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San Diego County Digest

San Diego

December 01, 1989

Hector Ayala will join his brother, Ronaldo, on Death Row. A judge Thursday affirmed a jury's recommendation for the death penalty.

Both brothers were convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in separate trials stemming from the April 26, 1985, drug-related killings of three men in a Southeast San Diego garage.

Hector Ayala's attorney, Bart Sheela III, urged San Diego Superior Court Judge Napoleon Jones Jr. to give Ayala, 38, of San Diego, life in prison in San Quentin without parole.

"Today you can say that human life is sacred or you're for killing," Sheela told Jones. Sheela said he was appealing to Jones' conscience "about whether killing people is right."

The defense attorney complained that people opposed to capital punishment were not allowed to serve in the trial.

Responding, Deputy Dist. Atty. Gloria Michaels said, "The entire argument by counsel is a philosophical one--he's against the death penalty."

Michaels said that Hector Ayala had committed crimes against other prisoners when he was in prison before and cited "the extreme brutality" of the 1985 slayings in which the men were tied, bound, and shot in the head.

The judge noted that the killings were planned, and that Hector Ayala was believed to have fired five of the six shots.

Jones also imposed a separate 19-year sentence for Ayala's convictions for attempted murder and robbery of the lone survivor, Pedro Castillo, 43, and for his prior convictions for robbery, burglary, and possession of illegal drugs.

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