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  1. #1

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    Enrique Zambrano - California Death Row




    Summary of Offense:

    Sentenced to death in Alameda County on September 8, 1993 for the January 31, 1988 murder of Luis Reyna. Zambrano, then 44 and a Berkeley Waterfront Commission member, in January 1988 tried to bludgeon to death University of California immunology professor Robert Mishell and his wife, Barbara, in their Berkeley home. The professor suffered two skull fractures; he later suffered memory problems and had to quit teaching and take a disability retirement. His wife suffered grave brain damage and was severely, permanently disabled. Zambrano, a contractor, had done remodeling work on the Mishells' home but had no other relationship with them, yet believed the Mishells were responsible for anonymous phone calls to his wife exposing his extramarital affair.

    He later confessed the attempted murders to Luis Reyna, a friend and fellow waterfront commissioner, and Reyna told police. Zambrano made bail in the assault case on July 15, 1988, and Reyna was last seen alive three days later, on his way to meet with Zambrano. Reyna's decapitated and dismembered body was found eight days after that near the Lafayette Reservoir; Zambrano, meanwhile, had fled to Mexico. Federal agents arrested Zambrano in March 1989 in Palm Springs, where he had followed his girlfriend. At his 1993 trial, he admitted bludgeoning the Mishells with a meat tenderizer, but said Reyna had been shot accidentally as they struggled over a gun.

  2. #2
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    July 30, 2007

    Convictions upheld for former Berkeley official

    By Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer

    The state Supreme Court today upheld the convictions of a former Berkeley city official who was sentenced to death for murdering and decapitating a friend to prevent him from testifying against him in a 1988 beating of a couple.

    The 6-1 decision said Enrique Zambrano, who had served as a Berkeley waterfront commissioner, had failed to prove that the judge and prosecutor in his trial had committed misconduct and prejudiced the jury.

    Zambrano was convicted in Alameda County Superior Court of killing Luis Reyna and beating UC Berkeley immunology professor Robert Mishell and his wife, Barbara, whom Zambrano suspected of making harassing telephone calls to his wife about an affair with another woman.

    Zambrano had told Reyna, who was his friend and fellow Berkeley waterfront commissioner, about the January 1988 beatings. Reyna kept silent at first, but then went to Berkeley police with the story.

    A jury found that Zambrano made bail and then murdered Reyna in July 1988 to silence him as a witness in the Mishell case, then cut off his head and hands and dumped the body parts in rural Lafayette to give him time to flee to Mexico with his lover, Linda "Celebration" Oberman.

    In his appeal, Zambrano claimed that a number of discussions and conferences among the attorneys and Superior Court Judge Stanley Golde went unreported, including conversations during jury selection.

    Among other things, Zambrano cited problems with jury selection, accused Golde of giving the jury faulty instructions and said the prosecutor, Martin Brown, engaged in misconduct during closing arguments in the penalty phase of the trial.

    In an opinion released today, the state's highest court, led by Justice Marvin Baxter, rejected Zambrano's arguments but agreed that the prosecutor improperly told jurors that the Bible not only makes it man's duty to impose the death penalty but "demands it" to preserve the sanctity of human life.

    "We recently have suggested or assumed that prosecutorial arguments substantially similar to the one at issue here are improper," Baxter wrote. Still, he added, Zambrano "suffered no prejudice" as a result of Brown's remarks.

    http://articles.sfgate.com/2007-07-3...rique-zambrano

  3. #3
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    On March 3, 2008, the US Supreme Court denied Zambrano's certiorari petition.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.a...es/07-8509.htm

    On August 12, 2009, the California Supreme Court denied his habeas petition.

    http://appellatecases.courtinfo.ca.g...doc_no=S116021

    On October 15, 2009, Zambrano filed a habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/cal...v04917/220507/

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