People v. Beckett CA2/5

Filed 9/22/21 P. v. Beckett CA2/5 NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL REPORTS California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115. IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION FIVE THE PEOPLE, B315891 Plaintiff and Respondent, (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. A959057) v. ROBERT BECKETT, JR., Defendant and Appellant. APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Kerry R. Bensinger, Judge. Affirmed. Elizabeth K. Horowitz, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant. Rob Bonta, Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Susan Sullivan Pithey, Assistant Attorney General, Scott A. Taryle and Viet H. Nguyen, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent. ____________________________ Robert Beckett, Jr., appeals the trial court’s order denying his petition for vacatur of his murder conviction and resentencing under Senate Bill No. 1437 (Senate Bill 1437) and former Penal Code section 1170.95 (Pen. Code, § 1172.6),1 following an order to show cause and hearing pursuant to subdivision (d)(3).2 On appeal, Beckett argues that this court should review the record independently, rather than reviewing the trial court’s ruling for substantial evidence in accord with all cases the courts of appeal have published to date. We reject the argument and affirm the trial court’s order. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY The Underlying Convictions The following facts are uncontradicted: In 1981, Beckett’s father had recently broken up with his girlfriend and told his son that to get over the relationship he needed to rape and kill a girl. He wanted Beckett to procure the girl for him. They worked together to make a sap that they planned to use as the murder weapon. Beckett met Tracey Stewart for a date and brought her back to his father’s house. Beckett took Stewart into his father’s bedroom, where she was ordered to undress. Beckett then left Stewart alone in the bedroom with his father, who raped her. 1 Effective June 30, 2022, Penal Code section 1170.95 was renumbered section 1172.6, with no change in text (Stats. 2022, ch. 58, § 10). 2 All further statutory references are to the Penal Code unless otherwise indicated. 2 Afterwards, Beckett and his father took Stewart to a van. Beckett hit Stewart in the head with the sap twice, and then attempted to strangle and gag her. He was not able to kill her, so his father told him to get out of the way and then killed Stewart himself. The two men taped a plastic bag around Stewart’s head and drove her to an unpopulated area where they dumped her body. Several years later, Beckett confessed to the crimes. At trial, Beckett was prosecuted for murder: (1) as a perpetrator acting with express or implied malice, (2) as a direct aider …

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