Calif. Supreme Court Upholds Child Rape, Murder Conviction

The California Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a man for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in Compton 20 years ago.

Attorneys for Alphonso Howard had challenged the jury selection and instructions in his trial for the 1988 killing of Wendy Bustamante, but the state high court unanimously affirmed the verdict.

In writing for the majority, Justice Carol Corrigan said Howard "raped an 11-year-old child, bound her and shot her to death at point-blank range. He then hid her body, which went undetected for almost two days. He lied repeatedly to avoid responsibility."

Howard was convicted and sentenced to death in 1992.

The court also upheld a jury's finding of special circumstances which allowed for the death sentence.


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