Monday, February 07, 2005

Life Sentence for the Death of a Co-Conspirator

On February 4, 2005, in the case of Dickens v. State, 2005 OK CR 4, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the decision of the District Court sentencing Christopher Michael Dickens to life imprisonment.
Dickens and two others robbed a McDonald’s restaurant in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the evening of September 25, 2002 . "One accomplice, Charles Turner, used a firearm during the robbery. The police were alerted as the robbery was in progress. An officer arrived and waited for the robbers to exit.
"Turner and [Dickens] left the store and ran to an open field. One of the officers released his K-9 and ordered the two to stop, but they continued to run. As the K-9 closed in on the pair, Turner fired shots from his weapon. Officers returned fire, striking and killing Turner. As the shooting began, [Dickens] dropped to the ground, and he was apprehended after the shooting."
In Tulsa County District Court, Dickens, was convicted after jury trial of Robbery with a Firearm in violation of 21 O.S. § 801, and First Degree (felony) Murder in violation of 21 O.S. § 701.7(B). The jury set punishment at life imprisonment on the Felony-Murder conviction. The trial court dismissed the robbery count and sentenced Dickens to life imprisonment. Upon appeal, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Dickens conviction. The court held that Dickens' attempted escape was still part of the robbery, and Dickens' fall to the ground did not constitute withdrawl.


At 8:38 AM, Blogger Melody Wirz said...

This scenario sounds like a final exam question for Criminal Law. I know felony murder extends to any death resulting from the felony, but it really seems like the thug that brought the gun assumed the risk. Of course, assumption of risk is a tort concept, but this is a strange result.

At 9:28 AM, Blogger OKBlawg said...

Yeah, I seem to remember a hypothetical in Richardson's class where the cop shoots at the robber but hits and kills the store clerk. "MURDER? MANSLAUGHTER? OR DEATH BY MISADVENTURE?" as the great professor used to say.

At 4:36 AM, Blogger Diara Dominy said...

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