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People v. Trout-Lacy

California Court of Appeals, Sixth District

December 13, 2019

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Tyron Jacob TROUT-LACY, Defendant and Appellant.

         [256 Cal.Rptr.3d 643] Santa Clara County Superior Court Superior Court No.: C1882419, Honorable Matthew S. Harris, Judge (Santa Clara County Super. Ct. No. C1882419)

         COUNSEL

         Counsel for Plaintiff and Respondent: THE PEOPLE, Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Jeffrey M. Laurence, Senior Assistant Attorney General, René A. Chacón, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Bruce L. Ortega, Deputy Attorney General

         Counsel for Defendant and Appellant: TYRON JACOB TROUT-LACY, Jennifer Bruno, Soquel, Sixth District Appellate Program

          OPINION

         ELIA, Acting P. J.

Page 370

          Defendant Tyron Jacob Trout-Lacy and the victim, who was high on methamphetamine and had heart disease, fought. Defendant

Page 371

punched the victim in the face multiple times and slammed his head against the ground. A witness called 911 to attend to the victim’s injuries. First responders restrained the uncooperative victim in an effort to render medical aid. Shortly thereafter, the victim became unresponsive and died. At issue on appeal is whether the trial court abused its discretion in concluding, in the context of a victim restitution order, that defendant’s conduct caused the victim’s death. We find no error and affirm.

          I. BACKGROUND

          Late on the night of January 27, 2018, the victim and defendant got into a physical fight outside the San Jose home of a mutual friend. The victim reportedly had been using methamphetamine and had not slept in days. Defendant punched the victim in the face five times and slammed his head against the ground before leaving the scene. Emergency personnel arrived in response to a 911 call for medical assistance. They handcuffed the victim because he was uncooperative. Shortly after being restrained, the victim became unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

         An autopsy was conducted on the victim. According to the coroner’s report, the autopsy revealed that the victim had "hypertensive (high blood pressure) changes of the heart, kidneys and brain[; ] hypoxic-ischemic neuronal change in the hippocampus[; ] fluid in the lungs[; ] hepatitis[; ] and hepatic fibrosis. Although abrasions and [256 Cal.Rptr.3d 644] contusions were noted, there were no lethal traumatic injuries. The toxicology testing of postmortem blood revealed the presence of methamphetamine and its metabolite amphetamine." The coroner identified the cause of death as "[m]ethamphetamine toxicity complicating hypertensive cardiovascular disease following and during physical encounters." The report classified the manner of death as "undetermined" because the coroner was unable to determine "[t]he relative individual contributions of ... the reported physical altercation [with defendant], physical restraint [by emergency personnel], presence of methamphetamine ... in blood with underlying heart disease and evidence of recent ... lack of oxygen ...." to the victim’s death.

         A felony complaint filed on January 31, 2018 charged defendant with murder (Pen. Code, � 187)[1] and alleged that he had a prior strike conviction (� � 667, subd. (b)-(i); 1170.12). On July 11, 2018, the complaint was amended on the People’s motion to add a second count, assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury (� 245, subd. (a)(4)), and an associated allegation that defendant personally ...


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