A man who was convicted of murder for his role in a shootout with a security guard at a San Diego marijuana dispensary that led to his accomplice’s death was denied Friday an opportunity to vacate his conviction or reduce his 65-year-to-life prison sentence.
Kurese Bell, 24, was convicted in 2017 of first-degree murder in connection with the death of his accomplice, 18-year-old Marlon Thomas. Thomas was shot by a security guard during a robbery in April of 2014 and Bell, who was 17 at the time, shot and wounded the guard during the holdup.
Bell was charged and convicted under the state’s felony murder rule, which in this case, held him responsible for Thomas’ death because it occurred during a robbery.
Changes to state law allowed for argument to set aside the murder conviction and re-sentence Bell, but that request was denied Friday because the case involved a “provocative act,” in that Bell shot the security guard.
Bell’s attorney, Patrick Dudley, also unsuccessfully argued to reduce the penalty imposed through a gun-use enhancement that added 25 years to life to his sentence. Judges did not have discretion to