This week, Billie Joe Johnson, a convicted double murderer, was sentenced to death for the retaliation murder of a former gang colleague, Scott Miller. Miller decided to go on TV and explain their white supremacy gang. Fellow gang members recognized Miller on TV and were so angry that they decided to retaliate. Johnson was convicted of luring Miller into an alley and then co-conspirator Michael Lamb shot him. Johnson was charged and convicted of murder with special circumstances of lying-in-wait and murder for the benefit of the gang. He wanted to be sentenced to death instead of life in prison because he thought he would get a bigger prison cell, more recreation time and more family visits. In his past, he had beaten a man to death and has been serving time for that murder as well.
To qualify for the death penalty instead of just life in prison without the possibility of parole, special circumstances need to be present. Some special circumstances include felony murder, murdering a peace officer, prosecutor or judge or multiple murders, among others. If you are convicted of murder with special circumstances, you will be on Death Row for years before being executed. If you are sentenced to murder without special circumstances, you will have to spend your life in prison. Whether you live in Santa Ana, Westminster or Anaheim, if you are charged with murder, call an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to assist you.