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Anaheim Youth Convicted of Killing 3 in San Diego

April 10, 1993|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — A 17-year-old Anaheim youth was convicted Friday of three counts of first-degree murder in the execution-style shootings of three people at a hotel last year.

Desmond Payton, who was tried as an adult, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced July 23.

The jury deliberated for one week before convicting Payton of killing Jennifer Lucas, 18, and Moses Gadson and Derek Robinson, both 19, on May 5. Payton and the victims knew each other from living in Navy housing while growing up in San Diego.

The victims were found in a room at the Montgomery Field Holiday Inn, each with a single gunshot wound to the head.

Prosecutors claimed Payton killed the men because they had sexually assaulted his girlfriend. Testimony indicated that Lucas was killed because she was a witness. She is survived by two sons. Payton was 16 at the time of the killings.

The mothers of Payton and Lucas, who watched the entire two-week trial, were not in court when the verdicts were read. Payton's mother lives in Anaheim and was unable to get to the courtroom in time.

Superior Court Judge Richard Murphy granted a defense request that Payton's mother be allowed to visit him at Juvenile Hall on Friday night since she was still en route to the courtroom.

Lucas' mother, Gail Fizer, arrived shortly after the verdicts were announced.

"I'm glad it's over," Fizer told reporters. "We can finally go on with our lives and put it all behind us as much as we can."

Payton's maternal aunt, Barbara Taylor, broke into tears when he was found guilty.

"Des is just so young," Taylor said. "We were all hoping to take him back home with us. We were all planning to go to church together for Easter."

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