As Tina Humphrey (52), a contractor from Mill Valley, went about running errands in the Bon Air Shopping Center, it’s a good guess that becoming the victim of a carjacking was the last thing on her mind. But, when Jeffrey Boyce, a Coos County man, came up to her as she was getting into her pickup truck, all of that changed in a split second. It seems that Boyce was attempting to steal a car in order to reach the Russian Consulate in San Francisco as he bent Humphrey’s ear about a number of conspiracy theories he wholeheartedly believed. Humphrey was able to keep her cool – and to help Boyce to remain calm as well, even though he had some serious weapons in his possession and enough ammo to last quite a while. Eventually, a fellow shopper happened upon the pair and was able to slip away to call the police. Boyce was arrested on charges of 6 different felonies, the highlights of which are false imprisonment (CA Penal Code §236) and attempted carjacking (CA Penal Code §215(a)).
California law dictates that carjacking and related crimes are automatically felonies, carrying a penalty of 9 years in state prison – or more if you use a weapon like a gun or kidnap someone in the process. The Boyce case seems particularly interesting because prosecutors will have to be able to prove that he used “force or fear” while with Humphrey. However, the two never left the parking lot of the shopping center and Humphreys spent most of her time outside of the vehicle. Can one really argue that he used “force or fear”? Certainly, Boyce pointed a gun at Humphrey during their initial contact, but she was able to significantly calm the man down by talking to him, listening to him, and showing him photographs of her children. Humphrey is considered a hero – and she should be. However, by reporting to the media that she never felt as if she was afraid of Boyce and “had an unbelievable calm come over” her, Humphrey may have given Boyce’s defense attorneys a leg to stand on when the case goes to trial.