Tare Beltran aka Tare Ramirez Tempongko murder case
KTVU.com and wires
SAN FRANCISCO —
The case of a former boyfriend who killed 28-year-old Claire Tempongko by stabbing her 21 times with a kitchen knife in front of her children in San Francisco 13 years ago will go before the California Supreme Court on Tuesday.
State prosecutors will be asking the court at a 1:30 p.m. hearing in the State Building in San Francisco to reinstate the second-degree murder conviction of Tare Beltran, 40, also known as Tare Ramirez.
Beltran's 2008 San Francisco Superior Court conviction was overturned in 2011 by a 2-1 vote of a state appeals court panel, which said there were errors in jury instructions on the standard of second-degree murder. The appeals court ordered a new trial.
Lawyers from the state attorney general's office are appealing that ruling. They say the instructions were adequate and argue that in any case there was "overwhelming evidence" of the malice needed to prove second-degree murder.
The high court's seven justices will have three months after Tuesday's hearing to issue a ruling.
Beltran admitted during his trial that he killed Tempongko. But he contends he should have been found guilty of the lesser crime of voluntary manslaughter because he acted in the heat of passion after learning she had become pregnant with his child and had an abortion.
Beltran was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison for the second-degree murder. A voluntary manslaughter conviction would carry a shorter sentence of three to 11 years in prison.
Tempongko's slaying on Oct. 22, 2000, received widespread publicity because it followed a two-year history of domestic violence by Beltran.
Beltran was arrested three times in 1999 on domestic violence charges and served four months in jail for one of the attacks. In September 2000, Tempongko called police to her Richmond District apartment twice.
Beltran stabbed her in front of her 10-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. He was not the father of the children.
In a separate civil case, Tempongko's family sued San Francisco for allegedly failing to transmit police reports on her calls for help to probation officials, the district attorney and the Superior Court.
The city settled the lawsuit in 2004 by awarding $500,000 to Tempongko's two children.
Beltran, a Mexican citizen who had been working as a dishwasher, fled to Mexico after the killing. He was arrested there in 2006 and brought back to San Francisco for trial.
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