Can You Guess What This Person Was Charged With?

1497615889661We have often discussed the uncertain art of taking a mugshot and whether it is better to smile or leave an expressionless face.  Merrick David Isaacks, 19, went with the happy image approach which seems wildly out of place with his alleged crime: shooting cyclists for fun with a shotgun

Isaacks is now charged with aggravated assault for allegedly firing a shotgun at a cyclist from a car. He reportedly told police that he just wanted to  “blow off steam.”  However, that cathartic exercise left Alonso Solis-Mata with shotgun pellets in his back, shoulder, and other locations.  That included pellets in his brain stem.

Isaacks is facing two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and is being held on a $250,000 bail.

Fox 4 News.

23 thoughts on “Can You Guess What This Person Was Charged With?”

  1. Any expression would have been better than that smug, self-satisfied one! It’s like the picture you’d find if you looked up the meaning of “depraved indifference.” I guess he thinks he’ll “lawyer up” and be out in no time. He’s so swag, I’ll bet he’ll claim he’s the victim of Affluenza. He won’t be feeling so self-satisfied once he’s arraigned and the penny finally drops.

  2. If the charges are proven a criminal such as this is a menace to society, thereby necessitating the maximum length of incarceration. I strongly suspect he has a lengthy criminal record.

  3. I hate to say this, but I can sort of relate to the shooter. I don’t know how many times I have had to slow down for some stupid cyclist in their tight britches blocking traffic. Roads are for cars, not bicycles!!!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  4. Oh my God. What a psychopath! Poor Mr Solis-Mata. Can they even remove the pellet without damaging his brain stem? That’s an area that’s very delicate to interfere with. I agree that this was attempted murder. Why was this aggravated assault instead of attempted murder? Was it bird shot? Charge sounds too light in my humble opinion.

    Every time someone commits a crime with a gun, it seems the hue and cry is that guns should be illegal. But this is not the response to whenever someone kills a person from DUI, or intentionally plowing into them, heaven forbid.

    Guns have a lawful, life saving and constitutionally protected use. Law abiding citizens use them to hunt for food, recreation, and to protect themselves from evil, such as people like this man. The evil use of a tool does not negate its law abiding uses.

    Evil people will use tools for evil purposes. One should not deprive good people of the use of those tools because evil people misuse them. It’s the very presence of evil people in this world that require the chance of serving the encounter that a firearm gives. True, it can’t help in every circumstances, but a firearm saved my own family once from an intruder, and we use them regularly to kill rattlers.

    I understand the fear that people have that firearms will fall into the wrong hands. The most common source of shootings is gangs, and we’ve all read about the third world war zones they’ve created in pockets of America. And then there are evil people like the maniac in this story.

    But that’s not the story.

    Think of all the times throughout history when an unarmed segment of the population were abused, murdered, tortured – African American slaves in America and Jews in Germany. Why was it punishable by death for a slave to touch a weapon? Because that made him a threat to his masters. We are still genetically the same species we were a mere 200 years ago. We still have the same capacity for evil and for goodness. Do not make a people helpless and hope that those in power will remain benign. And do not make women helpless against aggressors far stronger than they are. The most common culprit in the murder of a woman is most often her significant other, who was stronger than she was. If someone doesn’t care about going to jail, then the only hope a woman has against a violent stalker is often a firearm. The cops can’t get there in time to help her, just to catch the bad guy when she’s past caring.

    If you lived in a bad neighborhood, and the possibility was high that someone would break into your family’s home and do you and your kids harm, would you want the ability to protect yourself? If you live in a safe neighborhood, is that safety guaranteed forever? Do you have the right to deny that defensive capability to others who perhaps do not live in such a safe space? Or maybe they live someplace different than you, and hunt or need protection from bears. Do you have the right to apply the standards of your living to the rest of the country?

    We should treat this for what it is. A crime. Punish the criminal accordingly, not the law abiding citizens.

    Now that I’ve got this off my chest, I have a question. Was there any history of violence in his past? People do not generally cowardly shoot cyclists in the back without there being a long road of red flags leading up to it. One of the problems with identifying serious threats is that there is not much we can do about it until they break the law. I am curious what we can learn about his behavior leading up to this. Will we read how his neighbors were not surprised and thought one day he would snap? Was he on medication with cognitive side effects? History of psychopathic behavior?

    1. “serving” was supposed to be “surviving.”

      Did Word Press change so that more recent comments are at the top instead of the bottom?

    2. Karen,

      In order to charge someone with attempted murder it is necessary to prove the actor intended to cause the death of the victim, though there are some states having statutes that permit an “extreme indifference to human life” element that can come into play. The intent is a gray area in the law when it comes to murder charges so it is often a safer bet to charge the person with aggravated assault.

      1. This apparently took place in San Antonio, Texas. From Houston Attorney Matt Horak’s website:

        “The primary difference between an attempted homicide or attempted murder case and a simple or aggravated assault charge is the intent of the defendant. If it can be proven that the defendant didn’t intend to kill the victim, then the physical harm or damage that was done to the person could be considered simple or aggravated assault.

        “Understanding the difference between attempted murder and assault could be an important factor in determining how to attack your case. Speaking and consulting with an attorney who is knowledgeable in both sides of criminal trials could make a significant impact in the results of your case.” So, specific intent must be proved.

        This isn’t an assault in California. It’s an battery, aggravated under section 243(d) if there’s serious bodily injury. Only a select few officials, employees, or scenarios gain protection from the law when someone attempts to kill (otherwise, it’s an assault or a battery):

        Penal Code section 240: An assault is an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another (=> a swing and a miss is an assault here).

        Penal Code section 242: A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.

        Penal Code section 243(d): When a battery is committed against any person and serious bodily injury is inflicted on the person, the battery is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three, or four years.

        1. Steve G., ..
          Shooting someone with a shotgun resulting in injuries to the victim’s back, shoulder, and “pellets in the brain stem” would seem to warrant the charge of attemped murder.

          1. tnash: There is a sentencing-enhancement statute (Pen. Code sec. 664(a)) in California if the attempt is to commit first-degree murder. I think it’s still charged as a battery though.

            Pen. Code sec. 187(a): Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.

            Pen. Code sec. 188: Such malice may be express or implied. It is express when there is manifested a deliberate intention unlawfully to take away the life of a fellow creature. It is implied, when no considerable provocation appears, or when the circumstances attending the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart. . . .

            Pen. Code sec. 189: [. . .] [A]ny murder which is perpetrated by means of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle, intentionally at another person outside of the vehicle with the intent to inflict death, is murder of the first degree. All other kinds of murders are of the second degree. . . .To prove the killing was “deliberate and premeditated,” it shall not be necessary to prove the defendant maturely and meaningfully reflected upon the gravity of his or her act. . . .

            Pen, Code sec. 664(a): Every person who attempts to commit any crime, but fails . . . shall be punished where no provision is made by law for the punishment of those attempts, as follows:

            [ . . .] If the crime attempted is willful, deliberate, and premeditated murder, as defined in Section 189, the person guilty of that attempt shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole. If the crime attempted is any other one in which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or death, the person guilty of the attempt shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for five, seven, or nine years. The additional term provided in this section for attempted willful, deliberate, and premeditated murder shall not be imposed unless the fact that the attempted murder was willful, deliberate, and premeditated is charged in the accusatory pleading and admitted or found to be true by the trier of fact.

            I would think section 188 “malice aforethought” could be proved impliedly for purposes of satisfying section 664(a), as apparently there was no provocation, let alone that he had an abandoned and malignant heart.

            Crim. def. lawyers, or anyone else for that matter, please feel free to correct me.

        2. Steve,

          Thanks for the info. Here in WA there is no codified section for Battery, only Assault. Interestingly, the Revised Code of Washington does not define Assault per se but the enforcement of law relies on the common law for its definition. (essentially an unwanted touching of another person with criminal intent or in some cases recklessness). There are of course degrees of Assault.

          Another caveat is that it is not always necessary to injure someone in WA to be charged with Assault, as in the case of Assaulting another with a weapon. Discharging a firearm with intent to cause bodily harm is an Assault even if the shot is a miss. Oddly, in the case of assault in the 4th degree a swing and a miss is not Assault 4 but can be charged as Criminal Attempt of Assault in the Fourth Degree.

          1. Thanks, Darren. Interesting how each state has its own classifications, but I’d guess no matter the name the conduct is covered similarly everywhere.

            Here, assault is just attempted battery.

  5. This is another example of what’s wrong with the gun culture in America. This mutt should have been charged with attempted murder or the highest most serious charges available. If gun ownership rights are so sacred then they should have commensurate responsibilities, etc.

    1. This is another example of what’s wrong with the gun culture in America.

      You are wrong again issac. The mutt as you say isn’t responsible for what he is charged with, that would be the legal culture. And the charges don’t seem stiff enough.

      1. Olly

        Culture is the umbrella under which laws, opinions, etc are to be found. Before you decide who or what is right or wrong, you might pick up a dictionary. Whether defined as the cultivation of a humanist ideal or protected by laws, culture is the people is the culture. And, these days, America is a ‘sacred gun’ culture.

        1. Culture is the umbrella under which laws, opinions, etc are to be found.

          That depends on one’s worldview now doesn’t it? Does our culture define the laws, or do our laws define our culture? I happen to believe the purpose of the law is to equally secure our natural rights…period. That’s the fundamental principle this nation was founded on. That is what was to define the limits of government. That meant everything was to be subordinated to our rule of law; that gave culture boundaries. That is a constitutionalist worldview. However the law has been allowed to exceed its purpose. Our culture now defines the purpose for laws. Lawfare is now the order of the day and this is precisely why elections now have consequences. That is a progressive worldview.

          So no, I do not need a dictionary. And I won’t suggest you read the constitution or DoI. What you and I have are different worldviews of what a constitutional republic should be. I happen to believe in the means and you seem to believe in the ends. I happen to believe in a just law culture and you seem to support a lawfare culture.

    2. You’re right about the charge. It’s just another lesson from Demagogue Trump who successfully used Latinos as a scapegoat for his ignorance.

      I heard Blackhawk Down author, Mark Bowden, on NPR this morning talking about Trump (vis-a-vis the disaster that awaits from North Korea’s nuclear and bio-chem stocks) having boasted to him that he never has (needed to) read a book.

    3. No, this is another example of what’s wrong with Liberalism in America. Because which side of the political spectrum thinks it is just peachy for people to express themselves. For people to shut down other people’s political rallies and to stop other people from exercising their free speech rights? Which side of the political spectrum calls for “safe spaces” so that someone doesn’t have to hear or be exposed to something that “triggers” them? Which side says that it will ignore laws, such as immigration laws, that it doesn’t like?

      So this is what you get. It may start on the Left, but once you let the violence cat out of the bag,and the “no respect for the law” cat out, it is going to spread.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

  6. Could have been his college yearbook pic. I am a fan of the smile for prosperity pic for mugshots. 🙂

  7. He needs to be incarcerated for a long time and be removed from the gene pool.

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