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Judge Imposes 138-Year Term for 4-Month Crime Rampage

Times Staff Writer

Calling him “an urban terrorist little different from the terrorists we find in the Middle East,” a Superior Court judge Friday sentenced a Compton man to 138 years in state prison for a four-month rampage through San Fernando Valley that included murder, rape, sodomy and armed robbery.

Asked if he had anything to say before being sentenced, Johnny Earl Evans, 23, folded his hands, looked down and shook his head.

The earliest that Evans could be released from prison would be in 69 years, or when he is 92, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Steven A. Sowders.

A Van Nuys jury in February convicted Evans of 35 felony counts, including the murder of 78-year-old Leonard Flaum, who was shot on the front porch of his Sherman Oaks apartment on Jan. 29, 1984, while smoking a cigarette.

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Took Wedding Ring Off Body

Flaum’s wife, Marjorie, testified at a preliminary hearing that she heard the gunshot and saw Evans and an accomplice rifling the dead man’s pockets and then yanking off his wedding ring.

After he was arrested, following a police stakeout on Feb. 7, 1984, Evans told officers he came to the Valley “to rampage,” according to police reports. The crime spree, which took place in Sherman Oaks and Encino, involved 23 victims in 10 separate incidents. It began on Oct. 13, 1983 and more than $44,000 worth of property was stolen, police said.

Evans, who has a long history of criminal activity, was on parole from a 1982 burglary conviction at the time of his arrest.

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“There is something terribly wrong with the defendant since he appears to be completely lacking in the restraints that are normal to a civilized person,” Evans’ deputy probation officer wrote in a report released Friday.

Seemed to ‘Enjoy Himself’

The Probation Department report noted that the defendant’s victims repeatedly told officers that Evans “appeared to be enjoying himself.”

Several times over the four months, Evans returned to the same houses and terrorized the same victims, the report said.

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When Evans returned to a Sherman Oaks house and a previous victim recognized him, a fistfight ensued, the report said. Evans then stuck a .38-caliber revolver in the man’s stomach, shouting, “I’m going to kill you,” according to the report. But when Evans pulled the trigger the revolver did not fire.

Another time, the report said, after entering an Encino couple’s home eight days after he had stolen $25,000 worth of property from the same victims, Evans announced his presence by saying, “I’m back for more.” After raping one of the victims, Evans fled with cash, guns and electronic equipment.

The Probation Department report said that Evans “has never worked since the day he was born.” Evans told his deputy probation officer that he “could hardly read and was so shy” that he never looked for a job.

Crime Career Began at 7

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According to the report, Evans began stealing and assaulting teachers and a school principal when he was 7 years old. He was then placed in foster homes until he turned 17, when he was committed to a juvenile detention facility for burglary. When he turned 21, Evans was committed to state prison.


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