Our View: Charges should be changed – again
We don’t profess to hold the same knowledge of the law as judges or lawyers, but a decision last week by Placer County Superior Court Judge James Dawson to reduce a murder charge against a Truckee man accused of killing another man leaves us baffled.Timothy Brooks allegedly stabbed and killed Robert Ash outside a Tahoe City eatery on Aug. 17, a half-hour after Ash reportedly cut off Brooks on Highway 89 near Squaw Valley. After the “road-rage” incident on the highway, Brooks, accompanied by his wife, tracked down Ash, who was eating a bagel at an outside cafe.Words were exchanged, a scuffle ensued and then Ash was on the ground with what would end up as a fatal stab wound to his abdomen.Brooks was in handcuffs a short time later and then, after Ash died in a Reno hospital, was charged with murder.While due process obviously has to take its course, to us the murder charge appeared justified. Brooks, accompanied by another adult, spent a half hour looking for Ash after the unpleasant encounter on the highway.Thirty minutes after searching, Brooks’ antagonist was mortally wounded with a five-inch knife.Yes, common sense would say a murder charge is right on target. But Judge Dawson didn’t think so. Brooks now faces a charge of voluntary manslaughter. Dawson said he felt there had not been malicious forethought on Brooks’ part to constitute a murder charge.Apparently the Placer County DA’s office is contemplating re-filing murder charges against Brooks. We’ll have to wait until the next court date on Nov. 15 to find that out. But we think it should be done because a voluntary manslaughter charge – which is applied in a case where a killing happens in the “heat of passion” with no prior intention to kill, according to online legal resource Find Law – seems a stretch in a case where Brooks, with a knife in his pocket, had plenty of time to re-think his actions.Thirty minutes is a long time to mull over all the terrible things one person could inflict on another. It’s also long enough, we believe, to get a grip and get on with life instead of taking one.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.