Contact Us for a Free Consultation (213) 542-0979


What is the Kill Zone Theory by Prosecutors?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Oct 03, 2023

Let's review how best to defend a California Penal Code 664/187 PC attempted murder case based on the kill zone theory by prosecutors.

I've been handling a lot of attempted murder cases lately in Los Angeles and all over surrounding counties where the prosecutors are attempting to not only convict a defendant of the person they were allegedly trying to kill but also if there are other people in the area in the zone, they're charging attempted murder as to those other people.

So, let's say, for example, the defendant is specifically trying to kill a specific person, and there are five people around them that the defendant doesn't know have anything to do with.

He has no intent to kill them, but prosecutors have been trying to charge six counts of attempted murder in that scenario.  One for the person whom the defendant allegedly targeted and then five other counts for the other people who were close or in the zone where the person was firing, also known as the kill zone when it comes to these attempted murder cases.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, though, has recently corrected that and said that the courts and prosecutors were wrong when allowing juries to convict people for that kill zone theory unless the prosecutors could prove that the shooter specifically intended to kill all those people in that zone. 

There are circumstances where that happened.  For example, if you have one gang member trying to shoot at another gang and firing multiple shots into a crowd of other gang members, you argue that the person tried to kill all those people. 

Those people are part of another gang.  He wanted to kill as many people as he could in that gang.  Now, you can use our kill zone theory.


But, to use it in a scenario where, let's say, someone is driving by.  They see a person at a taco stand, and they decide they want to kill that person. They get out of the car.  They go to the taco stand.  Ten other people are standing at the taco stand, ordering food or ready to pick up their order. 

Shots are fired, and now the prosecutor tries to argue that the person tried to kill everybody at the taco stand, even though it's clear from the evidence that there's only one person there.

So, you cannot use attempted murder, which requires a specific intent to kill, to throw a net over a defendant and make them responsible for multiple attempted murders; that's a win for the defense that the Supreme Court has decided.

Experienced Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one is charged with attempted murder, they're trying to use a kill zone theory; you want to come to somebody like me who's been doing this for 30 years.

I worked for the prosecutors and a superior court judge early in my career. In the early 1990s, I became a criminal defense attorney defending people like you and your loved ones.

I understand the kill zone theory.  I know how to defend somebody charged with attempted murder.  If you need the best, I think you do because you are facing 15 to live for each attempted murder charge.  Pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I stand at the ready to help you. The Hedding Law Firm offers a free case evaluation.

Related Content:

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.