A 33-year-old Oakland, California, man who shot dead a friend who pooh-poohed his belief in God has been found guilty of first-degree murder.
Douglas Yim now faces 126 years to life in prison when he is sentenced in November. In addition to the murder, Yim was found guilty of assault with a firearm and mayhem for shooting a second friend in his living room in the early hours of April 2, 2011.
According to this report, Yim killed Dzuy Duhn Phan, 25, after a night of partying that included them and another friend, Paul Park, drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and snorting cocaine. Park testified that only Phan and Yim snorted the cocaine and the two began having a discussion about God as they played video games.
Park said that Phan mocked Yim about his belief in God, asking him where God was every time Yim lost a game. At one point, Park said, Phan asked Yim where God was when Yim’s father died of a stroke several years earlier.
The comment about Yim’s father was the last straw. Yim threw his video game controller into his flat-screen television, breaking the screen. Shortly after, Yim got took his AR-15 assault rifle from his bedroom and and shot Phan at least six times.
Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Allyson Donovan insisted that the case was first-degree murder because Yim had a chance to think about what he was doing. Donovan asked the jury to focus on the gunshot that hit Phan in the side of the head as proof that the killing was intentional and with premeditation and malice.
But Yim’s attorney, Mario Andrews, said he believed it was a case of manslaughter. Andrews said his client believed he was in danger of Phan because Phan refused to leave Yim’s house after they fought about God.
Andrews also said that he thought his client could not have premeditated the murder because he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The defence attorney said he tried to get a plea deal for his client before trial, but the district attorney’s office would not agree that the case was anything but a first-degree murder.
We could not come to an agreement so we presented to a jury and the jury made a decision. I was hoping for manslaughter.