Scot guilty of murdering mum and stepdad in California

Derek Connell, 33, faces life behind bars for shooting Kim and Christopher Higginbotham in 2016.

California: Derek Connell shot Kim and Christopher Higginbotham. KGET News
California: Derek Connell shot Kim and Christopher Higginbotham.

A Scot has been found guilty of murdering his mum and stepfather at their home in California.

Derek Connell, 33, faces life behind bars for shooting dead Kim and Christopher Higginbotham in 2016.

Connell, who was born in Rutherglen and lived in Glasgow as a child, was found guilty on Thursday of the first-degree murder of his stepdad and the second-degree murder of his mother.

In the US, second-degree murder is considered non-premeditated but also applies to cases where the attacker intended to cause serious injury while knowing there was a risk of death.

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Police in Bakersfield, California, found the couple dead in their home and arrested blood-stained Connell as he attempted to leave in a vehicle with empty bottles of bleach.

Ms Higginbotham, originally from Glasgow, was a 48-year-old teacher, who worked in education in Bakersfield for around 15 years.

She met her husband while he was stationed with the US Navy in Scotland and moved to America more than two decades ago.

During the trial, the killer’s aunt Sonia Connell, from Ayrshire, told the court that her nephew showed her pictures of the bodies on FaceTime.

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US army veteran Connell claimed his stepdad murdered his mum before he shot him in retaliation.

In his defence, Connell also claimed he was sexually abused as a child by his “gun-obsessed” stepfather.

However, a jury didn’t believe his claims and returned two guilty verdicts.

In 2017, prosecutors waived the death penalty for the murders.

Connell now faces a maximum penalty of life without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced next month.


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