I thought I knew, but this criminal defense lawyer has thrown me for a loop as I can't see why he believes his client did not commit murder: http://cbs2.com/local/Corona.beating.Gardhouse.2.850139.html 3 Gang Members Found Guilty In Restaurant Murder RIVERSIDE Three Corona-area gang members were convicted Monday of beating a 19-year-old man to death outside a fast-food restaurant in an ttack triggered by the victim's perceived loyalty to a rival group. After deliberating all of Friday and most of this morning, a six-man, six-woman jury found Travis Daniel Westly, 26, Richard James Dugan, 27, and Jonathan Richard Morgan, 24, guilty of second-degree murder and entence-enhancing gang allegations for the June 23, 2006, fatal assault of Sean Thomas Gardhouse. The defendants, scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 12, face 25 years to life in prison. "My son, Sean, is smiling down from Heaven right now," the victim's mother, Laura Gardhouse, said through tears. "He was my only son. My baby." She praised the detectives, witnesses and prosecutors involved in the case as "heroes." "It would not have happened without them," she said. "This verdict sends a message to the whole community that we're not going to stand for this violence.... I believe my son's death helped save somebody else's life." On the night he was attacked, Gardhouse and a friend had gone to a Jack in the Box in the 1100 block of Ontario Avenue in Corona to meet the victim's girlfriend. Earlier that evening, Morgan and a friend of the defendants, Victor Sanchez, had a hostile exchange in the restaurant parking area with members of a group of Corona youths calling themselves the SoCal Riders, or SCR. Because Morgan and Sanchez were outnumbered, they backed out of the confrontation, according to Riverside County Deputy District Attorney John Aki. He said Morgan, who is a member of an Inland-area gang known as the El Cerrito Boys, or ECB, sought help from Westly and Dugan, members of Friends Stand United, or FSU, a nationally affiliated gang into hard rock and casual fistfighting. According to Aki, around 15 ECB and FSU members converged on the Jack in the Box, but by that time "the threat was gone," because no SCR members remained. But the defendants were keyed up, spoiling for a fight, Aki said. According to trial testimony, Gardhouse had just parked his Chevy Silverado pickup outside the Jack in the Box and was chatting with friends when a group of about 10 young men, led by Sanchez, walked from the restaurant to Gardhouse's truck, calling the victim over to talk. According to Gardhouse's close friend, Robert "Robby" Lucero, who was sitting in the truck, Sanchez asked Gardhouse why he was associating with certain people, and Gardhouse denied any such association. Lucero said just as his friend finished answering, a man identified by the prosecution as Dugan stepped forward, shouted "Send this message to SCR!" and punched Gardhouse in the mouth. Lucero said when he tried to come to his friend's aid, Morgan attacked him. Gardhouse retreated to the front of the Jack in the Box, but could not get in because an employee, fearing the assailants would continue their attack in the eatery, had locked the doors. In his closing argument Thursday, Aki characterized the defendants as cowards "who could not muster the courage to stand alone." "As a group they went to beat Sean Gardhouse, and as a group they should be found guilty," the prosecutor said. He said the FSU and ECB members were screaming and posturing, literally paralyzing patrons inside and outside the Jack in the Box with fear. Westly confronted the victim at the doors of the restaurant, and according to Aki, the defendant threw a punch so hard it "fractured Sean's temporal bone, probably rendering him unconscious." Westly testified Wednesday that Gardhouse, whom he had never met, "wasn't putting his guard up" when the two men encountered one another near the entrance of the Jack in the Box. The defendant said he struck Gardhouse on the left side of his face and the young man's "body spun somewhat sideways" from the blow, at which point Westly hit him again. Gardhouse collapsed onto the concrete sidewalk, striking his head and suffering severe blunt force trauma, according to the prosecution. He lingered in a coma nearly a week before dying. "Corona is going to be safer after this," Gardhouse's father, Gary, said after the verdict. "The jury saw it like it should have been seen." He sported a tattoo on his shoulder that bears his son's name and the symbol for Chevrolet -- an homage to the 19-year-old and the pickup truck he loved and waited years to purchase. Gardhouse's sister, Kelly, 25, said as many as 20 of her brother's friends have the same tattoo. "He was a great person," said Guillermo Altamirano, who knew Gardhouse from the beginning of their sophomore year in high school. "He was a ray of light. He could always make you laugh -- no matter what." Guillermo produced a 13-minute video tribute to Gardhouse that is posted on YouTube.com. According to the victim's family, Gardhouse had just begun working as an apprentice machinist in Yorba Linda when he was killed. Some two dozen of the defendants' family members were in court for the reading of the verdicts. The defendants showed little reaction. Dugan and Morgan mostly stared straight ahead, while Westly hung his head down and tilted to the right, away from jurors. "We're extremely disappointed they returned verdicts of murder," said Steve Harmon, Dugan's attorney, outside court. "The verdicts are wrong. There was no murder here under any circumstance, not even for Travis Westly." Harmon said the gang allegations were "not proved beyond a reasonable doubt." All of the attorneys described the groups their clients ran with as loose associations of young men with no interest in committing organized acts of violence, unlike the Crips, Mexican Mafia and other notorious criminal enterprises. Harmon said the actions of Westly, Morgan and his client met the legal definition of involuntary manslaughter -- at the most -- but really qualified as simple battery. "Mr. Dugan's family is very sad," the attorney said. "But they love and support their son 100 percent." Harmon said he intends to file a motion for a new trial, arguing that no evidence exists that his client committed a murder.