Separate juries found two defendants guilty Friday in the shotgun slayings of three teen-age girls during an evening of drinking and marijuana smoking last year in a garage apartment in an upscale Pasadena neighborhood.
On Friday afternoon, a Pasadena Superior Court jury found Vincent Hebrock, 18, guilty of three counts of second-degree murder. Another Pasadena jury had earlier convicted the second defendant, David Adkins, 18, on three counts of first-degree murder. Adkins faces a possible life sentence without parole.
The decision was sealed for a week because the Hebrock jury was deliberating. The Adkins verdict was unsealed Friday morning before the Hebrock jury reached its verdict.
The Adkins jury, six men and six women, some of them weeping as they left the courtroom, said the defendant's taped statement to a homicide detective two days after the murders clinched the guilty verdict.
"That was our main steppingstone," jury forewoman Lauren Delgadillo said.
In the statement, which was played in the courtroom, Adkins told police that co-defendant Hebrock shot Kathy Macaulay, 18, who was Adkins' girlfriend. Adkins also told Pasadena Police Detective Mike Korpal that he then grabbed the murder weapon, a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun, and "took" Heather Goodwin, 18, and Danae Palermo, 17, former classmates of Macaulay's at South Pasadena High School.
"Obviously, I'm guilty and I've admitted this," Adkins told the detective on the tape.
Several jurors spoke emotionally about the lack of adult supervision for the victims and defendants--all but one of them dropouts from the South Pasadena school system.
"It's a situation where these kids have so much freedom," said Roberta Hernandez, 36, a telephone company employee from West Covina. "As a parent, it makes me very cautious."
Adkins whispered to his attorney, Stephen Romero, as the jurors were polled, then frowned and shook his head in apparent disbelief. He faces a maximum sentence of life without parole. Judge J. Michael Byrne set sentencing for Oct. 9.
Most members of the Hebrock jury, which reached its verdict after 12 days of deliberations, declined to talk about the case. But one juror, Maryann Cardella, 33, a Caltrans worker from Azusa, suggested that there was a generation gap among the panel of seven women and five men.
"A lot of people were real close-minded from the beginning," she said. "They wanted to hang him."
She said that the three counts of second-degree murder were a "compromise" between those who took a hard line on teen-agers' use of alcohol and drugs and those who were more liberal.
"I was not comfortable with the fact that they were not giving him the benefit of the doubt," the juror said of some of her colleagues.
Cardella also said Hebrock's taped statement had been crucial in the guilty verdict. In the tape, Hebrock was recorded as saying: "I shot someone who didn't need to be shot--for no reason."
Hebrock, standing before the judge with his hands in his pockets, listened to the verdicts impassively. Byrne set his sentencing for Oct. 16.
Members of the victims' families, some of whom sat through three weeks of sometimes grisly testimony, wept as the verdicts were read. Most said they were too overcome by emotion to speak to reporters.
Rena McKiernan, Danae Palermo's older sister, said tearfully that she was happy with the outcome.
"It's not final for my life, but it's over for theirs," she said, referring to the victims.
The girls' bodies were found early March 22, 1991, in Kathy Macaulay's garage apartment on the edge of the Arroyo Seco. Each had been shot once in the head. The room was the scene of frequent teen-age drinking and drug parties, according to witnesses.
The apartment, which friends from South Pasadena often referred to as "Kathy's house," is next to the spacious Annandale area home of Macaulay's mother and stepfather, medical pathologists Michael Koss and Linda Macaulay Koss.
Hebrock's attorney, Rickard Santwier, conceded that his client had killed Macaulay. But he attacked the prosecution's claims that Hebrock was culpable for the other two murders.
Romero, Adkins' attorney, concentrated on what he called shoddy police work and on inconsistencies in the testimony of Cayle Fiedler, 17, who was at the fatal gathering. The lawyer charged that homicide investigators had exhibited "tunnel vision," latching on to a theory of the murders that incriminated his client without considering the possible culpability of Fiedler, who was not charged.
Fiedler testified that sometime during that evening, Hebrock had fought with Palermo and Goodwin, who kicked Hebrock in the groin. Fiedler said that after falling into a drunken sleep next to Palermo, he was awakened by two shotgun blasts. As he sat up, Fiedler said he saw Adkins shoot Palermo in the head as she lay on the bed next to him.
Fiedler also testified that he heard Adkins say: "Oh, my God, I just killed my girlfriend." He said Hebrock had replied: "Yeah, dude, we smoked 'em all."
Adkins and Hebrock fled in Michael Koss' Mercedes-Benz to Salem, Ore., where they were arrested at a bus terminal. Among their possessions were photos of each holding the murder weapon and standing in the master bedroom of the Macaulay-Koss home. Two days later, Adkins led Salem police officers to a wooded area in Grants Pass, Ore., where they found the shotgun and a box of shotgun shells.
Adkins was also found guilty of the special circumstance of having used a firearm in the commission of two of the murders. And the jury found him guilty of the special allegation of multiple murder.