People v. Duncan, Cr. 6287

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtGIBSON
Citation51 Cal.2d 523,334 P.2d 858
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of California, Respondent, v. Vender Lee DUNCAN, Appellant.
Decision Date03 February 1959
Docket NumberCr. 6287

Page 858

334 P.2d 858
51 Cal.2d 523
PEOPLE of the State of California, Respondent,
v.
Vender Lee DUNCAN, Appellant.
Cr. 6287.
Supreme Court of California, In Bank.
Feb. 3, 1959.

Page 859

[51 Cal.2d 525] Edward T. Mancuso, Public Defender, and Waldo F. Postel, Jr., Asst. Public Defender, San Francisco, for appellant.

Edmund G. Brown, Atty. Gen., Clarence A. Linn, Chief Asst. Atty. Gen., John S. McInerny, Deputy Atty. Gen., Thomas C. Lynch, Dist. Atty., and Walter H. Giubbini, Asst. Dist. Atty., San Francisco, for respondent.

GIBSON, Chief Justice.

A jury found defendant guilty of two counts of first degree murder. In separate proceedings the penalty was fixed at death for each count, and defendant was found to have been sane when the offenses were committed. Pen.Code, § 190.1. His motions for a new trial and modification of the verdicts were denied, and he was sentenced to death. This appeal comes before us automatically. Pen.Code, § 1239, subd. (b).

Two police officers found the dead body of Elizabeth Manning on September 4, 1955, in her apartment on Webster Street near Fulton Street in San Francisco. About $65 in currency and some silver were missing. Mrs. Manning, who was about 75 years old, had been beaten about the head, face, neck and chest, a number of bones had beeni fractured, there were injuries to her genitalia, and spermatozoa were present in her vagina. The autopsy surgeon testified that Mrs. Manning's death was due to strangulation.

[51 Cal.2d 526] Mrs. Ada Romig, an elderly woman, was found on April 5, 1957, in a vacant lot which ran from Fulton to Grove Street between Fillmore and Webster Streets in San Francisco. She had been attacked at

Page 860

the Grove Street end of the lot and dragged through it to where she was found near Fulton. There were extensive injuries about her head, face and neck. A small abrasion was found on the inside of the left thigh, and the opening to the vagina was badly bruised and bleeding. She died on May 9, 1957, as a result of the injuries. Officers searched the lot and found articles of her clothing in several places, but they did not find her purse.

Approximately three weeks after the attack on Mrs. Romig, police officers observed defendant and another man some time after midnight on the corner of Octavia and McAllister Streets, four and a half blocks from the lot where the attack occurred. Defendant and the other man made a number of starts in different directions but each time went back to the corner. When defendant saw the officers he turned around and started to walk in another direction. The officers approached defendant, saw the blade of a table knife protruding from his pocket, and took the knife from him. They questioned him as to his reason for being in the area, and he gave several conflicting stories. He was placed under arrest as a vagrant, and, when he was searched, the officers found a 12-inch pipe with an elbow on it inside the front of his trousers.

In November 1957, while serving a county jail sentence for another offense, defendant asked to speak to members of the homicide department. He told the officers that in the early part of September 1955 he had killed a woman with whom he had been having an 'affair' and that he had taken two watches and $35 from her.

The police officers asked defendant to show them where the crime had taken place, and he directed them to 804 Webster Street, the location of Mrs. Manning's apartment. Upon arriving there he said that his earlier statement was false in some respects, that he wanted to correct it, that he had never seen Mrs. Manning before he entered her apartment, that she awoke and started to scream as he was taking about $200 from a drawer, that he hit her numerous times and started to choke her, that he then took about $30 from her purse, and that after she again cried out he raped and choked her. At the time the police officers discovered Mrs. Manning's body the front and rear doors of the apartment [51 Cal.2d 527] were locked, and the only apparent method of entry was through an unlatched window. When asked how he entered the apartment, defendant led the officers to a garbage pail, which was under the steps of the adjoining home and not visible from the street, and showed them how he had placed it under the window and climbed into the room. He also said that he had wrapped his hands in handkerchiefs so that he would leave no fingerprints.

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18 practice notes
  • Michael v., In re, S.F. 22978
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 21, 1974
    ...than was shown here, to justify an honest and strong suspicion that they had committed the offense. (Contrast People v. Duncan (1959) 51 Cal.2d 523, 526--528, 334 P.2d 858). The officer who testified at the hearing seems to have relied heavily on the fact that the parking lot was enclosed b......
  • People v. Ainsworth
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 30, 1988
    ...the unitary jury concept in analogous settings Page 596 involving guilt/penalty and sanity determinations. (See People v. Duncan (1959) 51 Cal.2d 523, 529-530, 334 P.2d 858; People v. Wein (1958) 50 Cal.2d 383, 408, 326 P.2d 457.) Further, in both Duncan and Wein we held that the trial cour......
  • People v. King, Cr. 4814
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • February 24, 1966
    ...is settled. [Citations.]' (People v. Shipp, supra, 59 Cal.2d 845, 853, 31 Cal.Rptr. 457, 462, 382 P.2d 577, 582; People v. Duncan (1959) 51 Cal.2d 523, 529, 334 P.2d 858.) Furthermore, on three occasions during the voir dire examination the judge cautioned the Page 571 prospective jurors th......
  • People v. Jennings, No. S004754
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 11, 1991
    ...v. Mattson (1990) 50 Cal.3d 826, 874-875, 268 Cal.Rptr. 802, 789 P.2d 983 [victim found with a lacerated hymen]; People v. Duncan (1959) 51 Cal.2d 523, 528, 334 P.2d 858 [injuries to genitalia supported an inference of rape] ). Further, there was no evidence that the victim's clothes were a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Michael v., In re, S.F. 22978
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 21, 1974
    ...than was shown here, to justify an honest and strong suspicion that they had committed the offense. (Contrast People v. Duncan (1959) 51 Cal.2d 523, 526--528, 334 P.2d 858). The officer who testified at the hearing seems to have relied heavily on the fact that the parking lot was enclosed b......
  • People v. Ainsworth
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 30, 1988
    ...the unitary jury concept in analogous settings Page 596 involving guilt/penalty and sanity determinations. (See People v. Duncan (1959) 51 Cal.2d 523, 529-530, 334 P.2d 858; People v. Wein (1958) 50 Cal.2d 383, 408, 326 P.2d 457.) Further, in both Duncan and Wein we held that the trial cour......
  • People v. King, Cr. 4814
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • February 24, 1966
    ...is settled. [Citations.]' (People v. Shipp, supra, 59 Cal.2d 845, 853, 31 Cal.Rptr. 457, 462, 382 P.2d 577, 582; People v. Duncan (1959) 51 Cal.2d 523, 529, 334 P.2d 858.) Furthermore, on three occasions during the voir dire examination the judge cautioned the Page 571 prospective jurors th......
  • People v. Jennings, No. S004754
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 11, 1991
    ...v. Mattson (1990) 50 Cal.3d 826, 874-875, 268 Cal.Rptr. 802, 789 P.2d 983 [victim found with a lacerated hymen]; People v. Duncan (1959) 51 Cal.2d 523, 528, 334 P.2d 858 [injuries to genitalia supported an inference of rape] ). Further, there was no evidence that the victim's clothes were a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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