Death Penalty Exhausted Appeals – Part 5

 

By Michele Hanisee

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This is the fifth in a series of articles that focuses on the murderers on California’s death row who have exhausted all appeals. The last impediment to executions is a federal stay that is now being challenged by several elected District Attorneys and victims. Newsom’s blocking the execution of these vicious murderers is in direct violation of the will of California voters, who three times in the past seven years, have made it clear they support the death penalty for the most brutal murders.
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Douglas Scott Mickey
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Douglas Scott Mickey was convicted by a San Mateo County jury for the double murders of Eric Hanson, 29, and Catherine Blount. In 1983, he was sentenced to death for those murders.
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As detailed in the California Supreme Court decision, Mickey lived on an Air Force base in Japan with his wife and her two children. Mickey was not employed, and although his wife was a nurse, they were not doing well financially. He decided he would go back to the U.S. to rob and murder a friend who was a drug dealer, and to murder his wife’s ex-husband so she could obtain the proceeds of her ex-husband’s life insurance policy.
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Mickey flew to California on September 17, 1980. He stayed with his friend Edward Rogers. Mickey told Rogers about his plan to kill his friend, Eric Lee Hanson. Mickey had a grudge against Hanson, who he believed had stolen things from him and his family. Mickey had previously retaliated by stealing some of Hanson’s marijuana crop and hiding it.
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On September 22, Mickey visited Hanson’s home and stayed for the night. He had taken a rifle, but didn’t use it that night. On September 28, around midnight, Rogers drove Mickey to Hanson’s house. Hanson, and his girlfriend Catherine Blount, invited Mickey into their house. Mickey had a knife and Rogers’ pistol.
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Mickey first bludgeoned Hanson with a baseball bat, and used the knife to slit Hanson’s throat down to the spinal cord. Mickey stabbed Blount in the chest seven times, piercing Blount’s heart. Mickey then gathered up numerous valuables from the home and drove away in Hanson’s Volkswagen.
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Afterwards, Mickey met up with Rogers and transferred the stolen goods to Rogers’ vehicle. The two drove back to Rogers’ house and unloaded the stolen property. The next day, rather than flying to Alaska to kill his wife’s ex-husband, Mickey flew back to Japan. A few days later Rogers spoke to police and confessed to his part in the murders. Mickey was arrested in Japan on October 14, 1980, where he remained until he was extradited to the United States for trial.
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Once in the custody of the Placer County Sheriff, Mickey gave a detailed account of how he carried out the killings. His confession was used against him at trial and he was found guilty and sentenced to death.
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Mickey is someone who carefully planned his crime. He brutally killed his own friend and the friend’s girlfriend after being invited into their home as a guest. The only reason he hasn’t received the punishment imposed by the jurors who heard the evidence against him is Gavin Newsom.
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Michael Angelo Morales
In 1983, a jury convicted Michael Angelo Morales of the 1981 rape and murder of 17-year-old Terri Lynn Winchell. The jury found that Morales committed the murder while lying in wait, by means of torture and that he had personally used a hammer and knife in the commission of the murder. The jury returned a verdict of death for Winchell’s murder.
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As detailed in the California Supreme Court Decision, Morales was hired by his cousin, Ricky Ortega, to murder Winchell. Ortega had been in a secret sexual relationship with Randy Blythe for two years. When Blythe met Winchell and began dating her, Ortega was jealous and angry. Winchell, who was unaware of the sexual relationship between Ortega and Blythe, would often jokingly make fun of Ortega for being gay, without realizing he actually was. Ortega was so angry he decided to kill Winchell. But Ortega could not do it himself, so he solicited Morales to commit the murder. On January 8, 1981, Ortega called Winchell pretending he wanted to settle their differences and become friends. Winchell left her house and told her mom she would be back in an hour. She also told a friend that she was going to meet Ortega.
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Winchell met up with Ortega at a mall where he convinced her to take a drive while they spoke. Winchell got into in Ortega’s car. Morales was in the back seat. Ortega drove to a remote location. When they arrived, Morales attacked Winchell from behind and attempted to strangle her with a belt. Winchell fought back, breaking the belt in two. Morales then took out a hammer and began hitting Winchell in the head. She screamed for Ortega to help her and attempted to fight off the attack, ripping her own hair out of her scalp in the struggle. Morales beat Winchell’s head in with the hammer, crushing her skull and breaking her cheek and jaw bones.
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Morales dragged the unconscious Winchell out of the car and instructed Ortega to come back for him in 15 minutes. According to investigators, Morales stated that it was a shame to waste “a good piece of ass.” Ortega left and Morales dragged Winchell face-down across the road and into a vineyard. Morales then raped Winchell while she lay unconscious and dying. Afterward, Morales started to leave, but went back and stabbed Winchell four times in the chest to make sure she died. Morales then left Winchell, calling her “a fucking bitch,” as he walked away.
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Winchell died from massive head and chest wounds. Her body was left in the vineyard naked from the waist down, with her sweater and bra pulled up over her breasts. When Winchell failed to come home that night, her mother reported her car missing, and the next morning reported her daughter missing.
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Ortega was arrested the night after the murder. A search of his car revealed blood stains and a strong odor of ammonia. When Ortega was interviewed and confronted with the evidence, he confessed and led the police to Winchell’s body.
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The next day, Morales was arrested at his residence. There, the police found the broken belt with Winchell’s blood on it hidden under a mattress. The hammer, also still bearing traces of blood, was hidden in the refrigerator vegetable crisper. The blood-stained floor mats from Ortega’s car were found in the trash. Police also located three knives, and Winchell’s purse and credit card. Morales had used $11 from Winchell’s purse to buy beer, wine, and cigarettes on the night of the murder.
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Morales confessed to killing Winchell to his girlfriend Raquel Cardenas, his housemate Patricia Flores, and after his arrest, to a jail cellmate. Morales threatened both Cardenas and Flores before his trial, so they would not testify against him.
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At the time of Winchell’s murder, Morales had a prior burglary conviction for which he had done prison time. Shortly after killing Winchell, Morales was convicted of an unrelated robbery. In that case he entered a market to purchase beer. When a store clerk would not allow him to purchase beer, he left and later returned with two companions. Morales and the two others held the clerk, put a knife to his face, hit him with a milk crate and kicked him. One of his companions then knocked down a pregnant female clerk who suffered numerous head and facial cuts.
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Not only did Morales agree to commit the brutal murder of Terri Winchell, he also used her dying body for his own sexual pleasure, further degrading her and calling her names. When arrested and charged, he threatened the witnesses against him. Newsom’s moratorium on the death penalty is an insult to Winchell’s memory and to justice.
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Michele Hanisee is President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, the collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.
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