An ex-felon has been convicted of second-degree murder for fatally shooting a transgender woman while trying to collect a debt from her in a Hayward motel room two years ago. Miguel Inostroz, who has prior convictions for burglary and robbery, faces a term of up to life in state prison when he is sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Roy Hashimoto on Sept. 3. Jurors reached their verdict against Inostroz on Tuesday. Inostroz’s lawyer, James Giller, admitted during Inostroz’s trial that his client fatally shot James “Lucy” Parkin at the La Quinta Inn on Hesperian Boulevard in Hayward on Sept. 20, 2011.
However, Giller claimed that the shooting was an accident and sought a lesser verdict of involuntary manslaughter, which would have carried a lighter sentence. Prosecutors said Inostroz and five other companions, who they said all have histories with methamphetamine, were staying at the motel and Parkin came there after one of Inostroz’s companions asked her to give them a ride.
Once Parkin arrived, Inostroz confronted her over the money she owed him and she removed $30 from her bra but Inostroz struck the top of her head with the handle of his revolver and pulled her by her hair, prosecutors said. One of Inostroz’s companions tried to intervene by pulling the arm in which Inostroz carried his gun, but Inostroz fired his revolver and shot Parkin in the back, prosecutors said. Giller argued that Inostroz didn’t intend to shoot Parkin and the gun went off only because the companion pulled on his arm.
Giller said the fact that Parkin was a transgender woman wasn’t a relevant factor in the incident. In addition to convicting Inostroz of second-degree murder, jurors convicted him of assault with a firearm for striking Parkin with his gun and of being a felon in possession of a gun. Prosecutor Danny Lau sought a first-degree murder conviction for Inostroz. Giller said Inostroz faces a lengthy prison sentence because he is a “three strikes” defendant who has now been convicted of three serious criminal offenses.
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