A man who shot his Surrey housemate to death in the summer of 2010 has lost an appeal of his convictions and will not get a new trial.
Lester Ovidio Buezo Oseguera had appealed his second-degree murder convictions and three weapons offences in connection with the death of 28-year old José Hector Luna Morales (José Luna) in a home they shared near 112 Avenue and 138 Street.
Oseguera, now 32, was found guilty in 2012 of shooting Luna to death, as well as shooting at another woman and police. He received a mandatory life sentence, with no eligibility for parole for 13 years.
During the jury trial, the Crown said Oseguera’s actions stemmed from a controlling and abusive relationship with his common-law spouse, who, with their infant son, had left him.
Oseguera pleaded guilty to manslaughter, admitting that he shot Luna and shot at another woman and police. But he argued he didn’t have the required intent for second-degree murder because he was high on cocaine – drug use that re-emerged when the mother of his son left the country with the child. His defence lawyers said Oseguera was on a month-long cocaine binge prior to the fatal shooting.
Oseguera appealed all four charges on the grounds the judge permitted inadmissible evidence of his bad character to go before the jury, and that his actions following Luna’s shooting – when he fled the scene – had no bearing on whether he intended to murder his roommate.
While the Appeal Court agreed the trial judge erred in allowing prejudicial evidence of bad character to go to the jury, there was still no “substantial wrong or miscarriage of justice.“
In a written decision Monday (Sept. 15), B.C. Court of Appeal Justice Kathryn Neilson said Oseguera’s own admissions showed he had a clear recollection of events of the night Luna was killed that were “inconsistent with a level of intoxication sufficient to render him unable to form the required intent for the offences.“
As well, she said, witnesses who dealt with Oseguera before and after the shootings did not report signs of cocaine intoxication.
“There would be no benefit in setting aside the appellant’s convictions and ordering a new trial as there is no realistic possibility that this would produce a different result,” wrote Neilson, with Justices Ian Donald and David Harris in agreement.
Luna, originally from El Salvador, had only lived in Surrey for about a year-and-a-half before he was killed. He had moved here on a work visa and was a house painter.