- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A California appeals court has overturned a homeless man’s murder conviction because he was not allowed to present testimony that homeless people experience higher crime rates and are therefore more sensitive to perceptions of threat.

A division of the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled on Wednesday that the testimony would have bolstered defendant Vladimir Sotelo-Urena’s argument that he acted in self-defense when he fatally stabbed Nicholas Bloom in Santa Rosa in 2013.

Sotelo-Urena said he had been stabbed a few weeks earlier and felt he was in danger when Bloom approached him aggressively. Bloom was also homeless.

The trial judge said expert testimony about crime and perceptions of threats among the homeless was not relevant. A jury convicted Sotelo-Urena of first-degree murder, and the judge sentenced him to 26 years to life.


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