Michael Charles Brown – black, age 24

Sentenced to death in Kern County, California
By: jury
Date of crime: 2000
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Brown sexually assaulted and then stabbed Ruby Lee Jackson-Meriweather to death in her home. He stabbed her with so much force that he severed her spine. Her naked body was found by one of her 4 children. He was also a person of interest in the death of a woman in May 28, 2001, but he was never charged. In addition, he sexually assaulted 4 women in 2007 and 2008. The women were prostitutes and stated that Brown drove them to secluded location then forced them to perform sex acts. He would beat and choke the women and sometimes sodomize them with a foreign object. One of the women stated that Brown threatened to kill her if she did not do what he wanted and that he stated he had killed other women before. Brown was incarcerated from 2003 until November 2007 for a drunk driving incident that led to a vehicular manslaughter conviction.
Sources: The Bakersfield Californian 3/9/16 (2016 WLNR 7404193), The Bakersfield Californian 1/27/16 (2016 WLNR 2655572), The Bakersfield Californian 1/21/16 (2016 WLNR 3354530)

Lonnie Franklin, Jr. – black, age 22 at the time of the first murder

Sentenced in Los Angeles County, California
By: a jury
Date of Crime: 1985-2007
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Franklin is known as the “Grim Sleeper” serial killer and is believed to have killed at least 25 women. His name comes from a gap in the killings between 1988 and 2002. He was convicted in 2016 of killing nine women and a teen girl from 1985 to 2007. He targeted young women who were drug addicts or prostitutes. He would dump their naked bodies along the roadside or in the trash and many of the women’s identities were unknown. Most of the women were shot to death, but one was strangled. All the murders were linked to a single DNA source, but the identity of the DNA at the time was unknown. In 2010, there was a close relative match found and the investigators looked into Franklin’s father. At trial, Laura Moore testified about her encounter with Franklin. He stopped her at a bus stop and offered a ride. He told her to wear her seat belt and when he refused, he took out a gun and shot her six times. She managed to escape.
Sources: Los Angeles Times 8/11/16 (2016 WLNR 24426725)

Romaine Martin – black, age 35

Sentenced to death in Riverside County, California
By: jury
Date of crime: 5/27/11
Prosecution’s case/defense response: The victim, Jerry Mitchell Jr., was believed by Martin and some other gang members to have $10,000 stashed in his home. So gang members, including Martin, broke in, but only took household goods. Mitchell had no gang ties. Martin learned that another gang member, Deontray Robinson, knew Mitchell, so Martin ordered Robinson to kill him. Mitchell was shot 5 times in his doorway while waiting for help to arrive. Robinson was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Sources: The Press Enterprise 5/16/16

Joseph Mercado – Latino, age 26

Sentenced to death in Los Angeles County, California
By: jury
Date of crime: 5/30/10
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Mercado killed his ex-girlfriend and mother of Mercado’s child, Serena Tarin, along with her father, Alfredo Tarin, and her brother, Alfred Tarin. Mercado broke into the Tarin Home and opened fire with an assault rifle. At least 10 other people were present in the home at the time and two, including Tarin’s mother, were wounded. Prosecution alleged that Mercado planned the shooting because he bought the rifle and ammunition a month prior to the shooting and the night of the shooting, Mercado told his boss his plan. Mercado was also convicted of three counts of attempted murder with one count each of first-degree burglary with a person present, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, child abuse, and arson. Mercado’s attorney argued that Mercado should not be found guilty of first-degree murder regarding the two men because Mercado did not set out to kill them.
Sources: Long Beach Press-Telegram 11/21/15 (2015 WLNR 34626358), Los Angeles Times 11/10/15 (2015 WLNR 33385927)

Ka Pasasouk – Asian, age 31

Sentenced to death in Los Angeles County, California
By: a jury
Date of crime: 12/2/12
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Pasasouk shot Amanda Ghossein, Jennifer Kim, Teofilo Navales, and Robert Calavia while under the influence of both alcohol and methamphetamine. The shootings took place in front of an unlicensed boardinghouse. Pasasouk encountered Naveles and the two had an altercation previously so in an intoxicated state, Pasasouk shot him twice. Then Pasasouk killed Calabia, Ghossein, and Kim because they were witnesses to Navales’s murder.
Sources: Santa Monica Daily Press 11/21/15 (2015 WLNR 39602459), Daily News 8/2/13 (2013 WLNR 19043475), http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20160205/ka-pasasouk-sentenced-to-death-for-4-northridge-murders

Gilbert Sanchez – Latino, age 39

Sentenced in San Bernardino County, California
By: a jury
Date of Crime: 2001
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Sanchez raped and murdered a bakery worker. Little information is available online about the case. It is unclear whether the sentence was imposed at the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017.
Sources: http://www.sbcountyda.org/Newsroom/PressReleases/2016/

Michael Thomas – black, age 46

Sentenced in Los Angeles County, California
By: a jury
Date of Crime: 10/31/12
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Thomas was involved with a home invasion robbery on August 13, 2011. Erik Poltorak was a victim of the robbery and planned to testify against Thomas. Poltorak was shot to death on his doorstep on October 31, 2012. Thomas manipulated 3 people to kill Poltorak so that he could not appear in court.
Sources: City News Service 9/14/16

Darnell Williams – black, age 22

Sentenced in Alameda County, California
By: a jury
Date of Crime: 7/17/13 and 9/8/13
Prosecution’s case/defense response: On July 17, 2013, Williams rang a doorbell at an apartment at 11 p.m. Williams went to the apartment to get revenge for the death of his friend, Jermaine Davis. Davis was killed in a shooting earlier that day and Williams believed that a man who lived in the apartment had killed Davis. A child answered the door and Williams began to fire his gun into the apartment. There were children inside who were attending a sleepover. Williams hit three children and a grandmother. One of the children, Alaysha Carradina, an 8-year-old, died. Also, on September 8, 2013, Anthony Medearis and Williams were playing a dice game. Williams tried to rob Medearis and the two got in a fight. Williams thought Medearis was a snitch that gave information to the police so he pulled out a gun. Medearis tried to run away and beg for his life, but Williams fired 15 bullets killing Medearis on the sidewalk. Williams was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder and received two death sentences, one for each murder victim.
Sources: Montclarion 6/10/16 (2016 WLNR 27831526), Montclarion 5/13/16 (2016 WLNR 27828814), http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2016/09/21/oakland-man-to-be-sentenced-to-death-for-2013-killings/

Daniel Wozniak – white, age 25

Sentenced in Orange County, California
By: a jury
Date of Crime: 5/21/10 and 5/22/10
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Wozniak was the neighbor and friend of Samuel Herr. Wozniak was trying to pay for his wedding and honeymoon so he came up with a plain to kill Herr and then take $60,000 out of Herr’s savings. On May 21, 2010, Wozniak lured Herr to the Joint Forces Training Base by saying he needed help moving boxes and then shot and killed him. He then cut off his head, hand, and forearm, and threw the body parts into a park. The next day, Wozniak went to Herr’s apartment and used his phone to lure a close friend, Juri Kibuishi, in order to throw the police of his trail. He shot and killed Kibuishi and staged a crime scene to make it look like Herr killed Kibuishi in a jealous rage. The defense attorney alleged systemic misconduct by the prosecutors and sheriff’s deputies regarding the use of jailhouse informants, which caused the case to be delayed.
Sources: The Orange County Register 9/23/16 (2016 WLNR 29058730)