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Rapist-Murderer Gets Death Penalty : Courts: Douglas Oliver Kelly is sentenced in slaying of Sara Weir, 19. He is said to have a long record of sexual assaults.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Serial date rapist Douglas Oliver Kelly was sentenced to death Wednesday for the murder of a Thousand Oaks teen-ager he befriended, sexually assaulted and then fatally stabbed.

The victim, Sara Weir, 19, had hired Kelly as her personal fitness trainer. Her decomposing body was found with more than 30 stab wounds from a pair of scissors and wrapped in a rug in Kelly’s Valley Village apartment.

Authorities said the sentence for Kelly, who was responsible for more than a dozen previous rapes, was just.

“The murder was brutal and senseless,” Judge Michael R. Hoff said shortly before imposing the death sentence recommended by a jury in July, rather than the only alternative of life in prison without parole.

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Hoff said Kelly, 37, who under state law is entitled to an automatic appeal of his sentence to the state Supreme Court, will be taken to San Quentin State Prison.

Kelly was allowed to briefly address Weir’s mother in the courtroom, saying that he did not rape or humiliate the young woman. He said he was drunk and did not know the circumstances leading to Weir’s murder.

Outside the courtroom Wednesday, Weir’s mother, Martha Farwell, said she did not believe Kelly when he spoke to her.

“I think he’s a very violent person. There’s no explanation for what he did,” Farwell said. “It was definitely time for his past to catch up with him.”

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Kelly’s lawyer, Dennis G. Cohen of the county public defender’s office, was unable to persuade the judge to reduce Kelly’s sentence or order a new trial.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Steven J. Ipsen, who prosecuted the case, said Kelly’s fate was appropriate for a man whose first rape was at least 15 years ago. Kelly is known to have raped as many as 17 women in four states, including a woman he raped one week before killing Weir, whose body was found on Sept. 15, 1993, Ipsen said.

In Kelly’s trial, four of his former victims testified against him, Ipsen said.

Kelly was found guilty of murder with the special circumstance that it occurred in the course of a rape and robbery.

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“When you hear the devastation someone like this causes on people’s lives, you can’t help the emotion,” Ipsen said. “He never paid for those crimes.”

Ipsen said Kelly was especially good at winning women’s confidence because he was a highly personable con man.

“He was a serial acquaintance rapist,” Ipsen said. “He’d get them to go to his place and that’s where he’d slam the door and rape them.”

Ipsen said Kelly was arrested several times for rape but for one reason or another avoided prison. Kelly dodged an arrest warrant for a 1991 rape in Florida by giving police a false date of birth, he said.

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Authorities said Weir met Kelly at a health club where he worked as a custodian but also was hired by some members as a personal trainer.

Authorities said Kelly fled to Mexico in Weir’s car immediately after the slaying. He was arrested Nov. 24, 1993, in Laredo, Tex., as he re-entered the United States, they said.

Farwell seemed content following Wednesday’s court proceedings.

“I was fairly confident nothing would change,” she said, referring to the death sentence. She added, “It’s very, very stressful to go through.”

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