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    Henry Earl Duncan - California

    Facts of the Crime:

    Duncan was convicted in 1986 of the stabbing death of Eileen DeBaun at a Los Angeles International Airport restaurant. Sentence overturned by Ninth Circuit in 2008.

  2. #2
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    June 24, 2008

    9th Circuit Tosses Death Sentence for Henry Duncan Cali DR in 1986 Murder

    For the second time this month, a federal appeals court in San Francisco tossed out a death sentence on the grounds that the defendant had inadequate legal counsel.

    A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled Tuesday that convicted killer Henry Earl Duncan's lawyer failed to present evidence that may have shown his client had an accomplice. The appeals court kept in place Duncan's first-degree murder and robbery convictions.

    A Los Angeles County jury convicted Duncan in 1986 of robbing and stabbing to death his supervisor at a Los Angeles International Airport restaurant where he worked two years earlier. Blood recovered at the scene didn't match either Duncan or the victim, the appeals court noted, suggesting Duncan had an accomplice.

    But the appeals court, in an opinion written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt, said that the failure of Duncan's lawyer, John Cheroske, to have his client's blood tested or call a blood expert during trial was a big enough gaffe to toss out the death sentence. Reinhardt said the jury may have been persuaded to sentence Duncan to prison if it was shown the possibility that someone else may have done the actual killing.

    "Having Duncan's blood tested posed no risk to Duncan's defense, but the potential benefit was enormous," Reinhardt wrote.

    Cheroske is now a Los Angeles Superior Court judge. He said he recalled very little about the case and said he doesn't "pay much attention," to the appeals court noted for its liberal bent.

    The California Attorney General's office, which argued for the death penalty before the appeals court, didn't immediately return a call for comment.

    Reinhardt also was the author of another appeals court decision issued on June 14 reversing the death penalty of Fernando Belmontes, who was convicted of the 1981 bludgeoning death of a young woman in San Joaquin County.

    Reinhardt wrote that Belmontes' defense lawyer kept the jury in the dark about Belmontes' violent home life that could have led to a less severe sentence.

    (Source: The Associated Press)

  3. #3
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Convicted killer Duncan's death sentence to be changed to life in prison

    A cashier on death row since 1986 for the brutal killing of his supervisor at a Los Angeles International Airport restaurant will now die naturally behind bars, prosecutors said Tuesday.

    Henry Earl Duncan will be resentenced Dec. 7 in Torrance Superior Court to life in prison without the possibility of parole following a retrial of part of his case that had been reversed during the appeal process, prosecutors said.

    Duncan originally was sentenced to death in the Nov. 14, 1984, killing of Josephine Eileen DeBaun, a 28-year-old wife and mother of twin 20-month-old sons.

    Duncan, a cashier at the International Host Restaurant at LAX, was convicted of stabbing DeBaun repeatedly during a midnight robbery, slashing her throat so severely she was nearly decapitated.

    He escaped with $2,100 from the restaurant's office.

    Jurors found him guilty in 1986 of robbery and first-degree murder, and determined the special circumstance allegation that the murder occurred during a robbery to be true.

    The special circumstance conviction set up a penalty phase at the trial's end. Jurors recommended the death penalty rather than life in prison without parole.

    The California Supreme Court upheld the conviction, but the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled in 2009 that the performance of Duncan's lawyer was deficient during the trial.

    "The trial counsel did not argue to the jury that there was a possibility that someone else could have been the actual killer," said Nancy Sperber, Duncan's attorney during the Torrance trial.

    Sperber said the lawyer should have at least argued that Duncan was helping someone else, who committed the actual killing.

    The federal court said the original lawyer failed to argue that blood not belonging to Duncan was found at the scene, indicating that perhaps he had an accomplice that night. The blood could have pointed to someone else being the killer, the court said.

    But because Duncan's shoe and palm prints were found at the scene, the court ruled it was enough evidence to prove he was there and guilty of robbery and murder.

    For the special circumstance allegation to be true, however, the prosecution needed to show that Duncan intended to kill the victim, the court said.

    The court then ordered a new trial in Torrance on just the special circumstance allegation.

    During the last year, Deputy District Attorney John Lonergan said he had the blood samples tested and determined they were not human, so they were not part of the case.

    During the trial in Torrance, the prosecution and defense differed on whether Duncan intended to kill DuBahn, a point necessary for the special circumstance to be true.

    Jurors in Torrance listened to evidence for two weeks and, in one hour on Monday, agreed that Duncan did intend to commit the killing during a robbery.

    In this case, the District Attorney's Office did not seek the death penalty. The conviction means Duncan automatically will receive life in prison without the possibility of parole, Lonergan said.

    Prosecutors weighed the passage of time and evidence in the decision to withdraw the death sentence, Lonergan said.

    http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_16504481

  4. #4
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    Former Death Row Inmate Sentenced to Life in Prison for 1984 Murder

    A man was sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 1984 murder of his supervisor at a restaurant at Los Angeles International Airport.

    Torrance Superior Court Judge Mark S. Arnold rejected the defense's motion for a new trial for Henry Earl Duncan, according to Deputy District Attorney John Lonergan.

    Duncan was initially sentenced to death for the Nov. 13, 1984, stabbing death of Josephine Eileen DeBaun, 28, of Redondo Beach, during the course of a robbery at the International Host Restaurant, where both worked.

    But a three-justice panel from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the special circumstance allegation of murder during the course of a robbery and vacated his death sentence.

    On Nov. 1, jurors again found true the robbery special circumstance allegation.

    The District Attorney's Office opted not to seek the death penalty for a second time against Duncan.

    http://www.bhcourier.com/article/Loc...4_Murder/73140

  5. #5
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    Convicted murderer's appeal rejected in 1984 LAX restaurant killing

    A state appellate court panel today turned down an appeal from a man convicted of the 1984 murder of a Redondo Beach woman who was his supervisor at a restaurant at Los Angeles International Airport.

    A three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected Henry Earl Duncan's claim that there was insufficient evidence to place him inside the money room where Josephine Eileen DeBaun, 28, was murdered at the International Host Restaurant, where both worked.

    In a 14-page ruling, the appellate court justices found that there was "sufficient evidence for the jury to conclude the photographs accurately depicted appellant's palm and finger prints in the money room."

    Duncan was initially sentenced to death for DeBaun's Nov. 13, 1984, stabbing death.

    But a three-justice panel from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the special circumstance allegation of murder during the course of a robbery and vacated his death sentence.

    In November 2010, a Torrance Superior Court jury again found true the robbery special circumstance allegation.

    The District Attorney's Office opted not to seek the death penalty for a second time against Duncan, who was sentenced in December 2010 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    http://www.dailybreeze.com/crimeandc...aurant-killing
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  6. #6
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    How a Redondo Beach woman's killer could gain freedom after 33 years

    By Larry Altman
    The Beach Reporter

    Henry Earl Duncan has cast his shadow over Derik De Baun’s entire life.

    For decades, De Baun’s family waited for Duncan to be put to death for the brutal 1984 killing of De Baun’s mother during a late-night robbery as she worked in a Los Angeles International Airport cafeteria.

    Thirty-three years after that horrific crime, following appeal after appeal to state and federal courts as Duncan sat on death row, Duncan no longer faces execution. This week, he will be back in Torrance Superior Court, where a jury’s decision in the next few weeks could either send him back to prison to live out his life behind bars, or potentially result in his release for the time he has already served.

    Determining punishment

    The case will not change the fact Duncan was found guilty three decades ago of nearly decapitating 28-year-old Eileen De Baun of Redondo Beach. But it will — for the third time — determine his punishment.

    Eileen De Baun’s family members — including her husband, Don — already are angry that Duncan was never executed. And this latest legal twist has shaken their belief in the justice system.

    “I feel the guy should have been dead a long time ago,” said Derik De Baun, who was 20 months old when Duncan stabbed his mother to death during a robbery on Nov. 13, 1984. “It’s because the victim’s side doesn’t get to appeal. But the offender does. We are not privy to appeals court. We are not a part of the appeal process. We can’t say, ‘No, he does deserve the death penalty.’ ”

    Jurors recommend death

    That’s what jurors recommended following the original 1986 trial for the then-22-year-old defendant. Duncan, a cashier who worked for Eileen De Baun, repeatedly stabbed her to death as she worked late at the Host cafeteria at the Pan American Airlines terminal. Part of her duties included tallying the day’s receipts and placing them in safe in the restaurant’s tiny back office.

    One of De Baun’s wounds severed her carotid artery, sending blood spurting throughout the room. Police found her killer’s palm and shoe prints stamped in it, along with a blood-stained cloth beneath an open first-aid kit. Some of the bandages were missing, leading investigators to believe De Baun’s killer had injured himself.

    Tied to subsequent burglary

    Duncan continued working at the cafeteria until he was tied to a burglary that snagged $2,000 from the restaurant’s cash box. Police who arrested Duncan found shoes under his bed with soles that matched the prints in Eileen De Baun’s blood from the murder scene, along with a key to the cash box inside his car.

    None of the blood at the murder scene matched Duncan’s, however, including what was found on the cloth under the first-aid kit. That blood wasn’t De Baun’s, either.

    Following a lengthy trial in Torrance Superior Court, jurors found Duncan guilty of first-degree murder and robbery. They also found true the special circumstances allegation that the crime was committed during a robbery, making Duncan eligible for either a life prison term without the chance of parole or the death penalty, which at the time was the gas chamber.

    In imposing the jury’s recommendation, Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki cited Duncan’s “vicious manner, cruelty, callousness and brazenness in continuing working (at the cafeteria) and stealing again.”

    Conviction upheld

    The California Supreme Court upheld Duncan’s conviction and sentence in 1991, but his death penalty appeals continued. In 2008, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that Duncan’s lawyer, John Cheroske, did a poor job in representing him. The federal court said that Cheroske, now a Compton Superior Court judge, should have argued that the blood on the cloth found under the first-aid kit suggested an accomplice committed the actual killing.

    The court upheld the murder conviction because Duncan’s shoe and palm prints were found at the crime scene, meaning he was there, but overturned the special circumstances conviction, saying the prosecution needed to show that Duncan intended to kill De Baun. The case was put before another jury in 2010. Those jurors found the special circumstances allegation to be true.

    The District Attorney’s Office, this time, did not seek the death penalty, so Duncan was re-sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole and moved off death row.

    Duncan again appealed the sentence to the 2nd District Court of Appeal in California, saying his new attorney failed to introduce DNA and blood-type evidence that might have shown he was not the killer. The three-justice panel agreed and ordered the new trial that is scheduled to begin this week.

    Jury to hear details

    During the case, Deputy District Attorney Allyson Ostrowski and Deputy Public Defender Sam Leonard will again present the case’s grisly details, but many of the witnesses from his original case have died. Transcripts of earlier testimony will be used instead.

    Should the panel find the special circumstance to be true, Duncan again would be sentenced to life in prison without parole. Otherwise, he would receive a standard first-degree murder sentence of about 25 years to life, which could work to his advantage.

    New law aids young offenders

    Two years ago, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill making it possible for thousands of inmates convicted of serious crimes committed when they were 18 to 22 years old to earn a chance at parole. Advocates contended the law offered young offenders a chance to rehabilitate themselves behind bars and gain a opportunity to start new lives once they are older.

    In jail and prison for the crime since 1984, Duncan, now 53, could become eligible for parole, prosecutors said.

    “I’m more bewildered than anything,” Derik De Baun said. “I’m not afraid to be political about it. With this governor, i’m not surprised, and the climate he’s created with not just crimes on this level, but releasing criminals at lower levels because the state can’t afford to incarcerate them.”

    Derik De Baun said it is naive to believe people are naturally goodhearted and all they need is a chance to prove it.

    “I’ve seen his criminal history and I’m thinking he’s had a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance,” the victim’s son said. “He’s a career criminal. I think he’ll just end up back in jail if it comes to that.”

    ‘Really, really angry’

    Eileen De Baun’s husband, Don, did not respond to an interview request. Derik De Baun said his father has spent decades dealing with with emotions that affected how his sons experienced life. Although he has another 23-year-old son from a relationship, Don De Baun never remarried. Derik’s twin brother, Derin, died seven years ago from illness.

    “He is just really, really angry, and a lot of it, he blames the political establishment for it,” Derik said.

    In a 2005 article in the Daily Breeze, Don De Baun said he had lost his true love, a beautiful woman who tried out to be a Laker Girl and Los Angeles Raiders cheerleader. He believed the couple would have flourished, they would have had more children, and their sons would have grown up differently with a nurturing mother in their lives. At the time, he took the children and moved from Redondo Beach to Oceanside.

    Spoke in court

    In 2010, when Duncan was sentenced to life without parole, Derik De Baun spoke in court on behalf of his family, telling Judge Mark Arnold he did not know what it was like to have a mother.

    Over the years, he has read what he can on the case, and looks periodically online to see where Duncan is incarcerated. He plans to attend parts of the upcoming trial. His father will not. For the De Baun family, including his mother’s sister, Darlene Potter, the case simply prolongs the pain of what occurred in 1984.

    “It’s like shoving a needle under your fingernail and it just doesn’t stop,” Derik De Baun said.

    If Duncan ends up going to prison forever, he said he believes his father, now 66, “will take it as a consolation prize.” And if he is released, Derik is concerned.

    “I don’t think I’m ready to handle that kind of emotional roller-coaster,” Derik said. “I think it would have a modifying negative impact on my dad and the whole rest of the family. I think everybody in the family would just be angry and I don’t think my dad would be the same person.”

    http://tbrnews.com/news/redondo_beac...11af151fa.html

  7. #7
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Former death row inmate headed back to prison for life in 1984 killing of Redondo Beach woman

    By LARRY ALTMAN
    The Daily Breeze

    A 53-year-old man who has spent more than three decades in prison — including two on death row — for robbing and killing a Redondo Beach wife and mother during her shift at a Los Angeles International Airport cafeteria apparently will remain behind bars for the rest of his life following a Torrance jury’s decision Friday.

    Henry Earl Duncan stared straight ahead and showed no emotion as a Torrance Superior Court clerk announced that his jury found “true” a special circumstances allegation that alleged Duncan intended to kill 28-year-old Eileen De Baun during the 1984 robbery. It marked the third time a jury had reached that conclusion. Judges, however, overturned the two previous decisions following appeals.

    As a result, Duncan will be sentenced April 30 to spend the rest of his life in prison without the chance of parole, although his attorney said he again will file an appeal.

    Derik De Baun, who was just 20 months old when Duncan murdered his mother, also showed no emotion as he sat in court to hear the verdict. Throughout his life, the killing has weighed heavily on his family members as the court and appeals process seemingly never ended.

    “I felt a lot of relief,” De Baun said. “I know it’s not something my dad wants to hear. He wanted the death sentence to be carried out a long time ago. It’s a consolation. I can take a consolation. It will be great to tell the rest of my family that he’s never going to get out.”

    Friday’s verdict was the latest development in a case that initially put Duncan on the state’s death row in 1986 when a jury found him guilty of the robbery and murder. But twice since, appellate judges overturned parts of his conviction that resulted in his sentence. This time, De Baun said he hopes the courts will reject any more of Duncan’s appeals.

    “I can’t say to the defense, ‘Let’s give it up and stop appealing,’ but I hope that maybe I could say to any judge that would handle this that this has been dealt with three times already and, in each case, he has lost.”

    The long quest for justice began Nov. 13, 1984, when Duncan, a cashier at the Host cafeteria in the LAX Pan American Airlines terminal, stabbed Eileen De Baun — his boss — to death during a robbery that netted $2,400 from the night’s receipts. The 28-year-old wife and mother of 20-month-old twin sons was found the next morning.

    Police later tied the crime to Duncan, matching the patterns from the soles of shoes found under his bed to the bloody footprints left at the crime scene. His hands matched the bloody handprints, and a key to the cash box was discovered in his car.

    Following a lengthy trial in Torrance Superior Court in 1986, Duncan was found guilty of first-degree murder and robbery. A special circumstances allegation that the crime was committed during a robbery made Duncan eligible for either a life prison term without the chance of parole or the death penalty. Jurors recommended the death penalty and a judge agreed.

    The California Supreme Court upheld Duncan’s conviction and sentence in 1991, but in 2008 the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that Duncan’s lawyer, John Cheroske, did a poor job representing him. The federal court said that Cheroske, now a Compton Superior Court judge, had failed to argue before the jury that blood found on a cloth discovered under a first-aid kit in the restaurant office suggested an accomplice committed the actual killing.

    The judges upheld Duncan’s murder conviction, but ordered that the special circumstances allegation be retried. In 2010, another Torrance jury found the special circumstances allegation to be true, and Duncan was sent away to prison for life without parole. The District Attorney’s Office, at the time, decided not to pursue the death penalty.

    Duncan again appealed the sentence to the state 2nd District Court of Appeal in California, which again overturned the conviction for the special circumstance, prompting the need for another trial. Over the past five weeks, Deputy District Attorney Allyson Ostrowski presented the murder case to a new jury that was so grisly, Judge Edmund Clarke Jr. on Friday encouraged the panel to talk to friends to cope with it.

    During the case, Deputy Public Defender Sam Leonard countered with the blood evidence in an effort to show somebody else had killed De Baun.

    The jury took just a few hours to side with the prosecution, meaning Duncan will get a term of life without parole. Had the jury decided otherwise, Duncan would have been sentenced to 25 years to life behind bars. With all the time he has served in prison, that might have given him a chance at parole. A law signed two years ago by California Gov. Jerry Brown made it possible for thousands of inmates convicted of serious crimes committed when they were 18 to 22 years old to earn a chance for release. Duncan was 22 when he killed De Baun.

    Derik De Baun feared that outcome. His father, Don, his mother’s sisters and other family members would have been devastated, he said.

    “It’s not about his fate, it’s about how it affected everyone else,” De Baun said. “I probably would have been very disappointed and it would have been very somber. I would have felt cheated.”

    De Baun stood in a court hallway Friday afternoon, preparing to call his family to tell them the news. De Baun said he plans to attend the sentencing in April, but might not speak about the affect the murder has had on his family as he has done before. He said he just wants Duncan to stop.

    “He’s (appealed) three times and it’s not gone in his favor any time,” De Baun said. “I want him to stop trying.”

    https://www.dailybreeze.com/2018/02/...o-beach-woman/
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