Written by City News Service
The California Supreme Court refused today to hear the case against a man convicted of fatally shooting a longtime instructor from Pasadena's Art Center College of Design at a Persian new year's party in Westlake Village more than three years ago.
The state's highest court rejected a defense petition seeking review of the case against Steven Ronald Honma, but noted that it was denied without prejudice to any relief he may be entitled to under another case pending before the state Supreme Court in which the defense is challenging the jury-selection process.
In June, a three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense's contention that Honma had been deprived of a fair trial because of the way jury selection was done in his case.
Honma was convicted in November 2011 of voluntary manslaughter for the March 20, 2010, killing of Norman Schureman of Altadena. Jurors acquitted Honma of first-degree murder and second-degree murder.
Schureman, a 50-year-old Altadena father of two, was shot once in the abdomen while at the party at his mother-in-law's home. He died hours later at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Honma -- who was a neighbor of Schureman's mother-in-law -- was involved in a struggle after returning to the party, from which he had earlier been escorted out.
One of the men noticed Honma had a gun and took it out of Honma's pocket, and "the victim Schureman ran up and jumped on defendant and said, 'I got shot,"' according to the appellate court panel's 25-page ruling.
The prosecution theorized that Honma came back to the party to provoke a fight in order to be able to use the firearm in a feigned need for self- defense, Deputy District Attorney Maureen Green said after the verdict.
Honma's trial attorney, Dmitry Gorin, said after the jury's verdict that Honma suffered head trauma and facial fractures during the struggle, which occurred after his client had been escorted out of the party by other guests because of "intoxication and strange behavior."
The defense contended that Honma, an engineer, had no intent to hurt anyone and that the gun went off accidentally after he was confronted.
Honma was sentenced in February 2012 to 21 years in state prison.