A refinery worker who killed a co-worker and wounded another during a 1993 shooting was sentenced to 39 years to life in prison Friday by a judge "overwhelmed" by the man's cruelty.
Before sentencing, Rudy V. Terrenal, 59, stunned courtroom spectators with a disjointed diatribe against the slain colleague and the man's wife, who sat just feet away in the front row. He also declared he hopes never to be freed from prison.
Terrenal, who lived in Chino, will be eligible for parole in about 17 years, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Elizabeth Henderson. But Commissioner Richard M. Aronson said Terrenal posed a danger to society and probably would spend the rest of his life behind bars.
"I'm overwhelmed at the cruelty of your statements and also the cruelty of your actions," Aronson said, anger evident in his voice. When Terrenal sought to speak again, Aronson snapped: "I don't want to hear another word out of you."
Terrenal was convicted in September of killing David Dawkins, a supervisor at the Mobil Oil Co. refinery in Torrance, as workers gathered for a seminar in Brea on Oct. 30, 1993. A second co-worker, Steven Bowling, was wounded in the chest but survived.
Bowling, 47, said during the sentencing hearing that he still suffers nightmares from the shooting: "I was sitting there on the curb one day minding my own business . . . and the next thing I knew I was in the hospital."
Janice Dawkins recounted how Terrenal wounded her husband, then stood over him to fire the fatal shots as he pleaded for his life with outstretched hands.
"I am so angry," she said, "that the man who held me when I needed to be held lay bleeding, in pain, and begging for his life all alone on the sidewalk. What an awful thing for such a wonderful man to have to suffer."
Janice Dawkins said the couple's 9-year-old son comes to her bed at night in tears and their 11-year-old daughter insists on setting the home alarm out of fear of Terrenal.
Defense attorney Joseph Shemaria had argued that Terrenal was paranoid and opened fire during a psychotic blackout when he was unaware of his actions. Shemaria said Terrenal believed he was about to be fired and had been relentlessly teased by co-workers about his Filipino heritage. Employees testified that Terrenal was a loner and denied picking on him.
But Terrenal said during the hearing the mental abuse at work made him want "to die a thousand times." He lashed out at his victim, complaining that David Dawkins took to work frustrations from his marriage. The Dawkins family and friends gasped and shook their heads during his remarks.
"You said you wanted to die a thousand deaths," Aronson said. "Yet you're still alive and the father of children is dead because of your actions. . . . You have absolutely no right to tell these people they don't have a right to mourn."
During the trial, witnesses described an execution-style shooting in the parking lot, where refinery workers gathered before the seminar. After the rampage, Terrenal waited calmly for police. Officers found a second handgun in his van, which was stenciled with the message: "I turned the other cheek, then they hit it too."
Outside court, Janice Dawkins called Terrenal a vicious man. "He never has shown any remorse," she said.
* Tuan Ngoc Le, convicted of killing his wife and mother-in-law, was sentenced to life in prison. B4
* David Lopez, convicted in a string of sexual attacks, received three life terms plus 145 years in prison. B4