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State Supreme Court upholds death sentence in killing of deputy

August 6, 2012 | 12:21 pm

A deputy lays a rose before Michael Hoenig's photo during memorial services in 1997.

The California Supreme Court on Monday upheld the death sentence of a man convicted of murdering Los Angeles County Sheriff 's Deputy Michael Hoenig.

In a unanimous decision, the state’s highest court rejected an appeal by Enrique Parra Duenas, convicted of fatally shooting Hoenig, 32, in South Gate in 1997 when the deputy tried to stop Duenas as he rode by on a bicycle.

Duenas contended, among other things, that three prospective jurors with qualms about the death penalty were improperly excused. The court disagreed, upholding a trial judge’s decision that the three would have been substantially impaired from voting for a death sentence, regardless of the evidence.

The court also rejected a claim by Duenas that the prosecution’s showing of a  computer animation of the shooting — a series of mostly still images — violated his rights. The four-minute animation demonstrated how the shooting occurred based on the views of prosecution experts.

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— Maura Dolan

Photo: A deputy lays a rose before Michael Hoenig's photo during memorial services in 1997. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

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