Cimarron Bell – Black, age 30

Sentenced in Los Angeles County, California
By: a jury
Date of crime: January 2004
Victim: Mario Larios, 23, Edgar Valles, 22, Fernando Pina, 25, Ineka Edmondson, 22
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Bell and an accomplice lured Larios, Valles, and Pina to his home via a car advertisement to rob and murder them.  In an unrelated incident, Bell shot Edmondson three times in the head suspecting her of stealing from him in a fraud racket they were running.  The prosecution argued the aggravating circumstances of multiple murders, murder for financial gain, and lying in wait.  The defense argued that the scene presented was not an ambush since Bell didn’t really need the money and the victims were suspicious characters; rather, the scene left wide open questions about how violence broke out.
Sources: 4/19/11 US State News 00:00:00, 8/9/11 US State News 00:00:00, Whittier Daily News (CA) 4/2/2011 (

Kevin Bernoudy – Black, age 27

Sentenced in Los Angeles County, California
By: a jury
Date of crime: May 11, 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response:
Sources: ,

Jonathan Fajardo – Latino, age 18

Sentenced in Los Angeles County, California
By: a jury
Date of crime: December 2006
Victim: Christopher Ash, 21, Cheryl Green, 14
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Fajardo gunned down Green for allegedly racially motivated reasons.  Fajardo and others then took turns stabbing Ash—a fellow gang member—suspecting he had informed on the gang to the police.  The attack and cover-up were methodical and coordinated.  The defense tried to impeach witnesses with inconsistent testimony and questionable motivations.
Sources: Los Angeles Times (CA) 9/6/10 (2010 WLNR 17698530).

James Fayed – White, age 45 

Sentenced in Los Angeles County, California
By: a jury
Date of crime: July 2008
Victim: Pamela Fayed, 44
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Fayed orchestrated a paid ambush and killing of his wife.  Prosecutors argued that Fayed was distressed that his wife would take half of his assets in their divorce and was cooperating with federal prosecutors regarding an investigation of his business.  The prosecution also entered a jailhouse recording where Fayed discussed hiring a hit man to take out his hit men, complaining that he had laid out a far better plan for them than what they attempted.  The defense argued that Fayed’s sister had been the real mastermind and that he had tried to back out of the conspiracy.  The defense argued finally that the imposition of a death penalty in California is futile.  The court noted that Fayed was as “cold-hearted and calculating” as any seen before the court, even arranging anonymous letters regarding juror misconduct to attempt to get a mistrial.
Sources: Los Angeles Times (CA) 11/18/11 (2011WLNR 23911692), Ventura County Star (CA) 11/18/11 (Pg. Unavail. Online) (2011 WlNR 23934577).

Marcus Fletcher – Black, age 21 

Sentenced in Riverside County, California
By: a jury
Date of crime: April 2005
Victim: Rafi Ibrahim, 34
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Fletcher and an accomplice scouted out Ibrahim’s store and decided to rob it.  Fletcher gunned down Ibrahim while robbing the store and fired at a customer who walked in on the scene.  Fletcher was also linked to another murder with the same weapon.  The prosecution presented Fletcher as “nothing but a violent thug” undeserving of mercy.  The defense argued that Fletcher childhood in a poor, gang-infested neighborhood should illicit sympathy and that he would die in prison either way due to the futility of California’s death row system.
Sources: Southwest Riverside News Network 10/28/11 (,  Press Enterprise 7/26/11 (

Melvin Forte – Black, age 41

Sentenced in Santa Clara County, California
By: a jury
Date of crime: January 1981
Victim: Ines Sailer, 23
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Forte raped Sailer, shot her multiple times, and hid her body in a carport.  New DNA testing in 2005 linked Forte to the crime as well as ballistics tests on the gun used in that crime and later crimes for which Forte was convicted.  Forte acted as his own lawyer.  He attempted to highlight the vagueness of the prosecution’s case and inadvertently reminded a key witness how she knew him.
Sources: San Francisco Gate (CA) 9/24/2006 (, NPR 10/26/2010 (

Arthur Halvorsen – White, age 42 (re-sentence after appellate reversal)

Sentenced in Los Angeles County, California
By: a jury
Date of crime: March 31, 1985
Victims: Calvin Ferguson, 42, Vicente Perez, 45
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Halvorsen went on a shooting rampage killing two and injuring two others.  The attacks were random and unprovoked.  The defense argued a history of alcoholism and mental illness.  The judge found no evidence that he was under the influence or legally insane at the time and noted that he laughed and bragged about the kills between attacks.
Sources: Long Beach Beachcomber (CA) 2/11/11 (

Armando Macias – Latino, age 26

Sentenced in Orange County, California
By: a jury
Date of crime: October 2002
Victim: David Montemayor, 44
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Macias’ gang was hired by the victim’s sister to kill him for money.  Macias and two accomplices lured the victim into their SUV with the promise of money, and they shot down the victim as he tried to escape rather than lead them to his house where his family was.  The prosecution argued aggravating factors existed including murder for financial gain, murder during a kidnapping, murder during a robbery, and murder for the benefit of a gang.  The defense argued that Macias’ troubled upbringing nearly guaranteed a life in a gang and that he had redeeming qualities such as his love of art attempts to reform since imprisonment.
Sources: Orange County Register (CA) 3/29/11 (Pg. Unavail. Online) (2011 WLNR 6111149), Orange County Register (CA) 9/2/11 (Pg. Unavil. Online) (2011 WLNR 17450544), Orange County Register (CA) 5/19/11 (–.html)

David Reed – White, age 45 

Sentenced in Riverside County, California
By: a jury
Date of crime: March 2004
Victim: Ricky Mosley
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Reed stalked Mosley for two weeks before ambushing him and stabbing him to death.  Prosecutors argued that Reed was racially motivated to attack Mosley presenting evidence of his tattoos and confession using racial epithets and “white power” references.  The prosecution also linked Reed to two other unsolved murders.  The defense argued that Reed’s estranged wife had told him that Mosley “brutally” sexually assaulted her and as such the murder should receive a lesser charge.  The judge in handing down the sentence noted there was no evidence whatsoever of this charge.
Sources: CBS Los Angeles 10/31/11 (

Jason Richardson – White, age 36  

Sentenced in Orange County, California
By: a jury
Date of crime: February 2007
Victim: Tom Egan, 40
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Richardson cased, planned, and robbed a Home Depot.  During the robbery, no one could open the safe.  The victim, a veteran marine, attempted to dissuade Richardson from hurting any of the staff, and Richardson became frustrated and shot him before fleeing.  Prosecutors entered DNA evidence linking Richardson to the crime as well as to two previous rapes and a number of other crimes.  The defense argued that jurors should sympathize with Richardson’s “lousy, hideous upbringing” by an alcoholic grandmother, drug addict mother, and her series of violent boyfriends.  After two mistrials to hung juries, this jury recommended the death penalty citing the cold, calculated attack, his criminal background, and the devastating effect the murder had on Egan’s widow and twin 3-year-old daughters.
Sources: Orange County Register (CA) 10/12/11 (Pg. Unavail. Online) (2011 WLNR 20894180), Orange County Register (CA) 5/21/10 (Pg. Unavail. Online) (2010 WLNR 10584478).

Ricardo Villa – Latino, age 18

Sentenced in Ventura County, California
By: a judge upon jury recommendation
Date of crime: June 1993
Victim: Beatrice Bellis, 87
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Villa killed Bellis with a knife during the commission of a burglary and rape in 1993.  He was charged in 2004 on the basis of new DNA evidence.  The prosecution argued that the killing was especially violent since Bellis showed dozens of stab wounds that left shards of the knife in her skull.  The prosecution also noted continued violence against women in the years since the murder.  The defense argued that Villa was in fact completely innocent citing the lack of witnesses or any forensic evidence except for the “billionth of a gram” of DNA found on and inside the victim.
Sources: Ventura County Star (CA) 5/10/11 (Pg. Unavail. Online) (2011 WLNR 9267573), 8/17/11 AP Alert – CA 14:49:00.