People v. Daniels

Decision Date02 October 1969
Docket NumberCr. 10999
CourtCalifornia Supreme Court
Parties, 459 P.2d 225, 43 A.L.R.3d 677 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Gene DANIELS and Archie Simmons, Defendants and Appellants.

Bernard G. Winsberg and Herbert E. Selwyn, Los Angeles, under appointments by the Supreme Court, for defendants and appellants.

Thomas C. Lynch, Atty. Gen., William E. James, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Norman H. Sokolow, Deputy Atty. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

MOSK, Justice.

By amended indictment defendant Simmons was charged in count I with raping Miss M. by means of force and threat (Pen.Code, § 261, subds. 3 and 4); in count II defendants Daniels and Simmons were charged with kidnaping Mrs. R. for the purpose of robbery, the victim suffering bodily harm (Pen.Code, § 209); in count III Simmons was charged with kidnaping Miss S. for the purpose of robbery, the victim suffering bodily harm (Pen.Code, § 209); and in count IV Daniels and Simmons were charged with kidnaping Miss K. for the purpose of robbery, the victim suffering bodily harm (Pen.Code, § 209). Daniels was charged with a prior conviction of simple kidnaping (Pen.Code, § 207) and rape (Pen.Code, § 261, subd. 3).

Defendants entered pleas of not guilty, and Daniels admitted the prior conviction. The jury found defendants guilty on all counts. The allegations in counts II, III, and IV that the kidnaping victims suffered bodily harm were found true. 1

The jury fixed the penalty at death on the kidnaping counts. Motions for new trial were denied. On count I Simmons was sentenced to prison for the term prescribed by law, and on the remaining counts he was sentenced to death; on counts II and IV Daniels was sentenced to death. The appeals from the judgments of death are automatic. (Pen.Code, § 1239, subd. (b).)

The relevant facts, viewed most favorably to the People, may be summarized as follows:

Count I. Miss M., a 24-year-old school teacher and graduate student, returned to her apartment shortly after midnight on January 17, 1966. Finding no nearby parking space, she drove to her garage in an alley behind the apartment building. In so doing she observed two men standing on the street corner. As she was getting out of her car in the garage, she looked to the rear and saw defendant Simmons. She screamed, and he rushed towards her and struck her in the face, dislocating her jaw. He said, 'Shut up; I have a knife,' and held the weapon at her throat. Badly frightened, she asked him what he wanted. He ordered her into the back seat of the car, where he overcame her vigorous resistance and accomplished an act of rape. He then asked her if she had any money, and she told him to look in her purse. 2 After Simmons left her, Miss M. crawled into the front seat and began to drive in the direction of a hospital. In her hysteria she had forgotten to turn on the car's headlights, and she was soon stopped by police for driving without lights and failing to observe a red signal. She ran towards the police car, screaming for help and for a doctor. Her face was swollen, her hair and clothing were in disarray, and she had lost her shoes. The officer obtained a description of the assailant, then took her to the hospital for treatment.

Count II. Two nights later, Mrs. R. was in her home awaiting the return of her husband, a deputy sheriff. There was a knock at the door, and she opened it. Defendants Daniels and Simmons, the latter carrying a gun, forced their way in. They pointed the weapon at her face and asked if she had any money, but she replied she did not. They walked her quickly through the dining room into the kitchen, a distance of approximately 18 feet. They repeated their demand for money, and she told them to look in her purse and see for themselves. 3

Daniels, who was then holding the gun, put a dish towel over Mrs. R.'s face and warned her not to scream or he would shoot her. Simmons removed her pants and raped her. During the act of intercourse Daniels left the room briefly, then returned and told Simmons they had better get out of there. Again warning her not to move or cry out, defendants left the house. In a distraught condition Mrs. R. telephoned for her husband, and when he arrived the police were called and furnished with a description of the attackers.

Count III. Miss S., a graduate student, lived alone in a one-room apartment with a small kitchen and bathroom. Shortly after 11 p.m. on May 19, 1966, there was a knock at the door. As she was expecting a classmate, she opened the door and was confronted by defendant Simmons. He asked for someone by a certain name; she said no one by that name lived there, and requested him to leave. She tried to shut the door, but he forced his way in, pushed her against the wall, and pulled a gun out of a paper bag he was carrying. When she screamed for her next-door neighbor, Simmons put the gun to the back of her neck and said he would shoot her if anyone came. He then demanded her money. She walked over to a nearby table on which her purse was lying, a distance of five or six feet; he followed with the gun, and she gave him the $12 that the purse contained.

Simmons then directed her to turn off the lights, lie down on the couch, and remove her clothes. After forcing her to orally copulate him, he raped her but achieved only slight penetration. Hoping to distract him from hurting her further, Miss S. engaged him in conversation. The lights were turned on again, and she could see him clearly. After a while he took her into the adjoining bathroom and resumed the sexual assault, forcing her to orally copulate him once more and to submit to another act of rape. Returning to the living room, Simmons emptied out her purse and examined its contents. He threatened to rip out the telephone cord unless Miss S. promised not to call anyone. Finally he replaced his gun in the paper bag and left the apartment. Miss S. immediately called the police, gave them a description of Simmons, and was taken to hospital for treatment.

Count IV. Miss K., a student and part-time employee, was alone in her small cottage-apartment on the evening of May 31, 1966. She answered her doorbell about 9:45 p.m. and was met by defendants Daniels and Simmons. Simmons asked if the manager was in; Miss K. said this was not the manager's apartment and offered to give them the latter's telephone number. They seemed to look around, then Simmons pulled a gun from something he was carrying, pushed the door fully open, and forced Miss K. to step back into the room. Simmons asked if she was alone, and she said she was. He turned her around, put one hand over her mouth, held the gun to the back of her head, and walked her first towards the kitchen and then towards the bedroom to see if anyone was there. He then sat her down on the bed and asked for her money. The distance that the parties had covered was about 30 feet.

Miss K. told defendants her purse was on the couch in the living room, and Daniels went to look for it. Simmons put a bathrobe over her head, but she could hear her purse being shaken. They asked if there was any more money, and searched some dresser drawers. They then removed her stockings and pants, and each raped her in turn. After taking off the rest of her clothing, defendants debated whether to tie her up. Finally they left the apartment, warning her not to move. After they had gone Miss K. discovered that a few dollars and some coins were missing.

Each of the foregoing crimes took place in the vicinity of the University of Southern California campus. Several teams of police officers were assigned to the case and provided with detailed descriptions of the suspects' physical appearance and modus operandi. On the evening of June 2, 1966, i.e., two nights after the rape and robbery of Miss K., officers on patrol in the area observed two men, walking along the street, who fitted the description of the suspects. The men, defendants Daniels and Simmons, increased their pace when a second police car passed them. The officers stopped them on a well-lighted street corner and undertook a 'pat down' search. Simmons was carrying, in his right hand, a paper bag which was found to contain a loaded revolver. Defendants were thereupon placed under arrest. The gun was subsequently identified by Mrs. R., Miss S., and Miss K., as resembling the weapon displayed when they were attacked. Simmons' fingerprints, moreover, were found in Miss S.'s bathroom on a bottle of lotion used by him before he raped her for the second time. Each of the victims identified her assailant or assailants in open court.

The defendants presented alibi defenses as to certain, but not all, of the crimes charged.

Penal Code, section 209 provides in relevant part that 'Any person who seizes, confines, inveigles, entices, decoys, abducts, conceals, kidnaps or carries away any individual by any means whatsoever with intent to hold or detain, or who holds or detains, such individual for ransom, reward or to commit extortion or to exact from relatives or friends of such person any money or valuable thing, or Any person who kidnaps or carries away any individual to commit robbery, or any person who aids or abets any such act, is guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof shall suffer death or shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life without possibility of parole, at the discretion of the jury trying the same, in cases in which the person or persons subjected to such kidnaping suffers or suffer bodily harm or shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with possibility of parole in cases where such person or persons do not suffer bodily harm.' (Italics added.)

The evolution of the language and construction of this statute since its enactment at the turn of the century has been explored at length in our prior decisions (see, e.g., People v. Tanner (1934) 3 Cal.2d 279, 44 P.2d 324; ...

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