SANTA ANA – A former Marine convicted in the shooting death of a fellow serviceman in a dispute over stolen drug money lost his bid to have the state’s high court review his case, court papers show.
The California Supreme Court on Thursday declined to take on Christian William Carney’s appeal of his Dec. 20, 2011, first-degree murder conviction in the death of 20-year-old Stephen Serrano, who was driven to a secluded area of San Clemente and shot in May 2008.
The Fourth District Court of Appeals, which rejected Carney’s appeal last December, issued a final case completion order today in light of the high court’s ruling.
Carney’s appellate attorneys argued their client should get a new trial because prosecutors were allowed to introduce gang-related evidence and a pathologist who did not perform the autopsy testified.
Co-defendant Alvin Reed Lovely, another former Marine, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter on May 18, 2012, and was immediately sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Carney was sentenced in March 2012 to 28 years and eight months to life behind bars.
Carney and Lovely suspected that Serrano and an accomplice — Chad Hatch — had broken into Carney’s room at Camp Pendleton and stolen money Carney made by selling cocaine and ecstasy, according to prosecutors.
When they discovered the theft, Carney and Lovely drove Hatch to a secluded area of San Clemente on May 18, 2008, pointed a gun at his head and threatened to kill him, prosecutors said. Hatch, however, blamed Serrano.
Carney and Lovely then drove Serrano to another area and shot him once in the face and three times in the back, according to trial testimony. Carney then met with Hatch and told him not to discuss what happened to Serrano, according to prosecutors.