On Nov. 2, a man received a life sentence for nine murders that occurred in California. The 53-year-old man admitted that he was a 'debt collector" for a Mexican drug gang and had killed dozens of people over the past 30 years. His sentence to life in prison was part of a plea deal that had spared him from receiving the death penalty.
The accused man was originally apprehended in 2013 when U.S. border police in Arizona determined that he was wanted for a criminal charge of homicide in Alabama. In 2013, the man had admittedly killed a man who said something disparaging about his daughter. During his hearing in California, the man also admitted to attempted murder and kidnapping.
The California murders took place between 1980 and 2011 and involved nine people between the ages of 22 and 56. One incident took place in 2000 when the accused man admittedly shot a 56-year-old man in his bed. He also said that he had gotten rid of three or more dead bodies by dumping them in Kern and Tulare County orange groves. Prosecutors believe that the man killed two people in Florida in 2006.
A person who has been indicted for several murder charges may have a better chance of avoiding the death penalty if they have representation from an attorney. An attorney may be able to investigate the evidence that prosecutors have about each individual incident and look for weaknesses in the case. If some of the evidence can be suppressed or proved to be unreliable, a defendant may be able to have some of the charges dropped.
Source: Reuters, "Drug cartel debt collector sentenced to life for California murders," Curtis Skinner, Nov. 2, 2015