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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | Countywide

Death Penalty Sought in Torture-Slaying

July 21, 1998|TRACY WILSON

The penalty phase got underway Monday in the trial of a Los Angeles County man convicted last week of first-degree murder and torture in the grisly slaying of 20-year-old Anthony Guest of Redondo Beach two years ago.

Spencer Brasure, 28, of Hawthorne will be sentenced to either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In opening statements of the penalty phase Monday, prosecutor Robert Calvert told jurors that in the coming days they would hear testimony about the convicted killer's criminal history.

Calvert said the evidence will show that Brasure is a violent man who attacked and shot other people in the past. Calvert said the defendant's adopted younger sister will also testify that her brother molested her as a child.

Prosecutors also plan to call members of Guest's family to the witness stand to testify about the pain and suffering they have endured as a result of the torture-murder.

The beaten and burned body of Guest was found in a remote area of Ventura County.

At the close of the proceedings, Calvert said he and co-counsel Mark Pachowicz will ask the jury to return the harshest sentence possible.

"We will be asking you for the appropriate sentence," he said, "and the appropriate sentence is death."

In his brief opening remarks, defense attorney Charles Cassy said the defense will call members of the defendant's family so the jury "can know and understand Spencer Brasure better."

The defense also plans to present testimony from a psychologist who evaluated Brasure and is prepared to discuss his mental health.

"At the end of the case," Cassy concluded, "we are going to ask you to choose between the most severe punishments society has and ask you to choose life."

Testimony is expected to continue today in Ventura County Superior Court.

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