YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Murder Case Before Court for 3rd Time

April 07, 1985|ALAN MALTUN | Times Staff Writer

POMONA — For the third time in two years, Larry Darnell Haddock is waiting for a jury to decide whether he will end up on Death Row.

Haddock, convicted two years ago in the robbery-slaying of carnival worker Joseph J. Leathers, faces a partial retrial April 23 in Pomona Superior Court to determine his intent in the crime and to decide on sentencing.

The original trial jury sentenced Haddock to death under the "special circumstances" provision of state law that allows imposition of the death penalty for a murder committed during the commission of another serious felony.

High Court Ruling

However, a judge overturned the sentence last fall after the state Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that prosecutors must prove intent to kill when seeking the death penalty.

A retrial for Haddock began last week but was declared a mistrial by Judge Loren Miller Jr. after a juror told other panel members about reading a newspaper account of Haddock's original 1983 conviction.

The question to be answered during the second retrial April 23 is whether Haddock planned to kill Leathers before he robbed him, Deputy Dist. Atty. Larry Wong said.

If the new jury decides that Haddock had prior intent to kill, Wong said he will request that Haddock be sentenced to death. The jury also has the option of imposing a sentence of life in prison without parole, he said.

If prior intent to kill cannot be proved, Haddock could receive a sentence of 30 years to life, Wong said. Wong said he expects the retrial to last about 2 1/2 months.

Haddock's attorney, Lynn Huston, could not be reached for comment.

Shot in the Back

Testimony during the original trial showed that in March, 1982, Haddock lured carnival workers Leathers and Arthur Leroy Davis to the parking lot of the Zodiac Elks Club by promising to sell them marijuana. Testimony showed that Haddock pulled a handgun and demanded money. When Leathers tried to run away, court records show, Haddock shot him in the back. Leathers died later at a hospital.

Davis, who was shot in the arm after he turned over $10 to Haddock, survived and testified against Haddock.

Wong said the state Supreme Court ruling regarding intent, which is retroactive to 1978, could force the retrial of nearly 200 convicted murderers in the state.

Los Angeles Times Articles