Neil Deontrai Duffey and William Deshawn Cartlidge committed a brutal, senseless Buena Park liquor store robbery in August 2006, but insist that Orange County's criminal justice system robbed them of a fair trial.
Duffey shot the store clerk in the head with a handgun, shot a customer entering the store three times and fled carrying stolen California Lottery tickets a cash register containing only $200.
The thieve's relatives tried to provide an fool-proof alibi but surveillance video and forensic testing wrecked the plan.
A 2010 Orange County jury convicted both men–it helped that Cartlidge squealed during a post-crime interrogation–and Superior Court Judge James A. Stotler sentenced them to prison.
The men appealed, claiming that a prosecutor solicited improper law enforcement testimony and failed to prove they intended to rob the customer. Because they wanted to be able to blame the other, they also objected that Stotler refused to conduct separate trials.
Writing for the California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana, Justice Richard Aronson considered and dismissed each of the defendant's complaints as worthless.
Upshot: Duffey, 24, will continue to serve his 64 years to life sentence and Cartlidge, 25, will continue to serve his 14 years to life punishment.