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Palmdale Man Guilty in Molestation, Slaying

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A San Fernando Superior Court jury Monday found a Palmdale man guilty of sexually molesting and killing his 17-month-old godchild three years ago.

The jury, which deliberated for about a week, will return to court Dec. 9 for the penalty phase of the trial to determine the sentence for Ricky Lee Earp, 29.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert B. Foltz Jr., who said he was extremely pleased with the verdict, will seek a death sentence.

“This case cries out for the death penalty,” Foltz said.

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Adrienne S. Dell, one of Earp’s two defense attorneys, maintained her client’s innocence.

“The jury was wrong, really wrong,” she said.

During the eight-week trial, there was often conflicting and lurid testimony about Earp and the events that occurred on Aug. 25, 1988, the day Amanda Nicole Dorshier was raped, sodomized and beaten. Amanda died two days later in the hospital.

The only point that all sides agreed on is that early that morning, Earp’s girlfriend, Virginia MacNair, left for work and left Earp alone to care for Amanda, the godchild of Earp and MacNair. That afternoon, Earp called MacNair at work to tell her that Amanda was having trouble breathing. She told him to call paramedics and to meet her at the hospital.

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Earp never went to the hospital. He testified that he fled because he was afraid of being arrested for violating parole in connection with a 1985 burglary conviction by not maintaining contact with his parole officer. He turned himself in to authorities in Sacramento--where his mother lived--a day after Amanda died.

Earp maintained his innocence and testified that on the day Amanda was molested, he was unexpectedly visited by a man he first met in prison. Earp said the man, Dennis Morgan, was alone in the house with Amanda for some time while he was outside.

Earp testified that he heard a commotion inside the house and, after entering the house, he saw the child lying at the foot of the stairs and Morgan standing nearby. Morgan testified in court that he was not at the house that day.

Foltz dismissed the idea of another person being responsible for the child’s death as a defense tactic. He said the outcome of the verdict rested on whether the jury believed that another person was present the day Amanda was molested.

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“It was an appropriate verdict,” Foltz said. “The evidence was overwhelming. It was the kind of case that could have come back in one day. In the end, the ultimate issue was were they going to believe that there was this other guy. They didn’t believe there was this other guy.”


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