David Moses Jassy, Killer with an SUV, Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder
One case that we've followed nearly as closely as the "Road Rage Doctor" case has been the trial of David Jassy, a wannabe rapper from Sweden who actually out "raged" the good Doctor." Yesterday, Jassy was found guilty of Second Degree Murder. The Times' LA Now Blog reports:
He faces 15 years to life at a sentencing next month.
Witnesses said Jassy, 35, punched, kicked and then ran over John Osnes, a 55-year-old jazz pianist, during the November 2008 incident. Osnes, who did not own a car and was an advocate for pedestrian rights, had struck with his hands the front of Jassy's SUV after it edged into a Hollywood crosswalk.
The sad part of the story is that the Times' description of the attack in yesterday's piece doesn't even begin to describe the out-of-control rage that Jassy, who claimed self-defense, displayed that night. Let's re-set the scene as described in previous Times articles and reported on Streetsblog.
John Osnes was walking home from an evening with friends at Hollywood bars The Spotlight and The Piano Bar. While crossing a street in Hollywood, Jassy's SUV crossed part way into his crosswalk before coming to a stop. Osnes was crossing with the signal, and registered his annoyance with Jassy, whom he had never met, by hitting the SUV with his hands. Jassy then exited the vehicle and punched Osnes, who weighed 155 pounds, in the face.
Osnes fell to his knees and while he was searching for his glasses, Jassy kicked him in the head. While Osnes lay bleeding and stunned on the ground, Jassy re-entered his SUV. As he revved the engine to run Osnes over, an off-duy Anaheim police officer jumped on the side of the SUV and slapped his badge on the window demanding that Jassy stop. (Update, 2/4/10 - A commenter noted that there is no evidence that Jassy "gunned his engine" and reading other reports I have to concede that there are many things he could have been doing that allowed the officer the time to act.) Jassy ignored the officer, ran over Osnes and sped off. Osnes was killed instantly.
Jassy's defense was a picture of desperate tactics. They tried everything from claiming self-defense, to intimidation by the off-duty Anaheim police officer to what we've termed the "these things happen, hasn't anyone seen the movie Crash" defense. Fortunately, nobody was fooled by any of these arguments.