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Jury finds man guilty in 2019 murder of CHP sergeant on Interstate 15 in Lake Elsinore

RIVERSIDE – A Riverside County jury has found a Winchester man guilty of second-degree murder in the death of California Highway Patrol Sgt. Steven Licon in 2019.


Michael Joseph Callahan, DOB: 5-19-82, was convicted on Aug. 27, 2021, and he is scheduled to be sentenced by Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer on Oct. 1, 2021, at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.


Jurors deliberated for about six days before returning the guilty verdict.


On the afternoon of April 6, 2019, CHP Sgt. Licon had pulled over a car for excessive speed in the southbound lanes of Interstate 15, near Nichols Road in Lake Elsinore. That vehicle pulled over several feet off the freeway onto the right shoulder.


Sgt. Licon was standing next to his CHP motorcycle when a Toyota Corolla hit him. The driver of the Toyota, Michael Callahan, had been traveling at an estimated 65 mph on the freeway’s right shoulder before striking Sgt. Licon. The sergeant was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead.


The Toyota also hit the CHP motorcycle, lodging it between the Corolla and the vehicle Sgt. Licon had pulled over. While the rear of that vehicle was crushed, the occupants survived with no major injuries.


The DA’s Office charged Callahan with second-degree murder under the theory that he was aware of the dangers of driving while intoxicated because of a 2004 misdemeanor DUI conviction in Orange County. As a term of his probation in that case, Callahan was required to attend Mothers Against Drunk Driving courses where he was educated about those dangers.


The case, SWF1907227, was prosecuted by Chief Deputy DA Carlos Monagas and Deputy DA Allison Pace.


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Author: John Hall

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