Burger King killer Timothy Daniel received a reduced sentence on Thursday through Ohio’s Fifth District Court of Appeals. The Zanesville, Ohio resident was convicted of aggravated murder in February in the death of Charles Hooper.
Judges William Hoffman, Craig Baldwin and Patricia Delaney reduced the aggravated murder charge to felony murder, according to the Times Recorder. However, the rest of Daniel’s conviction was upheld. The Burger King killer’s appeal in June stated that he did not have the prior calculation and design that is normally seen in aggravated murder cases. The judges said that in their opinion, Daniel did not intend to murder Hooper. They also stated that he had the gun on him at Burger King because of his “sporadic” work as a drug dealer.
“The evidence demonstrates the act was a spontaneous eruption of events occurring over a very short time period; rather than a drawn out act.”
On October 31, 2013, Timothy walked into the Burger King on Maysville Avenue in south Zanesville looking for his girlfriend, Darlene Bender. Bender testified that the Burger King killer roughed her up the night before, pointed a gun in her face and threatened to kill her, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Once he left to buy cigarettes, she left and walked to Burger King. After some time had passed, she thought he would have calmed down and called him. The two began arguing and when Hooper intervened, the Burger King killer fought with Hooper. Daniel backhanded the victim with a.40 caliber pistol, then shot Charles in the head at point-blank range.
During the trial, in which the Burger King killer represented himself, Timothy’s key witness and former girlfriend Heidi McGilton went on the witness stand. Heidi read two letters, which revealed his plan to exchange drugs for false testimony and maps he drew describing the crime scene. However, hours before McGilton was to testify, she was arrested for selling heroin to an informant. Heidi cut a deal with the prosecution to have her drug charge dropped. In exchange, she turned over the evidence that would expose Daniel. It took the jury a little more than an hour to return a guilty verdict on all counts.
The Burger King killer’s sentence was originally life in prison without parole. With Timothy’s reduced charge of felony murder, his sentence is now 15 years to life with the possibility of parole, which he will be eligible for when he is 66. The Daily Jeffersonian reported that the Muskingum County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case to see if the decision by the appeals court will be appealed by a higher court.
[Photo: Anthony92931/Creative Commons]