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Mocked over his belief in God, California man – high on drink and drugs – shoots a friend to death

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.

Douglas Yim

Douglas Yim

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.

 

25 Responses to “Mocked over his belief in God, California man – high on drink and drugs – shoots a friend to death”

  1. Nelmonster says:

    Killing in the name of…

  2. […] 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.  […]

  3. Nacho says:

    Maybe God can take him out of jail

  4. Matt+Westwood says:

    … by killing him.

  5. Michael says:

    ‘126 years to life in prison’?

  6. Broga says:

    “Those who believe absurdities commit atrocities.” I suppose that Yim, fuelled up on booze, drugs and religious zeal, felt wonderfully self righteous in defending his God. It does seem to occur to people like him that an omnipotent God will be able to defend himself and not need a sad character like Yim to protect him.

  7. Broga says:

    “Those who believe absurdities commit atrocities.” I suppose that Yim, fuelled up on booze, drugs and religious zeal, felt wonderfully self righteous in defending his God. It does seem to occur to people like him that an omnipotent God will be able to defend himself and not need a sad character like Yim to protect him.

  8. barriejohn says:

    Broga: “It doesn’t seem…”

  9. Cliff Knoetz says:

    Certainly not attempting to offer a defence here, but to me this isn’t a “religious lunacy” story so much as a “firearms lunacy” story. Mixing intoxicants (and recreational tinkering with your own body is something I believe individuals should be free to do) can lead to unpredictable behaviour, but I would say it’s at least possible that the “where’s your God now” aspect is secondary to the “ha ha your dad is dead” aspect.

    I’m not prone to violence since I don’t like getting hit, but had the victim said such a spectacularly offensive thing about a dead loved one to me while I was high as a kite, he’d probably get a mighty slap – or at least witness my comedy attempt at delivering the same… but even if I was a God-botherer and that was the thing that really got my goat, I don’t have a semi-automatic rifle in my fucking cupboard.

    Religion is only a problem when the crazies have the capacity to hurt people, be it themselves, their children, the wavering believers or the rest of us.

  10. Cliff Knoetz says:

    Erm… before that last sentence gets my argument tossed out on it’s ear: I know, I know, religion’s still a problem when you take the guns away.

  11. Brummie says:

    Well said Cliff K.

  12. James says:

    This is why there must be more guns in the US. If there had been more guns just lying around the house, Phan could have easily picked one up to defend himself! /sarcasm

  13. AgentCormac says:

    @ Cliff Knoetz

    Trouble is, religion empowers and emboldens its adherents to do mental stuff. After all, it is completely mental.

    http://www.evilbible.com

  14. barriejohn says:

    I agree broadly with what Cliff Knoetz says. I also sympathize with him. Even though I always go to great lengths to qualify my comments (unless matters of fact) with statements like “in my opinion”, “generally speaking”, “one often finds”, etc – which can make them extremely wordy – I still get criticized, as I was by that troll the other day, for being ignorant, bigoted, opinionated, dogmatic, and so on. It seems to be a feature of the internet!

    OT There was a new weather presenter on BBC News today: Holly Green!!

  15. Jacob says:

    Well this guy missed the part about not killing people in the 10 commandments. Sucks for him!!

  16. Matt+Westwood says:

    Everybody goes on and on about how guns will keep you safe from guns. Rubbish. You all need to buy bullet-proof vests!

    Roll up, roll, up, getcher BPV’s here, Westwood Specials! Only $999.99 each! Get them before they fall apart! Roll up …

  17. barriejohn says:

    Matt: I prefer to depend on the Power of Prayer™. I am sixty seven years old and I’ve never yet been hit by a

  18. JohnMWhite says:

    I agree with what Cliff Knoetz said about gun culture being a huge part of the problem in this case. I also have to point out that, while obviously pulling out a gun and firing at people in your living room is far from an acceptable response to an insult, the district attorney’s hard line is another part of the reason we see so many violent and dangerous people in the United States. You can’t claim something was premeditated when the perpetrator was under the influence of drugs, but the DA did anyway, and apparently it worked because judges and juries don’t give a shit about facts, they see justice as a sport where they just vote for their favourites.

    The US justice system is seriously broken. This guy shouldn’t get away with killing somebody over an argument, but it is not the same thing as being a cold-blooded killer who should be put in jail for over a century. The arbitrary and often vindictive nature of the justice system and the absolute hell that is the prisons means anybody who passes through the system is quite likely to become more disturbed, more hardened and more dangerous if they get back out. It makes its own monsters.

  19. Marianne says:

    While I agree, of course, that this behaviour is beyond the pale and sadly typical of faithheads, I must go off on a tangent. I was depressed that John Hutcheson in his ‘otherwise excellent’ denunciation on your facebook account showed that he had some way to go to enlightenment himself.

    It might give those who care for Alzheimers’ patients a bitter pang to hear ‘demented’ used in a casually insulting way. But to describe a faithhead as exhibiting ‘spastic’ rage is just ignorant. Our neurologically challenged friends are normally capable of rational thought. Stephen Hawking is a boringly obvious example. Different parts of the brain have different functions.

    As a subscriber to the Freethinker, Mr Hutcheson is no doubt an enemy of ignorance and theoretical backwardness. I wish him luck in his journey towards becoming even more urbane and civilized than he now is.

  20. Matt+Westwood says:

    By complete coincidence, a tacky piece of sentimentalist propaganda:

    http://www.upworthy.com/how-the-future-might-look-if-we-dont-push-for-gun-control-6?c=ufb1

  21. Robster says:

    He’ll fit in well in prison. I’ve read that 99.8% of prisoners in American jails are besotted with god nonsense.

  22. barriejohn says:

    Robster: For one thing they tend to be of very low intelligence, or even mentally ill (sad fact); there is also the tribal element of religion which is well suited to prison life; and, as has been pointed out here many times before, there are benefits for those who come over religious in prison – especially when they profess to “trust Jesus”.

  23. JohnMWhite says:

    @barriejohn: Indeed. Good luck getting a parole board to release you if you say “I’ve seen the light; there is no god. Guess I shouldn’t just follow a book’s arbitrary rules and try to be responsible for my own actions from now on.”

  24. Catalin Oancea says:

    So let me get this: because he used a gun and they were talking about God, religion and guns are evil. Are you people MORONS? Did you just skip over the DRUGS aspect of this? Well, of course you consider it not being such a big deal because YOU DO DRUGS; now you wouldn’t condemn yourself, would you?
    That is why you agree with people that say stuff like “and recreational tinkering with your own body is something I believe individuals should be free to do”, because you are addicts who would love to just binge on everything possible.
    The problem is not guns or God, the problem is the huge amount of psychotropic prescription and illegal drugs you junkies have access to. Did you notice how people flip on bath salts? Naaah, that’s just the police being too aggressive to the insane behaviour of the addict; they should bring him a blanket and a cup of hot tea, not taser him while he’s trying to kill them.
    This world is turning into the biggest hypocritical circus ever witnessed by man. You see God as evil because it restricts the same behaviour you indulge yourselves in, that’s why you just focus on the God part, that’s why the title of this article is disinformation, placing the drugs and alcohol to a lesser degree of importance, because you love drugs and alcohol and hate God. That’s why you think the main reason he shot his friend is God, the second being that he had a gun. You losers in the USA fully deserve what is coming your way, you will pray to God for a gun in the times to come, but He won’t hear you and there will be no guns around for you.