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FAMALARO DEATH PENALTY VERDICT

Famalaro Case Chronology

June 19, 1997

One of Orange County's most notorious murder cases ended Wednesday when a jury decided John J. Famalaro should die for the kidnap-rape-murder of Denise Huber six years ago. The key events in the case:

1991

June 3: Huber's abandoned Honda Accord is found just off the Corona del Mar Freeway in Costa Mesa, less than three miles from her home.

1994

January-February: Famalaro rents 24-foot truck from Ryder Truck Rental in San Clemente; it is reported missing when he fails to return it. Prosecutors say he loads belongings into truck--including a freezer he has bought and a generator to keep it running--and moves to Dewey, Ariz., next door to his mother.

July 13: Authorities, tipped off by a woman who gets suspicious about the rental truck parked in Famalaro's driveway, find out the vehicle is stolen. They enter truck and find Huber's nude, handcuffed body in freezer. Famalaro is arrested.

July 28: Tests find Huber's dried blood in a Laguna Hills storage facility, indicating the murder took place there and solving a jurisdictional question between Arizona and Orange County officials.

September: Three Costa Mesa detectives return Famalaro to Orange County, where he pleads not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, sexual assault and kidnapping. Prosecutors decide to seek the death penalty.

1995

April 10: Deputy Public Defender Leonard Gumlia succeeds in having Famalaro's trial delayed at least a year to give him time to go through 65 boxes of evidence and interview about 500 potential trial witnesses.

1997

May 8: Famalaro trial begins.

May 22: Jury convicts Famalaro after deliberating slightly more than five hours.

June 18: Jury decides Famalaro should be executed for Huber's murder.

Source: Times reports

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