By Paul Kurtz
December 8, 2017
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Pennsylvania Superior Court has thrown out a third-degree murder conviction for a man convicted of killing a Northeast Philadelphia mother and three of her children on Roosevelt Boulevard in 2013.
The three-judge panel found that Khusen Akhmedov’s actions did not rise to the level of malice, a key factor in establishing a third-degree murder conviction.
Akhmedov plowed into 27-year-old Samar Banks and her three young children while drag racing another driver on the Boulevard near 2nd Street. His attorney, Michael Diamondstein, argued his client was reckless but did not intend to kill anyone.
“When it comes to homicide in vehicular cases, the Superior Court and the Supreme Court have essentially required that the Commonwealth prove what’s known as ‘sustained recklessness,’ which is recklessness before, during, and after. It needs to rise to the level of malice and it just wasn’t there,” Diamondstein said.
Akhmedov received a sentence of 17 to 34 years in prison two years ago, but that’s expected to be knocked down significantly after he is re-sentenced for charges of homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless endangerment.