Penalty-Phase Arguments Begin for Redd


Jurors in the trial of former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Stephen Moreland Redd were given their first glimpse on Wednesday into the background of a man who “snapped” and went from Medal of Valor recipient to serial bank robber and murderer.

Redd, 50, was convicted last week of killing a Yorba Linda supermarket manager in 1994 as well as other crimes and faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

His attorney, Don Rubright, asked the jury to “judge the totality of this man’s life” during opening statements of the trial’s penalty phase, expected to last about two weeks.


Rubright said Redd had a good record as a sheriff’s deputy from 1967 to 1973 but was traumatized by several on-duty incidents that led to his resignation--including the death of his partner and his inability to save a screaming man from a burning car.

“In 18 months, he went from someone who had a Medal of Valor [from the Sheriff’s Department] to someone referred” for psychological counseling, Rubright said.

Redd left the force, he and his wife divorced and he struggled to support his three children while working in the construction industry. Jobs became scarce in the early 1980s and Redd had to move in with his parents, Rubright said.

Redd’s first crimes began during a two-month period in 1982 when he robbed a series of stores and banks. He shot a La Habra police officer in the leg after robbing a bank in La Habra and was arrested after a three-county chase. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Released on parole in April 1993, “he basically snapped again when he couldn’t find employment,” Rubright said. By June 1994, Redd was wanted for a series of robberies and shootings, including the attempted murder of a security guard. Then on June 18, 1994, Redd shot and killed Timothy Eugene McVeigh at close range during a robbery at the Alpha Beta that McVeigh managed.

While Rubright painted a sympathetic portrait of Redd, Deputy Dist. Atty. Lew Rosenblum described a cool and calculated robber who at times “appeared to be having a good time” during the crimes. He quoted Redd as saying to one victim: “Unemployment is great. I used to be poor and now I’m rich. I do this all the time.”

The prosecutor said he plans to detail Redd’s 20 felony convictions and will call witnesses to talk about what happened to them at the hands of Redd.

In the audience were Redd’s 75-year-old mother and 28-year-old son, a sergeant in the U.S. Army who was in uniform.

In addition to first-degree murder, the jury found Redd guilty of burglary and robbery during the murder, meaning Redd could receive the death penalty.