An initiative that would replace the death penalty in California with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole has qualified for the November ballot.
If it passes, California would become the 18th state in the nation without a death penalty and the 725 California inmates now on death row will have their sentences converted to life in prison.
Multiple murderers linked to Orange County are awaiting the death penalty and could be spared if the ban passes, including serial killers Randy Kraft and Rodney Alcala and Samantha Runnion's killer Alejandro Avila. Additionally, there are several pending death penalty cases in Orange County, including the trial of alleged mass murderer , alleged homeless serial killer and , an actor accused of killing two people and dismembering one in a Los Alamitos theater.
What backers have dubbed the Savings Accountability and Full Enforcement California Act exceeded the 555,236 projected valid signatures need to quality for the ballot by the random sampling method of verifying signatures, Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced today.
The measure required 504,760 valid signatures from registered voters -- 5 percent of the total votes cast in the 2010 gubernatorial election -- to qualify for the ballot.
Today was the deadline for election officials in California's 58 counties to submit their signature counts to the Secretary of State's Office.
The initiative would apply retroactively to people already sentenced to death and require convicted killers to work while imprisoned, with their wages applied to any victim restitution fines or orders against them.
It would set aside $100 million in savings for DNA testing and fingerprint analysis in an attempt to help solve more homicide and rape cases.
Passage of the measure would result in net savings to the state and counties of "the high tens of millions of dollars annually on a statewide basis," according to an analysis prepared by Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor and Director of Finance Ana J. Matosantos.
"In November, voters will have the first opportunity ever to decide between the death penalty and a sentence of life in prison with absolutely no chance of parole," said initiative proponent Jeanne Woodford, a former San Quentin State Prison warden. "Our system is broken, expensive and it always will carry the grave risk of a mistake."
McGregor W. Scott, chairman of Californians for Justice and Public Safety, which opposes the initiative, used its qualifying for the ballot to criticize the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the initiative's backers.
"Californians are smart," Scott said. "They know the ACLU is the reason why California's capital punishment system is costly and broken. Frivolous appeals, endless delays and the ongoing re-victimization of California is their status quo.
"Now they think they can fool voters by promoting an initiative that would reward cop killers and child murderers under the guise of alleged cost saving. Voters know better. They oppose the ACLU, support the death penalty and will not be fooled by hollow promises and political rhetoric."
California's death penalty law was approved by voters in 1978 and has resulted in 13 executions, the most recent in 2006.
The initiative that would replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is the the fifth measure to qualify for the November ballot, following an $11.1 billion bond measure to upgrade California's water system, measures to prohibit the government from deducting union dues from government employee paychecks that would be used for political purposes and to allow auto insurance rates to be based on a person's history of coverage and a referendum on the state Senate redistricting plan.
Notable inmates (courtesy Wikipedia)
- Rodney Alcala: the "Dating Game Killer." Sentenced to death in 2010.
- Alejandro Avila: rapist and murderer of five-year-old Samantha Runnion. Sentenced to death in 2005.
- Lawrence Bittaker: serial killer convicted of torturing and murdering five young women. Sentenced to death in 1981.
- Vincent Brothers: convicted and sentenced to death in the shooting and stabbing of five members of his family, including three children. Sentenced to death in 2007.
- Albert Greenwood Brown: sentenced to death in 1982 for the 1980 murder of 15-year old Susan Louise Jordan.
- David Carpenter: the "Trailside Killer." Sentenced to death in 1984 and 1988.
- Dean Carter: serial killer convicted of murdering 4 women. Sentenced to death in 1985.
- Douglas Clark: the "Sunset Strip" killer. Convicted with Carol Bundy of multiple murders in Los Angeles. Sentenced to death in 1983.
- Kevin Cooper: convicted for the hatchet and knife massacre of the Ryen family. Sentenced to death in 1985.
- Tiequon Aundray Cox: sentenced to death in 1986 for the 1984 murders of four relatives of the former defensive back NFL player Kermit Alexander. He was involved in an escape attempt in 2000.
- Richard Allen Davis: convicted of kidnapping and murdering Polly Klaas.Sentenced to death in 1996.
- Skylar Deleon: convicted of the murder of Thomas and Jackie Hawks. Sentenced to death in 2009.
- Scott Erskine: convicted of killing Jonathan Sellers, 10, and Charlie Keever, 13. Sentenced to death in 2004.
- John Famalaro: sentenced to death on September 6, 1997 for the kidnap, rape, and murder of 23-year-old Denise Anette Huber, from Newport Beach, Califoria, in 1991. Famalaro abducted and murdered Denise on June 3, 1991. He was caught in July 1994 when police found her body in an icebox where he had kept her for 3 years.
- Richard Farley: convicted of killing seven of his co-workers and nearly killing another, a female co-worker whom he stalked after she rejected him. Sentenced to death in 1992.
- Eric Houston: convicted and sentenced to death for a shooting spree that left three students and a teacher dead and having 80 teens held hostage. The subject of the made-for-television movie Detention: The Siege at Johnson High.
- Ryan Hoyt: associate of Jesse James Hollywood, convicted of the murder of Nicholas Markowitz. Sentenced to death in 2003.
- Randy Kraft: serial killer who was convicted of 16 murders and suspected of 51 others. Sentenced to death in 1989.
- Jarvis Jay Masters: convicted and sentenced to death for participating in the murder of Corrections Officer Hal Burchfield. Sentenced to death in 1990.
- Timothy Joseph McGhee: convicted for murdering 15 people and attempted murder on another. Scentenced to death in 2009
- Michael Morales: convicted for the brutal murder of Terri Winchell. Sentenced to death in 1983.
- Charles Ng: serial killer who tortured and murdered 11 people. Sentenced to death in 1999.
- Raymond Lee Oyler: convicted of setting the Esperanza Fire that claimed the lives of five firemen. Sentenced to death in 2009.
- Scott Peterson: convicted of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci and their unborn child, Conner, in a much-publicized trial. Sentenced to death in 200.
- David Allen Raley: convicted of the murder of Jeanine Grinsell in 1985, he is the next in line to be executed once lethal injection executions resume.
- Richard Ramirez: serial killer known as "The Night Stalker"; convicted of killing 13 people. Sentenced to death in 1989.
- Ramon Salcido: convicted in 1989 of seven murders, including six relatives and his boss. Sentenced to death in 1990.
- Mitchell Sims: convicted May 20, 1987, of the hotel-room murder of Domino's Pizza deliveryman John Harrington in Glendale; also sentenced to death in South Carolina for the murders of two Domino's employees in that state. Sentenced to death in California on September 11, 1987.
- Morris Solomon, Jr.: serial killer convicted of murdering six prostitutes in Sacramento. Sentenced to death in 1992.
- Cary Stayner: convicted murderer who killed four women in Yosemite. Sentenced to death in 2002.
- William Suff: serial killer convicted of murdering 12 prostitutes in Riverside County. Sentenced to death in 1995.
- Chester Turner: serial killer convicted of murdering 10 women in Los Angeles between 1987 and 1998.
- Marcus Wesson: convicted of killing nine of his family members. Sentenced to death in 2005.
- David Westerfield: convicted of kidnapping and killing seven-year-old Danielle Van Dam. Sentenced to death in 2003.
- Burton Abbott: convicted of the rape and murder of a teenage girl; executed in the gas chamber on March 15, 1957.
- Clarence Ray Allen: convicted for ordering the killing of three people. At age 76, was the oldest person ever executed in California (by lethal injection on January 17, 2006).
- Stephen Wayne Anderson: convicted murderer, executed by lethal injection on January 29, 2002.
- Manny Babbitt: convicted murderer who died by lethal injection on May 4, 1999.
- Donald Beardslee: convicted of two murders, executed by lethal injection on January 19, 2005.
- William Bonin: convicted of 14 murders, the "Freeway Killer" (one of three men to have the same nickname) became the first person in California history to be executed by lethal injection on February 23, 1996.
- Caryl Chessman: convicted rapist, was given the death penalty in 1948 and executed on May 2, 1960. The last man executed in California for a sexual offense that did not also involve murder.
- Billy Cook: murderer of Carl Mosser, his wife Thelma, their three small children and motorist Robert Dewey. He died in the gas chamber on December 12, 1952.
- Theodore Durrant: convicted of murdering two women in San Francisco. Executed by hanging on January 7, 1898.
- Harvey Glatman: convicted of raping and strangling two women, he died in the gas chamber on September 18, 1959.
- Barbara Graham: convicted murderer, executed in the gas chamber on June 3, 1955. Subject of the film I Want to Live! starring Susan Hayward.
- Robert Alton Harris: convicted of murdering two boys, died in the gas chamber on April 21, 1992
- Edward Hickman: convicted of kidnapping, mutilating, and murdering 12-year-old Marion Parker, died by hanging on October 19, 1928.
- Raymond "Rattlesnake James" Lisenba: convicted of killing his wife, he was the last man to be executed by hanging in California on May 1, 1942.
- David Mason: convicted of murdering five people, he was executed in the gas chamber on August 24, 1993.
- Gordon Stewart Northcott: convicted of killing three boys in the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, was hanged on October 2, 1930.
- Louise Peete: convicted murderer, executed in the gas chamber on April 11, 1947.
- Sam Shockley and Miran Edgar Thompson: convicted of killing a guard in the 1946 Battle of Alcatraz escape attempt, executed together in the gas chamber on December 3, 1948.
- Stanley Tookie Williams: convicted murderer & early leader of the Crips street gang. Author (several children's books about his experience at San Quentin) and cause celebre. Executed by lethal injection on December 13, 2005.