a fuck." He fired a fourth shot with his pistol at the base of the cordless telephone, disabling it. Lawrence was standing six to ten feet from defendant when he fired the shot.

Defendant left the house, only to return to retrieve his rifle. He smashed the kitchen window with the butt of his rifle before leaving and lacerated his own hand. He was bleeding and Lawrence was attempting to bandage the wound when the police arrived. Defendant admitted he fired four shots.

The only dispute at trial was whether defendant pointed the gun at his father and threatened to kill him. Lawrence told the responding police officer that after defendant shot the telephone base he pointed the gun at him and told him he was "going to fucking kill him." Lawrence reported that he was scared and wanted defendant to go to jail because he needed help.

Later, however, he retracted his statements. He wrote a letter to the district attorney stating that he had embellished the account to get defendant the help he needed. At trial, he denied that defendant had threatened him or pointed the gun at him. Recorded ...


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