ORANGE COUNTY'S CONDEMNED

Compile by Jerry Hicks and Mark I. Pinsky

Twenty-Two men who have been sentenced in Orange County Superior Court are on San Quentin's Death Row awaiting execution. Half of them have had their sentences upheld by the State Supreme Court and are in the federal system. State prosecutors say that it could take four or five years to exhaust all their appeals, although the U.S. Supreme Court may streamline the federal appellate process for death sentences.

William Charles Payton, 38, Garden Grove. Sentenced: March 5, 1982, by Judge Donald A. McCartin. Convicted in the May 26, 1980, stabbing death of Pamela Martin, the 21-year-old wife of a military man overseas. She was living at a Garden Grove boarding house where Payton had once lived. The attack came when Payton returned to visit his former landlady, who let him spend the night. Prosecutors showed that Payton had attacked another woman before Martin.

Status of Appeal: Payton's appeal has run longer than any other from Orange County, because the court has been studying for four years whether Peyton's attorney should have offered a Vietnam syndrome or "post-traumatic stress disorder" defense. His case is now pending before the state Supreme Court.

John George Brown, 44 Santa Ana. Sentenced: June 11, 1982, by the late Judge Kenneth E. Lae. Convicted in the June 8, 1980, shooting death of 27-year-old Garden Grove Police Officer Donald Cross. Brown, part of an outlaw motorcycle gang, had a long history of drug-related crimes, including attempted murder of a police officer in Florida.

Status of Appeal: Brown's appeal was denied by state Supreme Court and he already has lost one round before the U.S. Supreme Court. Orange County prosecutors will now ask that an execution date be set, the first step before a new series of arguments in the federal courts. State Deputy Atty. Gen. Robert Flowers, representing the people on the appeal, predicted that Brown is "several years" away from being executed.

Jaturun Siripongs, 40, Hawthorne. Sentenced April 22, 1983, by Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald. Convicted on Dec. 15, 1981, for the murders of Packaway Wattanaporn, 36, and Nguyen Quach, 52, during the robbery of a Garden Grove market. Wattanaporn, the owner, was choked to death and Quach was fatally stabbed. Siripongs, a native of Thailand who sometimes described himself a Buddhist monk.

Status of Appeal: Siripongs' appeal has completed the state court process and is in the early stages of federal court review.

James A. Melton, 40, Oakland. Sentenced: March 18, 1983, by Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald. Convicted on Oct. 10, 1981, for the death of 77-year-old Anthony DeSousa, a former hairdresser, at the victim's Newport Beach condominium. Melton, who had a long history of violent rape and assault convictions, had met DeSousa after the victim advertised through a tabloid for a homosexual lover.

Status of Appeal: Melton's appeal has completed the state court system and is in the early stages of federal court review.

William G. Bonin Jr., 45, Downey. Sentenced: Aug. 26, 1983, in Orange County by the late Judge Kenneth E. Lae. Convicted and sentenced to death in Los Angeles County a year earlier for 10 sex-related murders of young men and boys. His Orange County conviction was for four more murders. Bonin, known in the media as the "Freeway Killer," was an ex-convict who was on parole after serving a prison term for another sex-related assault. He confessed to authorities most of his murders on condition that the information not be used against him in court.

Status of Appeal: His appeals from both counties completed the state court system. His appeal is pending in the federal system.

Robert Jackson Thompson, 45, of Anaheim. Sentenced: Dec. 6, 1983, by Judge Francisco P. Briseno. Convicted on Aug. 25, 1981, in the strangulation death of 12-year-old Benjamin Brenneman, a newspaper carrier for the Orange County Register. The youngster had stopped at Thompson's apartment to sell a subscription. Just weeks before, Thompson had been released from state prison, where he had served a five-year term for sexual assault on a young man.

Status of Appeal: Thompson's appeal has been denied by the state Supreme Court. His case is pending in Federal District Court.

John Louis Visciotti, 35, of Fullerton. Sentenced: Oct. 21, 1983, by Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald. Convicted in the shooting death of Tim Dykstra, 22, of Westminster during a robbery. His co-defendant, Brian Lyle Hefner, 30, was spared a death penalty trial by prosecutors because he was not the gunman. Visciotti had a history of burglaries and drug-related offenses and had spent the majority of his life behind bars.

Status of Appeal: Visciotti's appeal has been denied by the state Supreme Court and is now pending in the federal system.

Thomas Martin Thompson, 37, of Laguna Hills. Sentenced: Aug. 17, 1984, by Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald. Convicted in the Sept. 12, 1981, rape-murder of Ginger Fleischli of Mission Viejo. Fleischli was a girlfriend of Thompson's co-defendant, David Leitch, 30. Leitch is now serving 15 years to life on a second-degree murder conviction in the Fleischli case. Yet prosecutors contend that it was Leitch who was behind the murder, because he wanted to get back together with his ex-wife and Fleischli had threatened to tell the woman that he was still using drugs. Thompson had no previous criminal record.

Status of Appeal: Thompson's appeal has been denied by the state Supreme Court and is now in the federal system.

Richard R. Ramirez, 32, Santa Ana. Sentenced: Aug. 8, 1985, by Judge Donald A. McCartin. Convicted for the Nov. 21, 1983, rape-murder of Kimberly Gonsalez, 22, in an alley behind a Santa Ana bar. Ramirez had been convicted of rape in 1977 and had been sent to the California Youth Authority. He served a short term for burglary just a year before the Gonsalez murder. Ramirez's first trial ended in a mistrial when one juror refused to support a death penalty verdict. A second jury returned a death verdict.

Status of Appeal: Ramirez's appeal has been denied by the state Supreme Court and is now in the federal system.

Fred Berre Douglas, 63, Garden Grove. Sentenced: April 5, 1985, by Judge Ronald E. Owen. Convicted in the Aug. 13, 1982, shooting deaths of two Anaheim teen-agers, Beth Jones, 19, and Margaret Krueger, 16. Douglas and a co-defendant, who was given immunity to testify against him, were accused of luring the victims to the desert on the pretense of paying them for modeling assignments. Instead, Douglas sexually assaulted and then shot them. Contrary to any evidence presented by prosecutors, some media reports persist in referring to them as "snuff murders" that were filmed, with the film to be sold in underground sex markets. The rumor first began when a woman testified that Douglas had once tried to lure her into helping him set up a "snuff" film.

Status of Appeal: Douglas' appeal has been denied by the state Supreme Court and is pending in the federal system.

Rodney James Alcala, 48, Monterey Park. Sentenced: Aug. 20, 1986, by Judge Donald A. McCartin. Convicted in the murder of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe of Huntington Beach. She was last seen on her bicycle near the city's pier on June 20, 1979. Her body was found 12 days later in the Sierra Madre foothills in Los Angeles County. Alcala's conviction was one of four Orange County death sentences reversed by the state Supreme Court under then-Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird. Alcala's first death sentence was reversed by the state high court on the ground that prosecutors should not have been permitted during the guilt phase of his trial to use evidence of three earlier incidents in which Alcala had attacked young women.

Status of Appeal: Alcala's current appeal is pending before the state Supreme Court.

Thomas Francis Edwards, 48, Costa Mesa. Sentenced: Dec. 11, 1986, by Judge James F. Judge after three trials. Convicted in the Sept. 19, 1981, shooting death of 12-year-old Vanessa Iberri of Lake Elsinore, as she and a friend, 12-year-old Kelly Cartier, were walking along a path in Cleveland National Forest. Kelly was shot in the head but survived, and later testified against him. Three of the jurors who convicted Edwards held out for a lesser punishment of life in prison without parole. A mistrial occurred at a second trial in which Edwards represented himself, after the public defender's office convinced the judge that he should not have permitted some of the testimony from Edwards' ex-girlfriend. He received his death sentence at a third penalty trial.

Status of Appeal: Edwards' appeal has been denied by the state Supreme Court and his case is pending in the federal system.

Teofillo Medina Jr., 49, Lake Elsinore. Sentenced: Feb. 25, 1985, by Judge James K. Turner. Convicted of three Orange County murders during robberies at gas stations and mini-marts in October and November, 1984. He had served nearly seven years in an Arizona prison for rape and kidnap. Before that, he had a long history of arrests for violent assaults.

Status of Appeal: His appeal is pending before the state Supreme Court.

Theodore Frank, 54, Woodland Hills. Sentenced: Feb. 11, 1987, by Judge John J. Ryan. Convicted in the March 14, 1978, beating death and sexual assault of 2-year-old Amy Sue Seitz, who was abducted from the front yard of her aunt's home in Camarillo. She was found in a field later in the day near Woodland Hills. Frank's was one of the four Bird court reversals. Because the Ventura County case was highly publicized, it was sent to Orange County on a change of venue. He was sentenced to death in 1980, but the state Supreme Court ordered a new penalty trial, finding that jurors should not have been allowed to see some of Frank's letters about his perverse interest in children. The new trial in 1987 was also held in Orange County. Frank had a 20-year history of arrests and convictions for sexual assaults on children in three states.

Status of Appeal: Frank's appeal has been denied by the state Supreme Court and is pending in the federal system.

Martin James Kipp, 34, Santa Ana. Sentenced: Sept. 18, 1987, by Judge Donald A. McCartin. Convicted in the Dec. 30, 1983, strangulation death of 19-year-old Antoya Howard of Huntington Beach. She had been a star basketball player for Marina High School.

An American Indian, Kipp's lawyers blamed his violence against women on his strict upbringing on an Indian reservation in Montana. Kipp also was sentenced to death in the murder of a woman in a Long Beach motel. Kipp was a parolee who had served a five-year prison term on a previous rape conviction.

Status of Appeal: Both his appeals are pending before the state Supreme Court.

Kenneth Clair, 32, Santa Ana. Sentenced: Dec. 4, 1987 by Judge Myron S. Brown. He was convicted in the Nov. 15, 1984, stabbing death of 25-year-old Linda Faye Rodgers, a cerebral palsy victim, whose body was found in her Santa Ana home. Jurors found that she had been killed during a burglary. Clair had a history of arrests for burglary, assault with a deadly weapon and possession of stolen property.

Status of Appeal: Clair's appeal is pending before the state Supreme Court.

William Adolph Noguera, 27, Valinda. Sentenced: Jan. 29, 1988 by Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald. Convicted in the April 24, 1983, bludgeoning and strangulation death of Jovita Navarro, his girlfriend's mother, at her Fullerton home. The girlfriend, 16-year-old Dominique Navarro, was also found guilty and sent to the California Youth Authority. Noguera is the youngest man from Orange County sent to Death Row.

Status of Appeal: His appeal is pending before the state Supreme Court.

Marcelino Ramos, 34, Santa Ana. Sentenced: April 27, 1988 by Judge Francisco P. Briseno. Convicted in the June 3, 1979, murder of Katherine Parrott, the 20-year-old night manager at a Santa Ana Taco Bell, during a robbery. Ramos admitted shooting Parrott and 18-year-old Kevin Pickrell after ordering them to kneel in a storeroom. Ramos was sentenced to Death Row the first time on Jan. 28, 1980. Ramos is the third of the Bird court retrial cases. The high court cited a variety of jury-instruction errors.

Status of Appeal: Ramos' appeal is now pending before the state Supreme Court.

Rodney Gene Beeler, 39, Santa Ana. Sentenced: May 5, 1989, by Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald. Convicted in the Dec. 30, 1985, shooting death of 23-year-old Anthony Stevenson. The victim was shot after coming home and finding Beeler burglarizing his house in Orange. Beeler had several arrests for burglary on his record. But apparently more telling to jurors who voted to send him to the gas chamber was evidence that he had also raped a 52-year-old woman.

Status of Appeal: Beeler's appeal is pending before the state Supreme Court.

John Galen Davenport, 36, Tustin. Sentenced: June 26, 1989, by Judge Everett W. Dickey. Convicted in the March 27, 1980, stabbing death of 30-year-old Gayle Anne Lingle of Tustin. Her nude body was found the next day in an Irvine field, with a four-foot-long wooden stake running through the length of her body. Davenport is the last of the four Bird court death reversals from Orange County. The Bird court found that the jurors in the case should have been allowed to consider sympathy and should have been given clearer instructions about weighing the scales between death and life without parole. Davenport was a prison parolee who had served four years for stabbing a young woman in 1974. She lost an eye and received other permanent injuries after being stabbed 22 times. Davenport is the only Orange County man on Death Row for torturing a murder victim before her death.

Status of Appeal: Davenport's appeal pending before the state Supreme Court.

Randy Steven Kraft, 47, Long Beach. Sentenced: Nov. 29, 1989, by Judge Donald A. McCartin. Convicted of 16 Orange County murders between 1972 and 1983, but prosecutors have linked him to at least 45 murders in Southern California, Oregon and Michigan. State records show his defense alone cost more than $5 million, and many believe that the total cost of his trial may be overshadowed only by the McMartin Pre-School molestation trial in Los Angeles County.

Status of Appeal: Kraft's appeal is expected to run longer than most, partly because it contains more than five times the number of transcript pages and related documents than is involved in most capital punishment cases. The appeal is pending before the state Supreme Court. Robert (T-Bone) Taylor, 37, New York,. Sentenced: Jan. 30, 1992, by Judge Frank P. Briseno. Convicted of killing 60-year-old Ryoko Hanano as she knelt by her bedside, and seriously wounding her husband, Kazumi, then 62. Along with two accomplices, Taylor was convicted of robbing the couple in June, 1988, after pretending the trio wanted to buy a car advertised by the Hananos. Taylor has been in and out of prison throughout his life.

Status of Appeal: Taylor has just begun the appeal process.

IN THE WINGS:

Orange County juries have recommended the death penalty for two other men, who await formal sentencing by judges. No Orange County judge has rejected a jury's recommendation for death. Automatic appeals begin immediately after sentencing. The two men are:

Richard Lucio Dehoyos, 34, Santa Ana. Convicted of killing 9-year-old Nadia Puente as she walked home from school in 1989. The girl was sexually molested in a Santa Ana motel room, where she was asphyxiated, and her body was later dumped in Griffith Park. DeHoyos' attorney claimed he suffered brain damage throughout his life and was high on drugs after being fired from his job at a fast food restaurant when he killed Puente. Before recommending the death penalty, the jury found that DeHoyos was sane at the time of the killings.

James Gregory Marlow, 35, San Bernardino County. Pleaded guilty to murder March 10, 1992, for killing 19-year-old Lynel Murray in Huntington Beach. Marlow and his accused accomplice, Cynthia Lynn Coffman, abducted Murray from the dry cleaning shop where she worked in 1986, and killing her in a nearby motel. Both Marlow and Coffman were sentenced to death in San Bernardino in 1989 for their roles in abducting and killing a 20-year Redlands woman several days before the Huntington Beach killing.

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