Calling Tiequon Aundray Cox "one of the most dangerous killers" he has ever encountered, a judge Wednesday sentenced him to death for the 1984 execution-style murder of the mother of former pro football player Kermit Alexander and three other relatives.
"It is the court's belief that the defendant is a danger and menace to society and that he is presently apparently without moral fiber and willing to prey on the weak and the helpless and kill the innocent and murder children," said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Roger W. Boren, who as a deputy attorney general had prosecuted Hillside Strangler Angelo Buono.
Cox, 20, described by Boren as "without question . . . the actual killer," sat quietly as the judge meted out the death sentence, as the jury had recommended Feb. 18.
Alexander and other members of his family, who have often cried out in emotion during court proceedings, also remained silent, although several fought back tears.
Outside the courtroom, Deputy Dist. Atty. Sterling E. Norris said, "Certainly if any case prosecuted in Los Angeles County deserves the death penalty, this one did."
Cox was convicted Jan. 21 of four counts of first-degree murder in the Aug. 31, 1984, slayings of Ebora Alexander, 58; her daughter, Dietra, 24, and grandsons Damani Garner, 13, and Damon Bonner, 8.
Another defendant, Horace Burns, 21, was sentenced last year to life in prison without possibility of parole for his role in the killings. A third man, Darren Charles Williams, 25, is to go on trial in July.
Norris said that based on a statement from Williams, the pros ecution believes that Cox and the two other members of his gang were hired for $60,000 to kill a woman and her family who lived two doors away from Mrs. Alexander's South-Central Los Angeles home.
Williams told investigators that the woman had filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against a bar after she was partially paralyzed in a 1983 barroom brawl, the prosecutor said.
Apparently misreading the address on the door, the killers burst into the Alexander home, shooting the mother of the former UCLA and Los Angeles Rams defensive back in the head while she sipped coffee and gunning down the others as they lay in bed.
Norris said the investigation of the events leading up to the killings is continuing.
Before handing down his sentence, Boren denied defense attorney Edward M. Cook III's request to call a juror to the stand for the purpose of showing that improprieties had occurred during the deliberations in the penalty phase of Cox's trial.
Cook, a deputy public defender, told the judge that he had subpoenaed juror Vietrilla Whitfield after she refused to sign a sworn affidavit containing allegations that she had made to a defense investigator.
The attorney said she had told the investigator that information had been brought up during deliberations that had not been introduced as evidence and that some jurors had felt intimidated because others had smoked in the jury room even after they were asked not to.
In rejecting Cook's request, Boren said, "To grant this kind of power to the losing attorney would open the door to the harassment of jurors." Following Tuesday's hearing, Cook said of his client: "He's a very young man. I don't think he understands the seriousness of what's happened to him."