The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Woman Can't Buy Beer; Tries to Kill Clerk

Her name is Teresa Aguayo and she has a problem. She is being held on suspicion of attempted murder after allegedly raging out on a store clerk over a single 12-ounce beer, reports The Orange County Register.

The scene was reminiscent of Michael Douglass' meltdown in the epic mid-1990s film "Falling Down," where a frustrated middle-aged man wants to buy a coke and the clerk refuses, causing him to grab a baseball bat and destroy the shop and its contents. He then pays $0.50 for the coke and walks out.

Aguayo reportedly grew enraged when the clerk refused to sell a single beer to the customer, as beer is sold in six-packs at that location. Aguayo proceeded to express her feelings by beating the clerk's head with the beer bottle multiple times, according to The Register. She then attempted to strangle her victim with a blanket found behind the counter. However, she apparently had not exorcised all of her rage, as she then took chemicals like Raid Bug Spray, acetone, and rubbing alcohol and rubbed them in the clerk's face.

There is no word on whether she ever got her 12-ounce beer.

Attempted murder is frowned upon in Orange County, as it is in most areas of the civilzed world. It is unclear however, what charges she will actually end up facing.

Attempted voluntary manslaughter would seem to be appropriate. This is usually reserved for situations where extreme stress or "heat of passion" make someone spontaneously decide in the spur of the moment to kill someone.

It seems appropriate then, to charge her in this way. Aguayo was enraged because she could not buy beer. She did not plan in advance to kill the clerk. It was a snap-second reaction to being denied her beverage of choice. Microbreweries can have that effect on a person.

One other possibility would be charging her with torture, as Teresa Aguayo really did do everything possilbe to string out the pain on that poor clerk. The alleged use of chemicals on the face for sadistic fun would may well be sufficient for a conviction.

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