Joe Henry Abbott
Date of crime: October 2000
Abbott murdered bank security guard Samuel Saenz as Saenz was wheeling a sack of money through the bank lobby. Abbott fired two nonfatal shots that knocked Saenz down, then walked over and fired a fatal shot to the head. He escaped with $225,000 that has never been recovered. A make-up artist testified at trial that he was paid by Abbott to disguise him as an elderly white man. The getaway driver, Edward White, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Accomplices Lenard Wilkes, Frewoini Berhane, and Brenda Maza took a plea deal and testified against Abbott. Defense claimed that White was the actual killer because Abbott transferred the disguise makeup to him after being trained by the artist on how to do it.
John Clyde Abel
Convicted in the Jan. 4, 1991, killing of Armando Miller, 26, of Tustin during a robbery. Sentenced Sept. 26, 1997.
Frank Manuel Abilez
Abilez was convicted in 1997 of first-degree murder and sodomy for the murder of his mother, Beatrice Abilez Loza, in March 1996. The mother of 10 children, Loza, was found lying face down with a sock knotted around her neck, her pants pulled down and her shirt pulled up.
A autopsy revealed she had been raped then killed.
Robert Jame Acremant
Acremant, 29, pleaded guilty last year to murdering Roxanne Ellis, 53, and Michelle Abdill, 42. Acremant told police he killed the Medford women Dec. 4, 1995, in a botched attempt to rob their property management company. At the conclusion of the sentencing trial, a jury decided that Acremant will die by lethal injection for the murders. On October 27, 1997 Acremant also admitted killing Scott George, a 23-year-old Visalia, Calif., man in October 1995 and will face a trial in California that also could end up in a death sentence.
Convicted and sentenced to Death in the 1994 murders of Lamar Armstrong, Dayland Hicks and Trevon Boyd. On Sept. 7, 1994, three friends sat in a white, two-door car near the corner of 47th Street and Western Avenue. A fourth leaned against the car, talking through an open window. Adams walked up to the vehicle and shot the three young men in the car multiple times. Hicks, 22, started the car and tried to duck but died before he could drive off. Boyd, 20, managed to get out of the car and make it into a nearby store. He died behind a potato chip rack. Armstrong, 19, stayed alive long enough to make it to the hospital. Before doctors could get him to surgery, he died.
In 1983, Adcox was sentenced to death for the murder of a Mi-Wuk fisherman for $20 during a camping trip.
Joseph Moreno Aguayo
Date of crime: April 1979
Through DNA evidence, Aguayo was convicted of killing Eva Chu, who was seven months pregnant at the time of her death. Aguayo was serving a 60 year sentence for kidnapping, rape and robbery of his ex-girlfriend when the district attorney’s office reviewed old cases, and discovered the match. The defense argued there was a possibility of human or machine error, and to not rely on DNA evidence. Defense also had witnesses who described a man that looked nothing like Aguayo drive away in Chu’s car.
Jason Alejandro Aguirre
Convicted and sentenced to Death for the first-degree murder of Minh Cong Tran on Aug. 12, 2003, plus the special circumstances of committing a murder for the benefit of his gang, which set the stage for the penalty phase. Aguirre, 33, and his associates in the Dragon Family gang mistakenly thought Minh Cong Tran and his uncle, brother and cousin were rival gang members instead of innocent teens out to buy fish tacos. On the day he died, Tran – who had just graduated from junior high school – and his group drove to Alerto's, a Mexican restaurant in Westminster, to get fish tacos. They were not affiliated with any gang. But Alerto's, an all-hours eatery, was also a place where members of Dragon Family Junior like to hang out.
Witnesses testified that a member of Dragon Family Junior happened to be at Alerto's at the same time, and mistook Minh Tran's group for members of the Young Locs, a rival Asian gang.
After Minh Tran's group finished eating, they drove away from the restaurant in his uncle's Acura Integra. A group of Dragon Family Junior associates gave chase in another car. Minh Tran's uncle, who was driving, made a desperate turn on Wales Circle, a residential cul-de-sac, and pulled into a driveway and turned out the car's lights in a bid to avoid detection. But the chasers quickly pinned in the Integra by parking in back of it, according to police.
By then, witnesses testified, someone in Dragon Family Junior had called Aguirre, who was a leader in the Asian gang even though he is Caucasian with a Hispanic surname. Aguirre, whose gang moniker is Slim, joined his gang friends at the cul-de-sac.
Sentenced to Death 8/14/09.
Convicted in the June 20, 1979, murder of Robin Samsoe, 12, of Huntington Beach. Sentenced June 20, 1986, in a death penalty retrial.
And A judge on Tuesday sentenced serial killer Rodney Alcala to death before hearing emotional testimony from the families of four women and a 12-year-old girl he strangled in the 1970s.
The sentence was announced three weeks after a jury recomended death for the 66-year-old Alcala, who was convicted last month of five counts of first-degree murder after a bizarre and sometimes surreal trial.
After the sentencing, Bruce Barcomb, the brother of victim Jill Barcomb, begged Alcala to admit to the murders to help family members heal.
"There is murder and rape and then there is the unequivicable carnage of a Rodney Alcala-style murder," he said. "Give up your debt Rodney: all victims, all states, all occurences. Own your truth."
Alcala acted as his own attorney during the trial and unveiled a rambling defense that included questioning the mother of one of his victims, playing an Arlo Guthrie ballad and showing a clip from the 1970s TV show The Dating Game.
After the verdict, authorities released more than 100 photos of young women and girls found in Alcala's possession in hopes of linking him to other unsolved murders around the country. Authorities from New Hampshire to Washington are now trying to determine if the UCLA graduate may have killed in their states.
Alcala has been sentenced to death twice before in the 1979 murder of young Robin Samsoe, but those verdicts were overturned on appeal. Prosecutors refiled charges in that case and added the four other murders in 2006 after investigators linked them to Alcala using DNA samples and other forensic evidence.
Those cases, which had gone unsolved for decades, went on trial for the first time this year.
The 12-year-old Samsoe disappeared on June 20, 1979, while riding a friend's bike to ballet class in Huntington Beach in Orange County. Her body was found 12 days later in Angeles National Forest, where it had been mutilated by wild animals.
Alcala was arrested a month after Samsoe's disappearance when his parole agent recognized him from a police sketch and called authorities. He has been in custody ever since.
He was first tried in Samsoe's murder in 1980. Prosecutors added the murders of the four women in 2006 after investigators discovered forensic evidence linking him to those crimes, including DNA found on three of the women, a bloody handprint and marker testing done on blood Alcala left on a towel in the fourth victim's home.
Alcala was convicted on Feb. 25, and also found true special-circumstance allegations of rape, torture and kidnapping, making him eligible for the death penalty.
During the guilt phase of trial, Alcala played a seconds-long clip of himself on a 1978 episode of The Dating Game. He said the grainy clip proved that he was wearing a gold-ball earring almost a year before Samsoe was killed.
Prosecutors said the earring, found in a small pouch with other earrings in a storage locker Alcala had rented, belonged to Samsoe and that Alcala had taken it as a trophy. They also found the DNA of another victim of Alcala on a rose-shaped earring in the same pouch.
During the penalty phase, the trial took another bizarre twist when Alcala played Arlo Guthrie's 1967 song Alice's Restaurant, in which the narrator tries to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam War by trying to persuade a psychiatrist that he's unfit for the military because of his supposed extreme desire to kill.
"I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth," the song's narrator sings. "Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean: kill, kill, kill, kill."
The song prompted Samsoe's brother to stalk out of the courtroom when it was played.
In addition to Samsoe, Alcala is charged with killing Jill Barcomb, 18, who had just moved to Los Angeles from Oneida, N.Y.; Georgia Wixted, 27, of Malibu; Charlotte Lamb, 32, of Santa Monica; and Jill Parenteau, 21, of Burbank.
Resentenced to Death 3/30/10.
Date of Crime: 7/15/2002
Avila kidnapped 5-year-old Samantha Runion while she was playing outside her home, sexually assaulted her, and suffocated her. He left her beaten body in the mountains. Avila was identified from a police sketch. The prosecution’s evidence included bank and phone records showing Avila was in the area when the kidnapping occurred, Avila’s DNA under Runion’s fingernails, Runion’s DNA in Avila’s car, and shoe and tire prints near Runion’s body matching with Avila. The prosecution also presented testimony from other girls who Avila had sexually assaulted. The defense contested guilt by arguing the prosecution’s case was based on weak circumstantial evidence and that the prosecution’s timeline for the crime did not make sense. During the penalty phase, the defense presented evidence of Avila’s brutal childhood which included physical and sexual abuse.
Johnny Avila Jr.
Sentenced 1994 for the 1991 murders of Dorothy Medina and Arlene Sanchez. On the night of July 1, 1991, testimony showed, Medina and Sanchez joined about 30 people who had gathered at Richard Avila's residence in the expectation of a drive by shooting. Witnesses said people were drinking
beer and smoking marijuana and PCP. Prosecutors said that during the course of the night Medina was brutally gang-raped, then taken with Sanchez to a canal where they were both shot twice in the head, killing them.
At the time, the strip of Magnolia Avenue near the Galleria at Tyler was a popular spot for cruising. The victims were among 10 men who had come from Orange County in a four-car caravan. They were taking a break from cruising in the parking lot in the early morning of Jan. 12, 1991, when a group of men that included Avila drove up and started arguing about three young women socializing with the Orange County group. The argument seemed to cool down, but Avila went to two different cars and appeared to retrieve something. Moments later he began a knife attack that left one 17-year-old severely wounded and two men dead, each stabbed in the heart.The man who survived the attack testified at Avila's trial that neither murder victim -- Robert Navarro Jr., 20, and Raul Moncada, 18 -- had been involved in the earlier confrontation with Avila. None of the Orange County men were armed.
Toxicology tests showed no trace of drugs or alcohol on either victim. The victims' relatives testified that Navarro and Moncada stayed away from gangs. Moncada was described as a talented artist preparing for his Mormon mission while Navarro was remembered as a doting uncle who helped his sister financially.
Hector Juan Ayala
Convicted and sentenced to death in the 1985 murders of Jose Luis Rositas, Marcos Antonio Zamora and Ernesto Dominguez Mendez during the course of a robbery.
Ronaldo Medrano Ayala
Convcted and sentenced to death in the 1985 murders of Jose Luis Rositas, Marcos Antonio Zamora and Ernesto Dominguez Mendez during the course of a robbery.
Convicted and sentenced to Death in the 1983 murder of Orestes Guerrero and his brother, Jose Luis Guerrero, During the three-day trial, jurors heard the story of the events of December 29, 1983 when Baciga lupo walked into Orestes Jewelry on The Alameda in San Jose and shot the Guerrero brothers at point blank range while robbing the store. Sentenced to Death 4/87.
Robert Allen Bacon
date of sentence: 5/20/99
date of offense: 10/26/95
Robert Allen Bacon raped, sodomized, and stabbed to death Deborah Lynn Sammons at the behest of her husband, Charles Lee Sammons. Her body was found stuffed into a trunk of a car and partially submerged near Grizzly Island. Bacon had a prior 1983 Arizona murder conviction. Charles Sammons avoided trial by pleading no contest to first degree murder. The prosecution dropped an enhancement charge of lying in wait that would have put Sammons, in prison for life without parole if convicted. [light sentence - maybe due to him being in a wheelchair?]
Convicted and sentenced to Death 1/08. Paul Wesley Baker was convicted last March 19 of first- degree murder for the 2004 slaying of Reseda resident Judy Palmer's slaying. Her decomposing body was found on May 11, 2004, by a transient near Interstate 10 and Gene Autry Trail.
aka Kelvin Rindell Banks
Sentenced to death for the fatal shooting of a 50-year-old customer using an automated teller machine July 26, 1996, killing a 69-year-old man July 1, 1996 and raping a woman in the victim's home. The third killing was the death of a man whose burning body was found in a car in South-Central on July 12, 1996.
Anthony George Bankston
Max Lee Barnett
Convicted and sentenced to Death in Butte Superior Court in 1988. Jurors found Barnett guilty of the murder Richard Eggett whom he had accused of stealing from him when they were jointly involved in a gold dredging operation a year earlier. Jurors found, by way of special circumstances, that the victim had been murdered in the commission of robbery and kidnapping, and that he had been tortured. Barnett was also convicted of assaulting, robbing, and kidnapping the man’s companions. The crimes occurred after what was described as a chance encounter at a remote campsite in a mining area.
Sentenced to death for three counts of first degree murder and one count of second degree murder. Mr. Barnwell’s case is somewhat remarkable in that a policeman saw him shoot two of the murder victims. One night in 1992 Los Angeles Police Officers Brad Wise and Greg Smiley were on patrol. As they drove toward a tire shop, Officer Wise heard a shot. A woman screamed and another shot was fired. Wise ran up to a high fence surrounding the shop yard and looked through a hole in the gate. He saw Barnwell, some 20-25 feet away, standing above two men lying face down on the ground. Barnwell held a large-caliber, semiautomatic, blue steel pistol in his hand. The men were begging for their lives. Barnwell bent down and put the pistol to the back of one man’s head. Officer Wise heard two shots. Barnwell then fired two more shots into the back of the other man’s head. Barnwell ran but the officers intercepted him as he emerged from another gate, still holding the pistol. Officer Wise told Barnwell to drop the gun. Barnwell protested, “It wasn’t me.” He ran back toward the gate, but then stopped and turned toward the officers. Wise thought Barnwell was going to shoot them, so he fired four shots at him. Barnwell ran back into the yard, where he was found by other officers. He had been shot three times. When his clothes were cut away by paramedics, a .45-caliber bullet fell out of his trousers. A .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, a Colt Gold Cup model, was found on the ground inside the gate Barnwell had re-entered. Expended cartridge casings found at the scene had been fired by the
Colt. In addition to the two men Officer Wise had seen Barnwell shoot, the bodies of a woman and another man were also found. All four victims had been shot in the head. Eural Johnson was the night watchman and Kenneth Newman was a friend of his. Jessie Dwight Bingham sometimes slept in a truck parked in the yard. Sandra Ann Green was his girlfriend. Bullets recovered from the bodies of Johnson and Green had been fired by the Colt. The record is silent as to whether slugs were recovered from Bingham and Newman. Barnwell waived his rights and spoke to the police. He said he had ridden a bicycle to the tire shop to sell cocaine to a man whose name he did not know. The victims were already on the ground when he arrived. As he left the scene he was confronted by the police. He put up his hands and said, “I didn’t do it.” He was shot by the police when he fled. The scene was lit by street lights and, inside the yard, by a large bonfire inside a barrel. There was no question in Officer Wise’s mind as to whether it was the same man. He described the suspect as a Black male with bushy hair and a goatee, 25 to 30 years old, five feet eight inches to five feet nine inches tall, weighing 180 to 190 pounds, and wearing blue jeans and a dark blue sweatshirt with white writing on the front. The officer testified: “Everything is the same.”
Convicted and sentenced to Death in the beating deaths of Lupita and her 5-year-old brother, Ernesto Esquivel. Their bodies were found in March 1998 in shallow graves in Angeles National Forest.
Date of crime: 4/9/1996
Barrett killed his prison cellmate Thomas Richmond. The prosecution presented testimony from an inmate who said, Barrett wanted to kill Richmond because he turned in a manufactured knife to a prison guard. Barrett was already serving a 26-year to life sentence for beating a high school teacher to death, but the defense claimed Barrett murdered the teacher because he was trying to sexually abuse him. Barrett claimed he acted in self-defense. During the penalty phase, the prosecution presented evidence that Barrett was violent in prison towards guards and prisoners, and had accumulated many manufactured knives. The defense offered evidence of Barrett’s abusive childhood; Barrett was abandoned by his father and had an alcoholic mother.