Rundle v. Warden, San Quentin State Prison, No. 2:08-cv-01879 TLN KJN

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
Writing for the CourtKENDALL J. NEWMAN
Docket NumberNo. 2:08-cv-01879 TLN KJN
PartiesDAVID ALLEN RUNDLE, Petitioner, v. WARDEN, San Quentin State Prison, Respondent.
Decision Date21 November 2013

WARDEN, San Quentin State Prison, Respondent.

No. 2:08-cv-01879 TLN KJN


DATED: November 21, 2013



Petitioner is a state prisoner under sentence of death. He seeks relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The parties have briefed the application of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) to each claim in the petition. In addition, petitioner moves for an evidentiary hearing on Claims A, B, C, and D. After careful consideration of the parties' briefs and of the state court record, this court concludes that petitioner has failed to satisfy the requirements of section 2254(d) and recommends the petition be denied.

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I. Introduction

In November of 1986, the bodies of two young women, Caroline Garcia, 18 years of age, and Lanciann Sorensen, 15 years of age, were found in rural areas of Placer County. The bodies were unclothed and the arms of both victims were bound tightly behind their backs. Both bodies were badly decomposed, such that the causes of death could not be authoritatively established, nor was there definitive remaining evidence that the victims had been sexually assaulted. Despite his earlier denials of any involvement in the murders, defendant, who was 21 years of age at the time, confessed to the authorities that he had sexual relations with the victims and killed them by strangulation. At trial, defendant testified he had killed the women in fits of rage induced by the victims' behavior, but did not decide to engage in sexual activities with them until after they were dead. The evidence presented by the defense suggested that defendant's rage was the result of psychological problems arising from the incestuous sexual abuse inflicted upon him as a child by his mother, his mother's extensive history of engaging in other inappropriate sexual behavior (such as exhibitionism and having numerous extramarital affairs) which was common knowledge in the small towns where defendant and his family resided, and the general difficulties defendant had with his family.
The jury deliberated for less than a full court day before returning guilty verdicts and true findings on all charges and allegations.
At the penalty phase, the prosecution presented evidence of an earlier similar murder of a third woman in Sacramento, whose body was found unclothed in a wooded area near the Sacramento River with her arms tied behind her back, and who had been raped and strangled to death. Defendant confessed to this murder during the investigation of the Garcia and Sorensen killings. The evidence also established that defendant committed three sexual assaults against other children when he was 14 years of age, for which he was subjected to juvenile delinquency proceedings. Defendant's ex-wife testified that he physically and sexually abused her during their marriage. The defense presented further evidence of defendant's mental state, his family and employment background, and his good behavior while incarcerated following his arrest for the charged offenses.

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The jury deliberated further for less than a full court day before returning a verdict of death.

II. Guilt Phase

A. Prosecution Evidence

At approximately 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 7, 1986, Caroline Garcia left her home in Roseville. She planned to go to the bus station to take a bus to Colfax, where she planned to visit her husband Trinidad Garcia, from whom she was separated. She was wearing a black skirt and a red jacket. Trinidad saw Caroline at a park in Colfax sometime near 9:00 p.m. She told him she was going to the house of Chris Paoli, a friend who lived in Colfax. She also called Kim Manzano, who lived with Garcia in Roseville, and told Manzano she was going to Paoli's house and was planning to take a bus back to Roseville that night and would be home at approximately 1:00 a.m.
After arriving at Paoli's house, Garcia told Paoli a drunk man had bothered her earlier that evening, but another person had intervened on her behalf. She said she expected that person to come to Paoli's house to drive her back to the bus station. At approximately 10:45 p.m., defendant arrived in his car and Garcia left with him.
No one, other than defendant, reported seeing Garcia alive again.
On Monday, September 8, 1986, the day after Garcia disappeared, a motorist reported finding discarded clothing near a turnout on Interstate Highway 80 between Weimar Cross Road and Colfax. A California Highway Patrol officer responded to the scene and found a dark-colored denim skirt, a pair of black and purple women's panties, and a blue and white striped blanket that appeared to have a spot of blood and mucus on it. The area later was searched, but no other item of significance was found.
On September 16, 1986, another motorist reported finding a red blazer, a purse, and a wallet containing Garcia's identification near a railroad crossing on Carpenter Road, a secluded area approximately two miles from Chris Paoli's house in Colfax and six miles by road from where the skirt, underwear, and blanket had been found. Inside the purse was a bus ticket issued on September 7, 1986, for travel from Colfax to Roseville, a pipe commonly used to smoke marijuana, and an unopened package containing a condom. An extensive search of the area the next day failed to disclose any other evidence.

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At trial, Kim Manzano testified that on September 7, 1986, Garcia was wearing the skirt, blouse, and jacket that were found. Manzano also identified the purse as the one Garcia took with her that day, and the panties as a pair Garcia had purchased the day before when she and Manzano were shopping. Defendant's mother testified she had given defendant the blanket in May 1986 and that it did not have any red stains on it when she gave it to him.
Criminalist James Streeter examined the clothes and the blanket. He testified the clothing did not appear to be ripped or torn in any way, and was not stained with blood or any other bodily fluid. The blanket showed several bloodstained areas, in which there was a mixture of blood and a mucous material, most likely saliva, but no semen or seminal fluid. Based upon a comparison of the blood on the blanket and blood samples from Garcia's parents, it was determined that the blood on the blanket was consistent with Garcia's blood type.
In September 1986, defendant was employed as a general laborer by George Willson, a carpenter. The work involved physical labor, and defendant was strong for his size. Defendant did not show up for work on September 8 or 9, the days following Garcia's disappearance.
On September 8, 1986, defendant told his ex-girlfriend Heather Smith that the authorities had been speaking with him about Garcia, and that they appeared to believe he had killed her. On the following day, defendant told his friend James Sciacca that he (defendant) was the number one suspect in Garcia's disappearance because he was the last person seen with her. Defendant also had a chance meeting with Trinidad Garcia in Colfax on that day. Defendant mentioned he had given her a ride to the bus station the night she had disappeared. Trinidad insisted defendant go to the police to make a report, which defendant did. Defendant told the officers he had given Caroline Garcia a ride to the bus station, and had dropped her off after she declined his offer to wait with her. Defendant also said that on the way to the station they had seen the drunk man who had harassed Garcia earlier that day, but Garcia said she would go to the nearby gas station if there was any trouble.
Several days after Garcia's disappearance, defendant and Sciacca went to a carwash, where defendant cleaned and vacuumed the interior of defendant's car.
Defendant had two more interviews with the authorities, on September 11 and October 21, 1986, during which he provided essentially the same statement of events as above, except for adding that on the way to the bus station, they had stopped and smoked a small amount of marijuana Garcia had with her, and that defendant had asked Garcia to have coffee with him but she

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declined. Defendant denied he had anything to do with Garcia's disappearance or had given her his blanket, and maintained he returned to the trailer where he was staying after dropping Garcia off that night. Defendant said a person named Bob who was staying at the trailer could verify that defendant had returned there that night, but defendant could not find Bob. He also told the officers "things had heated up" for him in Colfax because people thought he was involved in Garcia's disappearance, and therefore he was avoiding the Colfax area.
On September 15 or 16, 1986, George Willson mentioned to defendant he had seen a search party looking for the "missing girl." Defendant told Willson the authorities would not find anything, because they were "stupid," adding they no longer were interested in him as a suspect in Garcia's disappearance because someone else had been seen with her at the bus station and officers had found blood at her husband's apartment. Defendant also said Garcia was a "slut" and a "sleep around," as were most of the girls in Colfax.
On the evening of Thursday, October 10, 1986, Lanciann Sorensen and her friend Laura Yowell were at a friend's house in Roseville, where they each consumed a beer. Later, they

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