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Jury Votes Death Penalty for Killer of 2 : Photographer Lured Girl, Woman to Desert in '84, Strangled Them

February 04, 1988|TERRY PRISTIN | Times Staff Writer

After 70 minutes of deliberation, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury recommended the gas chamber Wednesday for Bill Bradford, an amateur photographer convicted of strangling two young aspiring models in 1984.

Bradford, who fired his attorneys and represented himself at the close of his penalty phase, had "demanded essentially that the jury give him the death penalty," former co-defense counsel Charles L. Lindner said.

In a brief statement Tuesday, Bradford, 41, of Palms, asked jurors to "think about how many (murders) you don't even know about."

"He fired me in order to get the death sentence," Lindner said, adding that Bradford believes he "will live in better conditions on Death Row" than he would in the general prison population. He is to be formally sentenced on Feb. 25.

Jury foreman William Gist said some panel members suspected that Bradford took over his defense because he was "psychologically or legally trying for a loophole in the law to get this case overthrown."

Gist, a 42-year-old truck driver, said Bradford's remarks had assisted the jury in reaching its verdict because it was "like an admission of guilt."

The same jury convicted Bradford last Dec. 18 of murdering Shari Miller, 21, and Tracey Campbell, 15, after luring them separately to a remote location in the Mojave Desert.

He was previously investigated in connection with the 1982 killing of Mischa Stewart in an alleyway outside a Westside bar, but no charges were filed because a key witness was unable to identify him, said Deputy Dist. Atty. David P. Conn.

Authorities are "considering the possibility" that Bradford committed other murders, Conn said, but he declined to elaborate. Lindner said there is no evidence connecting him to other killings.

Among the six witnesses in the penalty phase of the trial was Bradford's former wife, who testified that he had beaten her and her children and tried to strangle her at gunpoint. Two other women accused Bradford of sexually abusing them.

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