In the state of California, anyone with a previous conviction of DUI can face the charge of murder if they get into an accident that results in a fatality. The California Penal Code section 187, referred to as the Watson Murder Rule, states that the charge of vehicular manslaughter can become a charge of second-degree murder if the driver has a prior conviction of DUI.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that on Monday, June 24th, a driver of a pickup truck t-boned a Nissan sedan in the Richmond District of San Francisco while under the influence of alcohol.
At approximately 3:00 a.m. that morning, Michael Farah Khoury, 39, was heading eastbound on California Street at a high rate of speed when he crashed into the vehicle being driven by Alexander Reyes, 56, who was traveling northbound on Park Presidio Boulevard.
Reyes was trapped inside his vehicle and died at the scene of the accident.
An unidentified passenger who was in the pickup truck at the time of the accident was also injured.
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Investigators say that at the time of the fatal crash, Khoury had a blood alcohol level of 0.19 percent – more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent. At the scene of the crash, Khoury admitted to police officers and emergency crew personnel that he had been driving but denied that he was drunk. Court documents filed by Assistant District Attorney Marshall Khine indicated that later, Khoury denied that he had been driving at the time of the fatal crash.
Because Khoury had a prior DUI conviction dating back to 2009, the District Attorney’s Office has charged him with second-degree murder in addition to driving under the influence of alcohol and gross vehicular manslaughter.
Khoury pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. Judge Rita Lin set Khoury’s bail at $500,000 and also stipulated that the defendant must not drink and wear an alcohol monitor on his ankle. Khoury’s parents have offered their home to cover the bond.