Local News in Brief : Jury to Decide Killer’s Fate

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A Superior Court jury will hear testimony Monday on whether convicted murderer Maurice Hastings should be sentenced to death or spend the rest of his life in jail.

Hastings, 34, was convicted Thursday by the same jury of murdering Roberta Wydermyer of Inglewood more than five years ago.

The jury needed two weeks to reach its verdict, at the end of a four-month trial, one of the longest criminal trials in Torrance courthouse history.


Wydermyer never returned home from a late-night trip to the supermarket in June, 1983. The 30-year-old woman was robbed and shot once in the head.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Martin used circumstantial evidence to tie Hastings to the crime, while Deputy Public Defender Mike Clark argued that Hastings was at a party in Los Angeles, and not in Inglewood, on the night of the murder.

More than 100 witnesses testified and nearly 300 exhibits were presented during the trial.