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Defense Lawyers in Shooting Spree Try to Block Possibility of Death Penalty

July 10, 1990

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Lawyers for a man accused of killing seven people in a 1988 shooting rampage at a Sunnyvale defense company moved Monday to block prosecutors from seeking the death penalty.

It was the first day of trial for Richard Farley, who faces seven counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder stemming from the February 1988 massacre at ESL Inc.

Farley is accused of entering the Sunnyvale office draped with guns and ammunition and going on a shooting spree because a co-worker, engineer Laura Black, had refused a date with him.

Public Defender Gregory Paraskou argued that the refusal of the U.S. government and ESL Inc. to turn over information on Farley’s work history would hurt the defense and jeopardize the penalty phase of the upcoming trial if Farley is convicted.

Prosecutor Alan Nudleman argued that the defense already had been given ″voluminous″ amounts of information on Farley’s work.

Santa Clara County Superior Judge Joseph Biafore issued a gag order that bars lawyers from discussing the trial with news reporters.

Biafore also said he would take Paraskou’s arguments under submission and review the documents in question before issuing a ruling.

Farley allegedly told police negotiators he only wounded Black so she would survive and regret what she had done. Black had obtained a court order against Farley because she said he had been constantly bothering her.

Farley surrendered at the shooting scene after long telephone negotiations with police.

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