IN this interview I explain just how strong the felony murder rule is and how one may be charged with murder even though one did not pull the trigger.
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NORMAN -- An Oklahoma City man is charged with the death of his burglary accomplice, even though he didn't pull the trigger.
"This case is a good example of the felony murder rule," Norman defense attorney Elton Jenkins said. "It seems like a stretch in some circumstance, but the legislator wants to discourage any type of participation in felonies."
Jenkins said the rule's purpose is two-fold: to hold the person responsible who's committing the illegal act, and to protect anyone who might be responding to the incident.
"Theoretically, someone who is just acting as a lookout could be on the hook for murder," he said.
Oklahoma court records show that Erik Nunez, 29, was charged Friday with the first-degree murder of Daniel Laguna after the two men engaged in an attempted burglary.
"The felony murder rule is very strong," Jenkins said. "All the intent to do something can get transferred. Even though someone isn't meaning for what happened to happen, that person is still on the hook for it."
According to an Oklahoma City Police affidavit, Oklahoma City police responded about 12:30 a.m. Nov. 13 to a report of an assault at an apartment complex in south Oklahoma City.
Officers were notified that a fight was in progress and gun shots were fired, the affidavit read.
According to the report, once officers confronted the suspects, one of them, later identified as Laguna, started shooting at police.
Laguna was shot and killed by the responding officers.
The second suspect, later identified as Nunez, fled the scene but was later arrested and booked into Cleveland County jail.
During an interview with Laguna's family members, an Oklahoma City detective discovered that Nunez showed up at a family birthday party and later left with Laguna, the affidavit read.
Jenkins said not all crimes are covered under the rule.
The crimes could include robbery, kidnapping, arson, murder, shooting a firearm with intent to kill another person, rape, unlawful distribution of a controlled dangerous substance and trafficking in illegal drugs.
"You are on the same range of punishment as a killer could face," Jenkins said. "It is seen as if it weren't for that robbery or felony taking place, a person wouldn't have been killed."