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Man Drove Through Playground Sane

October 24, 2000

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ A jury has determined that a man who drove his car into a crowded playground of children, killing two of them, was sane when he committed the crime.

The decision Monday clears the way for a possible death sentence.

The same Superior Court jury in August convicted Steven Allen Abrams, 40, of two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder for driving through the Southcoast Early Childhood Learning Center schoolyard on May 3, 1999.

Four children and a teacher’s aide were injured.

Abrams’ public defender, Leonard Gumlia, has said his client was a paranoid schizophrenic who began hearing voices after a 1994 conviction for stalking his girlfriend.

Deputy District Attorney Deborah Lloyd now plans to ask the jury to recommend the death penalty. An insanity finding would have meant sentencing to a state mental hospital.

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