People v. Cage

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Citation195 Cal.Rptr.3d 724,62 Cal.4th 256,15 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 12,2015 Daily Journal D.A.R. 12,362 P.3d 376
Decision Date03 December 2015
Docket NumberNo. S120583.,S120583.
PartiesThe PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Micky Ray CAGE, Defendant and Appellant.

62 Cal.4th 256
362 P.3d 376
195 Cal.Rptr.3d 724
15 Cal.
Daily Op. Serv. 12
2015 Daily Journal D.A.R. 12

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
Micky Ray CAGE, Defendant and Appellant.

No. S120583.

Supreme Court of California

Dec. 3, 2015.

195 Cal.Rptr.3d 733

Susan K. Massey, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney

195 Cal.Rptr.3d 734

General, Gary W. Schons, Assistant Attorney General, Holly D. Wilkens and Theodore M. Cropley, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.


62 Cal.4th 262

362 P.3d 384

A jury convicted defendant Micky Ray Cage of the 1998 first degree murders of Brunilda Montanez and David Burgos (Pen.Code § 187),1 and of being a felon in possession of a firearm (former § 12021, subd. (a)(1)). The jury found true the allegation that as to each murder defendant personally and intentionally discharged a firearm and proximately caused great bodily injury or death to another person within the meaning of section 12022.53, subdivision (d) and section 1192.7, subdivision (c)(8). It also found true the alleged special circumstances of lying in wait (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(15)) and multiple murder (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(3)). The jury returned a penalty verdict of death for the two murders.

The trial court denied defendant's motion for a new trial and his automatic request to reduce the penalty. The court sentenced defendant to death. It imposed but stayed two 25–years–to–life indeterminate sentences for the enhancements under sections 12022.53, subdivision (d) and 1192.7, subdivision (c)(8). The court also imposed but stayed a three-year sentence on defendant's conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm. This appeal is automatic. (§ 1239, subd. (b).) We affirm the judgment in its entirety.

62 Cal.4th 263

I. Facts

A. Guilt Phase Evidence

1. Overview

Defendant physically and emotionally abused his wife Claribel Burgos (Clari),2 his daughter Vallerie Cage (Vallerie), and members of his wife's family for years. His abuse included threats to kill his wife and her family. In October 1998, Clari left defendant with the help of her mother Brunilda Montanez (Bruni). Clari took both of her and defendant's children, Vallerie and Micky Cage, Jr. (Micky Jr.), and secretly traveled to Puerto Rico where they stayed with extended family. Defendant was upset with Clari, wanted Micky Jr. back, and told friends that he felt like doing something to Bruni in order to get his son back. Defendant said he should “bust a cap in [Bruni's] ass” and that he “should just put a gun to [Bruni's] head and tell her to call [Clari].” At other times, defendant said he wanted to “fuck up” Bruni.

362 P.3d 385

On the night of November 9, 1998, defendant hid a shotgun in a laundry basket of clothes and went to Bruni's house. When Bruni opened the front door, defendant fatally shot her in the shoulder, chest and face. The shot to Bruni's face was a contact wound that almost completely destroyed her head. Defendant then walked upstairs to the bedroom of Clari's 16–year–old brother David Burgos (David), where he fatally shot David in the chest at close range.

2. Prior incidents of domestic violence

Defendant and Clari met when they were both 14 years old. A few months later, defendant moved in with Clari's family, which included Clari's mother Bruni, Clari's younger brother David, and Clari's older, mildly intellectually disabled brother, Richard Montanez (Ritchie). Throughout

195 Cal.Rptr.3d 735

their relationship, defendant and Clari intermittently lived with Clari's family. In December 1985, defendant and Clari had their first child, Vallerie.

In 1987, while defendant, Clari and Vallerie were living in the City of Bellflower with Clari's family, defendant asked Clari, who was sleeping, to get him some water. When Clari told defendant to get the water himself, defendant pulled Clari out of bed, dragged her down the stairs by her hair, and began choking her. After he forced Clari to get him a glass of water, defendant choked her again until she blacked out.

62 Cal.4th 264

On another occasion when they were living with Clari's family in Bellflower, David, who was five or six years old at the time, began crying because Bruni had left to go to the store. Defendant told David he was a “ momma's boy” and proceeded to punch and kick him. At one point, defendant stomped on David's head with his steel-toed boots. When Clari tried to intervene, defendant turned his attention to Vallerie. Defendant pulled Vallerie's legs over her head and compressed them into her body until her face turned blue.

In January 1991, when defendant, Clari, and Vallerie were living in Signal Hill, defendant and Clari had an argument. Defendant pushed Clari into the bathroom, choked her, and yelled at her not to follow him around. She denied that she had been doing so, but defendant smashed her mouth against the bathtub, cracking her tooth. Defendant told Clari, “If you want to play, then we'll play.” Clari understood this to mean that if she “messed with him,” he would “teach her.”

In August 1991, during an argument about money, defendant choked Clari, pulled her hair, and pushed her face down onto the living room couch, trying to smother her. He then dragged her into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. He pushed Clari to the floor and put the knife to her throat. Vallerie was present in the living room and kitchen, witnessing these events. Defendant dragged Clari into the bedroom, where he beat and choked her on and off for the rest of the night. Defendant told Clari, “You think I'm playing with you but I'm not, I'll kill you.” The next morning, defendant, seeing the injured Clari, told her, “You look fucked up, I fucked you up didn't I?” He threatened Clari that if she called the police to report him, he would kill Vallerie.

In December 1994, defendant and Clari had their second child, Micky Jr. At this time, Clari was living in Perris with Vallerie, her mother, and her brothers. Defendant did not live with them at this time, but was still in daily contact with Clari. Clari had a new car that she bought for her commute to work. In January 1995, defendant came over one day and asked to use the car. Clari told him no. Defendant responded by starting to beat her. Clari ran outside, but slipped and fell in the grass. Defendant grabbed a brick and quickly jumped on top of her, hitting her in the face with the brick. Clari blacked out, and when she revived, there was a lot of blood in her eyes. She heard defendant say that he knew she would call the police. He told her that he was not going back to jail. Vallerie and David were outside during the incident. Defendant forced them, along with Clari and Micky Jr., into Clari's car. Dizzy and hurt, Clari begged defendant to take her to the hospital. Defendant said he would, but instead he drove around for hours. Clari saw in the visor mirror that her forehead was “flapping” and looked “like ground beef.” She used a diaper to mop up the blood; when the diaper

362 P.3d 386

was saturated,

62 Cal.4th 265

she used her shirt. More than seven hours later, defendant finally drove to a hospital and let Clari go inside, after coaching her on what to say.

195 Cal.Rptr.3d 736

He threatened that if she said anything to get him arrested, he would kill their children. Fearful of defendant, Clari claimed at the hospital that she had hurt herself by slipping at a store.

Clari needed numerous stitches to close the wound to her forehead, the scar of which was visible at defendant's trial in 2003. Clari also lost her front teeth and had to visit an oral surgeon to attempt to realign her jaw. At the time of trial, Clari's mouth still did not close properly. It took six months to receive dentures to replace her teeth. On numerous occasions thereafter, defendant would throw her dentures away or hide them so that she would have to go to work humiliated. Twice, Vallerie had to go to the dumpster to retrieve Clari's dentures for her.

After Bruni purchased a house in Moreno Valley, Clari and her children moved back in with defendant at an apartment a few miles from Bruni's house. One day, when Vallerie was 10 or 11 years old, she returned from school early and saw another woman sitting on their couch. Defendant “dared” Vallerie to tell Clari about the woman. When defendant found out that Vallerie had done so, defendant dragged Vallerie into the bathroom. Using clippers, he cut off all of her long hair, and made her go to school bald. When Clari bought...

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2 cases
  • People v. Cage, S120583.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 3 Diciembre 2015
    ...62 Cal.4th 256362 P.3d 376195 Cal.Rptr.3d 724The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,v.Micky Ray CAGE, Defendant and Appellant.No. S120583.Supreme Court of CaliforniaDec. 3, 2015.195 Cal.Rptr.3d 733Susan K. Massey, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant.Kamala D. H......
  • People v. Arredondo, E062964
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 2 Marzo 2016
    ...452, 470-471; People v. Wilson (1992) 3 Cal.4th 926, 938.)" (People v. Sattiewhite (2014) 59 Cal.4th 446, 471; People v. Cage (2015) 62 Cal.4th 256, 283-284.) Defendant argues, as did the Sattiewhite defendant, that the subject photographs were graphic and gruesome and therefore the risk of......

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