52 Cal.4th 856, S045078, People v. Clark

Docket Nº:S045078.
Citation:52 Cal.4th 856, 261 P.3d 243, 131 Cal.Rptr.3d 225
Opinion Judge:CANTIL-SAKAUYE, C.J.
Party Name:The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Royal CLARK, Defendant and Appellant.
Attorney:Melissa Hill, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant. Bill Lockyer, Edmund G. Brown, Jr., and Kamala D. Harris, Attorneys General, Robert R. Anderson, Mary Jo Graves and Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorneys General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant Attorney Genera...
Judge Panel:WE CONCUR: BAXTER, CHIN, CORRIGAN, JJ., and KRIEGLER, J.[*] Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by KENNARD, J. Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by WERDEGAR, J.
Case Date:August 29, 2011
Court:Supreme Court of California

Page 856

52 Cal.4th 856

261 P.3d 243, 131 Cal.Rptr.3d 225

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,


Royal CLARK, Defendant and Appellant.

No. S045078.

Supreme Court of California

August 29, 2011

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[131 Cal.Rptr.3d 253] Superior Court, Fresno County; John Fitch, Judge.

Melissa Hill, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant.

[131 Cal.Rptr.3d 254] Bill Lockyer, Edmund G. Brown, Jr., and Kamala D. Harris, Attorneys General, Robert R. Anderson, Mary Jo Graves and Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorneys General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant Attorney General, Eric Christoffersen, Kathleen A. McKenna, Ward A. Campbell, Louis M. Vasquez, Lloyd G. Carter and William K. Kim, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.


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[261 P.3d 267] After a jury found Royal Clark competent to stand trial, another jury convicted him of the first degree murder of Billie-Jo

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Laurie Farkas (Pen.Code, §§ 187, subd. (a), 189),1 the premeditated attempted murder of Angie Higgins (§§ 187, subd. (a), 664, subd. (a)), two counts of robbery (§§ 211, 212.5, subd. (b)), the attempted rape of Farkas (§§ 261, subd. (a)(2), 664), assault upon Higgins by force likely to produce great bodily injury (§ 245, subd. (a)(1)), and the false imprisonment and kidnapping of Higgins (§§ 236, 207, subd. (a)). The jury found true the three special circumstance allegations that the murder was committed while defendant was [261 P.3d 268] engaged in the commission of robbery and attempted rape (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(17)(A), (C)), and for the purpose of preventing the victim's testimony in a criminal proceeding (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(10)). The jury also found true the allegations that defendant personally used a deadly weapon (a rope) during the commission of the murder, attempted murder and assault (§ 12022, subd. (b)), and that he intentionally inflicted great bodily injury on Higgins during the commission of the attempted murder and assault (§ 12022.7). The jury further found that defendant, who entered pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity, was sane when he committed all of the charged crimes. Following the penalty phase of the trial, the jury returned a verdict of death. Defendant moved for new guilt and penalty trials (§ 1181) and for modification of his sentence to life without the possibility of parole (§ 190.4, subd. (e)). The trial court denied the motions and sentenced defendant to death. The court also sentenced defendant to consecutive determinate terms totaling 15 years for the noncapital offenses, but stayed sentence on the premeditated attempted murder. Defendant's appeal is automatic. (§ 1239, subd. (b).) For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment.


A. Guilt Phase Evidence

1. Prosecution evidence

At the time of the crimes in January 1991, defendant was 27 years old and resided with Donna Kellogg and their young children in Kellogg's Fresno home. The murder victim, 14-year-old Billie-Jo Laurie Farkas (Laurie), was Kellogg's cousin. Laurie's mother, Venus Farkas, testified that Kellogg introduced defendant to the family in 1986 when he and Kellogg moved to the Fresno area. According to Mrs. Farkas, defendant visited the Farkases' residence often.

In the year preceding the murder, family members noticed that defendant's visits became more frequent and that he was paying particular attention to

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Laurie. Mrs. Farkas testified that defendant often asked Laurie to go places with him and was teaching her to drive his car. According to Laurie's older sister, Angelique, defendant sometimes commented on the tightness of Laurie's clothing. He also once asked the girls whether they were virgins, how " far" they had " gone with [131 Cal.Rptr.3d 255] boys," and if they had ever considered having an older, more experienced boyfriend like him.

Defendant's growing interest in Laurie also was apparent to individuals outside the family. Defendant's friend Michael Hall testified that, in late August 1990, six months before the offenses occurred, he warned defendant to stay away from Laurie's house. Defendant responded, " I know she wants me." When Hall pointed out that Laurie was Kellogg's cousin and that she was only 14 years old, defendant replied, " So what?" or " I don't care."

Laurie's best friend was 15-year-old Angie Higgins (Angie). She was acquainted with defendant because he was sometimes at the Farkases' home when she was there with Laurie. Angie testified that defendant once appeared at their school unexpectedly at the end of the day to give Laurie and her a ride home. Laurie's father, William Farkas, Sr., testified that when he asked defendant why he picked up the girls, defendant said he was " in the area."

On Saturday afternoon, January 26, 1991, Angie met Laurie at the Farkases' home and she and Laurie decided to go to a movie.

Around the same time, defendant called the Farkases, saying he wanted to come by the house with a new video game. According to Mr. Farkas, defendant arrived about 45 minutes later and played the video game with Laurie's brother. At some point he stopped playing, entered Laurie's bedroom, and spoke with her as she was preparing to leave for the movie. Angie testified that she overheard some of their conversation, including defendant asking Laurie if she wanted to go " cruising."

Mr. Farkas testified that he drove Laurie and Angie to the Festival theater and dropped them off in front around 8:15 p.m. Laurie took $7 with her. Angie had $10.

According to Mrs. Farkas, about 10 to 15 minutes after Mr. Farkas left with the girls [261 P.3d 269] for the movie theater, defendant asked her where they had gone. After being informed, he then grabbed his jacket and left, telling Mrs. Farkas he was going to meet a couple of friends. She found his abrupt departure unusual because defendant ordinarily would stay and play the video games that he had brought over.

Meanwhile, Laurie and Angie discovered that the movie they wanted to see had already started, so they decided to wait for the next showing. Angie

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testified that to pass the time, they went into a nearby music store. When they left the store, defendant drove up next to them and invited the girls to get inside his car, which they did.

As Angie recounted, defendant first drove to a nearby McDonald's restaurant because Laurie said she was hungry. When they arrived, defendant asked Laurie to buy him something. She refused his request saying, " Buy yourself something to eat. You've got your own money." Defendant responded that he did not have any money. While defendant stood near the doorway of the restaurant watching the girls, Laurie bought a milkshake and french fries and put her change into her right pants pocket. Angie spent $1.12 for a milkshake and put her remaining $8.88 into her left pants pocket.

The group returned to the car and defendant drove to Roeding Park. According to Angie, defendant told them people he knew would be " kicking back" there. They drove around the park for 20 minutes but saw only parked vehicles.

By now, it was after 9:00 p.m. and, according to Angie, Laurie said she wanted to return to the movie theater. Defendant [131 Cal.Rptr.3d 256] responded there was another place where his friends would be " kicking back" and that he needed to talk with one of them. With the girls' assent, defendant drove off, entering Highway 99 and exiting at Herndon Avenue. They stopped briefly at a service station.

Angie testified that after leaving the service station, defendant drove for a while until they reached Lost Lake Recreation Area (Lost Lake). They traveled along a winding road until it became a dead end. Seeing that the park was deserted, the girls suggested they leave. Defendant said he needed to use the restroom. He made a U-turn and headed back toward the park entrance, stopping at the first toilet facility en route. Seeing a car parked in front, he said, " I don't trust this car," and continued driving. He pulled up to the next facility and went into the restroom while the girls stayed in the car. After several minutes passed, Laurie moved over to the driver's seat, started the car, and drove a short distance to an area just beyond the restroom. Defendant then started yelling that he needed something with which to wipe himself. At first, the girls ignored him. However, after locating some paper towels in the backseat, Laurie drove the car to the other side of the restroom. Angie went halfway to the restroom door with the paper towels in hand, but then returned to the car, telling Laurie that she should deliver them to defendant because she knew him better. Laurie drove to the other side of the restroom. Meanwhile, defendant continued shouting for the girls to bring him toilet paper and yelled at them to " stop messing with [his] car."

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Laurie finally agreed to bring the paper towels to defendant. Angie testified that almost immediately after entering the restroom, Laurie started screaming and yelling, " Roy, stop" and " Roy, leave me alone." Laurie then called out for Angie to help her. As Angie neared the restroom's entrance, she heard a scuffling sound and then silence. She went inside and saw Laurie lying facedown on the concrete floor, motionless. Defendant was sitting on the back of his legs with Laurie's head...

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