Brief Fact Summary.
Bodely (defendant) was convicted of first degree murder, under the felony murder rule, for killing a supermarket employee while trying to escape after a burglary.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
The felony murder rule is still applicable to a defendant after the commission of a felony, but no longer applies after the defendant reaches a place of temporal safety.
Bodely (defendant) entered a supermarket and proceeded to grab $75 in cash from the register, and subsequently ran out of the store. As Bodely tried to escape several employees of the supermarket chased after him, with one employee attempting to reach into Bodely's car to prevent him from leaving. When the employee reached into the drivers side window, Bodely jerked the car to try and get the employee off the car, resulting in the employee’s head hitting the ground, which ultimately killed him. Bodely was charged with burglary and first degree murder under the felony murder rule and eventually was convicted on all counts. Bodely appealed, arguing that the felony ended when he left the store, because at the point the burglary had ended.
Whether the felony murder rule is still applicable to a defendant after the commission of a felony if that defendant has not reached a place of temporal safety.
Yes. In order for the felony murder rule to no longer apply after the commission of a felony, the defendant must reach a place of temporal safety.
The escape rule serves the legitimate public policy considerations of deterrence and culpability by extending felony-murder liability beyond the technical completion of the crime.View Full Point of Law
Under California law, a defendant can still be guilty of murder under the felony murder rule if the felony and homicide of a person killed during the felony are a apart of one continuous event. Here, Bodely’s immediate escape was apart of the burglary and he had yet to reach a place of temporary safety and liability for a homicide committed during a felony will continue until that defendant reaches a place of temporal safety. The reason for this rule can be attributed to public policy. Thus, until a defendant reaches a place of temporal safety, he will still be on the hook for any homicide committed during the felony or after he has escaped, but has not yet reached a place of temporal safety.