OAKLAND -- A 61-year-old man was found guilty of second-degree murder Wednesday for shooting a 59-year-old twice with a high-powered rifle after a brief argument in an East Oakland home.
Christopher Miles will now most likely die in prison, as he is set to be sentenced for 40 years to life because a jury also found that he used a gun in the course of a murder. Miles will not be eligible for parole until he is 101 years old.
Miles killed Danny Jackson on April 12, 2010, as Jackson walked away from Miles' home. Jackson had gone to the home to speak to Clover Harper-Green, a female friend of Miles who was hiding from her boyfriend, Melvin Jones, who was abusive, according to evidence presented at trial.
Jackson was friends with both the boyfriend and Miles and came to Miles' home in an effort to convince Harper-Green to leave. Jackson was initially invited into the house, but as soon as Miles realized Jackson was attempting to convince Harper-Green to return to Jones, Miles told Jackson to leave his house.
That sparked a brief verbal feud between the two, during which Jackson, who was high on crack and alcohol, said he was leaving to get his gun, according to evidence presented at trial.
While Jackson stood outside about 24 feet away from Miles' home, Miles shot his rifle through a metal screen security door. One shot hit Jackson in the backside. A second shot hit Jackson in the head.
Miles testified that he was acting in self-defense and his attorney, assistant public defender Brian Caruth asked a jury to find him guilty of at-most manslaughter.
But one juror, who agreed to talk on the condition of anonymity, said the panel did not think Miles acted legally, although the juror said that nobody on the panel believed Miles had a mental intent to kill. Instead, the juror said the panel agreed that Miles acted in a dangerous manner that caused the death of someone and did so in an illegal way.
The juror said the panel did not believe that Miles was in imminent danger or that a reasonable person in his same circumstance would believe they were in imminent danger.
The juror said Miles' testimony during which he admitted that he shot toward Jackson without being able to see him proved that Miles could not have been facing an imminent threat.
Had Jackson fired a gun toward Miles, or threw an object at his house, the juror said a self-defense or manslaughter conviction would have been reached.
"You don't shoot towards the area where you thought the person was," the juror said. "A reasonable person would not believe there was an imminent threat."
Deputy district attorney Greg Dolge said the verdict was just.
"I'm very satisfied with the verdict," Dolge said. "Whether (you're) 25 or 55, murder is murder."