An accused killer seeks to escape murder charges, claiming that if his victim wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness, he would have lived. Jehovah’s Witness beliefs include refusing certain medical interventions, including blood transfusions. In this case, the shooter claims that if his victim hadn’t refused a transfusion, he’d still be alive. Thus, he claims, his actions — shooting the man four times — wasn’t the reason the victim died. Instead, he maintains, the refusal of life-saving medical intervention killed the man.
The Fresno Bee reports that David Quevedo shot Omar Silva four times outside Silva’s home. Lying on the ground, Silve is said to have moaned, “Jehovah, Jehovah, I’m dying, I’m dying.” This all took place in 2013, when Quevedo went on a rampage after his favorite football team, the 49ers, lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl. (Frighteningly, this wasn’t the only violent attack by an angry 49ers fan after a game that year.)
Now, two years later, the case has made it to trial — and Quevedo’s attorney says it wasn’t murder, because if Omar Silva, a Jehovah’s Witness, had simply had a blood transfusion, his life could have been saved.
According to ABC 30, Omar Silva was not the intended target — Quevedo had fought with Omar’s brother, Arnold, previously, and after shouting about “Bond Street Bulldogs” — apparently a gang affiliation — Quevedo shouted that he would be back, and left. When he returned, Arnold Silva wasn’t present, and Omar, instead, came to the door.
Queveda opened fire, and, with Omar Silva’s 13-year-old daughter watching, four of eight bullets hit their mark: three in Silva’s chest, and one in his back.
Defense attorney Antonio Alvarez says three of the shots weren’t life-threatening, and he believes that the fourth would have been survivable, with appropriate interventions. The prosecution, however, maintains that one bullet hit a major vein, and a blood transfusion would not have saved Silva’s life.
Now, medical experts for both sides will be called to testify about whether Silva could have been expected to live if he had received medical intervention in the way of a blood transfusion — that is, if he had not been a Jehovah’s Witness, or if he had defied those particular beliefs and accepted the transfusion.
A jury will be left to decide, as the defense argues that it was not the bullets, but Silva’s faith as a Jehovah’s Witness, that killed him, whether to uphold the murder charge in light of these claims. Queveda is also charged with possession of a handgun as a felon.