LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A state appeals court panel has upheld a Van Nuys man’s second-degree murder conviction for pushing his 70-year-old mother out a second-floor window and then kicking and stomping on her after she fell to the ground.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that the trial court should have instructed jurors in Fernando Vargas’ trial on the lesser offenses of voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
A neighbor reported seeing the defendant’s mother, Carlotta, flying out backwards from a window, then saw Vargas deliver seven to eight kicks to her upper body, head and chest and then stomp on her chest three times, according to the appellate panel’s ruling.
Vargas — who had jumped out of the window to continue the attack on his mother — subsequently admitted to police that he had pushed her and hoped she was dead, but later told investigators that he did not want her to die, according to the ruling.
Vargas’ trial attorney contended that the defendant could not form the intent to kill because he was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time.
“Vargas pushed his mother out the window and kicked and stomped upon her on the driveway, an assault whose natural consequences were dangerous to human life,” the justices noted. “There is no material issue whether he appreciated that this endangered her life, as he repeatedly said she deserved to die and complained she did not die fast enough.”
Vargas is serving a 15-year-to-life term in state prison for his mother’s killing.