I am appalled at the voluntary manslaughter conviction and 10-year prison term meted out to Pacific Beach realtor Howard Barton in the murder of Marco Sanchez. Yes, I know, the victim had $8,200 in outstanding traffic warrants on him the day he was shot, and properly should have been behind bars instead of driving around San Diego without a license. Yes, I know the judge said the victim’s wife perjured herself when she testified about a knife her late husband may have used to threaten Barton.
My point is that the victim attempted to get away from Barton in a sporting goods store. Barton followed him to the sidewalk, where the victim, Sanchez, attempted to get away again. Barton finally cornered Sanchez while Sanchez was sitting behind the wheel of the car he had been driving during the altercation with Barton’s daughter, Andrea.
Barton was not involved in the traffic altercation with Sanchez. Neither Barton nor his daughter were in any danger whatsoever at the time of the shooting. By stalking Sanchez from the sporting goods store to the sidewalk to the car, and then shooting him in the back, were I a juror, I’d consider this to be with malice aforethought, and I would have been adamant for “murder one” and the death penalty.