To whom it may concern. I am writing to you about a serious concern regarding the murder of my brother, Casey Tyler Adams, and the prosecution of the perpetrators who committed this crime.
On May 27th, 2007 my brother was camping at a local beach resort (Lawson's Landing) with some friends. At some point during the evening he and several of the people he was camping with walked down to the privately owned beach (Dillon Beach in Marin Co, CA). While there they were approached by three other young men who started an argument with my brother. This argument was very brief and began when one of the men in the second group shined a flashlight into my brother's eyes. He told them to stop, the group left and then re approached my son a short while later and he was punched in the face several times and hit on the head with the flashlight from behind. The injuries he suffered from the blows caused an artery at the base of his brain to tear, killing him almost instantly. The DA has informed us that if my brother had not died so quickly the defendants would be looking at second degree murder.
The perpetrators were arrested and confessed to having hit him under audio and videotape, all stating they were not hit by my brother. Originally, Robert Martell and Robert Marcus were charged with involuntary manslaughter and battery with serious bodily injury. Darren Bell was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. At the preliminary hearing the judge said that he was "appalled" at the behavior of these men, and that they basically surrounded and attacked my brother with little provocation other then words my son may have said. He also said that he saw no grounds for either self defense or justifiable homicide and that not only would he not dismiss or reduce any of the charges, but that the Marin County District Attorney could add involuntary manslaughter and battery with serious bodily injury to Bell's charges.
Subsequent to this preliminary hearing, the DA's office offered to drop all other charges if the defendants would plead guilty to assault with force likely, a felony non-strike-able offense according to CA three strikes law. It seems likely that these three guys will probably get off with nothing more than probation for the murder of my son, downgrading the charge to a misdemeanor that may have the potential to later be expunged from their records.
Please don't take this letter as the rantings of a distraught sister over the death of her brother. Although I am distraught, my family and I have been doing a lot of research on this. I am studying criminal justice and she has spoken with a number of people with great experience in this field who confirm that the DA may not be filing charges appropriately. Even the case law that the DA is citing points towards a charge of voluntary manslaughter at the minimum. Possible reasons for this may include that they are facing the likelihood of having to prosecute three separate trials, or that there is some other inhibiting factor that the DA's office for one reason or another, doesn't want t o share. One of the men is a marine reservist. We have spoken to two separate ex-DA investigators who have confirmed our concern that the most appropriate charge should be voluntary manslaughter, and yet as of now, assault is what is offered.
Regardless, how safe can we feel in the world if people who attack and kill others are encouraged and allowed to plead to a completely inadequate charge? Shouldn't we expect that when we, or our loved ones, are in a public place that we should be safe from the threat of attack? Is this not a Constitutional right? And if we are attacked isn't it reasonable to assume that the District Attorneys office will prosecute the case appropriately? Shouldn't our DA send a better message than this to our communities?
I am writing to you with the hope that you will do your research on this issue and then respond to my request for media coverage and any other help available. I understand that the media is the watchdog and the only tool available to me is to utilize the media to insure there is no political agenda. It has been suggested to us by an advocate for victim's rights that we get the media involved to encourage the DA to prosecute this case in a manner where the punishment fits the crime. Our time is limited because the plea agreement is only good until Dec. 14th. We would like to see the DA drop this offer, and that the perpetrators be charged with the voluntary manslaughter they deserve. We are hoping that the defendants are made to serve some prison time, if for no other reason than that they will be forced to take some time to consider the magnitude of the consequences of their choices.