Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 12/3/2002 10:39:40 PM EDT
They voted 11 -1 to house & feed this guy for the next 50+ years, where he will be treated like a celebrity by his peers, rather than putting him to death. He didnt shoot a cop while trying to escape capture. He actually decided that night to go out looking for a cop to kill. So he took his Mak-90 to the 7-11 and waited for the first cop working graveyards to stop in for a cup of coffee. Then ambushed him before he could even get out of the car. [b]Jury splits, 11-1, on death All but one favor life without parole for killer of sheriff's deputy. By GREG HARDESTY The Orange County Register A convicted killer abused in childhood and suffering from mental illness doesn't deserve to be executed for firing 30 bullets at sheriff's Deputy Brad Riches outside a Lake Forest convenience store, 11 of 12 jurors decided Monday. The jury failed to reach a unanimous decision on death vs. life in prison without the possibility of parole for Maurice Steskal after about seven hours of deliberations. The split suggested that all but one panelist rejected the prosecution's portrait of Steskal as a cold-blooded killer who hated police officers. Steskal, wearing a white shirt and blue slacks, had no visible reaction. Meriel Riches, the slain deputy's mother, appeared stunned and left the courtroom without comment because of a gag order. Legal experts said it is uncommon for a convicted cop killer to so resoundingly escape the death penalty. "This (split) is ... unusual because it showed that jurors took the time to look beyond a horrible crime to see what made this guy (Steskal) tick,'' said Michael Molfetta, a prominent defense attorney in Newport Beach. Judge Frank F. Fasel declared a mistrial and set a hearing Monday for prosecutors to decide whether to retry Steskal in the penalty phase of his trial. Steskal, 43, was convicted Nov. 19 of first-degree murder for gunning down Riches outside a 7-Eleven on June 12, 1999. He was eligible for the death penalty because of the special circumstance of killing an on-duty police officer. Jurors were at an 11-1 impasse last week but were sent back twice to seek a verdict. Two jurors who favored life said the holdout juror believed execution would be the more merciful penalty for Steskal. They did not elaborate, and the lone juror who favored death had no comment. "We worked hard and tried to get a unanimous decision, but couldn't,'' said Leland Jarvis, 63, a juror who favored life without parole. At trial, Assistant District Attorney David Brent portrayed Steskal as hating police officers dating back at least 20 years, when he tried to run down a Maryland state trooper. Assistant Public Defender Mark Davis and Deputy Public Defender Arlene Speiser introduced evidence of Steskal's abusive childhood, and said he suffers from a paranoid delusional disorder. "Personally, I believe the man is mentally ill, and there wasn't any evidence to show he was an extreme predator at any point in his life (before the Riches' shooting),'' said Jarvis, a retirement planning specialist in Fullerton. Steskal's mental illness was among several mitigating factors that jurors weighed against aggravating factors, including the crime itself. Another mitigating factor was Steskal's lack of a prior violent felony conviction. Steskal showed signs of feeling persecuted when he was as young as 8, and he was beaten regularly by his father and older siblings, according to testimony. He reportedly grew to believe that people – especially police officers – were out to get him. If Brent declines to retry Steskal, he would automatically be sentenced to life without parole. In his closing argument, Brent argued for execution, calling the slaying of Riches an "assassination." Steskal, Brent told jurors, fired 30 bullets from an assault rifle into Riches' head and torso as the deputy pulled up to a 7-Eleven. "What mercy or sympathy did he (Steskal) show Brad Riches?" Brent asked the panel of 10 men and two women. "Brad Riches never had a chance to have a family of his own ... to watch those children grow and develop, to coach them, to go to their recitals. ... He never had a chance to grow old,'' Brent said. Steskal's mother and father testified in the penalty phase, describing their son as a giving man who overcame learning disabilities to master sign language and several spoken languages. Brad Riches went to schools in Indonesia, Holland and Iran while growing up. Asked what it felt like to lose his son, silver-haired Bruce Riches paused on the witness stand. "It's hard ... it's hard to explain,'' he said. & #34;I get a lot of support from people ... a lot of people I'm friends with who've lost children. "I do believe you have to lose a child to really know what it's like.''[/b]
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 10:41:20 PM EDT
[img]http://www.ocregister.com/newsimages/local/120302steskal.jpg[/img] Convicted killer
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 10:47:33 PM EDT
[img]http://www.ocsd.org/FallenOfficers/Images/memorial2.jpg[/img] The victim.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 11:07:42 PM EDT
Even Orange County ain't what it used to be. There's even some gun control organization based there.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 11:08:23 PM EDT
8 years after the OJ trial you are just figuring this out? What neighborhoods were the jurors from I wonder?
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 11:12:04 PM EDT
How could this happen? I though the MACs were illegal to own in Ca... That is just shitty, shitty, shitty. There are quite a few memorials out there for this Dep. maybe some public outrage will come out of this. Kind of hard to give anyone the death penalty anymore if a cop killer can avoid it.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 11:13:14 PM EDT
Was the OJ trial in Orange County? I thought it was in L.A. County.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 11:13:40 PM EDT
I haven't been called in years. Of course, the last time I was called I was dissmissed. (no, wasn't wearing gun t-shirts, either) There are some really stupid people in this state. At least there's a mistrial for the punishment phase. There's a small chance he'll get death still.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 11:15:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/3/2002 11:16:29 PM EDT by AR15fan]
Originally Posted By Badseed: How could this happen? I though the MACs were illegal to own in Ca...
View Quote
The killer bought his Mak-90 back when you could still get them for $205.00 at Big-5 sporting goods. Even currently they are legal to possess. Just illegal to buy in California, and illegal to import at the federal level.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 11:22:23 PM EDT
It's more than just the jurors.
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 9:16:08 AM EDT
Originally Posted By prk: Was the OJ trial in Orange County? I thought it was in L.A. County.
View Quote
OJ was LA county. OC is generally considered more conservative, not in this case though. I gotta wonder if all the jurors were from Stanton or Santa Ana, they sure act like it.
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 9:23:08 AM EDT
The Bleks live in Orange County.
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 9:32:38 AM EDT
I especially like this part
"This (split) is ... unusual because it showed that jurors took the time to look beyond a horrible crime to see what made this guy (Steskal) tick,'' said Michael Molfetta, a prominent defense attorney in Newport Beach.
View Quote
Who really gives a shit what makes this guy tick. I don't care who he is, where he is from, what he does for a living or if his mommy dropped him on his head when he was a kid. The fact is, he killed someone in cold blood for no reason at all. That the victim happened to be a police officer makes no difference, a person is a person. If you kill someone, not in self defense or without any other defense to prosecution then you should get your throat cut. One appeal to make sure that you get a fair trial and if you're guilty again you die right then. The state of california makes me physically ill.....
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 9:37:43 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/4/2002 9:38:56 AM EDT by trickshot]
Oh, as if life in prison without the possibility for parole is getting off easy. Give it up you guys, the state has no more right to execute people than you or I do. Ponyboy, you must not understand what that symbol you use as your sig means, I guess.
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 9:39:17 AM EDT
Still waiting for Kalifornia to do the Gansta Slide all the way into the sea...
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 9:47:09 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 9:50:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/4/2002 9:50:56 AM EDT by Ponyboy]
Originally Posted By trickshot: Oh, as if life in prison without the possibility for parole is getting off easy. Give it up you guys, the state has no more right to execute people than you or I do.
View Quote
We are a land of laws, and the laws disagree with you.
Ponyboy, you must not understand what that symbol you use as your sig means, I guess.
View Quote
You do guess.
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 10:16:58 AM EDT
Hey...I'm not at all surprised. I mean...they let OJ go right? About seven years ago, before the Missus and I fled that goofy state, I was empaneled for a jury in Ventura Cty. During the vior dire, Hizzoner gave me a quick pass, as did the DA. Council for the scumbag (doper busted for DWI) however, took one look at my written answers to the long juror questionaire and quickly determined that I was NOT the sort she wanted judging her client (male, educated, middle-aged, professional, retired military officer, straight, engineer, family history of drug problems. Was I ready to convict that dude? Damn right!). Anyway...Bye-Bye...I was gone...which is what I really wanted anyway. Considering some of the jurors on that panel, I'll just bet the perp walked. After all...it IS California. [;D]
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 10:52:24 AM EDT
Originally Posted By trickshot: Oh, as if life in prison without the possibility for parole is getting off easy.
View Quote
Yes, it is. He will spend the rest of his life reading books, watching TV, working out, and hanging out with his friends, [b]who will worship him[/b] because he killed a cop. He will receive 3 meals a day, a warm place to sleep, free medical and dental, until he dies at old age of natural causes.
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 1:07:21 PM EDT
Death sentence or not, in CA it makes no difference. We have 612 people on death row. With our current rate of execution, which is at best one per year, sometimes one every three to five years, the vast majority of death sentences are never carried out. CA is a capital punishment state in name only.
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 7:18:00 PM EDT
Whats the difference between a cop killing an innocent civilian and an innocent cop being killed by some criminal? Check out some of the recent "cop bashing" threads to get an idea of what I am talking about.
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 7:20:14 PM EDT
Wonderful I think anyone that goes out and kill someone for no reason at all should be taken out back and be shown what 'an eye for an eye' means.
Link Posted: 12/5/2002 5:20:31 AM EDT
Originally Posted By mattja: Death sentence or not, in CA it makes no difference. We have 612 people on death row. With our current rate of execution, which is at best one per year, sometimes one every three to five years, the vast majority of death sentences are never carried out. CA is a capital punishment state in name only.
View Quote
That REALLY blows. I thought we fixed that decades ago when we threw that liberal bitch Rose Bird and her cronies off the state high court. I guess with the liberals controlling everything out there you guys have NO chance of sending those bastards to hell...where they belong. Too bad too... We only have a few dead men walking living off of the taxpayers here. We give 'em the happy juice quickly. I guess that's one reason our [per capita] murder rate is so much lower. 'Course...the other reason might be that we can legally pack concealed and the crooks know it. [;D]
Link Posted: 12/5/2002 6:05:28 AM EDT
I can't wait until the faultline gives and that whole mess falls into the sea.
Link Posted: 12/5/2002 7:37:09 AM EDT
Here we would have 12 jurors fighting to see who would be the first one to pull the handle to give him the juice.
Link Posted: 12/5/2002 9:17:25 AM EDT
Wait a minute, when I first started reading I thought it was just 1 juror that was holding out NOT to give him the DP. Now if I understand correctly after reading the article through like 3 times. It was actually only 1 juror FOR the DP. AAAAAAHHHHHHHH [>Q][pissed] Oh,...........I'm sorry for all the hooplah and surprise, I just remembered it's Kalifornia. I say he gets this...[chainsawkill]
Link Posted: 12/5/2002 9:47:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By LWilde: I guess that's one reason our [per capita] murder rate is so much lower. 'Course...the other reason might be that we can legally pack concealed and the crooks know it. [;D]
View Quote
Our 2001 murder rate was 6.4 per 100,000 which is just a little higher than VA, which was 5.1 per 100,000. However, with all the murders in gunstore-free Oakland this year, we're going to be way up there when the 2002 reports come in. And, of couse, this is not a state-wide problem. The murder rates are increasing mostly in, ahem, well, you know where.
Link Posted: 12/5/2002 9:55:50 AM EDT
For once I agree with you AR15fan...and that is rare.[;)] Yes, life in prison is actually quite easy. I have a friend in Cal corrections and some of the crap he tells me woulkd really piss most people off. Some in prison actually like being inside!! AR15fan, even if this guys did get death it would still probably take 15-20 years, sad but true. But don't condemn the whole state yet, most onm jury duty aren't very bright to begin with...in any state. Sgtar15
Link Posted: 12/5/2002 10:26:17 AM EDT
Think about this....obviously 51% of the voting public in The Republic of Kalifornistan is insane........scarry and obviously true
Link Posted: 12/5/2002 11:49:43 AM EDT
If we'd have done a better job of keeping the Okies out during the dust bowl years, things would surely be better here.
Link Posted: 12/5/2002 12:57:12 PM EDT
Must have been in f$#*(ing Santa Ana. It's like a Democratic stronghold in a county of conservatives.
Top Top