Murder Trial Begins for Ex-Sheriff’s Deputy
A former sheriff’s deputy on trial for the murder of a 34-year-old supermarket manager in 1994 was portrayed by prosecutors Monday as a clever criminal and master of disguise who would “do anything to avoid capture.”
Stephen Moreland Redd, who spent eight months as a fugitive before his arrest last year, could receive the death penalty if he is convicted of killing Timothy Eugene McVeigh during a robbery at an Alpha-Beta store in Yorba Linda.
In the opening statements, Deputy Dist. Atty. Lewis R. Rosenblum said the 50-year-old defendant, a former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, deliberately shot McVeigh at close range during a struggle. McVeigh was night manager of the supermarket and had interrupted a late-night robbery.
“Mr. Redd got the gun turned in Tim’s direction,” Rosenblum said. “Mr. Redd pulls the trigger. Boom. Shot him at close-blank range.”
Redd’s attorneys don’t deny that their client committed the robbery or that he had a gun, but say he had no intention of killing McVeigh. The fact that Redd did not kill a female cashier who witnessed the shooting is evidence that he did not intend to kill anyone that night, defense attorney Michael McClellan told the jury.
“In the struggle, the gun just charged,” McClellan said. “There is no evidence how the gun charged.”
In addition to McVeigh’s killing, Redd is also on trial for several other crimes, including armed robbery, burglary and attempted murder.
Two months before the Yorba Linda shooting, Redd allegedly shot and wounded an unarmed security guard in the shoulder in a Vons parking lot in Orange. He also shot at, but missed, the guard’s unarmed partner as the pair tried to run away, prosecutors allege.
McClellan said that although Redd was in the shopping center and fired several bullets toward the fleeing security guards, he was merely “spraying bullets” in an attempt to scare the guards and keep them away from their radios so that he could escape.
Redd is also charged with holding up a Sav-On store in the same shopping center earlier that month. McClellan said the only witness to the crime, a Sav-On employee, gave a physical description that did not match Redd in terms of height and age.
Rosenblum, however, said that Redd’s photo was selected by witnesses to each of the three incidents in photo lineups conducted by police. The prosecutor said that despite Redd’s ability to change his physical appearance, witnesses were able to select his photo with a fair degree of certainty.
Police who tracked Redd described him as an extremely dangerous man with a penchant for disguises and an IQ of 131. Redd, who had vowed to relatives that he would never be taken alive, was arrested March 6, 1995, by a U.S. Park Police detective in San Francisco. The trunk of his car was found packed with semiautomatic weapons and ammunition, body armor, grenades and a grenade launcher, wigs, knit hats and gloves.
The chrome semiautomatic handgun used to shoot McVeigh and the security guard was among the weapons found in Redd’s car, Rosenblum told the jury.
Redd had spent 11 years in state prison after robbing a La Habra bank in 1982 and leading police on a chase through three counties while shooting out the window at his three pursuers. He was given additional prison time for trying to escape by scaling a fence at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo. He was shot in the arm during the attempt.
Redd was paroled in 1993.
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