Supreme Court of California Justia
Docket No. S049741
People v. Suff

Filed 4/28/14



Plaintiff and Respondent,




Riverside County

Defendant and Appellant.

Super. Ct. No. CR 44010


A jury convicted William Lester Suff of the first degree murders of

Kimberly Lyttle, Tina Leal, Darla Ferguson, Carol Miller, Cheryl Coker, Susan

Sternfeld, Kathleen Milne (also known as Kathleen Puckett), Sherry Latham,

Kelly Hammond, Catherine McDonald, Delliah Zamora (also known as Delliah

Wallace), and Eleanor Casares (Pen. Code, §§ 187, subd. (a), 189), and one count

of attempted murder of Rhonda Jetmore (Pen. Code, §§ 664, 187).1 The jury

found true the special circumstance allegations that defendant was convicted of

more than one offense of murder in this proceeding, and that defendant

intentionally killed each of the homicide victims while lying in wait. (§ 190.2,


All further statutory references are to the Penal Code unless otherwise


The jury deadlocked with respect to a charge of first degree murder of

Cheri Payseur, and the court declared a mistrial as to that count.


subd. (a)(3), (15).) The jury also found true the allegations that defendant

personally used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife, within the meaning of

sections 12022, subdivision (b) and 1192.7, subdivision (c)(23), in the commission

of the murders of Leal, Miller, Coker, McDonald, and Casares. After defendant

waived his right to a jury trial on the special circumstance allegation that he had

suffered a prior conviction for murder, the trial court found the allegation to be

true. (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(2).)

Following the penalty phase of the trial, the jury returned verdicts of death

with respect to each of the 12 murder convictions. The trial court denied

defendant‘s application to modify the death penalty verdict to life imprisonment

without the possibility of parole (§ 190.4, subd. (e)), and sentenced defendant to

death with respect to each of the 12 murder convictions. The court also sentenced

defendant to life with the possibility of parole with respect to the attempted

murder conviction, and to a total of five years with respect to the findings that he

personally used a deadly and dangerous weapon in the commission of five of the

murders. This appeal is automatic. (§ 1239, subd. (b).) We affirm the judgment.


A. Guilt Phase Evidence

1. Prosecution case

Defendant‘s victims abused drugs and worked as prostitutes in Riverside

County. The homicide victims were killed between June 1989 and December

1991. All of his victims were asphyxiated, four of the victims also suffered stab

wounds to the chest, and the right breast of three of the victims had been excised.

Hairs, fibers, tire tracks, and shoe impressions connected defendant with the

homicide victims, and each of these types of evidence was associated with more

than one victim. The victim of the attempted homicide identified defendant as her


assailant, and a friend of homicide victim Kelly Hammond identified defendant as

the person driving a van that Hammond entered the evening she disappeared. A

knife found in defendant‘s van had blood on it that was consistent with the last

homicide victim‘s and not consistent with defendant‘s. Testing of DNA found on

or near nine victims reflected matches to defendant. Personal items belonging to

three of the homicide victims were found at defendant‘s worksite, in his wife‘s

jewelry box, and in the possession of acquaintances to whom he had given them.

Defendant had repeatedly expressed his hatred of prostitutes, and had stated to one

person that he thought that prostitutes should be killed.

a. Attempted murder of Rhonda Jetmore

In January 1989, Rhonda Jetmore was seated on a bench on Main Street in

the City of Lake Elsinore (Lake Elsinore), ―hoping to encounter a date.‖ A man

drove a station wagon alongside the curb near where she was sitting, and

confirmed that he was looking for a ―date.‖ He moved a box containing files of

papers from the front passenger seat to the backseats, where there were more

papers, and she entered his vehicle. He told her his name was ―Bob,‖ they agreed

on a price of $20 for ―straight sex,‖ and she directed him to a nearby vacant

residence. Once inside, Jetmore requested prepayment for her services. The man

handed her a bill and, using her flashlight, she determined it was a single dollar.

Before she could say anything, he grabbed her around her neck with both hands,

pushed her down, and began choking her. As he choked her, she looked at his

face, and also noticed his belt buckle, which had ―Bill‖ spelled on it. She felt she

was losing consciousness, and she believed he was attempting to kill her. When

she realized she still had her flashlight, she struck him with it on the side of his

head, and he released his grip on her neck. They struggled as she attempted to

escape, and his eyeglasses, which had a wire or metal frame, came off. Her


assailant agreed to let her leave if she assisted him in finding his glasses. She

spotted them with her flashlight, and escaped as he retrieved them.

She did not report the assault until she was contacted later in January 1989

by the Riverside County Sheriff‘s Department regarding a different matter. She

informed a sheriff‘s deputy of the name on the belt buckle, and of her perception

that the assailant had responded when she called him ―Bill.‖ When she was

contacted again in 1992 by the sheriff‘s department, she selected defendant‘s

photograph from a group of six photographs, and she recalled that he drove a

light-colored station wagon. She identified defendant at trial, and stated she had

no doubt that he was her assailant.

At the time of the attack on Jetmore in January 1989, defendant was living

with Bonnie Ashley in Lake Elsinore. Ashley identified defendant in photographs

in which he was wearing wire-rimmed glasses and a belt buckle with the name

―Bill‖ on it. She kept real estate documents and other papers in her vehicle, and

defendant sometimes drove her vehicle, which was a white station wagon.

b. Murder of Kimberly Lyttle

Kimberly Lyttle worked on Main Street in Lake Elsinore. On June 28,

1989, her body was discovered in a rural area near Lake Elsinore. Among the

clothes on her body were socks and a shirt that did not appear to be hers. The

cause of death was asphyxiation due to strangulation. In her neck area were

numerous scratches that appeared to have been caused by fingernails, both of the

person compressing her neck and by the victim trying to free herself. There was

bruising on the skin and in the muscles of her neck, and a hemorrhage and fracture

of the hyoid bone. In addition, hemorrhaging in her scalp was indicative of blunt

force trauma, and round red abrasions on her arms and other parts of her body

were indicative of cigarette burns.


Two kinds of tests were performed on DNA found in a vaginal swab from

Lyttle‘s body: restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and polymerase

chain reaction (PCR). No results were generated by the RFLP test. PCR testing

on the male fraction of DNA established one type that matched defendant. The

probability of finding that type would be one in nine in the Black population, one

in 11 in the White population, and one in five in the Hispanic population.2 The

small amount of DNA available prevented further testing.

On a towel draped over Lyttle‘s body were hairs that were similar to

defendant‘s head hair, and pubic hair similar to defendant‘s pubic hair. Also on

the towel were fibers similar to the carpeting, the sidepanel upholstery, and the

seat fabric in defendant‘s van. Other fibers on the towel were similar to the blue

nylon exterior, the red acetate lining and the white nylon insulation of a sleeping

bag found in defendant‘s van. Sisal rope fibers found on the towel were similar to

the sisal rope found in defendant‘s van.

c. Murder of Tina Leal

On December 13, 1989, Tina Leal‘s body was discovered in the Lake

Elsinore area on a dirt road that was not well traveled. A T-shirt that did not

belong to her was on her body. The cause of death was asphyxiation due to

ligature strangulation and stab wounds to her heart. She had hemorrhaging within

her neck and eyes, and abrasions on her neck from a ligature. She had four stab

wounds to her chest inflicted antemortem, two of which penetrated three to four

inches and into her heart. She also suffered numerous other antemortem injuries,

including injuries to her lip and chin consistent with being hit, a black eye, an


It does not appear that any testimony was presented concerning defendant‘s

ethnicity, but he appears in photographs in the record to be White.


incised or ―cutting‖ wound to her left breast, lacerations or ―splitting injuries‖ to

her vagina, probably caused by blunt force, and a stab wound to the pubic area.

Around her wrists and ankles was redness indicative of a binding ligature. A

General Electric Miser 95-watt light bulb was found inside her uterus; the bulb

apparently entered through the vagina and cervix. General Electric Miser 95-watt

light bulbs were found in defendant‘s apartment.

Hairs found on one of her socks and on the body bag in which she was

transported from the crime scene were similar to defendant‘s head hair. Fibers

found on the T-shirt were similar to carpet fibers in the two units of an apartment

building in which defendant lived from March 1987 until mid-1988 and beginning

again in March 1989. Fibers on the T-shirt were similar to the red acetate lining of

the sleeping bag and the gold acrylic fabric that covered a pillow found in

defendant‘s van. Fibers found in her hair and on her clothing matched a sisal rope

in defendant‘s van.

In April 1990, defendant gave one of his female friends a pair of red-and-

white cloth tennis shoes. A fiber found on Leal‘s sock was similar to the fibers of

the tennis shoes, and purple-brown acrylic fibers found on the T-shirt on Leal‘s

body were similar to fibers found on the tennis shoes. In addition, a hair found in

the shoes was similar to Leal‘s hair.

There were tire tracks on the shoulder of the road near Leal‘s body. Two

tire tracks were consistent with a Yokohama 382 tire, and one tire track was

consistent with an Armstrong Ultra Trac tire, which were the types of tires

defendant had on his van at the time of this homicide.

d. Murder of Darla Ferguson

Darla Ferguson‘s nude body was discovered on January 18, 1990, near a

dirt road in the Lake Elsinore area. Her body was posed, with her legs up and her


arms positioned crossing her upper torso. The cause of death was asphyxiation

due to strangulation. She had hemorrhaging in an eye and in the skin of her lips;

abrasions on her neck; bruising in the skin and muscles of her neck; hemorrhaging

in the thyroid cartilage of the neck; scratches on her neck consistent with

fingernail marks; and bruising under her jawbones, possibly due to strangulation

and possibly from blunt force injury. Her tongue was protruding and bitten

between her teeth, which was indicative of asphyxia. In addition, she had

hemorrhaging under her scalp, which was consistent with a blunt force trauma,

and she had ligature marks on her wrists.

Male DNA found in the vaginal swab from Ferguson‘s body was analyzed

by RFLP and PCR testing. Both analyses reflected that the DNA was consistent

with defendant‘s DNA. The combined frequency with which the results of these

two analyses would appear is one in 34,000 among Blacks, one in 154,000 among

Whites, and one in 8,500 among Hispanics.

A hair found on Ferguson‘s arm was similar to defendant‘s head hair.

Fibers found on her body were similar to the red acetate lining, the white nylon

insulation, and the white acrylic insulation of the sleeping bag in defendant‘s van.

A rope removed from her body and individual sisal rope fibers found on her body

were similar to a rope found in defendant‘s van. A paint chip found on her chin

was similar to paint chips found on a later victim, Carol Miller. On the edge of the

roadway in front of the area where her body was found were tire tracks from a

single vehicle that were consistent with an Armstrong Ultra Trac and a Yokohama

382, the types of tires defendant had on his van at the time of this murder.

e. Murder of Carol Miller

Carol Miller was last seen on February 6, 1990, on University Avenue in

the City of Riverside (Riverside), entering a small blue automobile with a White


male. On February 8, 1990, her nude body was discovered in a grapefruit grove in

the Highgrove area of Riverside County. The cause of death was five antemortem

stab wounds to the chest, three of which penetrated her heart. She also exhibited

signs of asphyxia, including hemorrhaging in her eyes, eyelids, lips and gums.

The tissue that attaches the upper lip to the gum was torn, a condition that was

consistent with being struck in the face and also with struggling while being

smothered. There were ligature marks around her wrists.

Male DNA found in the vaginal swab from Miller‘s body was analyzed by

RFLP and PCR testing, and both analyses reflected that the DNA was consistent

with defendant‘s DNA. The combined frequency with which the results of these

two analyses would appear is one in 234,000 among Blacks, one in 1,000,000

among Whites, and one in 55,000 among Hispanics.

A shirt partially covered her face. A hair found on the shirt was similar to

defendant‘s head hair, and a hair found in her pubic area was similar to

defendant‘s pubic hair. Fibers found on the shirt were similar to the red acetate

lining, the white nylon insulation, and the blue nylon exterior of the sleeping bag

in defendant‘s van, and to the van‘s carpet and dark fabric on the van‘s seats.

Fibers found on the shirt and in her pubic area were similar to fibers in the rope

found in defendant‘s van. Paint chips on the shirt were similar to a paint chip

found on Darla Ferguson.

Tire track impressions consistent with Armstrong Ultra Trac tires and

Yokohama 382 tires were found near the body. Track widths — the distance

between two front tires or two back tires — of some of the tire impressions were

consistent with Armstrong Ultra Trac tires being on the front and Yokohama 382

tires being on the back of defendant‘s van, which was the location of the tires

when he purchased the Armstrong Ultra Trac tires.


f. Murder of Cheryl Coker

Cheryl Coker was last seen by her husband on October 30, 1990, as she

walked to University Avenue in Riverside to engage in prostitution. On

November 6, 1990, her nude body was found in a dumpster located in an industrial

area of Riverside. The cause of death was ligature strangulation. On her neck was

a single thin ligature mark that was so deep in the front that it cut through the skin.

Fingernail marks on her neck were consistent with someone trying to grab the

ligature. Due to decomposition, the medical examiner could not identify petechial

hemorrhage, but the reddish-brown color of the eyes probably indicated

hemorrhaging. There was hemorrhage in the soft tissue under the ligature mark,

and there were bruises on her forearms and on the backs of her legs. Her right

breast had been excised postmortem, and was found approximately 30 feet away

from the dumpster.

RFLP testing on DNA on a used condom found near her feet reflected five

matches to defendant. The frequency of this combination of matches was one in

540 million Blacks, one in one billion Whites, and one in 150 million Hispanics.

Fibers from her pubic area were similar to the carpet in defendant‘s van and

to the rope found in his van. A hair from her pubic area was similar to defendant‘s

head hair.

Shoe impressions found in the vicinity of the dumpster could have been

made by a pair of ProWings tennis shoes owned by defendant.

g. Murder of Susan Sternfeld

Susan Sternfeld was last seen on December 19, 1990, at approximately 2:00

p.m., looking to ―turn a trick‖ on University Avenue in Riverside. On December

21, 1990, her nude body was found in an enclosure for a dumpster in an industrial

area in Riverside. The cause of death was strangulation. There were hemorrhages


in her eyes and eyelids and in the muscles of her neck, abrasions on her neck, and

a fracture in her larynx.

RFLP testing on DNA from a vaginal swab reflected five matches to

defendant. The matches were the same as found in the sample from the condom at

the Coker crime scene. As noted above, that DNA profile appears in one in 540

million Blacks, one in a billion Whites, and one in 150 million Hispanics.

Fibers found on the victim‘s body were similar to defendant‘s van‘s carpet,

upholstery, and seat fabric, the rope found in the van, and the red acetate lining of

the sleeping bag found in the van.

h. Murder of Kathleen Milne, also known as Kathleen Puckett

Kathleen Milne worked on University Avenue in Riverside. Her sister last

saw her on January 18, 1991. Her nude body was found the next day adjacent to a

dirt road in the Lake Elsinore area. The cause of death was asphyxiation due to

strangulation and obstruction of her airway by a white sock that had been stuffed

into her mouth. She had hemorrhages in her eyes, mouth, and neck, and a fracture

in her larynx.

RFLP testing on DNA from a vaginal swab reflected four matches to

defendant. The frequency of this combination of matches was one in 16 million

Blacks, one in 23 million Whites, and one in 13 million Hispanics.

A fiber from her hair was similar to the carpet in defendant‘s van. A tuft of

yarn recovered from the sock in her mouth was similar to fabric on the seats of

defendant‘s van. One of the tire impressions found off the roadway and in the

direction of her body was consistent with an Armstrong Ultra Trac tire, the type of

tire that was on defendant‘s van, and was also consistent with tire impressions at

the Leal, Ferguson, and Miller crime scenes.


i. Murder of Sherry Latham

Sherry Latham worked on Main Street in Lake Elsinore. Her nude body

was found on July 4, 1991, in a field in the Lake Elsinore area. The cause of death

was strangulation. There was hemorrhaging in the muscles of her neck and a

fracture in her thyroid cartilage, but decomposition made it difficult to identify

other injuries.

A hair found on Latham was similar to hair from defendant‘s cat. Fibers

found on her were similar to the red acetate lining inside the sleeping bag in

defendant‘s van and fibers from a rope in defendant‘s van.

j. Murder of Kelly Hammond

Kelly Hammond was last seen on August 15, 1991, working on University

Avenue in Riverside. On the evening she disappeared, her friend, Kelly

Whitecloud, was also working as a prostitute on University Avenue. Whitecloud

entered a van that pulled up beside her, and the man inside agreed to pay her $20

for sexual services. Because Whitecloud was hungry, the driver first took her to a

McDonald‘s restaurant, and then they returned to his van. In the van, they argued

because he wanted to take her to ―the orchards‖ and she wanted to go to her motel

room. In addition, he said he would pay her only $10 because he had purchased

food for her. She told him she wanted to get out, but he refused to stop the van, so

she jumped out while it was moving. The van drove half a block farther and

picked up Kelly Hammond. Whitecloud yelled to Hammond not to go, but

Hammond left in the van and never returned.

Hammond‘s nude body was found on August 16, 1991, in an alleyway in

an industrial area of the City of Corona. Her body had been posed, with her face

down, her right arm under her abdomen, her left arm bent at the elbow with the

palm of her hand facing upward, her left leg drawn up into her chest area, and her

right leg extended outward. The cause of death was strangulation, with acute


opiate intoxication also contributing. She had hemorrhages in her eyes and mouth,

lacerations on her forehead, and abrasions on her face. Abrasions on her wrist

were consistent with a restraint. A linear injury on the back of her neck and an

abrasion on the front of her neck could have been inflicted with a ligature. There

were four areas of hemorrhage that were caused by compression on her neck.

RFLP testing on DNA from a vaginal swab reflected two matches to

defendant. PCR testing on the DNA also reflected one match to defendant. The

frequency of the combination of the two matches from the RFLP testing and the

match from the PCR testing was one in 7,000 among Blacks, one in 18,000 among

Whites, and one in 4,000 among Hispanics.

A hair from Hammond‘s body was similar to hair from defendant‘s cat.

Fibers found on her body and in her hair were similar to fabric on the seats, fabric

in the upholstery, and the carpeting of defendant‘s van. A fiber from her body was

similar to the red acetate lining inside the sleeping bag in defendant‘s van.

At trial, the manager of the McDonald‘s restaurant identified defendant as

the man with Whitecloud the evening Hammond disappeared, and Whitecloud

identified defendant as the driver of the van that picked up Whitecloud and then

Hammond. Whitecloud described the van as ―bluish gray‖ with ―grayish‖

carpeting. She recalled that it had two ―captain‘s chairs‖ in front and one in back,

and something that looked like a Bible on the center console. When shown a

variety of vans by a police investigator the day after Hammond disappeared, she

identified an Astro model van as the most similar to the van she had seen. When

defendant was arrested in January 1992, he was driving a Mitsubishi van. The

manufacturer‘s description of the van‘s color was ―Ascot Silver,‖ and defendant‘s

ex-wife, Bonnie Ashley, described it as gray. In the van‘s glove box was a

―Notice to Appear‖ that had been issued to Kelly Marie Hammond a week before


she was last seen alive. A black appointment book was found in the van, and two

captain‘s chairs were found in defendant‘s apartment.

k. Murder of Catherine McDonald

Catherine McDonald worked on University Avenue in Riverside. Her

daughter saw her for the last time on September 12, 1991, when she left their

apartment that evening, supposedly to go to the store. On September 13, her nude

body was found near a dirt road in a remote location in the Lake Elsinore area.

Her body was posed, with her legs spread apart, her feet together, and her arms

extended outward from her body. The cause of death was neck compression and

multiple sharp force injuries. There was hemorrhaging in her eyes, abrasions on

her neck, and a large cut wound on her neck that penetrated through the muscle,

the trachea, the left jugular vein, and the left carotid artery. There were three stab

wounds to her chest, two of which penetrated her heart. The stab wounds to the

chest and the wound to the neck were inflicted antemortem. There was bleeding

in the neck, separate from the bleeding associated with the neck wound, which

was evidence of compression to her neck. Her right breast had been excised

postmortem. There was a stab wound and four cut wounds to her genitalia; the

stab wound and two of the cut wounds were inflicted antemortem.

RFLP testing on DNA from a vaginal swab reflected one match to

defendant. That match would be found in one in 115 Blacks, one in 250 Whites,

and one in 119 Hispanics.

Fibers from McDonald‘s hair and body were similar to the red acetate

lining of the sleeping bag, the white nylon insulation of the sleeping bag, the

acrylic fabric of the gold pillow found in defendant‘s van, and fabric on the seats

in defendant‘s van. Hairs found in her pubic area and in her vagina were similar

to defendant‘s pubic hair. Hairs found in McDonald‘s head hair were similar to


the hair on defendant‘s cat. A hair found in the back of defendant‘s van was

similar to McDonald‘s hair.

Tire impressions were found on the dirt road, and shoe impressions were

found in the immediate vicinity of her body. The shoe impressions could have

been made by a pair of Pro Wings tennis shoes owned by defendant. The tire

impressions were consistent with a Yokohama 382 tire on the right rear wheel and

Yokohama 371 tires on the front wheels. When defendant‘s van was impounded

in January 1992, a comparison of its front left tire, a Yokohama 371, was made

with a tire track left at the McDonald crime scene, and the features and wear

pattern were similar. The model of tire on the left rear wheel of the vehicle

associated with the impression at the crime scene was not identified before

defendant‘s van was impounded, but it was subsequently determined that the left

rear tire of his van, a Dunlop SP32J, could have made that impression at the

McDonald crime scene. The track width and the wheel base of the tire

impressions were consistent with a Mitsubishi van.

Defendant was employed by Riverside County as a stock clerk at the

county‘s supply warehouse. He usually worked and took breaks at the packing

table at the end of aisle 6. A box on a shelf at that packing table contained three

purses, one of which contained an identification card with the photograph of a

Black woman and the name McDonald on it.

l. Murder of Delliah Zamora, also known as Delliah Wallace

Delliah Zamora worked on University Avenue in Riverside. Her body was

found on October 30, 1991, near a freeway interchange in Riverside County. The

cause of death was strangulation. There were hemorrhages in her eyes, eyelids,

and neck, and abrasions on her neck, perhaps caused by fingernails. Her larynx


was crushed, an injury that requires ―an extreme amount of pressure.‖ PCR

testing of DNA from a vaginal swab reflected a match to defendant.

Fibers on her clothing were similar to the red acetate fibers in the lining of

the sleeping bag, a fiber from her wrist was similar to the sisal rope, and fibers

from her shirt and hair were similar to the gold pillow found in defendant‘s van.

In early November 1991, defendant gave his wife, Cheryl Suff, a blue

denim ―Levi‖ purse, telling her that his boss had found it. Cheryl did not want the

purse. Also in November 1991, he gave a blue denim ―Levi‖ purse to his

neighbor, Vivian Swanson, telling her it had been Cheryl‘s, but Cheryl no longer

wanted it. Sometime later in November, defendant gave Swanson a gold bracelet

he claimed he had purchased. The ―Levi‖ purse recovered from Swanson had

belonged to Zamora. The gold bracelet belonged to Zamora‘s niece, who had left

it at Zamora‘s house. Two rings found in defendant‘s wife‘s jewelry box had

belonged to Zamora.

In the supply warehouse where defendant worked, a small purse containing

citations issued to Zamora for prostitution and drug offenses was found in a box

hidden on a shelf under the packing table at the end of aisle 6, where defendant

typically worked. Another box on a shelf of the packing table at the end of aisle 6

contained three purses, one of which had belonged to Zamora and which contained

earrings that were hers. Zamora had a habit of carrying smaller purses inside a

larger purse. A blouse belonging to Zamora was found on a shelf of the packing

table at the end of aisle 7.

m. Murder of Eleanor Casares

Eleanor Casares worked on University Avenue in Riverside. Her sister last

heard from her in the morning on December 23, 1991. At approximately 1:00

p.m., her nude body was found near a dirt road in orange groves. The cause of


death was strangulation. There were abrasions on her neck, hemorrhages in her

eyes and eyelids, a fracture in her thyroid cartilage, and a fracture and bleeding in

her hyoid bone. There was a stab wound in the middle of her chest, which also

would have been fatal. One of her breasts had been excised postmortem, and was

found approximately 40 feet from her body.

Human blood on a knife found in defendant‘s van was type A. A pinkish-

white substance, which may have been fatty tissue, on the knife was tested to

determine the type of its phosphoglucomutase (PGM) enzyme, and it was

determined to be a PGM type 2+1-. The blood and PGM types matched Casares‘s,

and did not match defendant‘s. This combination of blood type and PGM type

appears in 1.2 percent of the Black population, 1.8 percent of the White

population, and 1.9 percent of the Hispanic population. Additional DNA testing

reflected that the blood was consistent with Casares‘s and not with defendant‘s.

A hair from Casares‘s clothing was similar to defendant‘s head hair. Hairs

taken from her clothing and body were similar to defendant‘s pubic hair. Hairs

found on her body were similar to hairs from defendant‘s cat. Hairs in defendant‘s

van were similar to Casares‘s hair. Fibers on her clothing were similar to the

fibers of numerous items in defendant‘s van: the carpeting, a green blanket, the

gold pillow, the red acetate lining and white nylon insulation of the sleeping bag,

and the sisal rope.

Shoe impressions where Casares‘s body was found could have been made

by the Converse shoes defendant was wearing when he was arrested on January 9,

1992. Tire impressions at the location were consistent with the Yokohama 371


tire, the two Uniroyal Tiger Paw XTM tires, and the Dunlop SP32J tire on

defendant‘s van at the time he was arrested.3

Defendant gave the jeans that Casares was wearing on December 22, the

day before her body was found, to a cousin of one of his neighbors. He gave the

sweater she was wearing on December 22 to the agent who rented out apartments

in defendant‘s apartment complex. An identification card with a photograph of a

Mexican woman and with the name Casares on it was found in a purse in a box on

a shelf of the table where defendant usually worked.

On December 23, 1991, defendant had scratches on his face that were

―thick‖ and ―looked like claw-like marks.‖ During his interrogation on January

10, 1992, defendant admitted that on December 23, his van was on the avenue

next to the orange groves, he had left his shoe impressions in the orange groves,

and there was a body in the groves, but he denied putting the body there.


This final crime scene was the sixth at which tire impressions were found

that matched the types of tires defendant had previously purchased for his van. In
addition, the tire impressions at the various crime scenes matched each other.
More particularly, the Armstrong Ultra Trac impressions found at the Leal,
Ferguson, Miller, and Puckett crime scenes were consistent with each other, and
the Yokohama 382 impressions found at the Leal, Ferguson, Miller, and
McDonald crime scenes were consistent with each other. Also, the impression of
a Yokohama 382 tire at the McDonald crime scene, which was made more than 19
months after the earlier impressions, reflected a well-worn tire. Finally, tire
impressions at the McDonald and Casares crimes scenes matched the tires that
were on defendant‘s van when he was arrested. More particularly, a Yokohama
371 tire impression at the McDonald crime scene was consistent with the
Yokohama 371 on defendant‘s van, including excessive wear on the outside of the
tire; the Dunlop SP32J tire impression at the McDonald crime scene was
consistent with the Dunlop tire on defendant‘s van; and the Yokohama 371, the
Dunlop SP32J, and the two Uniroyal Tiger Paw XTM tire impressions at the
Casares crime scene were all consistent with the tires on defendant‘s van at the
time of his arrest.


n. Defendant’s animosity toward prostitutes

In 1984, defendant told his brother, Robert Suff, that he hated prostitutes.

In August 1989, the 14-year-old daughter of the property manager at defendant‘s

apartment complex and some of her friends dressed up like ―Barbies,‖ and asked

defendant to judge who was the prettiest. Defendant said that the girls who were

wearing makeup looked like ―goddamn prostitutes.‖ On another occasion,

defendant became agitated about four women living with a man in the apartment

complex, and said the women were ―whores.‖ In 1990, when a friend of

defendant‘s stayed at his apartment for four to six weeks, defendant talked to her

about prostitutes almost every night, and he commented that they needed to be

killed because they were sluts. Defendant raised the subject of the ongoing

prostitute killings five or six times with James Dees, a correctional officer, who

came to the Riverside County supply warehouse to pick up supplies. In December

1991, defendant told Dees that he thought the person who was killing prostitutes

was ―going to clean the place up.‖

2. Defense case

Defendant impeached prosecution witnesses and presented evidence to

rebut various aspects of the prosecution‘s case. He also presented two experts

who challenged the probative value of the DNA evidence.

Defendant impeached various witnesses with prior convictions and

inconsistencies or omissions in their statements or in their recollections. For

example, in 1989, Jetmore told a detective that her assailant‘s belt buckle was

silver, and in 1992, she told a detective it was gold colored; in 1991, the manager

of the McDonald‘s said he could not remember the man who was with Whitecloud

the evening Hammond disappeared, but he identified defendant at trial; in 1992,

Whitecloud said she ―tumbled out‖ of the van and landed on her feet, not that she


fell on her stomach; and defendant‘s brother, Robert Suff, who testified for the

prosecution, had been convicted of a misdemeanor and three felonies.

Defendant presented evidence related to a wide variety of other points. For

example, his evidence reflected that on December 19, 1990, defendant‘s timecard

reflected that he worked from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., hours that would have made

it difficult for him to have encountered Sternfeld, who was last seen around

2:00 p.m. that day; on July 2, 1990, the last time Latham‘s boyfriend saw her, she

was entering a black Nissan Maxima; on August 15, 1991, the day Hammond

disappeared, she was seen being picked up around midnight by a man in a blue

pickup truck; on December 23, 1991, the day Casares‘s body was found, a

waitress saw her get into a light blue truck with two young men at about 9:00 a.m.

on University Avenue in Riverside; on December 23, 1991, defendant was home

when Cheryl Suff woke up at 9:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m., and she recalled telling a

detective that she thought she had defendant‘s van that day, but that she was not

certain she had it; defendant was nice to prostitutes, although he did not like

prostitutes who ―were chasing drugs 24 hours a day‖; and defendant‘s brother,

who testified that defendant had told him at Bonnie Ashley‘s house that he hated

prostitutes, may not have ever been at Ashley‘s house.

With respect to the physical evidence, defendant elicited testimony from a

prosecution expert that sisal fibers in general are very similar, and that if another

sisal rope were purchased, the expert probably would not be able to distinguish its

sisal fibers from the fibers at issue. In addition, testing to determine the PGM type

of semen found on vaginal swabs from the bodies of Ferguson, Puckett,

Hammond, and McDonald revealed PGM types that were consistent with these

victims‘ respective PGM types, and not consistent with defendant‘s PGM type, but

based on the low to moderate levels of sperm that were present in the swabs, it


was more likely that the PGM types discerned were from the victims‘ vaginal

secretions than from the sperm.

Defendant presented two witnesses who challenged the validity of the

prosecution‘s DNA statistics. Laurence Mueller, an expert in population genetics

and evolutionary biology, criticized the way in which the Federal Bureau of

Investigation (FBI) calculates the frequency of particular lengths of DNA

generated through RFLP testing. He stated that because frequencies vary among

subgroups of broader racial groups, calculating the frequency of a particular

combination of results based on the frequencies within a broad racial group will

result in an inaccurate answer. Using data from the Mayan population in Mexico

and the Surui population in Brazil, Mueller testified that a particular six-locus

match appears in one in 37 people in these populations, but the FBI‘s techniques

would generate a frequency of one in 96 million. He also testified that the FBI‘s

criteria for determining whether there is a match underestimates, in some cases,

the chance of finding a match.

Mueller stated that the National Research Council (NRC) has

recommended that the criteria be adjusted, but the FBI has not followed that

recommendation. He calculated the match probabilities following the NRC‘s

recommendations, and determined the following frequencies with which the DNA

matches in this case would appear: Ferguson, one in 40; Miller, one in 111;

Coker, one in 11,000; Sternfeld, one in 6,972; Puckett, one in 6,086; Hammond,

one in 50; and McDonald, one in 23.

John Gerdes, the clinical director of a company that matches organ donors

and recipients for transplants, described ways in which a sample may be

contaminated by the presence of more than one type of DNA. First, the sample

may begin with more than one source of DNA. Second, in the forensic setting,

DNA may be inadvertently transferred from one sample to another as the evidence


is manipulated. Third, when DNA is amplified to millions or billions of copies in

a laboratory, it becomes easy to contaminate the lab itself with DNA. He testified

that in a clinical laboratory, personnel aseptically collect a sample from a known

individual, but in his experience, forensic personnel are not trained as well in

aseptic technique. Also, a crime scene is not a sterile environment. In Gerdes‘s

view, contamination problems present an equal chance of false inclusion and false

exclusion, and until there are adequate controls to prevent such errors or to

identify how often they occur, PCR analysis should not be used in legal

proceedings. He noted that the NRC report states that in the context of mixed

donors, the analysis cannot identify a major donor and a minor donor.

3. Rebuttal

Bruce Budowle, a research scientist with the FBI, confirmed that there are

population substructures reflecting differences between subgroups. Studies have

been done comparing estimates of frequencies among all of the different databases

from around the world, and the data relating to different subgroups does not

produce substantially different estimates as long as the subgroups are within the

same major category. There may be special circumstances in which the subgroup

is an issue, such as an isolated native population in Brazil that does not travel

elsewhere, but if that group is not located where the crime was committed, it is

irrelevant. In Budowle‘s view, the report prepared by the NRC reflected poor

science. The report was not peer reviewed before it was published, and criticisms

began after its publication. With respect to Dr. Mueller‘s calculations, Budowle

stated that there is a one in 1,000 chance that two brothers will have five matches,

yet Dr. Mueller calculated the frequency of the five matches to defendant found in

the Coker and Sternfeld cases as one in 354. He stated that Mueller‘s calculation

―defies genetics and science.‖ He also stated that population genetics among fruit


flies, which is what Mueller studied, was different from population genetics

among humans, who historically have traveled more than fruit flies. In his view,

multiplying together the frequency estimation from the RFLP methodology and

from DQa results was reasonable. He described the FBI‘s procedures as reliable

and valid.

B. Penalty Phase Evidence

1. Prosecution case

The prosecution presented details concerning defendant‘s 1973 murder of

his baby daughter, evidence that he killed another prostitute in a different county

in 1988, evidence related to physical abuse of defendant‘s second baby daughter in

1991, and victim impact evidence.

With respect to the victims, evidence was presented that Catherine

McDonald was four months pregnant. In addition, 16 relatives of 10 of the murder

victims testified concerning the impact of the murders on them. (See post, II.C.1.)

Evidence concerning the 1973 death of defendant‘s two-month-old

daughter, Dijanet Suff, in Texas, for which defendant was convicted of murder,

reflected that the cause of death was blunt force trauma. Bruises covered most of

the front of the infant‘s body, and one injury was a human bite mark. There was

significant blunt force trauma to the head or severe shaking of the infant. A large

quantity of blood in the abdominal cavity indicated a massive injury within the

abdomen. Two ruptures of the liver would have required a great amount of force.

Multiple fractures to the ribs and a fracture of an arm bone were several weeks

old. An abrasion on one foot was consistent with a burn mark.

Evidence was presented that in January 1988, defendant killed Lisa Lacik,

who used drugs and worked as a prostitute in San Bernardino County. Lacik was

stabbed to death, and also suffered blunt force trauma to her forehead. In addition,


her right breast had been excised. In 1992, Connie Anderson, who saw Lacik get

into a vehicle with a man who had offered her $100, identified defendant in a

photographic lineup as the person who had picked up Lacik.

Evidence was also presented of physical abuse of defendant‘s daughter,

Bridgette Suff, who was born in July 1991. Defendant‘s wife, Cheryl, returned

home one evening in October 1991, when defendant had been caring for Bridgette,

and found that the child did not respond as she normally did, and did not open her

eyes. A nurse at a hospital advised Cheryl to bring the baby in, but defendant

refused, and Cheryl did not have a driver‘s license. The baby was admitted to the

hospital the next day. A review by a suspected child abuse and neglect (SCAN)

team determined that an ankle fracture was likely caused by nonaccidental trauma;

four of her ribs had been fractured two to three weeks earlier, and the fractures

were of a type consistent with someone grabbing Bridgette and shaking her; and

there was widespread swelling of her brain, which would be caused by a whiplash

type of injury, and was consistent with someone grabbing a baby and shaking the

baby violently. The injuries almost caused Bridgette to die. A houseguest saw

defendant, perhaps the weekend before Bridgette was hospitalized, pick Bridgette

up and shake her while yelling at her to shut up.

2. Defense case

Defendant presented evidence to raise doubt concerning his commission of

the Lacik killing and the abuse of Bridgette Suff. In addition, his mother testified

concerning his life, several witnesses testified about his childhood, and employers

and friends testified about his good qualities. The jury also heard about his

conduct while in county jail. Finally, an expert testified about prison life for those

who are sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, and concerning

defendant‘s adjustment to life in prison.


With respect to the Lacik killing, a detective testified that Connie Anderson

stated that ―she didn‘t get a really great look‖ at the man who picked up Lacik.

With respect to the abuse of Bridgette Suff, a police sergeant testified that

defendant‘s houseguest told him that Bridgette would crawl around and bump up

against things.

Defendant‘s mother testified that when defendant was 16 years old, his

father abruptly left the family without telling anyone he was leaving, and after he

left, he never wrote to them. Defendant helped with his four younger siblings and

also worked part time to help the family. After high school, he joined the Air

Force and moved to Texas. His girlfriend, Teryl, became pregnant while he was

away, but they married, and they gave the baby to defendant‘s mother to raise.

Thereafter, Teryl gave birth to a son and a daughter. When defendant returned to

California after serving 10 years in prison for murdering his daughter, he was

more withdrawn. Several other witnesses also testified concerning his childhood,

recalling that defendant‘s mother had little interest in her children, that defendant

took over the father role when his father left, and that defendant was a normal,

quiet high school student who did not appear to have any problems with girls.

Employers recalled defendant‘s excellent computer skills, and described

him as enthusiastic, friendly, likeable, and punctual. One couple who employed

him trusted him to pick up their child from school, and testified that defendant was

afraid of doing anything wrong and going back to jail. Defendant‘s supervisor at

the county warehouse recalled that he volunteered for social events and was very

mindful of his daughter Bridgette. Several people testified that defendant helped

them with work and personal chores.

During defendant‘s time in county jail, he had one ―disciplinary marker,‖

for possession of contraband — a safety pin, a paper clip, and a staple. A nurse at


the jail testified that he was always pleasant and polite, and that he spent his time

watching public television, reading, and writing a cookbook.

James Park, a prison expert, reviewed the grand jury transcripts and

defendant‘s Texas prison records, and interviewed defendant. He found defendant

to be an intelligent person who was realistic about his situation. Defendant did

well in the Texas prison system, with only two disciplinary incidents noted during

his 10 years, neither of which involved violence. He worked in prison, and also

obtained his associate and bachelor degrees. Park predicted that defendant ―would

be an excellent, conforming prisoner, nonviolent, will work as assigned, do what

he‘s told,‖ and Park did not expect any problems with defendant. If sentenced to

life without the possibility of parole, defendant would be placed in a level 4

maximum security prison. In Park‘s opinion, defendant would make an excellent

adjustment to prison. As a level 4 prisoner, his cell would be 60 or 80 square feet,

and he would be allowed to have a television, stereo system, and typewriter if he

purchased them. He would be allowed to work and to participate in hobbies, and

he could purchase personal items from the prison canteen. Defendant could earn a

lower security rating; of 1,576 life prisoners without the possibility of parole, 300

to 400 of them were in level 3 prisons, and two or three were in level 2 prisons.

Finally, Park testified that because defendant killed a baby and 12 women, he was

likely to be victimized in prison, and might require protective custody.


A. Pretrial Issues

1. Removal of public defender’s office as defendant’s counsel

Defendant contends that the trial court‘s removal of the Riverside County

public defender‘s office as his counsel violated his right to counsel under the Sixth


Amendment to the United States Constitution and article 1, section 15 of the

California Constitution.

In October 1992, less than nine months after defendant was arrested and

more than two years before defendant‘s trial commenced, the district attorney

moved to relieve the public defender as defendant‘s counsel, based upon a conflict

of interest arising from the public defender‘s prior representation of victims and

prosecution witnesses. The public defender had previously represented Rhonda

Jetmore, the victim of the count alleging attempted murder, and she was unwilling

to waive her attorney-client privilege. The public defender had also represented

18 potential witnesses in 56 matters, and 11 of these individuals executed

declarations stating they were unwilling to waive their attorney-client privilege.

Prior to filing his opposition, defense counsel indicated that discovery

would be necessary to enable the defense to evaluate these individuals‘

relationships to the public defender‘s office and to this case. The court responded

that the content of the witnesses‘ testimony was not relevant, and it would be

sufficient for the prosecutor to provide a list of potential witnesses, with their

addresses and telephone numbers. The court also rejected defendant‘s contention

that the prosecutor had no interest in who represented defendant and should not be

allowed to participate in the proceedings to relieve counsel.

In his written opposition, defendant asserted that the public defender‘s prior

representation of individuals who would be witnesses in the present matter did not

automatically give rise to a conflict of interest, absent a threatened disclosure of

confidential information. In addition, defendant‘s deputy public defender

executed a declaration stating that he had represented defendant for more than 10

months, their working relationship was ―close and harmonious,‖ defendant wished

counsel to continue representing him, and the Riverside County public defender‘s

office would not declare a conflict. The deputy public defender also informed the


court that he had not personally represented any of the individuals previously

represented by the public defender, with one exception — he had made one

appearance, not as the attorney of record, in connection with one individual‘s

failure to appear in court, he did not have contact with that individual, and he

recalled no information about the case. Finally, the deputy public defender was

not aware of any confidential information relating to the prior representations, and

the defense would not use any confidential information. In the event the court

found a conflict, defendant urged the court to consider measures other than

disqualification of the public defender‘s office, such as appointing another

attorney to conduct cross-examination of former clients of the public defender‘s


The trial court relieved the public defender, and selected the county‘s

conflicts panel to represent defendant. The court took judicial notice of the

exhibits and the case files in prior criminal actions, and concluded that ―38 current

and former [deputy] public defenders represented all these individuals in various

cases . . . . At least 25 of those are current [deputy] public defenders in the

office.‖ It also observed that the individual who was the acting public defender

until two days prior to the hearing had made appearances in the prior actions, and

that the wife of that acting public defender (1) had been counsel in one of the prior

actions and (2) had been one of defendant‘s counsel until two days prior to the

hearing. The court concluded that there had been ―confidences, numerous and

replete, by the public defender‘s office with these various potential witnesses.‖

With respect to defendant‘s willingness to waive any conflicts, the court observed

that Jetmore and other witnesses were unwilling to waive conflicts with respect to

their prior representation by the public defender. The court stated that there was

an actual conflict of interest, and ―a potential conflict of interest that is so replete,

so staggering, that I think I would be remiss in not granting the motion.‖


Defendant contends the trial court abused its discretion in finding a conflict

of interest, because the court did not determine that relevant confidential

information existed or that defense counsel was privy to any confidential

information that could be used by the defense. He also contends that the trial court

abused its discretion by rejecting less drastic remedies, such as appointing separate

counsel for the limited purpose of cross-examining witnesses who previously had

been represented by the public defender, and by refusing to accept his offer to

waive any conflict. Finally, he asserts that the trial court abused its discretion in

allowing the prosecutor to participate in the disqualification proceedings, and the

prosecutor‘s actions constituted prosecutorial misconduct. As explained below,

we find no abuse of discretion in the trial court‘s decision to disqualify the public

defender‘s office and, in any event, any error was harmless.

A trial court has inherent authority to ―[t]o control in furtherance of justice,

the conduct of its ministerial officers, and of all other persons in any manner

connected with a judicial proceeding before it, in every matter pertaining thereto.‖

(Code Civ. Proc., § 128, subd. (a)(5).) This power ―authorizes a trial court . . . to

discharge an attorney who has a conflict of interest.‖ (People v. Noriega (2010)

48 Cal.4th 517, 524 (Noriega).) Generally, a trial court‘s decision to disqualify an

attorney is subject to review for an abuse of discretion. (In re Charlisse C. (2008)

45 Cal.4th 145, 159 (Charlisse C.)

The trial court took judicial notice of the numerous cases in which the

public defender‘s office had represented witnesses in this case, and it determined

that relevant confidential information existed, stating that there were ―confidences,

numerous and replete‖ with respect to the former clients of the public defender‘s

office, there was an actual conflict of interest, and there was ―a potential conflict

of interest that is so replete, so staggering, that I think I would be remiss in not

granting the motion.‖ Defendant does not contend that the court‘s determinations


are unsupported by substantial evidence. (See People ex rel. Dept. of

Corporations v. Speedee Oil Change Systems, Inc. (1999) 20 Cal.4th 1135, 1143

[―the reviewing court should not substitute its judgment for the trial court‘s

express or implied findings supported by substantial evidence‖].)

To the extent defendant focuses on the knowledge of the particular deputy

public defender assigned to represent him, his challenge relates to the

disqualification of the entire public defender‘s office. The trial court did not have

the benefit of the analysis set forth in Charlisse C., supra, 45 Cal.4th 145, which

requires the trial court to consider what screening measures or structural

safeguards could protect the former clients‘ confidences, and places on the

defendant the evidentiary burden to show that confidential information can be

screened within the public defender‘s office. (Id. at pp. 161-166.) Nonetheless,

the trial court inquired of defense counsel what measures could be taken short of

recusal of the public defender‘s office. In response, defense counsel proposed

allowing defendant to waive the conflict and appointing outside counsel to cross-

examine witnesses who had previously been represented by the public defender‘s

office. It also appears that the trial court considered whether defendant‘s counsel

would become privy to the confidences held by others in the office. The court

noted not only the large number of prior cases involving potential witnesses and

the numerous deputy public defenders who had been involved in those cases, but

also the fact that the individual who was the acting public defender until two days

before the hearing had been involved in the defense of the prior criminal actions in

which confidences were gained, and that the wife of the individual who had been

the acting public defender had been one of defendant‘s counsel until two days

earlier. (See id. at pp. 163-164 [where the attorney with a conflict has

supervisorial or policymaking responsibilities, it is more difficult to isolate an

attorney serving under them from information and influences].)


In light of the extraordinary number of witnesses and deputy public

defenders relevant to the disqualification motion, the trial court‘s finding that the

potential conflict of interest was ―staggering,‖ and the early stage in the

proceedings at which disqualification was sought, we find no abuse of discretion

in the trial court‘s action in disqualifying the entire office and not appointing

separate counsel to cross-examine the numerous witnesses who had previously

been represented by that office. For the same reasons, we conclude that the trial

court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting defendant‘s offer to waive the

conflict. (See Wheat v. United States (1988) 486 U.S. 153, 162-163 [―likelihood

and dimensions of nascent conflicts of interest are notoriously hard to predict‖;

trial courts ―must be allowed substantial latitude in refusing waivers of conflicts of

interest‖]; People v. Jones (2004) 33 Cal.4th 234, 240-241.)

In any event, assuming the trial court‘s procedure did not adequately

consider ways to screen defendant‘s counsel or other alternatives to

disqualification, as we subsequently prescribed in Charlisse C., supra, 45 Cal.4th

145, or that the decision was otherwise flawed, defendant has not undertaken to

establish that replacement of his counsel altered the outcome of the trial.

Accordingly, ―[h]e has not shown a reasonable probability (see Noriega, supra, 48

Cal.4th at p. 525) or possibility (see People v. Brown (1988) 46 Cal.3d 432, 447)

that the jury would have reached a different verdict at either the guilt or the

penalty phase of the trial had the public defender‘s office continued to represent

him.‖ (People v. Thomas (2012) 54 Cal.4th 904, 924.)

With respect to defendant‘s state constitutional right to counsel (Cal.

Const., art. I, § 15), ―a trial court does not violate a defendant‘s right to counsel

under the state Constitution when it ‗removes a defense attorney because of a

potential conflict of interest.‘ ‖ (Noriega, supra, 48 Cal.4th at p. 524.) As noted

above, the trial court concluded that the potential conflict of interest was


―staggering.‖ Therefore, the trial court‘s removal of the public defender as

defendant‘s counsel in this matter did not violate defendant‘s state constitutional

right to counsel.

With respect to defendant‘s rights under the federal Constitution, ― ‗[t]he

right to counsel of choice does not extend to defendants who require counsel to be

appointed for them.‘ (United States v. Gonzalez-Lopez [(2006)] 548 U.S. [140,]

151, italics added.)‖ (Noriega, supra, 48 Cal.4th at p. 522.) The ―replacement of

one appointed attorney with another does not violate a defendant‘s constitutional

right to effective assistance of counsel unless replacement counsel‘s representation

‗ ―was deficient when measured against the standard of a reasonably competent

attorney and . . . this deficient performance caused prejudice in the sense that it ‗so

undermined the proper functioning of the adversarial process that the trial cannot

be relied on as having produced a just result.‘ ‖ ‘ ‖ (Id. at p. 522.) Defendant does

not attempt to show that his new counsel was deficient. Therefore, he has failed to

establish a violation of his right under the Sixth Amendment to the effective

assistance of counsel. (Id. at pp. 522-523; see Thomas, supra, 54 Cal.4th 908,


Independent of the merits of the disqualification, defendant claims that the

trial court abused its discretion in allowing the prosecutor to participate in the

proceedings to disqualify the public defender. In the trial court, defense counsel

asserted that the prosecutor should not be a party to the process of determining

whether defense counsel should be disqualified, questioned whether the prosecutor

should be served with defendant‘s responding points and authorities, and

requested that the defense be allowed to respond in camera. He also complains

that by placing the burden on the prosecutor to establish that disqualification was

appropriate, the trial court gave the prosecution the last word on the issue and did

not allow defendant to respond further. Defendant attempts to analogize the


disqualification process to a Marsden proceeding (People v. Marsden (1970) 2

Cal.3d 118), stating that the only substantial difference is that in a Marsden

proceeding, it is the defendant who seeks to remove his or her own counsel. But

unlike a Marsden proceeding, in which privileged information may be revealed to

establish the reasons the defendant seeks the removal of counsel, the motion to

disqualify the public defender‘s office concerned that office‘s relationship to

individuals other than defendant; the disqualification proceeding did not require

the disclosure of any privileged information. The trial court did not abuse its

discretion in allowing the prosecutor to participate in the proceedings.

Finally, defendant contends that the prosecutor was overly aggressive in

pursuing the disqualification of the public defender‘s office, and that various

actions the prosecutor took were inappropriate. He asserts, for example, that the

prosecutor persuaded witnesses that the public defender‘s office would be required

to breach a nonexistent privilege, that he gave legal advice to witnesses and

asserted their attorney-client privilege, thereby creating a conflict between their

interests and ―his duties to see that justice was done,‖ and that he claimed he

intended to present various witnesses and subsequently stated that he was not sure

if he would present them.

Defendant asserts that the prosecutor‘s actions ―infected [defendant‘s] trial

with such unfairness as to make the conviction a denial of due process in violation

of both the federal and state Constitutions.‖ (See People v. Maciel (2013) 57

Cal.4th 482, 541 [prosecutorial misconduct includes conduct that infects the trial

with such unfairness as to violate the right to due process].) Although defense

counsel expressed concern in the trial court that the prosecutor had contacted

clients of the public defender‘s office and was seeking affidavits from those

individuals without giving notice to the public defender, and raised the possibility

that some of those individuals had waived their privileges by discussing matters


with the prosecutor, no objection of prosecutorial misconduct was made.

Therefore, this claim has been forfeited. (People v. Boyette (2002) 29 Cal.4th 381,

432; People v. Jones (1991) 53 Cal.3d 1115, 1144.) In any event, although the

prosecutor‘s actions may have contributed to the disqualification of the public

defender, it does not appear they had any other effect on the subsequent

proceedings. Thus, the prosecutor‘s actions did not infect the trial itself with


2. Denial of defendant’s motion for a change of venue

Defendant contends the trial court‘s denial of his motion for a change of

venue violated his rights to due process and to a fair trial by an unbiased jury

under the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States

Constitution and article I, sections 7, 15, and 16 of the California Constitution.

In December 1994, approximately two months before trial, defendant filed

a motion for a change of venue. He asserted that ―[t]hese alleged crimes have

engendered community shock, fear and indignation,‖ and ―[t]he publicity has

made the members of the community so aware of the alleged circumstances that

an impartial jury cannot be obtained.‖ He stated that potential jurors had been

exposed to information in the media that would not be admissible, at least at the

guilt phase of trial. According to a public opinion survey conducted between

November 8 and November 22, 1994, during which 396 residents of Riverside

County were interviewed, 73.2 percent of the sample recognized this case, and

66.9 percent of that 73.2 percent (49 percent of the sample) thought defendant was

―definitely guilty‖ or ―probably guilty.‖ In addition, 47.6 percent of the sample

was aware of defendant‘s prior conviction for murdering his child.

In January 1995, the court heard testimony from defendant‘s expert,

Edward Bronson, a professor of political science, concerning the likelihood that


defendant could receive a fair trial in Riverside County. Based on the opinion

survey of residents of the county, analysis of media coverage related to the case,

and consideration of other factors, including the gravity of the crime and the status

of defendant and the victims, he concluded there was a reasonable likelihood

defendant could not receive a fair and impartial trial in Riverside County.

Bronson focused on newspaper articles, because he found that the

television coverage ―simply reflects what‘s found in the newspaper publicity, but

in a far less comprehensive way.‖4 He testified that there was ―a flood of

publicity,‖ but also that ―the major articles were [in] the earlier period, going back

primarily to 1992, and then also to 1991.‖ With respect to the ―emotional‖ or

―inflammatory‖ aspects of the coverage, he counted 265 references to ―serial

killer‖ in ―the first half of the publicity.‖ He also noted references to nude bodies,

sexual mutilation, bite marks, semen found on all 19 bodies,5 and the posing of

some bodies in lewd positions, and stated that the reporting on bite marks was

troubling because there was some reference to the presence of bite marks on the

child killed by defendant in Texas. He also focused on terms and phrases such as

―grisly,‖ ―gruesome,‖ and ―reign of terror‖ as evidence of the inflammatory

character of the coverage. With respect to publicity concerning inadmissible facts,

Bronson noted that the district attorney had declined to state whether defendant

had confessed, and Bronson asserted that if there was no confession, the district


He reviewed articles from local newspapers such as the Press-Enterprise, as

well as articles from the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, the San
Diego Union-Tribune, and USA Today.


The press reported that 19 women had been identified by Riverside County

authorities as victims of a serial killer who preyed on prostitutes and drug abusers.
The tally began with an October 1986 homicide, and the 19th victim was Eleanor
Casares. Defendant was prosecuted for 13 of these homicides.


attorney‘s statements declining to state whether there was a confession were

prejudicial. He also noted the coverage of defendant‘s prior murder conviction,

which included graphic descriptions of the child‘s injuries. It had also been

reported that defendant was ―cold‖ and had ―no remorse,‖ that he and his former

wife were ―animals,‖ and that jurors in the prior case believed he tortured his

daughter to death. There was also reporting on the fact that in October 1991,

defendant‘s three-month-old daughter had been beaten almost to death.

Bronson asserted that the news coverage ―makes it remarkably clear that

the evidence is overwhelming in this case.‖ He noted statements by criminal

justice officials that indicated defendant was guilty. He acknowledged that there

was also exculpatory reporting, such as statements that defendant was not linked

to some killings. He added, however, that the positive coverage defendant

received, such as the fact that he participated in chili-cooking contests, was

presented as evidence that he enjoyed attention. Similarly, the media linked

defendant‘s work as an Air Force medic to serial killers‘ lack of abhorrence to


Bronson also reviewed characterizations of defendant in the media,

including references to his being a ―murderer,‖ a ―convicted child killer,‖ a

―monster,‖ and an ―animal.‖ Articles reported on his ―very violent temper,‖ and

used terms such as ―volcanic‖ and ―explosive.‖ He was called ―a new Antichrist,‖

and his ex-wife was quoted as saying, ―he should rot in hell.‖ His father was

quoted as saying it was ―a big mistake to release him from prison,‖ and that

neither parent planned to visit him. Bronson stated that although the victims were

―on the margins of society,‖ the media reflected a ―redemptive process‖ through

its reporting on their families and their struggles.

The court disagreed with Bronson‘s conclusion concerning the likelihood

defendant could receive a fair trial in Riverside County, but acknowledged the


extensive publicity the case had received, and therefore decided not to make a

final ruling on defendant‘s motion until a jury was impaneled. The court also

stated that it would examine the questions that would be asked on the juror

questionnaire regarding publicity, and would increase the amount of time counsel

would be allowed to question prospective jurors.

In March 1995, after both sides declined to exercise further peremptory

challenges and accepted the panel, defendant requested that the court revisit his

motion for a change of venue. According to defense counsel‘s review of the juror

questionnaire responses, approximately one-third of the prospective jurors

responded that they knew nothing or recalled nothing of the case. Because

approximately two-thirds of prospective jurors recalled, in varying degrees, the

events underlying the charges, defense counsel concluded defendant could not

receive a fair trial in Riverside County. Counsel explained that he exercised only

10 of his 20 peremptory challenges because the prosecutor had exercised only

seven peremptory challenges, and ―we decided at a certain point in time that the

mix was as good as we were going to get.‖

The court noted that it had allowed unlimited confidential voir dire of any

prospective juror who ―expressed any knowledge about the case to any extent

other than ‗Yes,‘ and then the press or TV.‖ It stated that, among the 12 jurors and

eight alternates, six wrote on their questionnaires that they knew nothing of the

case, and four had limited knowledge of the case.6 The court concluded defendant


The six jurors who indicated on their juror questionnaires that they knew

nothing of the case before coming to court were Jurors Nos. 2, 4, 9, and 11 and
Alternate Jurors Nos. 2 and 8. Juror No. 2, however, stated during voir dire that
―[a]fter going through and answering these questions . . . , I started vaguely
remembering the case as it had happened several years prior to that.‖ She added
that she did not remember much of what she read, ―[j]ust vaguely that they kept
finding these girls‘ bodies.‖

(footnote continued on next page)


(footnote continued from previous page)

The four jurors described by the court as having limited knowledge of the

case were Jurors Nos. 3, 6 and 8, and Alternate Juror No. 7. Juror No. 3 wrote that
she had ―skimmed the initial article‖ in the Press-Enterprise. Juror No. 6 wrote
that she read about the case in the Press-Enterprise, and that ―I don‘t remember
what I read in paper. I think it was several years ago.‖ Juror No. 8 wrote that she
did not remember whether she had seen or heard anything about the case.
Alternate Juror No. 7 wrote that he ―[p]robably read about it in local papers but
didn‘t give it much attention. I lived in Ohio until 1992.‖

The other 10 jurors and alternates responded on the questionnaire as

follows: Juror No. 1 wrote that he had read some articles in the Press-Enterprise
regarding the murders, the case, and defendant‘s arrest, but he had no thought
concerning the truth or falsity of the charges, explaining that ―I was not able to
read enough information.‖ Juror No. 5 wrote that he read about the case in the
newspaper, but ―didn‘t pay that much [attention] to the articles.‖ Juror No. 7
wrote that she heard about the case on television, and could disregard anything
that she had heard. Juror No. 10 wrote that she had not seen or read ―very much‖
about the case, and added that someone at her place of employment had ―said a
few things about what they had found in the van.‖ She also wrote that she had
―not followed this case enough to have thoughts either way‖ about the truth or
falsity of the charges. Juror No. 12 wrote that he ―heard [defendant] worked for
County of Riverside on the news shortly after arrest,‖ and that he had no thoughts
about the truth or falsity of the charges. Alternate Juror No. 1 wrote that he heard
about the case from ―[o]n and off again reports in the ‗Press-Enterprise‘ . . . .
Most coverage when arrest first made.‖ With respect to whether he had any
thoughts about the truth or falsity of the charges, he wrote, ―Have not read any
proof of evidence findings in news accounts.‖ Alternate Juror No. 3 wrote that she
heard about the case from friends, family, and coworkers, that she did ―not
particularly‖ have any thoughts concerning the truth or falsity of the charges, and
that her ―friends/family are not always an accurate source‖ of information.
Alternate Juror No. 4 wrote that she heard about the case in the newspaper and on
television, and ―[o]n the surface, my reaction is [defendant is] guilty.‖ Alternate
Juror No. 5 wrote that she heard defendant‘s name and of the accusations through
her employment at the sheriff‘s department, and that she had not ―given it any
consideration in any way‖ whether the charges were true or false. Alternate Juror
No. 6 wrote that he had read about the case in a newspaper, and did not have any
thought concerning the truth or falsity of the charges.


could receive a fair trial in Riverside County and from the jury panel selected, and

denied the motion for a change of venue.

―[T]he court shall order a change of venue: [¶] . . . when it appears that

there is a reasonable likelihood that a fair and impartial trial cannot be had in the

county.‖ (§ 1033, subd. (a).) ―The phrase ‗reasonable likelihood‘ in this context

‗means something less than ―more probable than not,‖ ‘ and ‗something more than

merely ―possible.‖ ‘ ‖ (People v. Proctor (1992) 4 Cal.4th 499, 523.) ―On appeal

from the denial of a change of venue, we accept the trial court‘s factual findings

where supported by substantial evidence, but we review independently the court‘s

ultimate determination whether it was reasonably likely the defendant could

receive a fair trial in the county. . . . [A] defendant challenging the court‘s denial

of a change of venue must show both error and prejudice, that is, that it was not

reasonably likely the defendant could receive a fair trial at the time of the motion,

and that it is reasonably likely he did not in fact receive a fair trial.‖ (People v.

Rountree (2013) 56 Cal.4th 823, 837.) ―Both the trial court‘s initial venue

determination and our independent evaluation are based on a consideration of five

factors: ‗(1) nature and gravity of the offense; (2) nature and extent of the media

coverage; (3) size of the community; (4) community status of the defendant; and

(5) prominence of the victim.‘ ‖ (People v. Leonard (2007) 40 Cal.4th 1370,


With respect to the first factor, the 13 murder charges and the attendant

special circumstance allegations weighed in favor of a change of venue, but the

nature and gravity of the offenses is not dispositive. As we noted in People v.

Farley (2009) 46 Cal.4th 1053 (Farley), ―on numerous occasions we have upheld

the denial of change of venue motions in cases involving multiple murders.‖ (Id.

at p. 1083; see, e.g., People v. Ramirez (2006) 39 Cal.4th 398, 407, 434-435 [13

counts of murder].)


Addressing the second factor, post, the last three factors did not weigh in

favor of a change of venue. Given Riverside County‘s population, as of January 1,

1994, of 1,357,000, the size of the community was a neutral factor. (See People v.

Anderson (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1104, 1131 [the size of the community was a neutral

factor when Riverside County‘s population was 600,000]; see also People v. Kelly

(1990) 51 Cal.3d 931, 955 [―The community, Riverside County, is large and

diverse‖].) Defendant‘s contention that the dispersal of this large population

through much of the county, resulting in only two cities with populations greater

than 100,000 and perhaps a sense of small-town life in many areas of the county,

does not alter our conclusion. ―When, as here, there is a ‗large, diverse pool of

potential jurors, the suggestion that 12 impartial individuals could not be

empanelled is hard to sustain.‘ ‖ (People v. Famalaro (2011) 52 Cal.4th 1, 23

(Famalaro); see People v. Coffman and Marlow (2004) 34 Cal.4th 1, 45 [rejecting

relevance of argument that state‘s fourth most populous county ―is like a

collection of small towns‖].) With respect to defendant‘s status in the community,

defendant conceded in his motion that he ―has never been a prominent or highly-

visible member of the community.‖ With respect to the victims‘ prominence, they

―were prostitutes. Although they could be seen as especially vulnerable, they [did]

not occupy an elevated position in society.‖ (People v. Jennings (1991) 53 Cal.3d

334, 363.)

Finally, we consider the second factor, the nature and extent of the media

coverage. Newspaper articles submitted by defendant include two from 1988,

three from 1989, and three from 1990, each reporting on the discovery of female

human remains, with two articles referencing the possibility of a serial killer.

Sixty-two articles published in various newspapers in 1991 increasingly referred to

a serial killer, and began tallying the number of victims with each discovery of

another body, which ended in December 1991 with a count of 19 victims. Articles


in 1991 also reported on the increase in law enforcement personnel assigned to the

investigation, and referred to a killer ―stalking local valley communities,‖

―giv[ing] Lake Elsinore [a] bad image,‖ and ―bring[ing] urban realities to Lake

Elsinore.‖ On New Year‘s Day, 1992, it was reported that Riverside‘s 42

homicides in 1991 set a record high, almost double the number of homicides in


Defendant was arrested on January 9, 1992. Media coverage was extensive

through mid-January, and then began to decline. On January 13 and 14, 1992,

articles regarding defendant‘s detention on a parole violation referred to his being

a suspect in 19 killings. Some of the articles referred to reports that defendant had

been detained ―during a ‗transaction‘ with a prostitute‖ and had confessed to some

of the killings. Some noted that defendant had been convicted in Texas of beating

his two-month-old daughter to death, and had been paroled after serving 10 years

of a 70-year sentence.

On January 15, it was reported that defendant had been charged with two

killings, and was suspected in 19 murders. Articles included details of the beating

death of his daughter, the Texas prosecutor‘s characterization of defendant as an

―animal,‖ and statements from defendant‘s lawyer in the Texas prosecution that

the lawyer saw no remorse in defendant in that prior case. A juror in the Texas

case described ―horrifying‖ details that led the jury to believe defendant ―tortured‖

his daughter to death, and characterized defendant as ―cold‖ and lacking remorse.

There was information linking defendant‘s van‘s tires to tire tracks at some of the

crime scenes, and statements by law enforcement officials that the evidence was

―strong,‖ ―primarily scientific,‖ and might involve DNA testing. It was also

reported that defendant appeared in court with his hands shackled, had failed to

report annually to the Texas parole board, and was not monitored by Texas

officials due to a ―computer glitch.‖ A neighbor of defendant‘s was quoted as


saying that defendant went out at ―strange hours,‖ and that when defendant

answered his door on December 21, 1991, he was ―all shaken up‖ and had

scratches on both sides of his face. Prominent serial killers as well as serial

killings under investigation were noted in connection with press coverage of the


On January 16, 1992, it was reported that defendant and his wife lost

custody of their three-month-old daughter the previous October due to a ―near

fatal beating,‖ and that defendant had been interrogated concerning the abuse, but

no charges had been filed. It was also reported that he was linked to 13 rather than

19 killings. Reports on January 17 added that defendant kept copies of news

articles about the murders, was ―prone to rages directed at his wife and often was

out late at night.‖ On January 18, defendant was ―recalled as violent,‖ and it was

reported that police hoped to link him to 19 murders. On January 19, one article

explored why people are ―transfixed by serial killers,‖ and a second article stated

that ―[t]he bizarre and gruesome circumstances [in this case] fit a classic profile of

other serial killing cases.‖ Two days later, an article about defendant‘s first wife

revealed that ―their marriage was filled with violence, hatred, and murder.‖ Over

the remainder of January 1992, it was reported that a second inquiry into the

October 1991 beating of defendant‘s child had ended due to a lack of evidence

concerning who harmed the child; the police stated that defendant was a suspect in

two additional murders, but reports that 13 killings had been attributed to him

were unsubstantiated; defendant‘s parents were stunned by the allegations; and a

couple with whom defendant had lived questioned his guilt.

Coverage continued to decline after January 1992. In February, the press

reported that defendant‘s arraignment had been delayed, new charges were

expected, the case would take years and cost the county millions of dollars, the

prosecution was likely to seek the death penalty, defendant‘s counsel might have a


conflict, and defendant had pleaded not guilty to two killings. There were also

articles about flaws in the county‘s system of checking for criminal backgrounds

of employment applicants, various events that led to defendant‘s arrest,

defendant‘s congenial attitude toward friends and coworkers, and the public‘s

fascination with mass killings. Fewer articles appeared in March, and most

addressed routine court appearances. It was also reported that another body had

been discovered, and that the police had determined the killing was not related to

19 other killings. An article in June stated that ―scientific tests linked‖ defendant

to 15 more deaths. At the end of July, the grand jury‘s indictment of defendant on

14 counts of murder and the crimes against Rhonda Jetmore was reported.

Articles included information about evidence linking defendant to the crimes and

the condition of some of the bodies when they were discovered. Finally, it was

reported that the task force investigating serial killings had been disbanded

following the indictments.

Thereafter, coverage was sporadic. Defendant‘s expert‘s media log

identifies only two more articles in 1992, four in 1993, and 13 in 1994.7 The

articles covered court events, such as defendant‘s plea, the denial of a suppression

motion, and the setting of a trial date. They also addressed DNA testing that was

performed to evaluate whether defendant was connected to another homicide; the

prosecution of defendant‘s brother for child molestation; the arrest of the lead

Riverside Police Department detective assigned to the homicide task force for


Defendant‘s expert testified that the log listed ―all the newspaper articles

that I was furnished,‖ but he added that he was certain he did not have all the
articles, and also that some of the articles were duplicates that varied only in the
headline and publication in which they appeared.


receiving stolen property; and the murder of an actress who was cast as a prostitute

in a film that mentioned defendant.

The reporting was largely factual, and most of the coverage referred to

evidence that was ultimately admitted at trial. (See Farley, supra, 46 Cal.4th at

p. 1083.) In addition, many of the media terms characterized by defendant‘s

expert as ―emotional‖ and ―prejudicial‖ reflected the facts of the case, such as

statements referring to a ―serial killer‖ and to victims‘ being stabbed, strangled,

suffocated, bludgeoned, tortured, mutilated, and dumped. ―Media coverage is not

biased or inflammatory simply because it recounts the inherently disturbing

circumstances of the case.‖ (People v. Harris (2013) 57 Cal.4th 804, 826.)

Although ―press coverage need not be inflammatory to justify a change of venue‖

(Farley, supra, at p. 1084), something more than sensational facts has been present

in cases in which a change of venue was required. (See ibid.) Here, relative to the

nature and extent of media coverage, there are no factors weighing in favor of a

change of venue other than the sensational facts of the case. In contrast, in

Daniels v. Woodford (9th Cir. 2005) 428 F.3d 1181, 1210-1212, on which

defendant relies, extensive publicity shortly before the trial turned the two police

officers whom the defendant had murdered into ―posthumous celebrities.‖ A

stadium was named after one of the victims, and both were the focus of media

coverage of the unveiling of a memorial to fallen officers across the street from the

courthouse. In addition, the public reacted passionately to the murders;

approximately 3,000 people attended the funerals, and editorials and numerous

letters to the editor advocated execution. In this case, media interviews with the

families of the victims did not similarly transform the victims into celebrities or


The passage of time from the early intense media coverage diminished the

potential for prejudice. In People v. Ramirez, supra, 39 Cal.4th 398, in which the


media coverage was described by the trial court as ― ‗saturation, as much as they

possibly can give,‘ ‖ we observed that ―the passage of more than a year from the

time of the extensive media coverage served to attenuate any possible prejudice

. . . .‖ (Id. at p. 434.) In People v. Lewis (2008) 43 Cal.4th 415, many media

reports used inflammatory terms, and some revealed inadmissible facts such as the

defendant‘s prior incarceration, his gang affiliations, and his codefendant‘s

confession, as well as prejudicial information concerning his status as a suspect in

other offenses and his confessions to several charged murders. In rejecting his

claim that a change of venue was required, we noted that ―[m]ost of the coverage

— and nearly all of the potentially inflammatory coverage — occurred . . . nearly

a year before jury selection occurred.‖ (Id. at p. 449.) Here, nearly three years

passed from the intense coverage in the first few months after defendant was

arrested until the time of trial.

Although most of the jurors selected to serve had some familiarity with the

facts of the case, ―the circumstance that most of the actual jurors have prior

knowledge of a case does not necessarily require a change of venue. (See, e.g.,

People v. Davis [(2009)] 46 Cal.4th 539, 580 [all 12 jurors with prior knowledge

of the case]; People v. Ramirez, supra, 39 Cal.4th 398, 434 [11 jurors with prior

knowledge of the case]; People v. Bonin (1988) 46 Cal.3d 659, 678, overruled on

other grounds as recognized in People v. Hill (1998) 17 Cal.4th 800, 823, fn. 1,

[10 jurors exposed to media coverage of the case]; People v. Leonard, supra, 40

Cal.4th at pp. 1396-1397 [eight jurors with prior knowledge of the case].) ‗The

relevant question is not whether the community remembered the case, but whether

the jurors . . . had such fixed opinions that they could not judge impartially the

guilt of the defendant.‘ ‖ (Famalaro, supra, 52 Cal.4th at p. 31.) Here, all

prospective jurors were asked to respond to questions concerning their knowledge

of the case and their reaction to any information they had received. They were


also asked whether they had developed a positive or negative reaction about

anyone involved in the case, whether they had any thoughts concerning the truth

or falsity of the charges, and whether they had formed any opinions about

defendant‘s guilt or innocence. Finally, they were asked whether they could

follow an instruction to disregard anything they had read or heard about the case

and base the verdict solely on the evidence and law presented in court. All of the

jurors and alternates responded that they could disregard what they had read or

heard and decide the case based on the trial.

Defendant contends, however, that this case ―falls ‗within the limited class

of cases in which prejudice would be presumed under the United States

Constitution.‘ ‖ He cites only the media coverage, which we have described

above, and the fact that ―it was never established that the vast majority of the jury

recalled nothing of the case or remembered few details.‖ As we have noted, prior

knowledge of a case does not necessarily disqualify a juror. The extraordinary

cases in which prejudice has been presumed involve circumstances in which ―the

influence of the news media, either in the community at large or in the courtroom

itself, pervaded the proceedings.‖ (Murphy v. Florida (1975) 421 U.S. 794, 799.)

For example, where a 20-minute film of the defendant‘s confession was broadcast

three times in the community where the trial took place, the defendant had

essentially been tried in the community of 150,000 rather than in the courtroom.

(Id. at p. 799.) Prejudice was also presumed where the news media was allowed to

overrun the courtroom and create a circus atmosphere. ―The proceedings in these

cases were entirely lacking in the solemnity and sobriety to which a defendant is

entitled in a system that subscribes to any notion of fairness and rejects the verdict

of a mob. They cannot be made to stand for the proposition that juror exposure to

information about a state defendant‘s prior convictions or to news accounts of the


crime with which he is charged alone presumptively deprives the defendant of due

process.‖ (Ibid.; see People v. Prince (2007) 40 Cal.4th 1179, 1217-1218.)

Our independent evaluation of the record leads us to conclude that

defendant failed to demonstrate that it was reasonably likely that (1) he could not

receive a fair trial in the absence of a change of venue, or (2) he did not in fact

receive a fair trial. Therefore, denial of defendant‘s motion for a change of venue

did not deprive him of due process of law or a fair trial.

3. Denial of defendant’s motion to suppress evidence

Defendant contends the trial court‘s denial of his motion to suppress

evidence obtained as a result of his warrantless detention and arrest violated his

rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article 1,

section 13 of the California Constitution.

a. Facts

Frank Orta was a police officer for the City of Riverside. On January 9,

1992, he was working as a uniformed motorcycle officer, enforcing traffic laws.

At approximately 9:30 p.m., he was driving on University Avenue in Riverside, an

area with much prostitution activity, when he observed a gray or silver minivan

make a U-turn in a parking lot by a liquor store, and then come to a stop facing

University Avenue, with its headlights on. It did not appear to Orta that the

occupant of the van was parking in order to conduct business at any of the

commercial establishments in the area. Orta was aware of information in a police

bulletin concerning an individual and a vehicle suspected to be involved in serial

killings of prostitutes in Riverside County. The bulletin described the vehicle as a

late model, two-tone, blue over gray, Chevrolet Astro van, and requested patrol

officers to collect ―field information‖ regarding any vehicles or suspects matching

the descriptions in the bulletin.


Upon observing the type of vehicle stopped in the parking lot, Orta

intended to find a clear vantage point, observe any activity, and effect a traffic stop

if a woman entered the van and the van drove away. A woman, who appeared to

Orta to be a prostitute, approached the van and crossed in front of it, through the

headlights, but then she noticed Orta, and immediately turned and walked back in

the direction from which she had come. The van then began to move.

Orta decided to make contact with the van despite the fact that the woman

had walked away, in order to gather information about the driver and the van.

When he observed the van leave the lot, he followed it, with the intention to stop

it. As he drove behind the van, the driver stopped at a red light. The van and

Orta‘s motorcycle ―were positioned to go straight in the lane, . . . [a]nd then the

van suddenly made a right turn without any kind of signals or without moving

over towards the curb.‖ Orta stopped the van for failing to signal the turn.

Orta then asked the driver for his driver‘s license and vehicle registration.

The driver, whom Orta identified at trial as defendant, produced a driver‘s license,

but stated that he did not have his vehicle registration with him. The license,

which identified the driver as ―Bill Lee Suff,‖ had expired in August 1991. On the

front of the license was an address in Lake Elsinore, but that address had been

scratched out. On the back was a second Elsinore address and an address in

Rialto. Orta testified that these addresses were significant to him, because some of

the victims‘ bodies had been dumped in the Lake Elsinore area, and one body had

been dumped in close proximity to Rialto. Orta also thought that defendant

resembled the police artist‘s sketch of the suspected serial killer.

Orta informed defendant that he had stopped him for his failure to signal

his turn, and that defendant‘s cracked windshield was also in violation of the

Vehicle Code. He asked defendant for his current address, and returned to his

motorcycle to issue a citation for the Vehicle Code violations. He also contacted a


police dispatcher to confirm the status of defendant‘s driver‘s license and to

determine the status of the vehicle‘s registration. In response, he learned that the

driver‘s license was suspended and, despite the 1992 registration sticker on the

license plate, the vehicle‘s registration had expired in 1990. Based on this

information, Orta decided to impound the vehicle. He testified that when he

discovered a vehicle was unregistered for more than a year, he always impounded

the vehicle.8

Five or six minutes after Orta stopped defendant, while Orta was preparing

a citation for the Vehicle Code violations, a notice to the driver that his license

was suspended, and an impound storage sheet for the vehicle, Riverside Police

Officers Duane Beckman and Don Taulli arrived at his location. They confirmed

they were part of the task force assembled to apprehend the serial killer, and Orta

informed them of his observations concerning defendant and defendant‘s driver‘s

license. He requested their assistance in conducting an inventory of the vehicle

prior to its being impounded and towed. He confirmed at trial that Riverside

Police Department policy requires that an inventory of a vehicle be conducted

prior to the vehicle‘s being impounded and stored.

Among the items found in the van during the inventory search were wire-

rimmed glasses, a parole card with defendant‘s name on it, a black notebook that


At the time Orta impounded defendant‘s van, Vehicle Code section 22651,

subdivision (o), authorized a peace officer to remove a vehicle found upon a
highway, public land, or a parking facility if the vehicle‘s registration had expired
more than one year before the vehicle was found. (As amended by Stats. 1991,
ch. 189, § 40, pp.1474, 1476.) In addition, former subdivision (p) authorized the
removal of a vehicle when an officer issued a citation for driving with a suspended
or revoked license, and there was no passenger in the vehicle licensed to drive.
(Id., p. 1477.)


looked like a Bible, blankets, and numerous pieces of cord. In response to a

question from Officer Beckman, defendant stated that he was on parole in Texas.

Beckman recalled that the police bulletin mentioned that there was a Bible on the

console of the suspect‘s van. When Officer Taulli found what appeared to be a

firearm in a holster, Officer Beckman informed defendant he was under arrest for

possession of a firearm, and he placed handcuffs on defendant. At this point,

approximately 10 minutes had passed since Beckman and Taulli had arrived on the

scene. Defendant informed Beckman that the item they had found was a pellet

gun, and the officers removed it from its holster and determined it was a pellet

gun. Officer Taulli then found a ―fishing-type‖ knife in the van, and Beckman

informed defendant he was still being arrested for parole violation and having a

fixed-blade knife.

Taulli informed Beckman that it looked like there was blood on the knife,

and Beckman then contacted the sergeant in charge of the special surveillance

operation that evening and informed him of the information they had gathered.

The sergeant then contacted Detective Christine Keers, who asked what brand of

tire was on the front wheel of the driver‘s side of the van. After Taulli informed

the sergeant that it was a Yokohama brand tire, the officers were instructed to

secure the scene and wait for the detective. Keers arrived at the scene

approximately 20 minutes later. After Keers determined that the passenger side

tires were Uniroyal brand, she introduced herself to defendant, at which point she

noticed that he was wearing Converse tennis shoes, and she asked him for

permission to search his van, which he gave. Inside the van, she found fibers that

were consistent with fibers found at some of the crime scenes. Keers then

requested that defendant be transported to the police station for questioning

regarding the serial killings. Approximately 15 to 20 minutes had passed between

Keers‘s arrival and her request that defendant be transported.


Defendant moved to suppress the evidence obtained as a result of the traffic

stop on the grounds that the stop, detention and search of his vehicle were

unlawful, and his arrest was without probable cause. His initial theory was that

the stop based on a violation of the Vehicle Code was a pretext to search for

evidence of other crimes. The People opposed the motion, asserting that (1) Orta

had a reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle, based on the activity observed near

the liquor store and facts known concerning a serial killer, (2) the stop of the van

for the failure to signal was lawful, (3) the detention was not unduly prolonged, (4)

the inventory search of the van was lawful, and (5) the evidence seized would

inevitably have been discovered. Defendant filed a supplemental brief, asserting

that (1) Orta had no reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle, and (2) defendant

had not violated Vehicle Code section 22107 because that provision requires use

of a turn signal ―in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the [turn],‖ and

there was no other vehicle that could have been affected by defendant‘s turn.

The trial court found that ―Officer Orta had articulable reasonable

suspicions of criminal activity under the totality of circumstances,‖ citing Orta‘s

familiarity with the activity of prostitutes on University Avenue, and his

knowledge of the type of vehicle thought to be used by a serial killer, which

matched the type he believed was occupied by someone who was attempting to

solicit a prostitute. The court also found that Orta ―objectively could have stopped

the vehicle for an improper turn, turning without a signal.‖ The court further

concluded that once Orta stopped the van, he properly determined the status of

defendant‘s driver‘s license and vehicle registration, and then properly discovered

other information, without unduly prolonging the detention. Therefore, the trial

court denied the motion to suppress the evidence gathered as a result of the traffic



b. Analysis

―A defendant may move to suppress evidence on the ground that ‗[t]he

search or seizure without a warrant was unreasonable.‘ (§ 1538.5, subd.

(a)(1)(A).) A warrantless search is presumed to be unreasonable, and the

prosecution bears the burden of demonstrating a legal justification for the search.

[Citation.] ‗The standard of appellate review of a trial court‘s ruling on a motion

to suppress is well established. We defer to the trial court‘s factual findings,

express or implied, where supported by substantial evidence. In determining

whether, on the facts so found, the search or seizure was reasonable under the

Fourth Amendment, we exercise our independent judgment.‘ ‖ (People v. Redd

(2010) 48 Cal.4th 691, 719 (Redd); see People v. Williams (2013) 56 Cal.4th 165,

184; People v. Ayala (2000) 24 Cal.4th 243, 279.)

― ‗A detention is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment when the

detaining officer can point to specific articulable facts that, considered in light of

the totality of the circumstances, provide some objective manifestation that the

person detained may be involved in criminal activity.‘ [Citation.] Ordinary traffic

stops are treated as investigatory detentions for which the officer must be able to

articulate specific facts justifying the suspicion that a crime is being committed.‖

(People v. Hernandez (2008) 45 Cal.4th 295, 299 (Hernandez).) The motivations

of the officer are irrelevant to the reasonableness of a traffic stop under the Fourth

Amendment. (Whren v. United States (1996) 517 U.S. 806, 813.) ―All that is

required is that, on an objective basis, the stop ‗not be unreasonable under the

circumstances.‘ ‖ (United States v. Mariscal (9th Cir. 2002) 285 F.3d 1127, 1130


Defendant contends that (1) the Vehicle Code did not require him to signal

his turn, and (2) the events witnessed by Officer Orta prior to defendant‘s

departure from the liquor store parking lot did not justify a suspicion that a crime


was being committed. For the reasons set forth below, we conclude defendant

violated the Vehicle Code when he failed to signal his turn, and Officer Orta was

authorized to detain him, demand his driver‘s license and vehicle registration, and

impound and search his vehicle, both because defendant‘s license was suspended

and because the vehicle‘s registration had expired more than a year earlier.

Therefore, we need not and do not address whether other circumstances also

justified the traffic stop.

With respect to his contention that he was not required to use a turn signal

when he made the turn immediately preceding his detention, defendant first relies

on Vehicle Code section 21453, which describes the circumstances in which a

driver who is facing a red traffic light is authorized to turn, but does not mention

any requirement that the driver signal the turn.9 He acknowledges Vehicle Code

section 22107‘s requirement that a driver signal a turn,10 but notes that Vehicle

Code section 22108 requires that the signal ―be given continuously during the last

100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning,‖ and asserts that ―[w]hen motorists

form the intent to turn after coming to a complete stop at a red light, . . . it is

physically impossible to comply with the provisions of section 22108 by giving a

continuous signal during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle. Under these


The People contend defendant forfeited his contention that Vehicle Code

section 21453 authorized his turn without a signal because he did not rely on this
particular statute in the trial court. Because his argument raises only an issue of
law, we may consider it despite the fact that it was raised for the first time on
appeal. (People v. Superior Court (Zamudio) (2000) 23 Cal.4th 183, 195.)


Vehicle Code section 22107 provides: ―No person shall turn a vehicle from

a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be
made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal
in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be
affected by the movement.‖


circumstances, there is simply no obligation under California law to give a signal

of any kind.‖

Defendant claims the legislative history of these statutes supports his

theory. He notes that in the same year that the Legislature added the Vehicle Code

provision authorizing a turn at a red light (Veh. Code, former § 476 [right-on-red

rule], added by Stats. 1947, ch. 1256, § 3, p. 2769), the Legislature amended the

predecessor to Vehicle Code section 22107, the statute that requires a turn signal,

to add the phrase ―from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway.‖

(Veh. Code, former § 544 [entitled ―Turning Movements and Required Signals‖],

as amended by Stats. 1947, ch. 875, § 5, p. 2053.) He contends that the provision

authorizing a right turn on a red light ―conflicted with [former Vehicle Code]

section 544, which required a signal at all turns. How could a driver who decided

to turn after stopping at a red light comply with section 544 by continuously

signaling an intention to turn for a specified distance? Therefore, [former Vehicle

Code] section 544 was amended in the same legislative session to provide that a

signal is required only when a vehicle turns ‗from a direct course or move[s] right

or left upon a roadway.‘ Whereas all turns had theretofore required a signal, the

amendment made clear that the statute only required vehicles turning from a direct

course (i.e., moving) or those moving right or left on a public roadway (i.e.,

changing lanes) to give a signal of an intention to turn.‖

There was, however, no conflict in 1947 between the requirement to signal

all turns and the authority to turn right at a red traffic signal, nor is there any

conflict between the current provisions concerning signaling (Veh. Code,

§§ 22107, 22108) and those related to turning at a red light (Veh. Code, § 21453).

The provisions concerning signals require the driver to signal a turn, and the right-

on-red provisions address when a driver may turn despite a red light. The

extension or clarification of the provisions concerning signaling to encompass


both a turn ―from a direct course‖ and a ―move right or left upon a roadway‖

reflects that the signaling requirements apply to lane changes as well as changes of

course; it does not reflect a legislative intent to require a signal only if the driver

decides to turn before reaching a red light. Defendant cites no authority for the

proposition that a ―direct course‖ refers only to vehicles that are moving, nor does

he suggest any reason the Legislature would provide that a turn signal is not

required before a vehicle turns at a red light. Finally, nothing in these statutes

concerns the timing of a driver‘s decision to turn.

Alternatively, defendant contends that he was not required to signal his turn

because Vehicle Code section 22107 states that a signal is required ―in the event

any other vehicle may be affected by the movement,‖ and there was no vehicle

that could have been affected by defendant‘s turn. Essentially the same argument

was made in People v. Logsdon (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 741, in which a police

officer, who was driving behind the defendant in the same lane, stopped the

defendant for failing to signal a lane change. In rejecting the defendant‘s

contention that no vehicles could have been affected by his lane change, Logsdon

observed that ―a signal is primarily aimed at vehicles behind the car making the

lane change.‖ (Id. at p. 744.)

Defendant asserts, however, that because Orta‘s motorcycle was stopped

behind defendant‘s van, the motorcycle could not have been affected by

defendant‘s turn. In support of this theory, he cites Mariscal, supra, 285 F.3d

1127, which involved Arizona‘s law that a signal is required ― ‗in the event any

other traffic may be affected by the movement.‘ ‖ (Id. at p. 1131, italics added.)

In Mariscal, patrol officers had been notified of the defendant‘s route, and they

positioned themselves at an intersection toward which the defendant was driving.

At that intersection, the defendant made a right turn without signaling the turn, and

the officers then had to make a U-turn to follow him to make a traffic stop. The


Ninth Circuit invalidated the stop, concluding that the stationary police vehicle

was not in ―traffic‖ within the Arizona law‘s definition of traffic, which required

―us[e of] a highway for purposes of travel.‖ The court concluded that the

stationary vehicle was not traveling, based on a dictionary definition that

suggested that ―traffic‖ involves ―circulation‖ or ―flow‖ or ―movement.‖ (Id. at p.

1132.) The court added that even if the officers were in ―traffic,‖ they could not

have been ―affected‖ by the defendant‘s turn, which was made on the other side of

the intersection from where the officers were parked.

Mariscal is distinguishable. First, Vehicle Code section 22107 refers to

whether a ―vehicle‖ may be affected rather than whether ―traffic‖ may be affected.

Second, Orta was behind defendant‘s vehicle, not stationed across an intersection

as were the police in Mariscal. Third, Orta was clearly in a position to be affected

by defendant‘s turn; had Orta decided to proceed to the right of defendant‘s van to

make a right turn, he would have done so without knowing that defendant was

planning to turn right into the same path.

In sum, defendant was required to signal that he was going to turn at the

intersection, and his failure to do so justified Officer Orta‘s traffic stop. (See

Hernandez, supra, 45 Cal.4th at p. 299.) The officer was then authorized to

require defendant to produce his driver‘s license and evidence of registration of his

van. (Redd, supra, 48 Cal.4th at p. 719.) Upon determining that the registration

of defendant‘s van had expired more than a year earlier, the officer was authorized

to impound the van. (Veh. Code, § 22651, former subd. (o)(1); Redd, supra, at

p. 721.) Having impounded the vehicle, Orta was authorized to conduct an

inventory ―aimed at securing or protecting the car and its contents.‖ (South

Dakota v. Opperman (1976) 428 U.S. 364, 373.) For these reasons, we conclude

the trial court did not err in denying defendant‘s motion to suppress the evidence

obtained as a result of the traffic stop.


4. Denial of defendant’s discovery requests

Defendant contends that the denial of discovery concerning murders of

prostitutes with which defendant was not charged and concerning any profile of

the killer prepared by law enforcement violated his right to a fair trial and an

intelligent defense under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to

the United States Constitution. He also contends that the prosecutor‘s refusal to

produce this information constituted prosecutorial misconduct.

a. Facts

i. Discovery related to killings of other prostitutes

In May 1993, defendant sought discovery of information related to six other

killings of prostitutes, including one committed after defendant was arrested and

with which a different person had been charged. The People opposed discovery

on the grounds that (1) the other cases remained under investigation and the

information was therefore privileged, (2) the privacy rights of the families of the

victims in the other cases were ―compelling,‖ and (3) the information was not

relevant unless the defense could identify the perpetrator of the other crimes. At

the hearing on the motion, defense counsel stated that the defense was seeking

―the same types of things that would be available to use were these people on the

charged indictment,‖ and asserted that the information sought ―could be relevant

in the defense to say that . . . these killings are so similar and yet there is clearly an

exclusion, perhaps, of [defendant] from them.‖

The trial court stated that the defense had to ―show . . . more specificity

than . . . simply because they were prostitutes killed during the same timeframe.‖

The defense responded that ―some analysis of the type of investigation that

occurred‖ was needed before its relevancy could be judged. The trial court

suggested that it was appropriate to rely on the prosecution to fulfill its sworn duty

and obligation to produce relevant information. The defense responded that each


side was biased, and that the trial court must review the materials and make a

determination. The court stated that the defense‘s proposal ―is not a solution . . .

because I have no idea of what has gone before . . . .‖ The court ordered that ―if

there‘s any known exculpatory information as to the charged crimes against

[defendant], I‘m ordering that be divulged.‖

In August 1994, defendant renewed his motion to compel discovery with

respect to two prostitutes whose bodies were found in the Riverside area after

defendant was arrested. Cheryl Clark had died from strangulation and stabbing

and was dumped in a trash receptacle, and Janine Sheppard had been dumped in a

dirt alley. The prosecution represented that it intended to abide by the trial court‘s

earlier order to produce exculpatory information. It further stated that another

man had been convicted of Clark‘s murder, and that bodily fluid analyses in

connection with that crime had excluded defendant as a semen donor. With

respect to Sheppard‘s murder, the prosecution reiterated that it would produce any

exculpatory evidence, but added that releasing all of the evidence in that case

would compromise the investigation. At the hearing, the prosecutor stated that

―[w]e are well aware of the types of information that [defense counsel] is looking

for in this kind of case. If we find it, we will provide it.‖ The trial court indicated

with respect to discovery of the reports in the Sheppard case that ―you‘d have to

find the perpetrator. And I don‘t think that‘s what we‘re about.‖ It added that the

prosecution had ―an obligation to keep these things secret for their ongoing

investigation.‖ The court then observed that the information related to the

Sheppard case was part of an ongoing investigation and could be withheld if its

disclosure would jeopardize that investigation, and for those reasons denied

discovery ―at least at this time.‖ With respect to the Clark case, the court noted

that the case had been tried in open court, and suggested that the defense talk to


counsel in the Clark case and determine whether there were similarities. The court

also directed the prosecution to review both of the cases again.

ii. Discovery related to serial killer profiles

The defense also sought discovery of any profile that had been prepared by

a law enforcement agency with respect to the investigation of a serial killer of

prostitutes. At the June 1993 hearing on the matter, the prosecutor asserted that

any psychological profile was irrelevant, and declined to state whether one

existed. The trial court agreed that, as of that point in time, any profile was

irrelevant. In May 1994, following renewed requests for any profile, the trial court

stated that it would deny any request for a profile, and noted that the defense had

already received the reports from which any profile would have been developed.

The court added that further investigation that brought up new evidence might be

discoverable, but ―some configuration or some probability chart‖ based on the

accumulated reports would not be discoverable. It concluded that ―everything is

available to you to develop for either phase through your own expert.‖

In May 1995, during trial, the prosecution filed a motion to introduce expert

testimony by a member of the National Center for Analysis of Violent Crime of

the FBI. The motion disclosed that the center ―maintains a computer database

analysis unit called V.I.C.A.P., the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program. The

program was employed before the arrest of the defendant in this case.‖ The

testimony was offered to establish that the crimes were committed by a single

individual, based on such evidence as the selection of primarily White female

prostitutes, the commission of the killings and the disposal of the bodies outside

the ―comfort zones‖ of the perpetrator‘s home or business, the binding of victims

to prolong contact with them, the ―unusual inputs‖ into the killings such as

mutilation and postmortem stabbing, and the unusual pattern of body disposal


(e.g., nude or partially nude bodies in posed positions) in visible places in a

manner to draw attention. The trial court denied the prosecution‘s motion on the

ground that the evidence‘s prejudicial effect outweighed its probative value.

(Evid. Code, § 352.)

The prosecution again sought to admit expert evidence regarding the profile

at the penalty phase in response to defendant‘s evidence of his good character.

The defense objected, and the trial court excluded the testimony on the ground that

it was not proper rebuttal evidence.

b. Analysis

―A public entity has a privilege to refuse to disclose official information‖

(Evid. Code, § 1040, subd. (b)) if ―[d]isclosure of the information is against the

public interest because there is a necessity for preserving the confidentiality of the

information that outweighs the necessity for disclosure in the interest of justice

. . . .‖ (Id., subd. (b)(2).) ―Ongoing investigations fall under the privilege for

official information.‖ (People v. Jackson (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 280, 287; see

Pen. Code, § 1054.7 [―possible compromise of other investigations by law

enforcement‖ constitutes good cause to deny, restrict, or defer disclosure].)

A trial court has discretion to deny disclosure not only when the necessity

for confidentiality outweighs the necessity for disclosure, but also ―when there is

an ‗ ―absence of a showing which specifies the material sought and furnishes a

‗plausible justification‘ for inspection [citations].‖ ‘ ‖ (People v. Kaurish (1990)

52 Cal.3d 648, 686 (Kaurish).) The trial court‘s ruling is reviewed under the

abuse of discretion standard. (People v. Prince, supra, 40 Cal.4th at p. 1232.)

Here, regardless of whether defendant sought to prove a third party culpability

theory or to disprove the prosecution‘s serial murderer theory, the trial court did


not abuse its discretion in concluding that defendant did not sufficiently specify

the material sought.

To be exculpatory as third party culpability evidence, the information

sought would have to assist defendant in establishing that the uncharged prostitute

killings were committed by a third party who was directly connected to a charged

crime. (People v. Hall (1986) 41 Cal.3d 826, 832 [third party culpability evidence

must tend to directly connect the third party to the commission of the charged

crime]; People v. Littleton (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 906, 911 [―Because no one had

been arrested or charged with those other crimes . . . , the information in the

reports would have been of no value to the defendant unless he was able to solve

the other crimes and identify the perpetrator‖].) Defendant did not identify any

such information.

To be exculpatory with respect to the prosecution‘s serial murderer theory,

the information sought would have to assist defendant in establishing that he was

not responsible for an uncharged killing and the killing was sufficiently similar to

the charged crimes to tend to rebut the prosecution‘s theory that all of the charged

homicides were committed by the same person.11 The prosecution‘s serial murder

―linkage‖ theory was based on numerous similarities among the charged

homicides, including binding, mutilation, postmortem stabbing, disposing the

bodies in a manner indicating they were intended to be found, and posing and re-

dressing some victims. In addition, the charged homicides were connected by


The Attorney General asserts defendant did not present this theory of

relevancy in the trial court. Although defendant‘s legal arguments in support of
his motions for discovery focused on the possibility that the reports would lead to
evidence that a third person was involved in the crimes, his arguments at the
hearing were somewhat broader and arguably raised this theory.


numerous commonalities in the forensic evidence, including tire treads, fibers, and

hairs. Defendant did not identify any factors other than that the uncharged killings

involved drug-addicted prostitutes whose bodies were dumped.

Defendant complains that he could not demonstrate additional specificity

without reviewing the police files regarding the uncharged homicides. Given the

numerous distinctive facts associated with the charged murders, the specific

details one would look for in connection with the uncharged crimes were obvious

— the similarities that supported the prosecution‘s serial murder theory.

Despite the trial court‘s statement that the defendant would have to show

greater specificity to obtain discovery, and the court‘s observation that having the

court review the files would be of no assistance to the process because the court

was not familiar with the evidence of the charged crimes, defendant did not

describe the discovery sought with any greater specificity. Thus, it appears

defendant sought to undertake a proverbial fishing expedition. (See People v.

Jenkins (2000) 22 Cal.4th 900, 957 [―defendant‘s showing of need . . . was based

upon speculation and constituted the proverbial fishing expedition‖]; see also

Pitchess v. Superior Court (1974) 11 Cal.3d 531, 538 [noting that ―the documents

have been requested with adequate specificity to preclude the possibility that

defendant is engaging in a ‗fishing expedition.‘ ‖].) Because defendant failed to

describe the information sought with greater specificity, the trial court did not

abuse its discretion in denying discovery of the police files. (See Kaurish, supra,

52 Cal.3d at pp. 686-687 [because defendant failed to provide greater specificity

than ― ‗police reports pertaining to child molestation killings in the Hollywood

area‘ for the six months preceding and following the murder,‖ trial court did not

abuse its discretion in denying discovery request].)

Defendant complains that, ―based solely on the prosecutor‘s judgment that

there was nothing about the investigations which would be of assistance to


[defendant] in preparing and presenting a defense, the judge determined that the

government had met its burden of demonstrating the privilege.‖ This contention

conflates the issues of privilege and relevance. Although the trial court

acknowledged the privilege that applies to ongoing investigations, it concluded

that the defense would have to demonstrate more specificity than the mere fact

that ―they were prostitutes killed during the same timeframe.‖ The court also

noted the prosecution‘s duty to produce all exculpatory evidence (§ 1054.1, subd.

(e); Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83, 87; see People v. Jenkins, supra, 22

Cal.4th at pp. 952-954), and ordered the prosecution to divulge all exculpatory

information. Because the prosecution did not identify any exculpatory evidence,

there was no occasion for the trial court to conduct an in camera review of the

investigatory files to evaluate a claim of privilege. The fact that the prosecution

asserted that the files were confidential does not alter the analysis.12


Defendant asserts that the People are barred by the doctrine of judicial

estoppel from contending that the trial court could deny the motion to compel
discovery without holding an in camera review, because the People conceded in
People v. Jackson, supra, 110 Cal.App.4th at page 284, that the trial court erred in
that case when it denied a discovery motion without conducting an in camera
review to determine whether police files related to uncharged crimes contained
exculpatory evidence. Without deciding whether the doctrine may apply against
the prosecution in a criminal action (see People v. Watts (1999) 76 Cal.App.4th
1250, 1262 [stating that the doctrine apparently had never been applied against the
prosecution]), we note that the circumstances here do not satisfy various criteria
for application of the doctrine. The Attorney General‘s earlier concession of a
legal point does not constitute the successful assertion of a position. In addition,
there is no showing that the earlier position was not the result of ignorance, fraud,
or mistake, and there is no indication that the Attorney General‘s decision to
contest the legal issue in this proceeding reflects an abuse of the judicial process.
(See Aguilar v. Lerner (2004) 32 Cal.4th 974, 986-987; Swahn Group, Inc. v.
(2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 831, 842-851; People v. Watts, supra, 76
Cal.App.4th at p. 1261; Jackson v. County of Los Angeles (1997) 60 Cal.App.4th
171, 183.)


With respect to the request for any profile of serial murderers, defendant

contends he established below that a profile could lead to admissible evidence. He

cites his response to the trial court‘s statement that any profile ―could be way off

base.‖ He responded that the profile ―could be absolutely right about some of

them, that‘s just it. It might lead to some introducible evidence.‖ Defendant‘s

assertion that the profile might have been accurate did not explain how it would

lead to admissible evidence. He also contends that he adequately established that

the profile might ―assist in developing alternate suspects and defense theories.‖

His theory appears to be that if he had access to law enforcement‘s profile

information, the defense could have tried to find a third party who fit that profile

and thereby perhaps find the evidence that someone else killed the victims in this

case. Defendant‘s theory that a profile of the characteristics of a person who

might have committed the 19 killings, if accurate, would have led the defense to

the killer, is purely speculative.

Finally, defendant asserts that the prosecution‘s failure to disclose the

profile and its failure to provide to the defense the serial murderer linkage

evidence 30 days before trial as required by section 1054.7 deprived defendant of

due process of law and constituted prosecutorial misconduct. Although the

prosecution declined to state whether there was a profile, the trial court denied the

discovery request, and we have found no error in its ruling. In addition, the trial

court declined to admit evidence of the profile. Therefore, the prosecutor‘s

statements concerning the existence of any profile did not deprive defendant of his

due process rights or constitute prosecutorial misconduct.13


The People assert defendant forfeited this claim of prosecutorial

misconduct by failing to raise it and seek appropriate sanctions in the trial court,

(footnote continued on next page)


B. Guilt Phase Issues

1. Exclusion of defense evidence

Defendant contends the exclusion of evidence that (1) the murders of

prostitutes continued after he was arrested and (2) Detective Christine Keers, the

lead Riverside Police Department detective assigned to the homicide task force,

was charged with various crimes and terminated from the police force, violated his

rights to present a defense, to a fair trial, and to reliable guilt and penalty

determinations under the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the

United States Constitution and article I, sections 7, 15, 16, and 17 of the California


a. Evidence of continued killings of prostitutes

Although unsuccessful in obtaining the records of police investigations of

the murders of other prostitutes, defendant moved to present evidence of the

murders of three prostitutes in Riverside County that occurred after he was

arrested. He asserted the evidence was relevant in light of the view expressed by

some prospective jurors that the murders had stopped when defendant was

arrested, and also as third party culpability evidence. With respect to the latter

purpose, he complained that the lack of discovery concerning other murders

limited his ability to link a third person to the charged crimes. At the hearing, the

defense stated that it learned from newspapers, from ―informal discussions with

various people in law enforcement,‖ and from defense investigators that there

were three killings of prostitutes who were drug users and whose bodies had been

(footnote continued from previous page)

but as defendant notes, it would have been futile to raise the issue because the trial
court had ruled that the prosecution was not required to produce any profile.


dumped in ―alleys, hillsides, open area, or something like that.‖ The prosecutor

confirmed that he had discussed two of the postarrest murders with the

investigating detectives (the third murder had just occurred), and stated that there

was no information that would exculpate defendant. He also stated the two

victims were prostitutes and probably drug users, but ―[t]here were a lot of

dissimilarities in the cases . . . with respect to the 13 charges that [defendant] has

been accused of committing.‖ He added that he did ―not intend to argue to this

jury that [defendant] is guilty because once he was arrested, the killing of

prostitutes stopped in Riverside County. What I intend to argue is the weight of

the evidence that points specifically to [defendant] as killing these 13 women.‖

The trial court denied the motion, stating that there was no link and there was

nothing to show that the fact there were three other killings of prostitutes had any

relevance to this case.

We first consider whether the evidence was admissible as third party

culpability evidence. ― ‗[T]o be admissible, evidence of the culpability of a third

party offered by a defendant to demonstrate that a reasonable doubt exists

concerning his or her guilt . . . must link the third person either directly or

circumstantially to the actual perpetration of the crime.‘ ‖ (People v. Elliott

(2012) 53 Cal.4th 535, 580.) ―For evidence of an uncharged offense to be

admissible to establish the third party‘s identity as the perpetrator of the charged

crimes, ‗ ―[t]he pattern and characteristics of the crimes must be so unusual and

distinctive as to be like a signature.‖ ‘ [Citations.] A large number of common

marks may, when viewed in combination, establish the required distinctive

pattern.‖ (Id. at p. 581; see People v. Page (2008) 44 Cal.4th 1, 39 [right to

present all evidence of a significant probative value is not ―inconsistent with the

rule . . . that third party culpability evidence is admissible only if it links a third

party to the crime‖].)


The evidence that, after defendant was arrested, three prostitutes, at least

two of whom abused drugs, were fatally stabbed and whose bodies were dumped

like trash, does not establish a link between a third person and the crimes charged

against defendant. None of these shared characteristics is unusual or distinctive.

As the prosecutor noted, prostitutes are vulnerable and tend to be victimized.

(See, e.g., People v. Jones (2013) 57 Cal.4th 899 [two and perhaps three homicide

victims were prostitutes, and the three had been left in dumpsters]; People v.

Solomon (2010) 49 Cal.4th 792, 798 [six drug-abusing prostitutes murdered];

People v. Doolin (2009) 45 Cal.4th 390, 400 [defendant murdered two prostitutes

and attempted to murder four more prostitutes]; People v. Rogers (2006) 39

Cal.4th 826, 835 [two prostitutes murdered]; see also People v. Jennings, supra,

53 Cal.3d at p. 363 [noting that prostitutes ―could be seen as especially

vulnerable‖].) Therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding

this evidence.

We next consider whether the evidence was admissible to prove the bare

fact that the murders of prostitutes did not end with defendant‘s arrest. Defendant

asserts that the prosecutor, by arguing that defendant was guilty because he was

the serial killer responsible for all of the charged killings, ―reinforced the jury‘s

predisposition‖ to believe that the killings of prostitutes stopped when defendant

was arrested. Therefore, he contends, the evidence of postarrest killings was

relevant to rebut the jury‘s belief. We disagree. Because no evidence was

presented that similar murders of prostitutes ended upon defendant‘s arrest, and no

element of the charges otherwise raised an issue of whether the murder of

prostitutes continued after defendant‘s arrest, the evidence was not relevant to the

issue of guilt. The fact that a number of prospective jurors, none of whom was

selected as a juror in this case, made statements in the course of jury selection that


reflected a belief that the murders had ended with defendant‘s arrest, does not

render the evidence relevant to the issues litigated.

Finally, we consider defendant‘s contention that the evidence was relevant

to rebut the prosecutor‘s argument that defendant was guilty based on the pattern

of killings. The prosecutor‘s theory was not based on the fact that the victims

were all drug-abusing prostitutes whose bodies were dumped. Rather, his

argument relied on the repeated patterns of evidence, including the tire

impressions at multiple scenes that matched the tires that were on defendant‘s van

at the time of the particular killing, the shoe impressions that were similar to two

pairs of Pro Wings and a pair of Converse shoes defendant purchased over the

course of these killings, and the various fibers associated with multiple victims

that were similar to fibers in his van. As the prosecutor explained to the jury, ―It‘s

this cross-association of evidence that in and of itself, if you look at in a vacuum,

may not be that significant. But when you look at the big picture . . . we see

continual patterns that repeat themselves with respect to many different types of

evidence.‖ The fact that drug-abusing prostitutes continued to be killed and

dumped did not rebut the prosecution‘s theory.

b. Evidence of criminal charges against lead detective and her

discharge from the police force

The prosecution moved to exclude impeachment evidence related to crimes

allegedly committed by Christine Keers, the lead homicide task force detective.

Keers was indicted by a Riverside County grand jury in October 1994 on three

counts of attempting to violate section 496, subdivision (a), receiving stolen

property, a misdemeanor, and one count of violation of section 653f, soliciting the

commission of a burglary, a felony. Keers was put on administrative leave in

August 1994, and terminated from the Riverside Police Department in December

1994, but she had not been tried for the alleged crimes prior to defendant‘s trial,


which began in February 1995. According to the motion, Keers would be called

by the prosecution to testify concerning (1) her recording of an interview with

Kelly Whitecloud, the friend of Kelly Hammond, (2) her involvement in the tape-

recorded interview of defendant after his arrest, and (3) her recovery of items of

clothing and jewelry that belonged to victims. The prosecution stated that her

testimony was ―important to maintain the flow and continuity of the presentation

of evidence,‖ but ―virtually every fact she will relate has a second percipient

witness who can testify to the same facts.‖ It noted that if the defense sought to

challenge the evidence Keers would convey, Kelly Whitecloud could be cross-

examined, the recording of the interview of defendant could be played, and the

individuals from whom Keers had collected personal belongings of the victims

were available.

At the hearing on the motion, the prosecution argued that because Keers

had not been convicted of the alleged crimes, admission of the evidence would

require a mini-trial of the allegations. It also stated that the primary witness

against Keers had died, portions of the audio recordings of that witness‘s

conversations with Keers were inaudible, and there might be an entrapment

defense by Keers. The prosecution also noted that Keers‘s termination from the

police department involved standards and factors different from the criminal

charges, and that neither the prosecution nor the defense had knowledge of the

internal affairs investigation that had been conducted. The prosecution asserted

that admitting the evidence would lead to ―nitpicking wars over collateral

credibility‖ of a witness who was ―simply a receiver of information in this case.‖

The defense stated that a trial of the charges was not necessary; instead, the

defense should be allowed to ask whether Keers had been indicted by a grand jury

for receiving stolen property and whether she had been terminated from the police



The court stated that in its view, presentation of the impeachment evidence

would become a mini-trial on the issue, because the percipient witness in the

Keers matter was deceased and multiple witnesses would be required to prove the

charged event. It concluded that ―this would be so time consuming‖ when

considered in the context of a witness who was not the sole witness as to the topics

of her testimony, and hence the court granted the prosecution motion and excluded

the impeachment evidence under Evidence Code section 352.

The defense subsequently sought permission to introduce evidence that

Keers had been terminated from her employment in the police department. The

trial court stated that it did not know why Keers was terminated, and that the

evidence, ―left dangling like that,‖ was irrelevant.

Defendant contends the trial court abused its discretion in determining that

the probative value of the evidence was outweighed by the undue consumption of

time required to prove wrongdoing by Keers. ―A trial court‘s exercise of

discretion under section 352 will be upheld on appeal unless the court abused its

discretion, that is, unless it exercised its discretion in an arbitrary, capricious, or

patently absurd manner.‖ (People v. Thomas (2012) 53 Cal.4th 771, 806.)

Defendant identifies various facts to highlight the importance of the

impeachment evidence. He complains that Keers was allowed to testify regarding

her career at the police department, leading the jury to believe that she was a

trusted, upstanding officer who would not lie to the jury. He asserts that Keers‘s

testimony concerning her interaction with Kelly Whitecloud was not corroborated,

and that the jury had reason to doubt the veracity of Whitecloud because she was a

prostitute, a drug user, and a felon who had admitted an intent to ―rip off‖ the

driver of the van the night Kelly Hammond disappeared. He identifies various

inconsistencies between Whitecloud‘s testimony at trial and statements she made

to various police detectives and the grand jury. He asserts that if the jury had


known of the charges against Keers and the termination of her employment, it

―would have had reason to seriously consider that either Whitecloud or Keers, or

both, were not telling the truth and that the police had arrested the wrong man.‖

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that proof of the

criminal charges against Keers would have required an undue consumption of

time. Proof of the charges was complicated by the death of the percipient witness,

and the value of the impeachment evidence was low, given that all of Keers‘s

testimony could be corroborated. Any concern with Whitecloud‘s corroboration

of Keers‘s testimony is mitigated by the fact that most of the information provided

by Whitecloud to Keers about the man who picked up Hammond was

memorialized by Keers before defendant was identified as a suspect. Following

defendant‘s arrest, Keers presented two photographic lineups to Whitecloud, and

Whitecloud picked defendant from each as the man who took her to McDonald‘s

and then picked up Hammond, but at trial, the McDonald‘s manager also

identified defendant as the man who was with Whitecloud that night. Finally, the

unexplained fact that Keers had been terminated from the police department was


2. Failure to exclude evidence obtained during police questioning of


Defendant contends the police continued questioning him after he requested

counsel, in violation of his privilege against self-incrimination under the Fifth

Amendment to the United States Constitution, and that evidence obtained as a

result of that questioning should have been excluded.

Defendant was arrested on January 9, 1992, between 10:00 p.m. and

10:30 p.m., for a violation of parole, and transported to the Riverside Police

Department. Detective Keers began interrogating him approximately two hours

later, at 12:30 a.m. on January 10. She gave him the Miranda warning and waiver


(Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436 (Miranda)), which he signed, and then

he asked, ―Do I need a lawyer?‖ She responded, ―Well, I don‘t know. Do you

need a lawyer?‖ He said, ―I don‘t know. For what I‘ve done, I don‘t see why I

need a lawyer.‖ Keers then said, ―And all I‘m doing is asking you to talk to me.

Do you want to do that?‖ He said, ―Okay.‖

The first phase of the interrogation continued until 1:10 a.m., at which time

a technician arrived to collect hair and saliva samples. The interview resumed and

continued until 2:45 a.m. During this early morning interrogation, Keers asked

defendant for permission to search his home. By this time in the interrogation, the

topics of prostitute killings, the knives in defendant‘s van, footprints, and

defendant‘s Converse sneakers had been discussed. Defendant responded to the

request to search his home by stating, ―I need to know, am I being charged with

this, because if I‘m being charged with this I think I need a lawyer.‖ Keers stated,

―Well at this point, no you‘re not being charged with this,‖ and defendant then

consented to a search of his apartment.

Questioning resumed that afternoon at 2:50 p.m. and continued until

5:40 p.m. During this questioning, defendant admitted he had been in the orange

groves and that there was a body in the orange groves. When pressed to tell them

―about the body you left there,‖ he said, ―I better get a lawyer now. I better get a

lawyer, because you think I did it and I didn‘t.‖ Questioning continued, and

defendant admitted taking a knife out of Casares‘s chest and putting it in his van.

In May 1995, defendant moved to exclude ―defendant‘s admission that he

was in the orange grove where Eleanor Casares‘ body was found, saw the body,

and pulled the knife out of her chest and kept it . . . .‖ The trial court ruled that

defendant invoked his right to an attorney when he stated, ―I better get a lawyer

now. I better get a lawyer, because you think I did it and I didn‘t.‖ Therefore, his

statements about removing the knife and putting it in his van were excluded.


Defendant contends that he invoked his right to counsel earlier, during the

morning session when he stated, ―if I‘m being charged with this I think I need a


―In order to invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege after it has been waived,

and in order to halt police questioning after it has begun, the suspect ‗must

unambiguously‘ assert his right to silence or counsel. [Citation.] It is not enough

for a reasonable police officer to understand that the suspect might be invoking his

rights. [Citation.] Faced with an ambiguous or equivocal statement, law

enforcement officers are not required under Miranda, supra, 384 U.S. 436, either

to ask clarifying questions or to cease questioning altogether.‖ (People v. Stitely

(2005) 35 Cal.4th 514, 535; see Davis v. United States (1994) 512 U.S. 452.)

Because defendant‘s statements are undisputed, we independently determine

whether he unambiguously asserted his right to counsel. (People v. Bacon (2010)

50 Cal.4th 1082, 1105.)

Defendant contends that his statement — ―I need to know, am I being

charged with this, because if I‘m being charged with this I think I need a lawyer‖

— was an unambiguous invocation of his right to counsel. He asserts that ―Keers

simply could not have interpreted this as a conditional request because she knew

that the condition was virtually certain to manifest itself.‖ He proposes that Keers

could have asked the prosecutor, who was monitoring the interrogation from

another room, whether defendant was going to be charged, and ―then could have

explained [defendant‘s] status to him truthfully . . . .‖

Defendant acknowledges that in People v. Gonzalez (2005) 34 Cal.4th 1111

(Gonzalez), we held that a similar statement was not an unambiguous invocation

of the right to counsel. In Gonzalez, the defendant told the interrogating detectives

that if he was going to be charged with anything, he wanted to talk to a public

defender. One of the detectives informed Gonzalez that he would be booked that


evening, but if polygraph results indicated he was telling the truth, he would be

released. Gonzalez asked, ― ‗Book me on what?‘ ‖ The detective responded ― ‗On

murder. That doesn‘t mean you‘re going to be filed on.‘ ‖ (Id. at p. 1119.) The

second detective gave a similar response, and also stated that ― ‗[a]n arrest is not a

prosecution . . . .‘ ‖ (Id. at p. 1120.) We explained that, ―[o]n its face, defendant‘s

statement was conditional; he wanted a lawyer if he was going to be charged. The

conditional nature of the statement rendered it, at best, ambiguous and equivocal

because a reasonable police officer in these circumstances would not necessarily

have known whether the condition would be fulfilled since, as these officers

explained, the decision to charge is not made by police. Confronted with this

statement, a reasonable officer would have understood only that ‗the suspect might

be invoking the right to counsel,‘ which is insufficient under Davis to require

cessation of questioning. [Citation.] Here, moreover, the detectives responded to

defendant‘s statement by explaining to him the difference between being arrested

and booked and being charged, thus providing him with an opportunity to clarify

his meaning, but at no point in this initial exchange did defendant unequivocally

request the immediate presence of an attorney before he would answer any more

questions. It is this type of statement Davis requires before the police must

terminate the interrogation.‖ (Id. at p. 1126, citing Davis v. United States, supra,

512 U.S. at p. 459, 461-462.)

Defendant attempts to distinguish Gonzalez based on the officers‘

explanation in that case of the difference between booking and charging, which, he

asserts, ―tend[ed] to show that they truly did not know if he had invoked his

rights.‖ He further notes that the defendant‘s subsequent conduct in Gonzalez

established that he was not invoking his right to counsel. He contrasts these facts

to what he characterizes as Keers‘s ―deceit and trickery to convince [defendant] to

keep talking with her.‖ He notes the evidence of which she was aware as the lead


investigator — the gray van that matched Whitecloud‘s description, the matching

tire treads, the matching shoe impressions — and concludes that ―[a] reasonable

officer who knew what Keers knew could only have construed [defendant‘s]

statements as an invocation of his right to counsel. She had evidence linking

[defendant] to one murder and, by the line of questioning she pursued over the

next several hours, it is obvious that she was deliberately buying time in an effort

to keep him talking.‖ Therefore, defendant asserts, Keers ―responded deceptively‖

to his question by stating that he was not being charged ―at this time.‖

The focus of the test, however, is the clarity of the defendant‘s request, not

the particular officer‘s belief, and there is no requirement that an officer ask

clarifying questions. (Davis v. United States, supra, 512 U.S. at pp. 459-462.) As

we subsequently confirmed, ―a defendant does not unambiguously invoke his right

to counsel when he makes that request contingent on an event that has not

occurred. (See People v. Gonzalez (2005) 34 Cal.4th 1111 [defendant‘s request

for counsel was conditioned on whether he was going to be charged with any

crimes].)‖ (People v. Martinez (2010) 47 Cal.4th 911, 952.) Moreover, as in

Gonzalez, supra, 34 Cal.4th 1111, the officer‘s response in this case provided

defendant with an opportunity to clarify his meaning, but as in Gonzalez,

defendant did not then unequivocally request the presence of an attorney. Instead,

he consented to a search of his residence.

Defendant also contends that Keers‘s failure to inform him of ―critical

information‖ and ―the severity of his predicament‖ rendered his waiver of rights

under Miranda involuntary and unknowing. Miranda requires that the person in

custody be informed of the right to remain silent, the consequences of forgoing

that right, the right to counsel, and that if the person is indigent, a lawyer will be

appointed. (Miranda v. Arizona, supra, 384 U.S. at pp. 467-473.) There is no

requirement that, before a person may validly waive his privilege against self-


incrimination, he must be apprised of the evidence against him, the ―severity of his

predicament,‖ or the chances he will be charged. (People v. Sanders (1990) 51

Cal.3d 471, 513.)

Finally, defendant contends his Miranda waiver was limited because he

―placed a condition on his waiver‖ when he stated that he thought he needed a

lawyer if he was being charged. He asserts that ―[a]n ‗ordinary understanding of

[defendant‘s] statement requires the conclusion that his consent to waive his rights

only existed if he were not being charged with the crime.‖ A person may invoke

his Miranda rights selectively (Arnold v. Runnels (9th Cir. 2005) 421 F.3d 859,

864 [defendant clearly and unequivocally stated that he did not want to speak on

tape]), but defendant did not state that he would speak to the detectives without the

assistance of counsel only if he would not be charged with the crimes. As

explained above, his statement concerning counsel was ambiguous and

conditional, and did not constitute an invocation of his right to counsel. He cannot

avoid the rule of Davis v. United States, supra, 512 U.S. 452, by characterizing an

ambiguous reference to counsel as a limitation on his waiver of his Miranda


3. Admission of photographs of the victims

Defendant contends that a photo board containing photographs of the 13

homicide victims while they were alive should not have been admitted into

evidence because it constituted an inappropriate emotional appeal to the jury.

Near the end of the guilt phase, an investigator with the district attorney‘s

office testified concerning an exhibit he had prepared, a four-and-one-half-foot

square photo board, containing photographs of the 13 victims defendant was

charged with killing. The board included the victims‘ names along with the dates

and approximate locations where their bodies were discovered. The photographs


were obtained from the family members and friends of the victims. The

investigator attempted to obtain the most recent photograph of each victim, but in

some cases the photographs were taken a year or two before the subject‘s death,

and at least one was taken at least five years before the subject‘s death. The sizes

of the photographs vary slightly, but each generally fills an 8 1/2 by 11-inch sheet

of paper. All the photographs, save for one, are cropped to show only the victim‘s

head or head and upper body.

Several court days later, at the close of the prosecution‘s case, defendant

objected to admission of the photo board, asserting that the photos ―were taken of

the victims under the best of all possible circumstances,‖ and arguing that the

exhibit was ―an emotional appeal. It is abstract or distanced . . . from the nature of

the victims that the prosecution has been . . . arguing all along, which is street and

drug using prostitutes.‖ The prosecutor responded that the photographs had been

obtained from family members, and in some cases there were not many

photographs available. He stated that the defense could seek to introduce booking

photos of the victims and could fairly comment on the issue in argument. Finally,

he asserted that ―with this number of victims and the type of evidence that relates

to each of these victims, it‘s important for the jury to identify a name with a face

. . . .‖

The trial court first addressed the prosecutor‘s purpose — to assist the jury

in keeping track of the victims and evidence — and stated that it was not admitting

the photographs exclusively for the purpose of ―associating a name with a

photograph,‖ which could be done ―with other things as well.‖ The court then

stated that it would allow their admission, ―because [the jurors] can see the

similarity between those photographs and those photographs of these women at

their worst. It‘s not because they were put at their worst, someone put them at

their worst. And I think it‘s appropriate to let them see them, these individuals not


necessarily at their best, but at least as you and I are seeing them on a daily basis

and the jurors in associating or identifying those victims from various parts of our


The trial court‘s comments are not entirely clear, but they appear to reflect

that the court recognized that the photographs had some probative value to assist

jurors in keeping track of the evidence, but it viewed their value for this purpose as

insufficient by itself to warrant their admission. The court did not, however, reject

this purpose on the ground that admission of the photographs would cause undue

prejudice to defendant. The court‘s comments also identify a second purpose of

the photographs — to show what the victims looked like while alive rather than as

they appeared in crime scene and autopsy photographs admitted at trial. Finally,

the comments reflect that the trial court rejected defendant‘s theory of undue


―We have recognized that ‗[c]ourts should be cautious in the guilt phase

about admitting photographs of murder victims while alive, given the risk that the

photograph will merely generate sympathy for the victims. [Citation.] But the

possibility that a photograph will generate sympathy does not compel its exclusion

if it is otherwise relevant. [Citation.] The decision to admit victim photographs


The trial court stated in full: ―It seems to me that these, and I‘m not going

to allow it to come in, because for the sake of having 24 photo boards associated
with their names and strictly and that exclusively that is associating a name with a
photograph, is they can do that with other things as well, so it‘s not, but I am going
to allow it to come in, because they can see the similarity between those
photographs and those photographs of these women at their worst. It‘s not
because they were put at their worst, someone put them at their worst. And I think
it‘s appropriate to let them see them, these individuals not necessarily at their best,
but at least as you and I are seeing them on a daily basis and the jurors in
associating or identifying those victims from various parts of our county. I think
it‘s appropriate and it shall come in.‖


falls within the trial court‘s discretion, and an appellate court will not disturb its

ruling unless the prejudicial effect of the photographs clearly outweighs their

probative value.‖ (People v. Rogers (2009) 46 Cal.4th 1136, 1163 (Rogers).)

Here, the court, in admitting the photos, implicitly determined the photos

themselves did not generate sympathy. Our review of the photos is in accord. The

photographs are ordinary, with no uniform emotion or quality. In seven, the

victims are smiling, and in six, they have blank or sour expressions. The style of

photograph is seemingly random, ranging from what appear to be school portraits

to ―candids‖ to posed pictures. (See People v. Hovey (1988) 44 Cal.3d 543, 571

[―photo, though perhaps ‗charming,‘ was nonetheless an ‗ordinary‘ one not likely

to produce a prejudicial impact‖].) Due to the manner in which the photographs

were cropped, their context is ambiguous, making the portraits appear neutral and

detached. (See People v. Cooper (1991) 53 Cal.3d 771, 821 [trial court ordered

photograph cropped to remove family dogs in order to minimize prejudice];

People v. Thompson (1988) 45 Cal.3d 86, 115 [photograph was not ―calculated to

elicit sympathy,‖ such as a photograph taken at church or with small children].)

Further, as we held in Rogers, subsequent to the trial in this matter,

photographs may be admitted to assist jurors in keeping track of individuals in a

case, if the photographs are not unduly prejudicial. In Rogers, the trial court

admitted two photographs of the three victims, taken while they were alive. We

concluded the trial court did not abuse its discretion, noting that ―two of the

victims were similar in appearance to two of the witnesses, all four had been

girlfriends of defendant, and one victim and one witness had the same first name.

Given these circumstances, admission of the photographs was proper to meet the

prosecution‘s concern that the jurors might ‗lose track of who these individuals

are‘ and also to help any witness ‗identify the people that they saw in this case.‘ ‖

(Rogers, supra, 46 Cal.4th at p. 1163, fns. omitted.)


Similarly, in this case despite the trial court‘s statement, we find the photo

board was useful to assist the jurors in keeping track of the 13 murder charges and

the extensive array of evidence associated with the crimes. Also, as in Rogers,

supra, 46 Cal.4th 1136, the photographs are ―neutral and unremarkable and would

not have engendered an emotional reaction capable of influencing the verdict.‖

(Id. at p. 1163.)

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding the photographs

were not unduly prejudicial. Defendant‘s theory of prejudice is that the

photographs aroused the jury‘s passion because they portrayed the victims more

sympathetically than did the prosecutor‘s description of them as drug-abusing

prostitutes. In other words, his argument speculates that the jurors imagined that

the victims looked worse in their daily lives than they appear in these photographs,

and evidence that the victims looked like ordinary people constitutes prejudice that

would weigh against their admission. ―For purposes of Evidence Code section

352, evidence is considered unduly prejudicial if it tends to evoke an emotional

bias against the defendant as an individual and has a negligible bearing on the

issues.‖ (People v. Mendoza (2011) 52 Cal.4th 1056, 1091.) To the extent the

photo board portraying the victims in their daily lives tended to deprive defendant

of any perceived advantage he might have gained as a result of jurors‘ mental

images of drug-addicted prostitutes, such alleged detriment is not ―undue

prejudice‖ within the meaning of Evidence Code section 352, as this effect cannot

be characterized as evoking an emotional bias against defendant.

As we have explained, the photo board was properly admitted. Although

the trial court apparently rejected the prosecutor‘s argument that the exhibit was

necessary to assist the jury in keeping track of the evidence, it did not find the

photo board unduly prejudicial to defendant. Like the trial court, we have rejected

defendant‘s theory of undue prejudice.


C. Penalty Phase Issues

1. Victim impact evidence

Defendant contends that the extent and nature of the victim impact evidence

deprived him of his rights to due process, a fair trial, and a reliable penalty

determination under the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the

United States Constitution.

a. Facts

Defendant moved to exclude all victim impact evidence. The trial court

denied the motion, but stated that it could not envision allowing more than three

victim impact witnesses per victim, and that it ―intend[ed] to keep the proceedings

under control . . . .‖ Thereafter, the prosecution presented 16 victim impact

witnesses: three each with respect to McDonald and Zamora, two each with

respect to Sternfeld and Casares, and one each with respect to the rest, except no

witnesses testified concerning the impact of the murders of Coker and Latham.

Lyttle‘s father testified concerning her childhood difficulties and his painful

memories of her death. Leal‘s brother described their family and the effect that

her death and the manner of her death had on the family. The paternal

grandmother of Ferguson‘s daughter recalled Ferguson‘s struggles with drug

addiction, and the impact her death had on her daughter. Miller‘s sister described

Miller‘s gentle spirit, her efforts to stop using drugs, her son and grandson, and

how difficult it was to tell their mother how she had died. Sternfeld‘s sister

testified that her murder had destroyed Sternfeld‘s brother and left her feeling

angry and cold. Sternfeld‘s mother stated that Sternfeld had visited her once or

twice a day, that her life was ―totally different‖ after the murder, and that her son

visited the cemetery at least twice a week. Puckett‘s sister, who was raising

Puckett‘s three children, testified that Puckett ―always rooted for the underdog,

and she was always raging against injustices and inequities.‖ Hammond‘s brother


testified that the oldest of Kelly‘s three children was a teenage girl who was at an

age when she needed her mother, and that he wished Kelly could be there to help

care for her mother, who had suffered brain damage. McDonald‘s daughter

thought about her all the time, and McDonald‘s sisters said that McDonald was a

good person who would never do anything that would make someone want to

―torture her like that.‖ Zamora‘s mother missed her very much, and had a void in

her life. The whole family had always celebrated holidays together, and the

family now began each holiday by visiting the cemetery. Casares‘s daughter

missed her mother and wanted to kill herself. Casares‘s sister testified that

Casares was a kind person who helped care for her paralyzed brother, and that

―[s]he didn‘t deserve to die this way.‖

b. Analysis

―The Eighth Amendment does not prohibit the admission of evidence

showing how a defendant‘s crimes directly impacted the victim‘s family, friends,

and the community as a whole, unless such evidence is ‗so unduly prejudicial‘ that

it results in a trial that is ‗fundamentally unfair.‘ [Citations.] Likewise, under

state law, victim impact evidence is admissible as a circumstance of the crime

under section 190.3, factor (a), so long as it ‗is not so inflammatory as to elicit

from the jury an irrational or emotional response untethered to the facts of the

case.‘ ‖ (People v. Taylor (2010) 48 Cal.4th 574, 645-646.) Victim impact

evidence is admissible to establish the unique loss resulting from a murder and

thereby to counteract the defendant‘s mitigating evidence. (People v. Garcia

(2011) 52 Cal.4th 706, 751 (Garcia).) ―The People are entitled to present a

‗ ―complete life histor[y] [of the murder victim] from early childhood to death.‖ ‘

[Citation.] Such evidence, which typically comes from those who loved the


murder victim, shows ‗how they missed having [that person] in their lives.‘ ‖


Defendant asserts that the trial court erred in permitting three victim impact

witnesses per victim, citing State v. Muhammad (N.J. 1996) 678 A.2d 164, 180,

which generally limited such witnesses to one per victim. We have rejected such a

limitation. (People v. McKinnon (2011) 52 Cal.4th 610, 690; People v. Hartsch

(2010) 49 Cal.4th 472, 509; People v. Zamudio (2008) 43 Cal.4th 327, 364.)

Here, 16 victim impact witnesses was not excessive, given that there were 12

murder victims. (See People v. Pearson (2013) 56 Cal.4th 393, 467 [13 victim

impact witnesses was not excessive, given two murders and testimony from three

generations of the victims‘ families].)

Defendant also faults the trial court‘s three-witness limitation on the ground

that this bare limitation failed to address whether the testimony was otherwise

admissible. The trial court further stated, however, that it ―intend[ed] to keep the

proceedings under control,‖ and, following a colloquy in which the trial court

explained that testimony concerning a victim‘s good qualities could relate to a

specific impact, defendant stated only that ―it has to be directly related to the

impact. That‘s all.‖ During the presentation of victim impact evidence, defendant

rarely objected to the families‘ testimony. On appeal, he cites a few instances of

what he characterizes as ―cumulative, emotional and inflammatory recitations with

virtually no limitations,‖ but he failed to object to most of this evidence.

First, he complains that Zamora‘s mother gave lengthy and irrelevant

narratives. The defense did not object to this testimony while it was being given.

Instead, during a subsequent break, defense counsel stated that ―with Mrs.

Zamora, . . . there were a couple of questions asked that were so narrative, the

response was so long in there, I think there was some objectionable hearsay. It‘s

really hard to object in the middle and interrupt her. It‘s heart-wrenching. I‘d ask


the questions be a little bit more specific and not call for long, long narrative

answers of that type.‖ The trial court responded that defendant was going to have

to object. It added that ―this was not a woman that was uncontrollable, either. . . .

I don‘t think it‘s something I should have intervened in because she‘s an

uncontrollable witness.‖ Defense counsel reiterated that it was difficult to object,

but that he would do so the next time. Defendant forfeited this claim by failing to

object to the testimony in a timely manner. (Evid. Code, § 353, subd. (a); People

v. Pollock (2004) 32 Cal.4th 1153, 1181 [failure to object ―may not be excused on

the ground that a timely objection would be inconvenient or because of concerns

about how jurors might perceive the objection‖].)

Second, he challenges the admission of photographs, drawings, and a

religious poem. After Zamora‘s mother testified that Zamora‘s children wrote ―I

love you‖ notes at their mother‘s grave, the court admitted four photographs of

two of Zamora‘s children, writing notes and placing them among the flowers on

the grave. Defendant objected that the photographs were irrelevant, unduly

prejudicial, and inflammatory. As the trial court noted, however, the children‘s

tradition of writing love notes and leaving them at her grave was evidence of the

impact her death had on them. We have upheld the admission of photographs to

illustrate victim impact testimony (People v. Thomas, supra, 53 Cal.4th at pp. 824-

825; People v. Davis, supra, 46 Cal.4th at pp. 618-619), and these photographs are

not unduly emotional or inflammatory; they simply show the boys, who are

smiling broadly in one photograph, writing and leaving notes at a grave. Over

hearsay and relevancy objections, Miller‘s sister read a poem Miller wrote about

stumbling and going through hell, but rejecting Satan and ―figur[ing] out Jesus is

the only true love around.‖ The poem was not offered for the truth of the matter

stated, and it contributed to the picture of the victim who was taken from the

family by defendant. Similarly, testimony that Miller was a ―gentle spirit‖ was


relevant as a description of what the victims lost. Therefore, this evidence was

admissible. Defendant did not object to the other items, and therefore has

forfeited those challenges.15

Third, defendant complains that family members testified about diseases

and crimes suffered subsequent to the murders. It is improper for a witness to

speculate regarding the effect of a murder on a third person‘s health (People v.

Abel (2012) 53 Cal.4th 891, 939; People v. Brady (2010) 50 Cal.4th 547, 577-

578), but evidence regarding the reasons a person does not testify is admissible ―to

dispel any potential negative implication that might be drawn from the

prosecutor‘s failure to call him as a witness.‖ (Brady, supra, at p. 577.) When

asked why her mother was not going to testify, McDonald‘s sister properly

testified that her mother ―has a heart condition and my youngest sister died. She

was in a car accident . . . three years before that, and it‘s really hard for her.‖ The

witness did not connect the reasons her mother could not testify to the murder.

(See People v. Carrington (2009) 47 Cal.4th 145, 197 [it is improper to comment

on a possible connection between the victim‘s death and the illness or death that

prevents victim impact testimony].) To the extent the testimony might have been

based on statements made by McDonald‘s mother regarding why she would not

testify, the statements were admissible to establish the mother‘s state of mind.16


The other items were pictures drawn by Sternfeld‘s son, one of his mother

as an angel in heaven and one of Jesus crying; a picture, given by Sternfeld to her
mother, of Dennis the Menace in his mother‘s arms, saying that he loved her ―all
the way up to heaven and way past God‖; and a portion of a school essay written
by Zamora‘s 11-year-old niece, in which she recalled the family looking for
Zamora, learning she had been murdered, and going to her funeral where everyone
was crying.


For the same reason, defendant‘s hearsay objection to testimony concerning

how Puckett felt about her daughters was properly overruled.


(Evid. Code, § 1250.) For the same reasons, it was proper to admit testimony by

Hammond‘s brother that his father ―told me he couldn‘t bear it. And he‘s got bad

enough problems taking care of my mom and the kids, and he just wants to

remember Kelly as she was.‖ Defendant did not object to other testimony that he

contends connected the murder to a condition of a relative, and therefore has

forfeited his additional claims.17

Finally, defendant complains that some family members became emotional

on the witness stand, and he claims that the victim impact evidence was excessive

and ―made it likely that emotion improperly overcame reason in the jury‘s death

judgment.‖ We have reviewed all of the victim impact evidence, and find it to be

moderate in both its volume and tone. It was neither unduly prejudicial nor so

inflammatory as to elicit an irrational or emotional decision untethered to the facts.

(See People v. Taylor, supra, 48 Cal.4th at pp. 645-646.)


Defendant did not object to the following evidence he now challenges on

appeal: (1) Leal‘s father suffered from cancer, and when Leal was murdered, her
father ―gave up.‖ (2) When asked how the death affected his sisters, Hammond‘s
brother identified one of his sisters as having been affected, and then stated that
that sister had been raped a year after Kelly‘s murder, ―[a]nd so that‘s got a lot to
do with her.‖ (3) Hammond‘s mother became ill and suffered brain damage
before Kelly was killed, and had not been told of Kelly‘s death. (4) When Miller‘s
sister was asked how Miller‘s death affected her and her life, she responded in
part, ―A lot of ways. I‘m under medical care right now since last November. I
kept getting physically sick with respiratory infections, but then the underlying
was major depression. And so I‘m still under a doctor‘s care at this point.‖

Defendant similarly did not object to the following statements regarding

why family members would not testify: (1) Sternfeld‘s brother ―can‘t even come
down here to see this man in this courtroom.‖ (2) Miller‘s son ―can‘t do it. He
hadn‘t even been able to come to court. I tried to talk to him again last night about
coming and he said that, you know, he will be here in spirit, but he just can‘t do it.
He can‘t come here. He is still very upset.‖ (3) With respect to whether Leal‘s
mother was ―able to testify today,‖ Leal‘s brother responded, ―No.‖


2. General challenges to California’s death penalty scheme, jury

instructions, and procedures

We have previously rejected the various challenges raised by defendant to

the death penalty scheme, and we are not persuaded that we should reconsider the

following conclusions. ― ‗The California death penalty scheme is not

constitutionally defective because it fails to require jury unanimity on the

existence of aggravating factors, or because it fails to require proof beyond a

reasonable doubt that death is the appropriate penalty, that aggravating factors

exist, or that aggravating factors outweigh mitigating factors. [Citation.] The

United States Supreme Court‘s decisions interpreting the right to a jury trial under

the federal Constitution (see Blakely v. Washington (2004) 542 U.S. 296; Ring v.

Arizona (2002) 536 U.S 584) do not change these conclusions.‘ ‖ (People v.

Lopez (2013) 56 Cal.4th 1028, 1083.) Nor is the trial court required to instruct

―that a defendant bears no burden of proving, and a jury need not unanimously

agree on, mitigating factors.‖ (People v. Duenas (2012) 55 Cal.4th 1, 27.)

―Indeed, trial courts ‗should not instruct the jury regarding any burden of proof or

persuasion at the penalty phase.‘ ‖ (People v. Linton (2013) 56 Cal.4th 1146, 1215

(Linton); see People v. DeHoyos (2013) 57 Cal.4th 79, 149-150 (DeHoyos).) In

addition, the trial court is not required to instruct the jury regarding a presumption

of life. (People v. Mai (2013) 57 Cal.4th 986, 1057; DeHoyos, supra, at p. 151.)

We have also rejected various challenges to CALJIC No. 8.88, and find no

reason to reconsider our conclusions. The instruction ―is not impermissibly vague

or ambiguous for using the phrase ‗so substantial,‘ nor did it impermissibly fail to

inform the jury that it must find death was an appropriate, not just an authorized,

penalty. [Citation.] Nor is CALJIC No. 8.88 unconstitutional for failing to

require the jury to return a verdict of life should it determine the mitigating

circumstances outweigh the aggravating ones. [Citation.] ‗Nor is the instruction


defective because it fails to convey to jurors that defendant has no burden to

persuade them that death is inappropriate.‘ ‖ (People v. Jones, supra, 57 Cal.4th

899, 980; see Linton, supra, 56 Cal.4th at p. 1211.) Defendant‘s bare assertion

that ―the instruction improperly reduced the prosecution‘s burden of proof below

that required by Penal Code section 190.3‖ does not raise any contention different

from those we reject above.

We have also concluded that the absence of a requirement that the jury

make written findings regarding aggravating factors does not violate a defendant‘s

federal due process rights, Eighth Amendment rights to meaningful appellate

review, equal protection rights, or Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury.

(DeHoyos, supra, 57 Cal.4th at p. 150; Linton, supra, 56 Cal.4th at p. 1216;

People v. Lopez, supra, 56 Cal.4th at p. 1083.)

― ‗California‘s capital sentencing procedures do not violate principles of

equal protection of the law on the ground they provide safeguards different from

those found in noncapital cases.‘ ‖ (DeHoyos, supra, 57 Cal.4th at p. 151.) We

have also rejected defendant‘s contention that review for intercase proportionality

is required by the federal Constitution (DeHoyos, supra, at p. 151; Linton, supra,

56 Cal.4th at p. 1216), as well as his contention that California‘s death penalty

violates international law and evolving standards of decency. (Mai, supra, 57

Cal.4th at p. 1058; Linton, supra, at p. 1217.)



The judgment is affirmed.





Retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, assigned by the

Chief Justice pursuant to article VI, section 6 of the California Constitution.



I join the court‘s opinion except for its discussion of whether defendant

invoked his right to counsel when he said during custodial interrogation, ―I need to

know, am I being charged with this, because if I‘m being charged with this I think

I need a lawyer.‖ (Maj. opn., ante, at pp. 70–75.) Detective Keers‘s answer that

―at this point, no you‘re not being charged with this‖ was misleading, and her

subsequent questioning of defendant violated his Miranda rights. (Miranda v.

Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436 (Miranda).)

At the time Detective Keers told defendant that he was ―not being charged‖

with these murders, she knew the following: One of the murder victims was last

seen entering a ―bluish gray‖ van. Tire tracks at several of the murder scenes were

consistent with a vehicle equipped with Yokohama and Uniroyal brand tires. Shoe

impressions that could have been made by a Converse shoe were found at one

murder scene. When he was arrested, defendant was driving a gray minivan

equipped with Yokohama and Uniroyal brand tires. He was wearing Converse

shoes. A woman who appeared to be a prostitute had approached the van. Inside

the van was a fixed-blade knife that appeared to have blood on it. Detective Keers

also found fibers in the carpeting, side upholstery, and seat fabric of the van that

were consistent with fibers found at some of the crime scenes. Sisal rope fibers

found on or near many of the victims were similar to a sisal rope found in

defendant‘s van.


After police stopped him in his van, defendant was arrested, taken to a

police station, and advised of his Miranda rights. He had been interrogated for

more than two hours at the point when Detective Keers asked if he would allow a

search of his home. As noted, defendant said, ―I need to know, am I being

charged with this, because if I‘m being charged with this I think I need a lawyer.‖

Detective Keers answered, ―Well at this point, no you‘re not being charged with

this.‖ Defendant then consented to a search of his apartment.

Detective Keers was the lead investigator on this case. Given what she

knew during the interrogation, she could not have had any doubt that defendant

would be charged with these murders. By telling defendant, ―Well at this point,

no you‘re not being charged with this,‖ she misled him. As Miranda said, ―any

evidence that the accused was threatened, tricked, or cajoled into a waiver will, of

course, show that the defendant did not voluntarily waive his privilege.‖

(Miranda, supra, 384 U.S. at p. 476; see People v. Russo (1983) 148 Cal.App.3d

1172, 1177 [waiver of Miranda rights rendered invalid by detective‘s statement

that ― ‗If you didn‘t do this, you don‘t need a lawyer, you know‘ ‖]; People v.

Hinds (1984) 154 Cal.App.3d 222, 234 (Hinds) [―[D]etectives deliberately misled

appellant concerning his right against self-incrimination . . . [by] twist[ing] the

required advisement: ‗[A]nything you say doesn‘t necessarily held [sic] against

you, it can be held to help you, depending on what happened.‘ ‖].)

The statements defendant made during the nearly three hours of questioning

following Detective Keers‘s misleading statement should have been excluded,

including his admissions that he had been in the orange groves and had seen a

body there. But given the other evidence of defendant‘s guilt, the Miranda

violation was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.



See next page for addresses and telephone numbers for counsel who argued in Supreme Court.

Name of Opinion People v. Suff

Unpublished Opinion

Original Appeal XXX
Original Proceeding
Review Granted

Rehearing Granted


Opinion No.
Date Filed: April 28, 2014

County: Riverside
Judge: W. Charles Morgan



Jeffrey J. Gale, under appointment by the Supreme Court, and Michael J. Hersek, State Public Defender,
for Defendant and Appellant.

Edmund G., Brown, Jr., and Kamala D. Harris, Attorneys General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant
Attorney General, Gary W. Schons, Assistant Attorney General, Adrianne S. Denault and Erika Hiramatsu,
Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

Counsel who argued in Supreme Court (not intended for publication with opinion):

Jeffrey J. Gale
5714 Folsom Boulevard, No. 212
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 606-8915

Adrianne S. Denault
Deputy Attorney General
110 West A Street, Suite 1100
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 645-2224

Opinion Information
Date:Docket Number:
Mon, 04/28/2014S049741