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A California ‘third Striker’ Who Had Charges Dismissed Despite the DA’s Objections Was Convicted of Murder


A violent “third striker” with multiple felony convictions was found guilty of fatally stabbing a man after a California judge disregarded two of his previous convictions and allowed him to participate in a collaborative court program despite prosecutors’ objections.

A jury convicted Effrum Maland Burnett, 53, of Yorba Linda, of second-degree murder with a special enhancement for killing Toye Mim Jones outside an Anaheim sober living home in 2023, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Burnett, Christina Roberts, and another guy drove to the sober living home to grab a 2009 Dodge Ram pickup that Roberts claimed was hers, Fox Los Angeles reported. During the physical altercation, Burnett stabbed Jones five times.

Jones died at the site.

Burnett has two prior kidnapping and robbery convictions in Los Angeles County. In April 2018, an Orange County judge granted Burnett’s plea to dismiss his earlier strikes for him to participate in the Whatever It Takes Court program, which would not be feasible until the court struck his prior strikes.

At the time, the program was not meant to serve persons with major past strikes due to public safety concerns. The judge granted the request, and Burnett’s felony robbery and domestic burglary charges were dropped in December 2020 when he finished the program.

“We warned the Court that this individual’s serious and violent criminal history posed too great of a risk to public safety, and he should not have been allowed to participate in a program in which his past criminal behavior excluded him from eligibility,” said Todd Spitzer, the district attorney for Orange County.

According to Spitzer, state lawmakers and courts have enabled dangerous offenders to participate in such programs.

“Judges must balance the potential benefits with protecting public safety, and there are cases where the facts and the criminal history simply cannot be ignored,” he stated. “This is one of those cases and a man paid the price for it with his life.”

Burnett could face up to life in prison when he is sentenced on July 19.

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