Against the advice of his attorneys, convicted serial killer Teofilo (Junior) Medina decided against withdrawing his insanity plea Wednesday, shortly before the penalty phase of his trial was to begin.
Superior Court Judge James K. Turner said he had no choice but to grant Medina's request, and he called in jurors for a sanity phase that they had been told on Monday would not take place.
Medina, 43, was convicted last month of first-degree murder in the execution-style slayings of three convenience store clerks in separate robbery incidents in Orange County between Oct. 18 and Nov. 5, 1984. Special circumstances of multiple murder and robbery were found, which allow prosecutors to seek a death verdict, unless a jury accepts an insanity plea.
Traced by License Plate
Medina had been paroled from prison in Arizona, where he served a rape sentence, three months before the killings. He was living with a sister in Lake Elsinore when police arrested him on Nov. 7, 1984, after tracing the license plate of a car that had left the scene of an attempted robbery at a Santa Ana convenience store. Experts said Medina's gun was used in all three slayings in the three-week period before his arrest.