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Huntington Beach Man Convicted of Murder in DUI Case

On Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, a Huntington Beach man was convicted of murder stemming from the hit-and-run death of a bicyclist that he struck and killed in Newport Beach, Calif.

Just over a year ago, on Oct. 19, 2014, N. Storm Stephany, 24, was driving on East Coast Highway while under the influence of heroin when he swerved into the bike lane and struck S. Eagleson, 30, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

This wasn’t Stephany’s first DUI. According to the DA’s office, he was previously convicted of DUI, which led to the murder charge.

Santa Ana Jury Convicts Him of Murder

A Santa Ana jury found Stephany guilty of one felony count of murder in the death S. Eagleson. He is facing a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in prison. Stephany’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 15, 2016.

On the day of the accident, Stephany struck Eagleson, of Fountain Valley, with his Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. After hitting the bicyclist, Stephany struck a guardrail and then fled the scene without calling an ambulance and helping Eagleson.

Witnesses say that they saw Stephany driving erratically before the accident, which occurred along a scenic route near Crystal Cove.

Stephany was arrested by Newport Beach police about 30 minutes after the crash. Eagleson was pronounced dead at the hospital less than five hours after he was struck by the Tacoma.

California's ‘Watson Advisement’

According to the DA’s office, in 2011 and 2013, Stephany signed the “Watson advisement,” which stated that he acknowledged that he could be charged with murder if he killed another person while driving under the influence.

In California, a person can be charged with murder if he or she drives while under the influence and causes an accident that takes someone else’s life. Under California law, a “Watson murder” is the most serious felony DUI charge that a person can be charged with.

Since People v. Watson, defendants who are convicted of DUI must verbally acknowledge or sign a “Watson advisement,” at the time they are sentenced for DUI in the California courts.

When you sign the Watson advisement, you’re acknowledging that if you kill another person while you’re under the influence, you could be charged with murder, and Mr. Stephany’s case proves that the state is serious when it says “If you kill someone while DUI, you could be charged with murder.”

Facing murder charges after a CA DUI? Don’t wait, contact an Orange County DUI defense attorney today!