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In People v. Mattison (1971) 4 Cal.3d 177 [93 Cal. Rptr. 185, 481 P.2d 193], the court rejected a claim of merger on a different theory. In Mattison, the defendant was a prison inmate who furnished methyl alcohol to a fellow inmate, causing the latter's death. The court held that the trial court properly instructed on second degree felony murder based on the furnishing offense. It explained that the merger doctrine does not apply when death results from defendant's commission of a felony with an independent purpose, that is, when the felony that provides the basis for the felony-murder conviction was not done with the intent to commit injury which would cause death. (Id. at p. 185.) The court rejected the defendant's claim that the offense of furnishing poisonous alcohol merged with the resulting homicide; there was no merger, because the felony-murder verdict was based upon defendant's commission of a felony with a 'collateral and independent felonious design.' (Ibid.)


The court expressed confidence that the conclusion was consistent with the deterrent purpose of the felony-murder rule, because it envisioned that application of the felony-murder rule would deter commission of the underlying inherently dangerous crime. (Id. ...

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