Less than 24-hours after he took his wedding vows, triple murderer Daniel Duffy was sentenced Thursday to spend the rest of his life in prison.
In sentencing the former motorcycle gang member to life without possibility of parole, Orange County Superior Court Judge Kathleen E. O'Leary said the three execution-style slayings were "inherently ugly" crimes "that placed very little value on human life."
Duffy, 49, was convicted in July of murdering Richard Rizzone, 36, Thomas Monahan, 28, and Rena Miley, 19, on the Memorial Day weekend in 1980. All three were gunned down in Rizzone's tract home.
Prosecutors contended that Duffy and co-defendant Thomas Maniscalco orchestrated and carried out the killings because they thought Rizzone was skimming profits from the motorcycle gang's counterfeiting and drug-dealing operations.
Since his arrest in 1984, Duffy has maintained his innocence, saying that he was never present at the crime scene.
In what has become the county's longest-running criminal case, Maniscalco, the alleged mastermind of the triple murder, is scheduled to stand trial for a second time in January. His first trial, which lasted 17 months, ended with the jury split 10 to 2 in favor of a conviction.
On Thursday, Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard King walked out of the courtroom after Duffy's sentencing and said: "We're halfway there," referring to the upcoming Maniscalco trial.
"It's been delay, after delay, after delay in both cases," he said.
King said he was "very pleased" with Duffy's sentence, even though he felt that the defendant "really deserved the death penalty. . . . He's a violent person who has no use in our society."
Prosecutors originally sought a death verdict against Duffy but abandoned the attempt after the jury deadlocked over whether or not to send him to the gas chamber. Because of the hung jury in Duffy's case, the district attorney elected not to go for the death penalty against Maniscalco.
Deputy Public Defender Michael P. Giannini, who represented Duffy, said he hopes to overturn his client's conviction on appeal.
"There are a lot of appealable issues. It was a very complex case," he said. "It should be interesting."
Duffy, a large man with graying hair, has been in jail for 8 1/2 years. On Wednesday, after a hearing on a probation report, Duffy married Ilona (Brandy) Wood, 38, of Orange in a brief ceremony held in a court holding cell.
Before the wedding, Wood said that her groom was innocent and that she will "be there for him no matter what."
On Thursday, Duffy's new bride did not attend his sentencing.