Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Death Penalty Profiles

In a wonderful—but gruesome—public service, the Orange County Register is profiling all of the murders on death row sentenced by Orange County judges.

The introduction to the series is here, the next two profiles are here, profiles three and four here, five and six here.

To read more of the series just type oc death row in their search.

An excerpt from the introduction.

“When serial killer Rodney James Alcala was hustled off to death row at San Quentin State Prison in April, he joined 57 other killers condemned to die by Orange County judges.

“The Orange County list begins with John Galen Davenport, who was sentenced in 1981 for a vicious torture, rape and murder a year earlier. He is still appealing his case 30 years later.

“Alcala – the latest addition – would have been in front of Davenport on the list had his original death sentence in 1980 for kidnapping and murdering a 12-year-old Huntington Beach girl remained intact.

“But that conviction and death sentence was reversed on appeal (as was a 1986 conviction and death sentence). Alcala has been in the court system ever since, and his appeal of his third death sentence is just getting started.

“Superior Court judges in the Santa Ana courthouse have been adding Orange County convicts to death row for 31 years.


“The Orange County Register has compiled summaries of each of the 58 killers, detailing their crimes, their victims and the state of their appeals.

“The Register will begin publishing that list, two at a time, beginning Monday on ocregister.com.

“The first death-penalty trial of 2011 in Orange County is under way before Superior Court Judge John D. Conley.

“Reputed gang member Stephenson Choi Kim, 31, could receive a death sentence if he is convicted of first-degree murder of Venus Hyun during a gang shooting in 2004, if the jury also finds that the slaying was committed during the "special circumstance" of killing for the benefit of his gang, and if the jury finds that death is the more appropriate punishment than life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“And then Conley would have to agree with the jury's decision and impose a death sentence.

“Orange County has more death row inmates now (58) than any other county except Los Angeles (with 220) and Riverside (70), according to the California Department of Corrections. San Diego (41) is a distant fourth, followed by San Bernardino (37) and Sacramento (35).”