People v. Bittaker, No. S004359

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtBROUSSARD; LUCAS
Citation774 P.2d 659,48 Cal.3d 1046,259 Cal.Rptr. 630
Parties, 774 P.2d 659 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Lawrence Sigmond BITTAKER, Defendant and Appellant. Crim. 21942.
Docket NumberNo. S004359
Decision Date22 June 1989

Page 630

259 Cal.Rptr. 630
48 Cal.3d 1046, 774 P.2d 659
The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Lawrence Sigmond BITTAKER, Defendant and Appellant.
No. S004359.
Crim. 21942.
Supreme Court of California,
In Bank.
June 22, 1989.
As Modified on Denial of Rehearing Aug. 24, 1989.

[48 Cal.3d 1061]

Page 635

[774 P.2d 664] Andrew D. Amerson, Office of the Atty. Gen., Los Angeles, for plaintiff and respondent.

Richard Such, Palo Alto, for defendant and appellant.

BROUSSARD, Justice.

From June through October of 1979, defendant and Roy Norris kidnapped and murdered five teenage girls in the Los Angeles [48 Cal.3d 1062] area. Most of the killings involved the rape and torture of the victims. Defendant now stands convicted of 26 felony counts, as follows:

Date of Crime Victim Crimes
                June 24, 1979 Lucinda Schaefer first degree murder
                 kidnapping
                 3 counts of rape
                July 8, 1979 Andrea Hall first degree murder
                 kidnapping
                 2 counts of rape
                 forcible oral copulation
                Sept. 2, 1979 Jacqueline first degree murder
                 Gilliam
                 kidnapping
                 3 counts of rape
                Sept. 2, 1979 Leah Lamp first degree murder
                 kidnapping
                Oct. 31, 1979 Shirley Ledford first degree murder
                 kidnapping
                 rape
                 forcible oral copulation
                 forcible sodomy
                Various 3 counts of possession of firearm by ex-felon
                June"Oct. 1979 conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder
                

Page 636

[774 P.2d 665] The jury found 38 special circumstances: 20 multiple-murder special circumstances (the arithmetic combinations of 5 murders), 5 felony-murder special circumstances based on kidnapping and 5 based on rape. It found felony-murder special circumstances based on forcible oral copulation as to victims Hall and Ledford, and forcible sodomy as to Ledford. The jury found intentional murder by means of torture as to all victims except Lamp; with respect to Lamp, it found as a special circumstance that she was killed to prevent her from testifying as a witness.

Defendant was sentenced to death. His appeal is automatic. We affirm the conviction and sentence.

48 Cal.3d 1063

I.

SUMMARY OF FACTS

Defendant met Roy Norris while they were inmates in state prison. Defendant had been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, arising from an incident in 1974 in which he stabbed a store clerk who accused him of shoplifting. Norris had been convicted of rape. The two men became friends, and frequently discussed their mutual interest in rape, and analyzed methods of abducting and raping women without getting caught.

Defendant was paroled in November of 1978 and rented a room at the Scott Motel in Burbank; Norris was paroled in January of 1979. After raping a woman in Colorado, Norris returned to California and called defendant. They would get together on weekends, and go to the beach where defendant would photograph teenage girls. They continued their discussion of rape, and explored various fire roads in the Southern California mountains, looking for places with adequate privacy. Defendant bought a van, choosing one with sliding doors to make it easier to seize a victim and drag her into the van.

In June of 1979 Norris attempted to rape a woman, but she escaped. He told defendant, and they agreed that thereafter they would act together in all their criminal activities.

1. The testimony of Roy Norris.

Norris testified for the prosecution pursuant to a plea bargain under which he pled guilty to five murders and received a sentence of twenty-five years to life.

(a) The murder of Lucinda Schaefer.

On June 24, 1979, defendant was driving the van, with Norris as passenger, on the Pacific Coast Highway in Redondo Beach. They saw Lucinda (Cindy) Schaefer, age 16, walking along the highway. She turned onto a residential street. Defendant drove by and offered her a ride, but she refused. Defendant then parked the van a short distance down the street. Norris got out and pretended to be repairing it. When Schaefer walked by, he grabbed her and dragged her into the van. While defendant

Page 637

drove away, Norris bound and gagged the victim.

[774 P.2d 666] When they arrived at the fire road in the mountains, Norris raped Schaefer while Defendant stood lookout. Defendant raped her, then Norris a second time. She asked Norris if the men intended to kill her, and asked for [48 Cal.3d 1064] time to pray before they did; Norris, however, assured her that she would not be killed. Defendant then returned to the van, and Norris stood watch outside. After about 45 minutes defendant emerged, and the 2 men argued whether to kill Schaefer. Norris said he had told Schaefer that she would not be killed, but defendant insisted on killing her so she could not identify them. Defendant said that kidnapping with bodily harm carried a sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Norris was unwilling to risk such a sentence, and finally agreed to the killing.

Defendant held Schaefer while Norris tried to strangle her, but when he changed his grip Schaefer and defendant fell over backwards. Defendant dropped his cigarette, which burnt a hole in his shirt and scarred his chest. 1 Defendant then attempted to strangle Schaefer, but was unable to squeeze tightly enough. He took a clothes hanger, and looped it around her neck. Norris could not get the hanger tight enough, but defendant used pliers to tighten it and kill Schaefer. They then threw the body into the bushes.

(b) The murder of Andrea Hall.

On July 4, 1979, defendant and Norris set out to find another victim. While driving in Manhattan Beach they saw Andrea Hall, age 18, who was hitchhiking to visit her boyfriend in Wilmington. Before they could offer her a ride, a man in another car picked up Hall. Defendant and Norris followed that car to Redondo Beach, where Hall got out and resumed hitchhiking. Defendant offered her a ride. After she entered the van Norris, who had been hiding in the back, attacked her and after a fight managed to bind and gag her.

They drove into the mountains, passing the place where Schaefer was killed. Norris got out and stood guard while defendant raped Hall. The men then traded activities. When it was Norris's turn to wait outside again, he thought he saw headlights coming up the fire road. Defendant took Hall into some bushes by the road while Norris drove the van, searching unsuccessfully for the intruder. When Norris returned, they drove to a new location. Defendant took Hall up a small hill, maintaining communication with Norris by walkie-talkie. Upon returning two hours later defendant showed Norris eight photographs he had taken. One of these photographs, which shows Hall about to perform oral copulation on defendant, is in evidence. Norris described the other photographs, which showed Hall nude in various poses. 2

[48 Cal.3d 1065] Defendant drove to another place, said he wanted to rape Hall again, and again took her to a hill near the road. Norris drove to a nearby store, keeping in communication by radio. When he returned, defendant was alone. He told Norris he had taken more pictures. He showed Norris two pictures in which Hall appeared frightened, and told Norris that he took them after telling Hall that he was going to kill her, and challenging her to come up with as many reasons as she could why he should not kill her. Defendant then killed Hall by thrusting an ice pick through her ear into her brain. 3 When she did not die instantly,

Page 638

[774 P.2d 667] he turned her over and pushed the pick through the other ear, and stepped on it until the handle broke. He then strangled Hall until she died and threw the body over an embankment into some bushes.

(c) The murders of Jacqueline Gilliam and Leah Lamp.

On September 2, 1979, Jacqueline Gilliam, age 15, and Leah Lamp, 13, were hitchhiking in Redondo Beach. Defendant and Norris picked them up in defendant's van. After the girls entered the van, Norris hit Lamp with a sap (a plastic bag filled with lead weights), then subdued and tied Gilliam. Lamp recovered consciousness and attempted to escape, but defendant caught her and forced her back into the van. Defendant then drove into the mountains, driving beyond the site of the other two murders.

Neither defendant nor Norris was sexually interested in Lamp. Defendant set out to rape Gilliam. Learning that she was a virgin, he set up a tape recorder to record her cries during the rape. After Norris also raped Gilliam, they retied the girls, and all remained in the van over night.

The next morning defendant took Lamp up a hill, took some photographs, and left her there. Upon returning, he arranged for Norris to take a series of photographs of him with Gilliam, beginning with them clothed, then nude, then during intercourse and oral copulation. Defendant brought Lamp back to the van, and they drove into town for food and supplies.

Upon their return, defendant took additional nude photographs of Gilliam. Some of these photographs came into possession of defense counsel, who turned them over to the police, and they were admitted into evidence. [48 Cal.3d 1066] (At this point, according to Douglas, defendant tortured Gilliam. Norris does not mention torture.) Norris suggested that they kill Gilliam quickly because she had been so helpful, but defendant replied that "they only die once, anyway." Defendant then took Gilliam out of the van and killed her, first thrusting an ice pick through her ear into her brain, then choking her. Defendant returned to the van, aroused Lamp (who had been forced to take tranquilizers to keep her quiet), and as she stepped out of the van, struck her with a sledgehammer. Defendant choked Lamp while Norris struck her with the hammer until she was dead. The men threw both bodies over an embankment into the chaparral.

(d) The attempted abduction of Jan Malin.

On September 27, 1979, defendant and Norris attempted to abduct an unidentified woman, but she dodged behind the van and escaped. On September 30, they saw Jan Malin, age 20, park her car in an apartment garage, and...

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  • People v. Benavides, No. S033440.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • February 17, 2005
    ...is given for appeal to the emotions of the jury as "long as it relates to relevant considerations." (People v. Bittaker (1989) 48 Cal.3d 1046, 1110, fn. 35, 259 Cal.Rptr. 630, 774 P.2d 659.) The jury was instructed that they were allowed to consider sympathy, pity, compassion, and......
  • People v. Cummings, No. S004699
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 29, 1993
    ...have been admissible to impeach Gay's expert who testified that Gay would function well in a prison setting (People v. Bittaker (1989) 48 Cal.3d 1046, 1103, 259 Cal.Rptr. 630, 774 P.2d 659; People v. Keenan, supra, 46 Cal.3d 478, 514, 250 Cal.Rptr. 550, 758 P.2d 1081), and it is clear that ......
  • State v. Annulli, No. 18856.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • August 6, 2013
    ...verification of [complainant's] truthfulness [71 A.3d 540or lack thereof to form an opinion on the topic”); cf. People v. Bittaker, 48 Cal.3d 1046, 1097, 774 P.2d 659, 259 Cal.Rptr. 630 (1989) (“[t]he value of the evidence as impeachment depends upon proof that the prior charges were false”......
  • People v. Hinton, No. S037302.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 26, 2006
    ...for aggrieved survivors," but defendant did not object and thereby has forfeited the claim of error. (People v. Bittaker (1989) 48 Cal.3d 1046, 1106, 259 Cal.Rptr. 630, 774 P.2d 659.) Moreover, the jury was informed, in response to a juror question, that it could not consider whether t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
294 cases
  • People v. Benavides, No. S033440.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • February 17, 2005
    ...is given for appeal to the emotions of the jury as "long as it relates to relevant considerations." (People v. Bittaker (1989) 48 Cal.3d 1046, 1110, fn. 35, 259 Cal.Rptr. 630, 774 P.2d 659.) The jury was instructed that they were allowed to consider sympathy, pity, compassion, and......
  • People v. Cummings, No. S004699
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 29, 1993
    ...have been admissible to impeach Gay's expert who testified that Gay would function well in a prison setting (People v. Bittaker (1989) 48 Cal.3d 1046, 1103, 259 Cal.Rptr. 630, 774 P.2d 659; People v. Keenan, supra, 46 Cal.3d 478, 514, 250 Cal.Rptr. 550, 758 P.2d 1081), and it is clear that ......
  • State v. Annulli, No. 18856.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • August 6, 2013
    ...verification of [complainant's] truthfulness [71 A.3d 540or lack thereof to form an opinion on the topic”); cf. People v. Bittaker, 48 Cal.3d 1046, 1097, 774 P.2d 659, 259 Cal.Rptr. 630 (1989) (“[t]he value of the evidence as impeachment depends upon proof that the prior charges were false”......
  • People v. Hinton, No. S037302.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 26, 2006
    ...for aggrieved survivors," but defendant did not object and thereby has forfeited the claim of error. (People v. Bittaker (1989) 48 Cal.3d 1046, 1106, 259 Cal.Rptr. 630, 774 P.2d 659.) Moreover, the jury was informed, in response to a juror question, that it could not consider whether t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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