A Turlock homeowner who fatally shot a man in the back after finding him on his property was sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday.
Robin Boyer, 62, was previously convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the death of Brandon Pacheco on July 23, 2013. The Stanislaus County jury also convicted Boyer of two felony counts of assault with a firearm. All the convictions have enhancements of using a firearm.
Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Ricardo Cordova sentenced Boyer to three years in state prison for the involuntary manslaughter conviction and four years for the gun enhancement. Boyer also was sentenced to seven years for the two assault with a firearm convictions, but that sentence will be served concurrently with the other sentence.
The shooting occurred shortly before 8 a.m. July 23, 2013 on a berm near Boyer’s home in the 1100 block of Dianne Drive in Turlock. Both Boyer’s home and that of his mother, which is next door, had been the scene of recent thefts. Boyer told Turlock Police investigators that he spotted a man, later identified as Pacheco, on his property that morning and that he went to retrieve his shotgun and a cell phone. Boyer confronted Pacheco on the dirt berm Boyer said Pacheco told him "I'm not thieving” and moved to get on his motorbike. Boyer said he ordered Pacheco to get on the ground, but instead Pacheco revved the motorbike, so Boyer fired a warning shot, which he said went into the ground, but actually struck one of the motorbike’s tires.
Boyer fired a second shot that he claimed was aimed over Pacheco’s head. Pacheco had turned away from Boyer and was struck by five shotgun pellets in the back and head. Dr. Sungook Baik, a forensic pathologist that performed the autopsy on Pacheco, testified that based on the injuries, it likely would have been between 10 to 20 minutes before Pacheco died. He also testified that the methamphetamine in Pacheco’s system could have hastened his death by a few minutes or seconds. He stated Pacheco likely would have lived had he gotten immediate medical attention.
Boyer was facing a sentence of five to 14 years. In handing down the sentence Cordova pointed to several factors that he said merited a mid-range sentence. He said Boyer’s lack of a criminal record held great sway, but he also had to account for the five shots that hit Pacheco in the back and his head, along with having a familiarity with the weapon, and never using his phone to call 911 or even check on Pacheco.
During the trial the defense stated Boyer’s actions were motivated out of self-defense and fear of what Pacheco might do to him and to his family, especially to his elderly mother who would be alone on the property at times. Boyer’s attorney Kirk McCallister told the jury Pacheco was a drug-fueled wild man that had committed brazen daytime burglaries at the house, leaving Boyer unsure about what might happen next.
Pacheco’s friends and family used Wednesday’s sentencing hearing as an opportunity to share the side of Pacheco that had not been seen in the court. Their letters described him as a blessing to those around him and as a person that was always willing to lend a hand to someone in need. They also said he was not a confrontational man and would have tried to avoid a fight.
The Pacheco family expressed their anguish that Brandon didn’t have the opportunity to face a judge for his crimes, but rather was felled by bullets. Shannon Pacheco, his sister said he should have been given the chance to rehabilitate himself and gone through the justice system, but that he was denied that opportunity by the actions of Boyer, who she described as “an angry person” that “decided to take the law into his own hands.”
Boyer’s family submitted a petition to the judge and multiple letters requesting he be shown some leniency.
“He is not this violent mercenary he’s been portrayed as,” said Boyer’s son Chris Boyer. “This whole thing has broken our family as well.”
Boyer spoke to the Pacheco family, telling them Pacheco’s death was an unintentional act.
“A horrible tragedy occurred,” Boyer said. “A young man lost his life needlessly. The circumstances came together in a blink of an eye.
“It is a horrible thing that I will live with for the rest of my life,” Boyer continued. I hope you can forgive me.”