Friday, October 8, 2010

Detrich v. Ryan, 619 F.3d 1038 (9th Cir. 2010)

Here is an edited version of the facts: The defendant Detrich and a companion picked up the victim who directed them to a location where they could buy cocaine. "When the syringe would not pick up the cocaine, Detrich began screaming that 'the needle wasn't any good, or the cocaine wasn't any good' and told the victim that she would have to pay for the bad drugs by having sex with him. Three witnesses reported that Detrich was holding a knife against the victim's throat." "Detrich then told the victim they were going for a ride, and Detrich, his companion and the victim left . . . [the companion drove], Detrich sat in the middle, and the victim sat on the passenger side, against the door . . . while stopped at a red light, the companion saw Detrich 'humping' the victim and asking her how she liked it. Soon thereafter, the companion looked again and saw that the victim's throat was slit. He further testified that Detrich then hit the victim and asked her who gave her the drugs, and that the victim only gurgled in response. Detrich asked twice more, and the victim responded with only a gurgle. . . the companion claims that he never saw Detrich actually stab the victim, but that he himself was poked in the arm with a knife several times. [The companion had blood on his shirt]. A pathologist established that the victim was stabbed forty times. The companion (who pled guilty] testified that, "at this point, Detrich said to him, 'It's dead but it's warm. Do you want a shot at it?'. . . The two pulled over in a remote area approximately fifteen minutes from the victim's home, and Detrich dragged the victim's body into the desert. The two men then drove to a friend's house . . . The friend testified that the men showed up at his house at 4 a.m., that Detrich was covered in blood . . About an hour later, Detrich told the friend that he had killed a girl by slitting her throat because she had given them bad drugs." This crime occurred in 1989, and the jury found Detrich guilty. The conviction was reversed on legal grounds, the State retried the case and the jury again convicted Detrich. The judge held a hearing and imposed the death penalty. The Arizona courts affirmed and the U.S. District Court denied habeas corpus. On appeal to the Ninth Circuit, the court panel in 2010 reversed the 1989 crime on the usual grounds of ineffective counsel.

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