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People v. Webster

Supreme Court of California
814 P.2d 1273 (1991)


Larry Webster (defendant) lived with five other individuals in a riverside encampment. Webster was the de facto leader of the group. Three members of the group robbed a convenience store, and because the police continued to search for the perpetrators, Webster decided the next day that the group needed to leave town. Webster arranged to meet up with another homeless person, William Burke, that evening and use Burke’s car under the pretense of committing joint drug purchases or robberies. Webster in fact, however, devised a plan to lure Burke back to their camp and kill him so that they could steal his car and use it leave the area. The other members of the group cooperated with the plan. Once Webster and two other members of the group returned to camp with Burke, Webster stabbed and killed him. The group then returned the short distance to Burke’s parked car, loaded their belongings into it, and drove away They were later stopped for speeding, all arrested, and variously charged in connection with Burke’s death. Webster was charged and convicted of first-degree murder, under the special circumstances that the murder was committed while lying in wait and while engaged in the commission of a robbery. Webster was sentenced to death, granted an automatic appeal, and contended that the evidence did not support a conviction for robbery.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Baxter, J.)


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