Murder charges have been filed against a Los Angeles man in connection with two special-circumstance murders in the Los Angeles area. Patrick Watkins, 51, was arrested and charged in the murders of Nathan Vickers in 2011 and Larise Smith in 2014. According to police, DNA evidence recovered from a handgun used in the homicides tied the gun to both Watkins and the victims.
Suspect Also Faces Attempted Murder Charges
In addition to facing multiple murder charges for the Los Angeles murders, prosecutors have also charged Watkins with 26 counts of attempted murder, stemming from violent robberies that Watkins is alleged to have committed on Western Avenue. Watkins, dubbed the “Western Bandit” operated along an 8-mile stretch of Western from Hollywood to South Los Angeles from late 2011 until late 2014. Watkins is accused of approaching victims on his bicycle or on foot, and robbing them or shooting them inside their vehicles. The special circumstance of multiple murders makes Mr. Watkins eligible for the death penalty, which prosecutors say they will seek.
Watkins is also being charged with 13 counts of assault with a firearm, 5 counts of shooting at an occupied motor vehicle, four counts of second degree robbery as well as one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
If you’ve been arrested for murder, you need an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney like Robert Helfend to defend your rights in court. In cases where significant time has passed, the quality, handling and preservation of the evidence is critical. You need a murder defense attorney who can pull together the legal resources you need to challenge old or mishandled evidence, and the fading memories of eyewitnesses who may be asked to testify to events that took place years earlier.
A Los Angeles murder can result in the death penalty or in life in prison, with or without parole. It is also a Three Strikes Law offense, which can effectively turn a lesser felony conviction into a life sentence.
Robert Helfend has 30 years’ experience in murder defense in Los Angeles and takes cases in Los Angeles County and Ventura County. Don’t go into court with a criminal defense attorney that does not have significant and specific experience in murder defense. Contact Robert Helfend today or call him toll-free at (800) 834-6434 or locally at (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles murder charges.
Photo Credit: Brian Lary, via FreeImages.com