People v. Delgado, S089609

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Citation214 Cal.Rptr.3d 223,389 P.3d 805,2 Cal.5th 544
Decision Date27 February 2017
Docket NumberS089609
Parties The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Anthony Gilbert DELGADO, Defendant and Appellant.

2 Cal.5th 544
389 P.3d 805
214 Cal.Rptr.3d 223

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
Anthony Gilbert DELGADO, Defendant and Appellant.


Supreme Court of California

Filed February 27, 2017

Michael J. Hersek, State Public Defender, under appointment by the Supreme Court, and Jolie Lipsig, Deputy State Public Defender, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette and Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant Attorneys General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant Attorney General, Ward A. Campbell, Stephanie A. Mitchell, Sean M. McCoy and Tia M. Coronado, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

Corrigan, J.

2 Cal.5th 552

Defendant, Anthony Gilbert Delgado, killed two fellow inmates while serving a 25-year-to-life sentence in Corcoran State Prison. A jury convicted him of two counts of first degree murder,1 with the special circumstances of lying in wait2 and multiple murders;3 two counts of assault by a

214 Cal.Rptr.3d 232

life prisoner with malice aforethought,4 with findings that the assaults proximately caused the victims' deaths; battery by a prisoner on a correctional officer;5 and possession of a sharp instrument by a prisoner.6 It also found he had suffered two prior felony convictions within the meaning of the "Three Strikes" law.7

The jury returned a death verdict and the trial court entered a conforming judgment,8 as well as two consecutive terms of 25 years to life for the battery and weapon possession counts. This appeal is automatic. We affirm the judgment in its entirety.

2 Cal.5th 553


A. Guilt Phase

1. Murder of Frank Mendoza

On September 30, 1998, defendant and Frank Mendoza shared a cell. Around 11:15 p.m., an officer noted that both men were lying on their bunks watching television. About 25 minutes later, defendant called out, and Officer Carmona went to investigate. He saw Mendoza slumped forward on his knees between the two beds. Defendant calmly walked over to Mendoza, lifted him up by a cloth wrapped around his neck, and dropped him back to the ground. Mendoza had been strangled to death. A pillowcase covered his

389 P.3d 813

face, secured by a torn bed sheet. A white sock and second torn sheet were tied around his mouth. Written on the back of Mendoza's T-shirt were the words: "There's consequences to everything. He paid his and I'm to pay mine, too. Toro."

Defendant gave a taped statement about the killing and reenacted the crime. Mendoza had verbally abused defendant and bragged about his prior status as a lieutenant in the Nuestra Familia prison gang. Defendant warned he would "take [Mendoza] out" if he continued this behavior. Mendoza persisted, so defendant decided to kill him. Already serving a life sentence, defendant had nothing more to lose. Defendant "knew exactly when [he] was going to do it." After nighttime cell check, he covered the overhead light and wedged paper in the cell door to prevent entry. Mendoza seemed nervous, so defendant watched television to put him at ease. When the opportunity arose, defendant choked his victim for over four minutes, which he timed. Mendoza struggled, but eventually defendant could "fe[el] the life come out of him." Defendant tied a sheet and a sock around his neck, pulling it as tight as he could. He watched Mendoza for a while to make sure he was dead. Defendant felt no remorse. He said Mendoza "had it coming." He wrote a message on Mendoza's T-shirt and watched more television. He then removed the paper from the door and alerted the guards.

2. Murder of Kevin Mahoney

On July 2, 1999, defendant and inmate Kevin Mahoney, Jr., were placed in an exercise yard together. About two hours later, a security alarm summoned Officer Robert Todd to the yard. Mahoney was lying facedown in a pool of blood. He had no pulse or respiration. There were lacerations and bruises on his face and body, and

214 Cal.Rptr.3d 233

a subdural hemorrhage at the back of his head. Two T-shirts were tied around his neck. A nearby wall bore blood splatters and a "happy face" drawn in blood. Defendant's feet and legs were covered in blood. While waiting in a holding cell, defendant told one officer, "You guys

2 Cal.5th 554

gave me Three Strikes on some chicken shit fight, so now I'm going to earn mine. I got two now, and I got one more to go."

A surveillance tape captured the attack. When defendant and Mahoney were placed in the yard, they shook hands, then walked and sat separately for several minutes. Later they walked together. Approximately 52 minutes after they entered the yard, defendant attacked Mahoney without warning, punching and kicking him repeatedly for about 30 seconds. After the attack, Mahoney sat on the ground as defendant paced back and forth. Defendant attacked again about 12 minutes later, striking Mahoney several times in the head with a shoe. Mahoney remained seated; defendant continued to pace. A third attack occurred about 27 minutes after the second. Defendant grabbed Mahoney from behind and dragged him into a shadowy corner. He choked his victim for over four minutes, then picked up a T-shirt and tied it around Mahoney's neck. Defendant resumed pacing, repeatedly returning to the body and stomping on it.

Mahoney was strangled to death. His blunt force injuries were consistent with having suffered repeated blows.

Again, defendant gave a taped statement and reenacted the crime. He decided to kill Mahoney as soon as they were put in the yard together, and put him at ease by telling him that he wanted no trouble. Defendant judged Mahoney an "[e]asy" mark. Defendant had planned to lunge at his victim and snap his neck, but he was unable to grip him securely. He resorted to punching and kicking instead. Defendant attacked Mahoney three times "until I was able to get him in a choke hold and drag him off into the corner. And that's where I wanted him." Defendant explained that he moved Mahoney to that location because it would be more difficult for guards to shoot him. He choked the struggling man until he stopped breathing, then tied torn T-shirts around his neck. Defendant could hear Mahoney "gurgling in his [own] blood" which angered him. Intent on "caus [ing] as much injury ... as I could," he used his foot to repeatedly slam Mahoney's head into the concrete.

Defendant told an investigator, "I did it so what, what can you do to me[?] No one can

389 P.3d 814

do nothing to me." As to motive, he said: "I've [sic ] snapped when ... they gave me life for that stupid ass shit ... a little over a[ ] year and a half ago. When they gave me three strikes for that shit, I told myself, made a deal with the devil, you give me the opportunity man to pick up each murder for each one of those strikes we're cool. So that's ... my pack [sic ] with the devil man, I already got two that's my two strikes. I'm gonna ... earn each and every one of my strikes." He confirmed that he would kill again, saying "I hope there gonna [be] ten or fifteen" more victims. According to defendant, "My whole objective from here to now, now until I die, is

2 Cal.5th 555

to kill and to hurt, to cause as much destruction how[ ]ever, where ever, when ever. And oh as far as I'm concerned I got no more soul and I don't give [a] fuck no more. Nothing else matters to me."

3. Battery of Correctional Officer Erik Mares

Between the two murders, on October 20, 1998, defendant attacked Correctional Officer Eric Mares. As he was being handcuffed to be taken to the shower, defendant pulled away and ran to the middle of his cell with the handcuff attached to one

214 Cal.Rptr.3d 234

wrist. Asked what was bothering him, defendant replied, "[T]his conversation's over and I'm taking this to the next level." Several officers assembled for a cell extraction. When they directed pepper spray into the cell, defendant rushed at the door holding his mattress to block the spray. An officer ran in, but slipped immediately because a slick substance covered the floor. A second officer also slipped and fell. Officer Mares managed to enter and grab defendant's legs. Defendant jabbed at Mares several times with a pointed object. Another officer pried the weapon from defendant's grasp. A sharp piece of plastic with a cloth handle was recovered from the cell floor. A second piece of sharpened plastic was found on defendant's bed. Mares had puncture holes in his protective vest and cuts on his shoulder.

Defendant admitted that he "[j]ust got bored," and decided to provoke a cell extraction. He had two weapons ready for the confrontation and put shampoo in front of the cell door so entering officers would lose their footing. He admitted stabbing Officer Mares in the shoulder and trying to get "a nice good solid...

To continue reading

Request your trial
1 cases
  • People v. Delgado, S089609
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • February 27, 2017
    ...2 Cal.5th 544389 P.3d 805214 Cal.Rptr.3d 223The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,v.Anthony Gilbert DELGADO, Defendant and Appellant.S089609Supreme Court of CaliforniaFiled February 27, 2017Michael J. Hersek, State Public Defender, under appointment by the Supreme Court, and Jolie Lipsig, De......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT