The homicide conviction was overturned within the taking pictures on the Bakersfield marijuana dispensary
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – An appeals court overturned the murder conviction of a man convicted of shooting and killing a man and injuring a woman in front of a Bakersfield marijuana dispensary in 2017.
Judges from the 5th District Court of Appeals found there was insufficient evidence to convict Troy Sanders and in their ruling on Thursday said Sanders was prohibited from being tried again under the double punishment clause. His convictions of attempted murder and firearms and gang charges have also been overturned.
Sanders, 30, was sentenced to life without parole in 2018.
“While a surveillance camera recorded a significant portion of this shooting, the tape clearly casts reasonable doubt that Sanders was the direct perpetrator of these crimes, and the remaining evidence does not reasonably establish that he was the shooter,” the appeals court’s decision said . “A sensible jury could not have unequivocally convicted Sanders based on the evidence from the trial.”
Assistant attorney Tim Blenner, who represented Sanders, said he was surprised by the verdict – not because he disagreed with it, but because it is rare for an appeals court to overturn a conviction on the basis of insufficient evidence. He said this was a case where the result kept him up at night as he was sure there wasn’t enough evidence to find Sanders guilty.
“Every lawyer has a handful of cases prosecuting them where you wonder what went wrong and this was one for me,” he said.
The prosecutor said it will work with the attorney general to appeal to the California Supreme Court.
“The evidence was more than enough for 12 jurors who actually witnessed the trial and evidence to find Sanders unequivocally guilty,” said District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer. “The three-person jury of the appeals court, which of course is absent and has to rely on cold testimony, has decided to overturn the verdict of 12 jurors from Kern County and replace it with their own. claimed that no reasonable juror could possibly have found Sanders guilty, despite the abundance of evidence to support his guilt. We will take any legal action to defend the proper judgment of the jury on this case. “
The attorney general has 40 days to appeal.
Early on July 4, 2017, Michael Dorrough and girlfriend Alize Webber drove to the Mars Collective pharmacy on Union Avenue. Dorrough went in while Webber waited in the car. A man approached the car and peeked in before going behind a nearby fence.
Dorrough returned to the car and drove off when the man looking into the vehicle stormed out from behind the fence and opened fire, spraying 30 bullets in about 10 seconds. The shooter then got into a vehicle parked on the street and left.
Dorrough was hit multiple times and died on the scene. Webber also suffered multiple gunshot wounds – including one to the head – but she survived.
Sanders was arrested later that month and his cell phone was confiscated. Investigators examined his cell phone data and found that the phone was in the general area of the shooting at the time of the shooting. However, this area also included Sander’s residence.
Blenner said the cell phone data was not accurate and the phone could have been miles away but could still ring from the same cell tower.
The surveillance video of the shooting was presented in court, but the shooter’s race could not be determined from the footage. The detective in charge testified that he believed the shooter was “a frivolous African American man,” but a MP who viewed the footage wrote in a report that the shooter was white or Spanish.
Sanders is black.
“The evidence to support (Sanders’) identity as a Sagittarius was not reasonable, credible, or solid,” the appeals court wrote. “The circumstances do not adequately justify the judges’ judgments.”