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IRVINE : Man Gets 6 Years in '82 Airport Bar Death

October 04, 1994|RENE LYNCH

A former Laguna Beach sailmaker who spent more than a decade on the run in Mexico and the Philippines was sentenced Monday to six years in prison for the 1982 shooting death of his cousin at a crowded John Wayne Airport restaurant bar.

Kelly Russell Daniels, 44, was living as a farmer and running a surfing school when he was caught last year in the Philippines, where he had a common-law wife and stepson.

Prosecutors said Daniels plotted to shoot Barclay F. Hodges on June 8, 1982, because he wrongly believed Hodges was having an affair with his wife. But the defense said the killing was not premeditated, arguing instead that Daniels "exploded" in a drug- and alcohol-induced rage.

Hodges, then 40, was facing charges of selling cocaine. He was the brother of then-Westminster Councilman Guinn (Gil) Hodges.

Jurors found Daniels guilty of voluntary manslaughter rather than second-degree murder.

Superior Court Judge Richard L. Weatherspoon sentenced Daniels under the 12-year-old guidelines at the time of the killing, when the penalty for voluntary manslaughter was a maximum eight years in prison. Today, Daniels would face up to 16 years in prison.

Daniels also did not face an additional penalty for fleeing in 1982 because there was no law at that time against fleeing from a criminal prosecution.

Deputy Dist. Atty. David Brent said he believes Daniels benefited from fleeing the country so many years ago, allowing the evidence to grow stale. But both sides agree Daniels lived a model life in the Philippines, supporting his family and steering clear of drug and alcohol abuse.

"Overall, I think this was a fair sentence," Brent said.

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