A one-time dog groomer “who obviously lived a double life” was sentenced on Monday by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to die in the gas chamber for strangling a 55-year-old woman in her Wilshire District home during the course of a $15 robbery in 1984. The woman was also sodomized and raped.
Described by Los Angeles police as a “one-man crime wave,” Kevin Bernard Haley was suspected of killing as many as 13 women, many of them elderly, including one who was 90 and another who was 88.
In sentencing him, Judge Judith C. Chirlin said Haley, a heavy cocaine user, had preyed on “some of our community’s most vulnerable members to satisfy his lust for drugs, for power, for money and, perhaps, for sex.” Those crimes, Chirlin said, represented “a depravity which is unspeakable.”
The judge called him “a serious danger to society.”
On June 6, a Superior Court jury convicted Haley, 24, of the murder of Delores Clement. A month later, the jury returned the death penalty verdict. Haley had also faced other serious felony charges, including robbery, murder, burglary, rape and sodomy, involving many other victims.
But the same jury deadlocked on whether Haley had murdered Laverne Stolzy, 56, in 1984 in her Wilshire District home and on attempted rape and oral copulation charges involving a third victim, who was unable to testify because of health problems. Mistrials were declared on those charges.
After Haley’s arrest, police said he admitted having committed six rapes and 53 burglaries.
“To his friends, to his mother and the other members of his family, he was a friendly, caring, sensitive person,” Chirlin said. “But when he voluntarily ingested drugs, and in order to get money to get drugs, he became a criminal of the worst sort, terrorizing and murdering, raping and sodomizing, robbing and burglarizing. It is from people who commit these types of crimes that society needs the most protection.”
Haley’s 27-year-old brother, Reginald, was previously convicted of a string of rapes, kidnapings, burglaries and robberies and was sentenced to 60 years in state prison, plus a life term.
At the time of their arrests in 1984, Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates said the brothers had committed--separately and together--some of the most violent crimes against older women ever seen in this city.
During the penalty phase of Kevin Haley’s trial, his lawyers, Seymour Applebaum and John R. Johnson, chose not to present evidence that might persuade the jury to spare their client’s life.
Had the lawyers chosen to do so, Chirlin noted, Deputy Dist. Atty. Steven M. Barshop would have presented rebuttal evidence of “approximately 50 burglaries” committed by Haley and of Haley’s attempt to escape from County Jail.
But after the jury returned the death verdict on July 5, attorneys Applebaum and Johnson submitted to the judge mitigation evidence in the form of character witnesses, including the minister of Haley’s church and Haley’s friends and relatives.
Chirlin said, however, that her independent analysis, as required by the California Supreme Court in such cases, is that the jury’s death sentence verdict is “supported overwhelmingly by the weight of the evidence.”
In further reviewing the evidence, the judge said she was also “satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt” that Haley had murdered two other women, attempted to murder a third and raped a fourth. That evidence had been presented during the penalty phase of Haley’s trial.