—John Robert Elkins was just 20 years old when he smoked methamphetamine
with another Orange County hoodlum in June 2006 and then went cruising
on Imperial Boulevard in La Habre. The pleasant part of the ride
ended when Elkins, who was sitting in the back seat, leaned forward and
used a large knife to nearly decapitate the vehicle's 27-year-old
driver, John Fisher. Police found a horrific mess: a dead Fisher
sitting in an upright position behind the wheel with the engine running.
In hopes of overturning his subsequent murder conviction and 31 years
to life prison sentence, Elkins argued on appeal that smoking meth
everyday for six weeks leading up to the killing had rendered him
legally incapacitated. Illegal drug use had caused him to hear imaginary
voices and fear that Fisher intended to kill him first. This week, a California
Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana told Elkins tough luck. They
rejected his excuse.