Murder Trial Hinges on Whether Jehovah’s Witness Victim Could Have Survived with Blood Transfusion May 17, 2015

Murder Trial Hinges on Whether Jehovah’s Witness Victim Could Have Survived with Blood Transfusion

In early 2013, David Quevedo became angry after his San Francisco 49ers lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl. He soon got in a fight involving Omar Silva, who lived in the area, and the altercation turned deadly hours later when Quevedo shot Silva multiple times.

Silva didn’t make it. His final words were “Jehovah, Jehovah, I’m dying, I’m dying.”

Now, the question of whether Quevedo will be convicted of first-degree murder — and face life in prison — hinges on whether Silva could have survived had he just accepted a blood transfusion, something forbidden by his faith.

David Quevedo (Fresno Police Department)

Prosecutor Gabriel Brickey told the jury Fresno County pathologist Michael Chambliss and Dr. Victor McCray will testify that even if Silva had received the transfusion, he would have died because one bullet hit his inferior vena cava, a major vein.

[Defense attorney Antonio] Alvarez said his medical expert, Dr. David Posey, will testify in Judge Arlan Harrell’s courtroom that the blood transfusion would have given Silva a chance to live.

If the transfusion would’ve kept Silva alive, then the conviction would obviously have to be downgraded from murder to something less serious. The question really boils down to: Did Quevedo kill Silva or did Silva ultimately choose to die?

It sounds like one of those case studies full of ambiguity that could be argued in either direction.

Maybe some of you who specialize in these sorts of legal issues can weigh in, but it seems like a twisted path to go down when a victim’s private religious beliefs (which were irrelevant to the argument at the center of all this) become the deciding factor in a criminal trial.

Quevedo’s intent was the same either way, but because his victim was a JW, it could mean life in prison without parole. If Silva was Catholic, it’s possible Quevedo could have one day walked free.

(Thanks to Richard for the link)

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