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    Jonathan Daniel D'Arcy - California Death Row








    Summary of Offense:

    Jonathan Daniel D'Arcy, a janitor from Buena Park, was convicted of first-degree murder in the February 2, 1993 burning death of Karen Marie Laborde, a 42-year-old mother of two who identified D'Arcy as her assailant before she died.

    D'Arcy was sentenced to death in Orange County on April 11, 1997.

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    March 12, 2010

    Man Who Set Woman Afire Loses Death Penalty Appeal

    The California Supreme Court yesterday unanimously affirmed the conviction and death sentence of a man who set a Tustin bookkeeper on fire.

    Jonathan D’Arcy was convicted in 1993 of dousing Karen Laborde with gasoline in her office and setting her on fire with a cigarette lighter as revenge over a paycheck he thought was being withheld.

    Laborde was a bookkeeper for a company that provided janitorial services to various businesses via independent contractors, such as D’Arcy.

    According to a co-worker, D’Arcy purchased a dollar’s worth of gasoline on the day of the attack, filling it into a plastic sport bottle. The coworker said D’Arcy repeatedly told him that “[n]o one screws me like that,” and that he was going to light Laborde on fire.

    Later that day, D’Arcy burst into Laborde’s office, and splashed her face, arms and dress with gasoline from the sport bottle. When Laborde stood up and asked, “Oh God. Why are you doing this to me?” D’Arcy answered, “This is what you get when you don’t give me my money.”

    He then took the sport bottle, poured the remaining gasoline on Laborde’s head and lit her on fire. When she began screaming and struggled to put out the flames engulfing her, D’Arcy shoved her.

    Police arrested D’Arcy as he sat on a curb outside Laborde’s office smoking a cigarette.

    A jury convicted D’Arcy of first degree murder and found that the murder was intentional and involved the infliction of torture. It also found the murder was committed while D’Arcy was committing mayhem, which generally encompasses mutilation, disfigurement or a crippling act.

    Another jury voted to impose the death sentence after a mistrial when the first jury deadlocked in the penalty phase. The second jury made its decision in the face of questions about keeping a man alive against his will while a jury decides whether he should die, as D’Arcy was on a hunger strike and being kept alive by a court-ordered feeding tube.

    On appeal, D’Arcy argued that he should have been allowed to present a defense that a space heater in Laborde’s office spontaneously ignited the fire. He noted that the trial judge, Orange Superior Court Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald, approved a form of hybrid representation in which D’Arcy was both represented by counsel and permitted to act as co-counsel.

    Defense attorney George A. Peters, however, argued that his client suffered from severe mental problems brought on by an abusive upbringing, and D’Arcy boycotted much of the trial to protest the handling of his defense.

    Writing for the Supreme Court, Justice Carlos R. Moreno rejected D’Arcy’s contentions, as well as D’Arcy’s challenges to how a competency hearing was handled.

    Moreno also rejected D’Arcy’s arguments that a tape recording of Laborde’s dying declaration to police identifying D’Arcy as her assailant and pictures of her charred corpse should have been excluded, and D’Arcy’s argument that standard jury instructions related to murders involving torture or mayhem were unconstitutional.

    The case is People v. D’Arcy, 10 S.O.S. 1290.

    http://www.metnews.com/articles/2010/darc031210.htm

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    March 12, 2010

    Death sentence upheld in fatal burning

    The state Supreme Court rejected an appeal by a former janitor who killed a bookkeeper over a delayed paycheck in 1993.

    Jonathan Daniel D'Arcy was convicted of first degree murder by an Orange County jury in 1996 after a dousing a woman with gasoline and setting her on fire with a lighter.

    D'Arcy's attorneys appealed his death sentence, objecting to the use of photographs of the victim's charred body during the penalty phase and questioning his ability to act as a co-counsel before trial.

    Thursday, the court found the pictures could not unduly prejudice the jury during the penalty phase since D'Arcy had already been found guilty of the crime.

    D'Arcy had a troubled upbringing, according to the opinion. His mother once forced him to eat his own feces because he soiled his pants.

    D'Arcy was facing hard times when he killed bookkeeper Karen Laborde. He had borrowed money to get janitorial jobs as an independent contractor, but lost all but two accounts.

    Around 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 2, 1993, he and a co-worker stopped by a gas station, where D'Arcy bought a dollar's worth of fuel and poured it into a sport bottle. They drove to the offices of Quintessence, the janitorial contractor where Laborde worked.

    After dousing her face, arms and dress with gasoline, D'Arcy shouted, "This is what you get when you hold my (expletive) money," then set her on fire.

    As the flames spread, D'Arcy shoved her to the ground.

    Police found Laborde on the floor of the office, charred and crying, with third-degree burns on 90 percent of her body. She died eight hours later.

    D'Arcy smoked a cigarette outside the office while waiting for police, telling one officer, "I'm the one you are here to arrest."

    Laborde gave a death-bed declaration to police. She told police that she had D'Arcy's check for him, and would have given it to him if he'd asked.

    Police found a check for $159 made out to D'Arcy sitting on LaBorde's desk.

    http://www.ocregister.com/news/arcy-...de-police.html

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    On October 4, 2010, the US Supreme Court denied D'Arcy's certiorari petition.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.a...s/09-10737.htm

    On October 4, 2010, D'Arcy filed a habeas petition before the California Supreme Court.

    http://appellatecases.courtinfo.ca.g...doc_no=S186958

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    Diagnosis

    Undisclosed diagnosis

    Competence

    Death row staff describe him as reclusive, hostile, aggressive and talking to himself, and in 2014 he was recommended for psychiatric housing.

    Legal

    D’Arcy was initially incompetent to stand trial but was tried after a stay at a state hospital. He has been waiting six years for appointment of a lawyer for his state habeas appeal.

    http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-ln-death-row-20/

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