People v. Mayfield, S005620

Citation60 Cal.Rptr.2d 1,928 P.2d 485,14 Cal.4th 668
Decision Date02 January 1997
Docket NumberNo. S005620,S005620
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Parties, 928 P.2d 485, 97 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 80, 97 Daily Journal D.A.R. 91 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Dennis MAYFIELD, Defendant and Appellant.

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Jay L. Lichtman, Los Angeles, and Roberta K. Thyfault, San Diego, under appointments by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant.

Daniel E. Lungren, Attorney General, George Williamson, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Gary W. Schons, Assistant Attorney General, Holly D. Wilkens and Esteban Hernandez, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

KENNARD, Justice.

Defendant Dennis Mayfield appeals from a judgment of death upon his conviction by jury verdict of one count of first degree murder Pen.Code, § 187; all further statutory references are to this code unless otherwise indicated) with the special circumstance that the murder victim was a peace officer engaged in performing his duties and that defendant intentionally killed the officer even though defendant knew, or reasonably should have known, that the victim was a peace officer engaged in performing his duties (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(7)). The jury also convicted defendant of two counts of attempted murder (§§ 187/664), one count of kidnapping for extortion (§ 209, subd. (a)), one count of grand theft from the person (§ 487, former subd. (3) [now subd. (c) ] ), and two counts of assaulting a peace officer with a deadly weapon (§ 245, former subd. (b)[now subds. (c), (d)]). As to each of these offenses except grand theft, the jury found, for the purpose of sentence enhancement, that defendant had been armed with and had personally used a firearm (§§ 12022, subd. (a), 12022.5). The jury also found that defendant had personally and intentionally inflicted great bodily injury on the victim of the kidnapping count and one of the attempted murder counts (§ 12022.7). After the jury returned its guilt verdicts, the trial court found, for the purpose of sentence enhancement, that defendant had two prior felony convictions (§ 667, subd. (a)).

The issue of penalty for the first degree murder with special circumstances was tried to the jury, which returned a penalty verdict of death. The trial court denied the automatic motion to modify penalty (§ 190.4, subd. (e)) and sentenced defendant to death

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on the murder count, to life imprisonment without possibility of parole on the kidnapping for extortion count, and to an aggregate prison term of 20 years on the remaining counts and enhancement allegations, with a restitution fine of $10,000.

This appeal from the judgment of death is automatic. (§ 1239, subd. (b).) We shall affirm the judgment in its entirety.


Rialto Police Sergeant Gary Wolfley, while in uniform, was fatally wounded by a bullet from his own service revolver during an encounter with defendant at the rear of a gasoline station at approximately 1:40 a.m. on March 3, 1986. Defendant fled the area with Sergeant Wolfley's revolver, pursued by other officers. Defendant fired two shots at the pursuing officers, wounding Officer Joseph Cirilo. A short time later, defendant dove through the living room window of a residence and shot one of the occupants, William Haverstick, who had gotten up to investigate the commotion. Police surrounded the residence. Defendant surrendered to the police at 6:40 a.m.

At trial, the prosecution maintained that defendant had disarmed Sergeant Wolfley to avoid arrest and then had deliberately shot and killed him. The defense maintained that Sergeant Wolfley had shouted racial slurs and verbal threats while pointing his gun at defendant's head; that defendant, fearing for his life, had grabbed the officer's hands; and that the gun had fired accidentally twice during the ensuing struggle.


On the evening of March 2, 1986, Tyrone Thomas went to an apartment complex in San Bernardino to purchase cocaine. There, a man grabbed Thomas, pulled him into an apartment, demanded that Thomas repay a debt for an earlier cocaine purchase, took all of Thomas's money, and threatened Thomas with a gun. Upon leaving this apartment, Thomas formed the impression that some men who were standing outside the apartment complex intended to kill him. Thomas ran from the area and eventually contacted San Bernardino Police Officer Craig Armstrong, who drove Thomas to Rialto, where Thomas lived, leaving him in a commercial area.

Thomas was still in fear of his life, believing that some of the men might have followed him from San Bernardino. He ran to a gasoline service station with a minimart on the northwest corner of Foothill Boulevard and Eucalyptus Avenue, and he asked the clerk, Carlos Price, to telephone the Rialto police. Thomas told Price that he had been robbed and that some men were after him. It was then between 1:00 and 1:30 a.m. on March 3, 1986. Price telephoned the police, stating: "Ah, we have a black male here that says two other black guys are after him and he's hiding in the store." The police dispatcher promised to send someone. While waiting for the police to arrive, Thomas remained inside the minimart portion of the station.

A short while later, defendant arrived at the service station with Howard Bell, who was driving his mother's car, which Bell parked by the pump nearest the service station. Bell had agreed to give defendant a ride to the service station so that defendant could purchase cigarettes, in exchange for which defendant agreed to buy some gasoline for Bell's mother's car. Bell and defendant entered the minimart together, and defendant purchased the cigarettes and gasoline. Price told them that if they "had anything on them" such as an open container of beer, they should "get rid of it" because he had called the police.

Thomas believed that he had seen Bell earlier at the apartment complex in San Bernardino, and he decided that Bell and defendant intended to kill him. When defendant put his hand into the pocket of his jacket, Thomas believed he saw the outline of a gun.

Thomas ran outside just as a patrol car pulled up behind Bell's mother's car. The driver of the patrol car was Sergeant Wolfley; riding with him was his wife, Candette Wolfley, who was a police officer for the City of Fontana. Unlike her husband, she was not on duty or in uniform. With his hands raised, Thomas ran up to Sergeant

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Wolfley, who grabbed Thomas, pushed him across the hood of the patrol car, and pat-searched him for weapons, finding none. Thomas told Sergeant Wolfley that two men in "the store" were "after" him, that they were "going to kill" him, and that "the guy in the coat" had a pistol. Thomas would not stand still, kept looking around him, appeared to be badly frightened, and looked as if he "possibly was under the influence of a narcotic." As Thomas was talking to Sergeant Wolfley, defendant and Bell left the minimart. Bell began pumping gasoline into his mother's car, while defendant walked over to a telephone booth in front of the service station and picked up the receiver. Speaking to Sergeant Wolfley, Thomas said: "Don't let them get away."

The prosecution witnesses gave somewhat varying accounts of what happened next.

According to Thomas, Sergeant Wolfley started walking toward the telephone booth. Defendant put down the receiver and walked away from the booth at a normal pace. Sergeant Wolfley told defendant to "Stop." Defendant did not stop but continued walking along the west side of the service station and out of Thomas's view. Sergeant Wolfley then drew his service revolver and pointed it in the direction taken by defendant. Thomas looked away and when he looked back, he could see neither Sergeant Wolfley nor defendant.

According to Price, who observed events from inside the mini-mart by looking through its windows, defendant was walking toward the restrooms on the west side of the service station. After defendant went around the southwest corner of the building, Sergeant Wolfley drew his gun and ran after defendant. Defendant then began to run. They both disappeared from Price's view. Price could not remember whether he heard Sergeant Wolfley say anything to defendant. When Price last saw defendant and Sergeant Wolfley, they were about 20 feet apart.

According to Bell, 1 Sergeant Wolfley called Bell over to the patrol car and asked him who he was with. Bell turned and looked toward defendant. As he did so, defendant began to run from the phone booth toward the west side of the service station and Sergeant Wolfley drew his service revolver and called out to defendant to "Stop" or "Halt." Defendant "paused" or slowed almost to a standstill on Sergeant Wolfley's command and turned toward Sergeant Wolfley, who was running toward defendant with the gun in his extended hand pointed straight at defendant. Defendant had no weapons in his hands, made no threatening gestures, and said nothing. When the distance between Sergeant Wolfley and defendant was reduced to about five feet, defendant backed away from Sergeant Wolfley, and the two disappeared from Bell's view around the west side of the service station. When he last saw them, Sergeant Wolfley and defendant were both walking, not running.

According to Candette Wolfley, Sergeant Wolfley met Bell midway between the patrol car and Bell's mother's car. Their contact lasted only one or two seconds, after which Sergeant Wolfley looked toward the pay phones. Defendant was just leaving the pay phones, walking toward the west side of the service station. Sergeant Wolfley began walking toward defendant, saying "Stop, come here, I want to talk to you." Instead of complying, defendant quickened his pace and continued to walk away from Sergeant Wolfley, out of Candette Wolfley's view. Sergeant Wolfley again said "Stop, I want to talk to you." When he reached the southwest...

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