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People v. Suff

Supreme Court of California

April 28, 2014

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
WILLIAM LESTER SUFF, Defendant and Appellant. 44010

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Superior Court of Riverside County, No. CR 44010, W. Charles Morgan, Judge.

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

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General, Adrianne S. Denault and Erika Hiramatsu, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

Opinion by Cantil-Sakauye, C. J., with Baxter, Werdegar, Chin, Corrigan, JJ., and Kennard, J.,[*] concurring. Concurring opinion by Liu, J.

OPINION

[171 Cal.Rptr.3d 139] [324 P.3d 8] CANTIL-SAKAUYE, C. J.

A jury convicted William Lester Suff of the first degree murders of Kimberly Lyttle, [324 P.3d 9] 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, 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 [171 Cal.Rptr.3d 140] 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.

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I. FACTS

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 [324 P.3d 10] 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.

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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.

[171 Cal.Rptr.3d 141] 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,

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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 [324 P.3d 11] being hit, a black eye, an 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.

[171 Cal.Rptr.3d 142] 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.

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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 jawbone, 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 [171 Cal.Rptr.3d 143] her heart. She also exhibited signs of asphyxia, including hemorrhaging in her eyes, eyelids, lips and gums. The tissue that attaches the upper lip [324 P.3d 12] 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.

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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.

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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 [171 Cal.Rptr.3d 144] 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.

[324 P.3d 13] 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

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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.

[171 Cal.Rptr.3d 145] 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,

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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.

[324 P.3d 14] 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. [171 Cal.Rptr.3d 146] 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

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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 [324 P.3d 15] 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

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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. [171 Cal.Rptr.3d 147] 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. 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.

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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 [324 P.3d 16] SP32J tire on defendant's van at the time he was arrested. [3]

[171 Cal.Rptr.3d 148] 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.

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

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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 [171 Cal.Rptr.3d 149] difficult for him to [324 P.3d 17] 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

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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 ...


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