California v. ShortsAnnotate this Case
Defendant Terry Shorts sexually assaulted and murdered 13-year-old Jessica S. in 1996, shooting her in the head and leaving her half-naked body in a park in the middle of the night. Sixteen years later, he was connected to the crime when his DNA was identified in samples taken from Jessica’s body. At trial, defendant conceded that he had sexual relations with Jessica, but claimed he did not kill her. Instead, he argued that Sammy Rodriguez did it. The jury convicted defendant of the murder and sex offenses, and the trial court sentenced him to life without possibility of parole, as well as other terms. On appeal, defendant contends the trial court: (1) improperly admitted evidence of his prior sex offenses against J.P., his ex-girlfriend, over his Evidence Code section 352 objection; (2) improperly excluded evidence of Rodriguez’s propensity for violence; and (3) improperly admitted lay opinion testimony that Rodriguez did not commit the murder. Finding no prejudicial error, the Court of Appeal affirmed.