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People v. Rices

Filed 12/11/17 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA THE PEOPLE, ) ) Plaintiff and Respondent, ) ) S175851 v. ) ) JEAN PIERRE RICES, ) ) San Diego County Defendant and Appellant. ) Super. Ct. No. SCE266581 ____________________________________) Defendant, Jean Pierre Rices, and codefendant, Anthony Miller, were charged with crimes arising out of a liquor store robbery during which defendant shot and killed two people. The prosecutor sought the death penalty against defendant but not Miller. Defendant pleaded guilty to the first degree murders of Heather Mattia and Firas Eiso under the special circumstances of multiple murder and murder in the course of a robbery. He admitted enhancement allegations that he personally used a firearm during the commission of the murders and previously suffered certain felony convictions. Miller’s guilt trial and defendant’s penalty trial were held simultaneously before separate juries. Defendant’s jury returned a verdict of death. The court denied the automatic motion to modify the verdict and imposed a judgment of death. This appeal is automatic. We affirm the judgment. 1 I. THE FACTS A. Overview In March 2006, defendant and Miller robbed a liquor store, ordering the two victims to lie on the floor. As Miller was leaving the store, defendant fatally shot both victims in the back of the head. Much of what occurred during the robbery, although not the actual shooting, was captured on videotape that was played to the jury. The prosecution also presented evidence of defendant’s other criminal conduct involving force or violence. Defendant presented substantial evidence in mitigation, largely focusing on his unfortunate childhood and how it contributed to his criminal behavior. B. The Liquor Store Robbery On March 1, 2006, shortly after 11:00 p.m., Heather Mattia, the co-owner of the Granada Liquor store in El Cajon, and her employee, Firas Eiso, walked out of the store after closing it for the night. Defendant and Miller confronted them outside and forced them back into the store. Miller wore gloves and a mask; defendant wore gloves but no mask. Inside the store, Mattia and Eiso were ordered to lie on the floor and forced to crawl in front of the counter. Miller, holding a bag, went behind the counter. A short time later, Miller left the store. As Miller was leaving, defendant shot both victims in the back of the head while they were lying on the floor. Defendant then left the store, gun in hand, joined Miller, and they drove away. Just under four minutes elapsed from the time the victims were forced back into the store until defendant left the store. The bodies, lying facedown side by side in pools of blood, were soon discovered. Police found two nine-millimeter bullet casings nearby. A bullet was found under Eiso’s body. A second bullet was found in a stack of beverage cans, 2 where it had come to rest after ricocheting around. The drawers to some cash registers had been pulled out. Both Mattia and Eiso died of a single gunshot wound through the …
Original document
Source: California Supreme Court