Local News in Brief : Jury Spares Killer’s Life

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A Torrance Superior Court jury recommended this week that Maurice Hastings, 35, spend the rest of his life in prison for murdering a 30-year-old Inglewood woman.

Hastings was convicted last week of robbing and killing Roberta Wydermyer more than five years ago when the woman made a late-night trip to the market. The jury also found Hastings guilty of trying to kill Wydermyer’s husband, Billy Ray, and his friend, George Pinson, when the two spotted Hastings driving Roberta Wydermyer’s stolen car.

Hastings could have been sentenced to death because the crime was committed during a robbery, a “special circumstance” under the state’s death penalty law.


But the jury recommended life in prison without possibility of parole. Sentencing by Superior Court Judge John P. Shook is scheduled for Sept. 30.

Hastings was first tried on the charges in 1986, but that jury deadlocked 10 to 2 for conviction. The second trial lasted four months, one of the longest criminal trials in Torrance courthouse history.