State v. Lehr

Decision Date30 January 2002
Docket NumberNo. CR-97-0317-AP.,CR-97-0317-AP.
Citation38 P.3d 1172,201 Ariz. 509
PartiesSTATE of Arizona, Appellee, v. Scott Alan LEHR, Appellant.
CourtArizona Supreme Court

Janet A. Napolitano, Arizona Attorney General, Phoenix, By Paul J. McMurdie, Former Chief Counsel, Criminal Appeals Section, Kent E. Cattani, Chief Counsel, Capital Litigation Section, Colleen L. French, Deputy Maricopa County Attorney (Former Assistant Attorney General), for Appellee.

Lisa Marie Martin, Phoenix, for Appellant.

OPINION

ZLAKET, Justice.

¶ 1 Scott Alan Lehr appeals from his convictions and sentences on three counts of first degree murder, three counts of attempted first degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault, seven counts of kidnapping, thirteen counts of sexual assault, one count of attempted sexual assault, four counts of sexual conduct with a minor, and four counts of sexual assault with a child under the age of fourteen years. We have jurisdiction pursuant to Arizona Constitution article VI, section 5(3), Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure 26.15, 31.2(b), and Arizona Revised Statutes section 13-4031.

I. FACTS

¶ 2 The charges against the defendant stem from separate attacks upon ten different women over the course of approximately one year. They are as follows:

A. W.C.1

¶ 3 On the afternoon of February 13, 1991, W.C. was forty-eight years old. She stood four feet eleven inches tall, and weighed ninety pounds. W.C. was walking near 27th Avenue and Camelback when she accepted a ride from a man in a car. Instead of taking her home, he drove to an area north of the city via the I-17 freeway. At one point during the drive, the man choked her into unconsciousness. She awoke as the car was pulling into the desert. The perpetrator ordered the victim to remove her clothes, which she did. He then forced her to perform oral sex, vaginally raped her, and shoved her into a ravine. The naked victim was later found walking along a road, wrapped in an old piece of carpet.

¶ 4 During the subsequent investigation, the victim picked the defendant out of a photographic lineup. At trial, however, she identified as her attacker a man standing in the back of the courtroom who was not the defendant. The crime laboratory of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) found a five-probe match between the defendant's DNA and a sample taken from the victim's vagina.

B. T.H.

¶ 5 On the afternoon of February 23, 1991, T.H. was eighteen years old, five feet four inches tall, and she weighed approximately one hundred pounds. She was walking on 16th Street between Thomas and McDowell when she accepted a ride from a man in a car. The man agreed to take her to a destination about a mile and a half south. Instead, he drove onto the I-17 freeway heading north. After exiting the freeway at Happy Valley Road, the car drove into the desert and stopped. The perpetrator pulled off T.H.'s clothes and raped her both vaginally and anally. As the victim subsequently exited the vehicle, she got a glimpse of the license plate.2 The rapist ordered her to run. When she hesitated, he threw a rock that struck her in the chest. He continued to throw rocks at her as she fled. The victim made a tentative identification of the defendant at a live lineup,3 and then positively identified him as her attacker at trial.

C. S.G.

¶ 6 On the afternoon of March 23, 1991, S.G., thirty-four years old, five feet three inches tall and weighing approximately one hundred five pounds, was waiting for a bus at 16th Street and Glendale. She accepted a ride from a man who drove north on the I-17 freeway, past Happy Valley Road. He then went down a dirt road and into the desert. The perpetrator pulled off S.G.'s clothes and vaginally raped her with his fingers and his penis. The victim remained in the car and put her clothes back on while the man drove back toward the city. Upon reaching the end of the dirt road, he said, "This is close enough to civilization. Get out." She did, and as he drove off she saw part of his license plate.4 The victim identified the defendant as her assailant at a live lineup and at trial.

D. C.Z.

¶ 7 On the afternoon of April 4, 1991, C.Z. was twenty-one years old, four feet eleven inches tall, and she weighed ninety to ninety-five pounds. She was walking near 19th Avenue and Bell Road when she accepted a ride from a man in a car. C.Z. agreed to meet this man's wife to talk about a housekeeping job. The man drove to a dirt road in the desert off of Happy Valley Road. He then told the victim that this was a good place to have sex. When she refused, he choked her. The victim relented and took off her pants at the man's order. The perpetrator pushed up her shirt, fondled her breasts, forced her to perform oral sex, then vaginally raped her. He pulled her out of the car by the neck and she lost consciousness. The attacker then apparently struck her head with or against a rock. C.Z. was ultimately found walking on the freeway, naked except for her socks. Defendant's fingerprint was discovered on a paper cup found at the scene. The victim identified the defendant as her assailant at a live lineup and at trial.

E. J.T.

¶ 8 On the morning of October 24, 1991, J.T. was thirteen years old, five feet three inches tall, and she weighed one hundred ten pounds. She was walking near 19th Avenue and Union Hills Drive when she was offered a ride to her aunt's house from a man in a car. Her aunt was not home and she accepted an invitation from the man to go meet his family. The man drove up 19th Avenue and into a desert area near Deer Valley Road. He told J.T. that they were "going to have sex." When she tried to escape, he choked her. The victim relented and the man took off her clothes. He performed oral sex on her, vaginally raped her with his penis, and forced her to perform oral sex on him. He ordered the victim out of the car, beat her head against the ground, and then choked her into unconsciousness. DPS found a four-probe match between the defendant's DNA and a sample obtained from the victim's vagina. The victim identified the defendant as her assailant at a live lineup and at trial.

F. M.C.

¶ 9 On November 8, 1991, M.C. was in her mid-thirties and stood five feet four inches tall. She weighed one hundred fifteen to one hundred twenty pounds. She was last seen very early in the morning at a convenience store on the corner of 16th Street and Indian School. Later that day, M.C.'s body was found lying on a dirt road in an orchard near 59th Avenue and Utopia. Her sweater was unzipped and her bra was pushed up over her breasts. Her pants were pulled down. Her skull was fractured on both sides. There were two blood stained rocks at the scene, one with hair stuck to it. She had died from blunt force trauma to the head. Semen was found in her vagina and rectum. DPS identified a five-probe match between the defendant's DNA and a sample found on the victim.

G. J.A.

¶ 10 On the night of November 18, 1991, J.A. was only ten years old and four feet eight inches tall. She weighed one hundred ten pounds. She was walking near 35th Avenue and Camelback when she accepted a ride from a man in a car. The man drove her to a convenience store, where he bought a soft drink and a bottle of hand lotion. The perpetrator then drove north into the desert near 99th Avenue and Beardsley Road. He removed his trousers and her pants, applied lotion to his penis and her vagina, attempted to penetrate her both vaginally and anally, then forced her to perform oral sex. After he was finished, he left J.A. in the desert. The victim identified the defendant as her attacker at trial.

H. B.C.

¶ 11 On January 20, 1992, B.C. was twenty-one years old, five feet tall, and she weighed one hundred to one hundred ten pounds. That night she left her apartment at 15th Street and Cave Creek Road, intending to hitchhike to a friend's house near 16th Street and Northern. That was the last time B.C. was seen alive. Her remains were found almost six months later near the Central Arizona Project canal and I-17. The body was severely decomposed; it was missing one arm and both legs. Her skull was fractured in several places. She had died from massive blunt force trauma to the head. At the scene, police found several scattered items, including a sweater, bra, blue jeans, and panties. A forensic anthropologist estimated that the victim had been dead from three to six months. Absence of body fluid on the clothes indicated that they were not on the body while it decomposed. A ring, later identified as belonging to the victim, was found in the defendant's home.

I. M.M.

¶ 12 On the afternoon of February 7, 1992, M.M. was nineteen years old. She stood five feet one inch tall and weighed one hundred seven pounds. She was dropped off at 35th Avenue and Peoria by her roommate. M.M. was last seen getting into a black truck with a man at a convenience store located on that corner.5 Almost two weeks later, her body was discovered in the desert near the Carefree Highway and I-17. She was wearing only a top, which was pushed up over her breasts. There was evidence of vaginal bruising. She had lacerations to her scalp, and her skull was fractured in several places. A bloody rock was found at the scene. The victim had died from blunt force trauma to the head. There was semen found in her anus. DNA testing of the semen was inconclusive, but DPS could not exclude the defendant as a possible donor.

J. E.R.

¶ 13 On the night of February 23, 1992, E.R. was fourteen years old, approximately five feet eight inches tall and she weighed between one hundred eighty and two hundred ten pounds. She was walking along Indian School Road toward 19th Avenue when she accepted a ride from a man in a car. He drove north out of the city and pulled onto a dirt road near Lake Pleasant. In the car, the perpetrator removed the victim's underwear, forced her to perform oral sex, and vaginally raped her. He then took her out of the car and forced her...

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