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Would Costly Defense Have Changed Outcome?

July 31, 1994

* Not long ago in the San Fernando Valley a young black man was convicted of a brutal double murder.

His crime was cruel and coldblooded. For a little less than $500 he robbed and murdered a young man closing up a sandwich shop. The killer also murdered a bystander.

I wonder what the outcome would have been for this quiet owlish killer and former college student had he been able to afford a defense lawyer of, say, the caliber of a Leslie Abramson or Robert Shapiro. He would probably still be awaiting trial while his attorneys prepared to dazzle a jury with mitigating factors set deep in his childhood or social circumstances.

I guess we'll never know. He had no big lawyers, and he is already on San Quentin's Death Row.

JAMES WELCH

Studio City

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