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Los Angeles man sentenced to death for 1984 murders

Los Angeles man sentenced to death for 1984 murders
Kevin Haley, pictured in court in October 1988, was sentenced to death Thursday. The sentencing marks the end of a decades-long court battle. (Scott Robinson / For The Times)

A serial rapist once described by police as a "one-man crime wave" was sentenced to death for killing two women in 1984.

In May, Kevin Haley, 50, was found guilty of the decades-old murders after DNA tied him to the deaths of 56-year-old Laverne Stolzy and 55-year-old Delores Clement. Prosecutors said Haley sexually assaulted and killed the women during the course of burglarizing their homes.  Stolzy died from blunt-force trauma to the head. Clement was strangled.

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A jury recommended that Haley received the death sentence for the crimes.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Kathleen Kennedy rejected a defense motion to give Haley life in prison without the possibility of parole, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district's attorney office.

The sentencing marks the end of a decades-long court battle to convict Haley in the deaths.

In 1988, he was tried for Stolzy and Clement's murders, and the attempted sexual assault of a third victim. During the trial, authorities said that Haley and his brother, who was standing trial for a separate murder, might be responsible for as many as eight killings.

They were also suspects in 60 rapes and 500 burglaries from South Los Angeles to Venice over a five-year period, police said at the time.

Then-LAPD Chief Daryl F. Gates described the crimes in 1984 as "some of the most violent murders committed against older women in this city."

A jury found Haley guilty of fatally strangling Clement and he was sentenced to death in the gas chamber. But the jury was unable to reach a verdict on charges involving Stolzy and the third victim.

Haley appealed the decision all the way up to the Supreme Court.  In 2004, the Supreme Court overturned his conviction for Clement's killing, citing a jury instruction error.

The case was sent back for retrial and DNA evidence introduced in the new trial finally connected Haley to the deaths, Robison said.

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