Court reduces conviction of man's killing of 14-year-old Foothill High student to 2nd degree murder

Freshman Tina Faelz was killed in 1984 on her way home from school

A state appeals court in San Francisco on Tuesday upheld a jury's determination that a 14-year-old Pleasanton girl was murdered in 1984 by a then-16-year-old fellow high school student.

But the Court of Appeal reduced the conviction of Steven Carlson, now 48, from first-degree murder to second-degree murder and ordered a resentencing.

Tina Faelz, a freshman at Foothill High School, was killed with 44 stab wounds when on her way home from school on the afternoon of April 5,

1984. Her body was found in a drainage ditch adjacent to I-680, east of the high school. Carlson lived nearby.

The case was cold for more than two decades, but in 2011, authorities announced that DNA investigations begun in 2007 linked a spot of blood found on Faelz's purse to Carlson.

Carlson, who then had a criminal record that included convictions for drug crimes and a lewd act on a 13-year-old girl, was arrested and charged with the murder. He was tried as an adult.

An Alameda County Superior Court convicted Carlson of first-degree murder in 2014. He was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison.

Unless Carlson successfully appeals to the California Supreme Court, the case will now go back to Superior Court for resentencing for second-degree murder, which carries a possible term of 15 years to life in prison.

In its ruling on Carlson's appeal, a three-judge Court of Appeal panel said the conviction must be reduced to second-degree murder because prosecutors hadn't proved the element of premeditation and deliberate intent needed for a first-degree murder conviction.

The panel said prosecutors' main argument for premeditation was the number of the stab wounds, but noted the California Supreme court has said that brutality alone is not proof of premeditation.

It quoted a 1968 high court decision that said, "It is well established that the brutality of a killing cannot in itself support a finding that the killer acted with premeditation and deliberation."

Unless there is other evidence of premeditation, a brutal killing "is as consistent with a sudden, random 'explosion' of violence as with calculated murder," the high court said in another ruling cited by the appeals court.

The panel rejected several other claims in Carlson's appeal, including his argument that the jury should not have been shown portions of a

videotaped jailhouse interview of Carlson by two detectives in 2011. Carlson was serving a drug sentence at Santa Cruz County Jail at the time.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service


23 people like this
Posted by Long Time P-towner
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2017 at 9:20 am

As usual, the laws protect the bad guys!

25 people like this
Posted by AL B.
a resident of Old Towne
on Jan 4, 2017 at 9:32 am

Castration, then life without possibility of parole would not be enough for a scum bag like him.

25 people like this
Posted by sanity
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jan 4, 2017 at 9:58 am

Tina received a death sentence.....why shouldn't Steven Carlson?

14 people like this
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 4, 2017 at 11:17 am

Execution needs to be swift so the victim and victim's family get their justice. No reason to prolong things with endless appeals. If DNA proves you guilty, you ARE guilty. End of story! Keeping these garbage around waste our precious resources.

16 people like this
Posted by mistified
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2017 at 12:19 pm

The killing was brutal and so should the sentence be !

20 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 4, 2017 at 12:31 pm

2nd degree murder? Isn't that the same charge that the reckless Foothill road racer Cody Hall was convicted of? As bad and reckless and irresponsible as Cody Hall's actions were, at least he didn't specifically target the woman victim for murder. Seems that plunging a knife 44 times into a specific murder target deserves a higher murder charge.

2 people like this
Posted by Namara
a resident of Avila
on Jan 4, 2017 at 8:11 pm

Namara is a registered user.

Where is the "thug's" picture???

5 people like this
Posted by Scarlet Fire 73
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 5, 2017 at 12:47 am

Scarlet Fire 73 is a registered user.

Steve Carlson is a white trash piece of SH#%^T - 2 decades this monster was able to live free , while Tina Fey's family had no closure - I wish we lived in a society that ruled an EYE for an EYE !!!!!What is this world coming too ? Very sad !!!!

Like this comment
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

If you have a chance, and have any interest in this, I suggest you read Murder in Pleasanton, a great book written by a former Pleasanton resident. It goes into great depth about this event, more information than you could ever imagine.

And to Scarlet, it's Tina "Feliz", Not Tina "Fey". I think Tina Fey might be surprised to find out that she used to live in Pleasanton.

Like this comment
Posted by julee
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 6, 2017 at 3:16 pm

julee is a registered user.

Tina Faelz is her correct name according to the author, Joshua Suchon, who wrote the book, "Murder In Pleasanton."

2 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

Yes, correct, Faelz. I'd love to blame auto-correct, but it was my mistake. As George W Bush would say, I misremembered.

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