Defense attorney says client killed 2 California deputies
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A defense attorney admitted Tuesday that his client killed two Northern California sheriff’s deputies in a daylong rampage, fighting to spare him from the death penalty despite his profane outbursts in court.
Defense lawyer Jeffrey Barbour told jurors that Luis Enrique Monroy Bracamontes shot Sacramento sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver outside a Sacramento motel in October 2014 and later killed Placer County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Davis Jr. in Auburn, 30 miles away.
“He shot them both,” Barbour said, The Sacramento Bee reported .
But he urged jurors to listen to the evidence so they can consider it during the penalty phase if Bracamontes is convicted.
That includes that Bracamontes, 37, was high on methamphetamine that may have made him paranoid and agitated, and that he tried to kill himself and responding officers by turning on the gas in a house where he hid before surrendering. Barbour said Bracamontes wrote a suicide note before surrendering.
“Forgive me, God,” the note read. “Please take me with you. I love you, Janelle.”
His wife, Janelle Monroy, 41, is also charged in the twin slayings.
Barbour spoke hours after Bracamontes called one slain officer’s partner a “coward” amid a series of profane and incriminating statements.
Prosecutor Rod Norgaard was describing in his opening statement how Deputy Scott Brown retreated under heavy fire that killed Oliver.
Bacamontes grinned, then called Brown a “coward” before he was admonished by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White.
“I wish I had killed more of the mother-------,” Bracamontes later told jurors, adding that “I will break out soon and I will kill more, kill whoever gets in front of me...There’s no need for a f------ trial.”
White briefly removed the jury as defense attorneys said Bracamontes’ statements were more signs that their client is unfit to stand trial.
“We believe Mr. Bracamontes’ outbursts, his laughter, are a function of his mental illness...,” Barbour said.
White again ruled that Bracamontes is competent, but he warned Bracamontes that he could be removed from court.
Bracamontes has shouted that he is guilty and asked to be put to death in previous court hearings. He has threatened to kill his defense attorneys and more deputies, and once had to be restrained after White ruled that he can’t fire his lawyers.
Bracamontes is a Mexican citizen who repeatedly entered the United States illegally. His wife, who is an American citizen, faces life in prison if she is convicted.
His public defenders have argued that anti-immigrant sentiment spurred by President Donald Trump has made it unlikely that Bracamontes can get a fair trial. They have tried, without success, to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
Bracamontes was heavily shackled in court, while Monroy, who has mostly remained quiet, was wearing a gray and black dress without shackles or chains. He grinned during part of Norgaard’s statement and laughed when Norgaard said Bracamontes cared only about his dogs.
Separate juries are hearing the cases against the couple. Only jurors hearing Bracamontes’ case were in court at the time of his comments.
His wife has contended that she was a victim of her abusive and paranoid husband who frequently used methamphetamine, marijuana and alcohol during a meandering journey across several western states, from their home in Utah to Sacramento.