A state appeals court panel today upheld a Gardena man’s conviction for fatally bludgeoning a 73-year-old La Crescenta man inside the victim’s home but ordered his case to be sent back for resentencing.
David Xavier Bushman, now 48, was convicted in May 2018 of first-degree murder for Arthur George Palmer’s July 2015 killing.
Jurors found true an allegation that Bushman used a mallet in the commission of the crime.
The victim’s stepfather was Bushman’s great uncle, according to Deputy District Atty. Ryan Erlich.
Palmer was found dead on the first floor of his home in the 3000 block of Frances Avenue on July 24, 2015, and Bushman’s DNA was found on the mallet next to the victim’s body, the prosecutor said.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies went to Palmer’s house to check on his welfare after a neighbor reported that he could not reach Palmer by phone and had seen his porch light on for a few days, according to the appellate court panel’s 16-page ruling.
Authorities could not determine if anything had been taken from the home, where Palmer lived alone, according to the prosecutor.
But evidence presented at trial indicated that Bushman expected to inherit money from the victim, according to the district attorney’s Office.
Bushman — who had previously been convicted of robbery — was sentenced in June 2018 to 56 years to life in state prison.
However, the appellate court panel ordered the case to be sent back to a judge in Pasadena for resentencing as a result of a new state law that gives the judge the discretion to strike a five-year prison term that had been imposed as a result of the defendant’s prior conviction.