EDITOR’S NOTE: This article contains graphic descriptions of crime.
REGION — The California Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the conviction and death sentence for a man found guilty of raping and killing his roommate in San Diego, then cutting off her fingers in an effort to conceal the killing.
Calvin Lamont Parker, now 52, was sentenced to death in 2003 for killing 29-year-old Patricia Gallego, with whom he shared an apartment in the Morena neighborhood.
Prosecutors said Parker attacked the woman after waiting for her to come home from work the night of Aug. 12, 2000.
Her body, which was found completely drained of blood, was dumped in Carlsbad, but her fingers were found in a trash bin near a Midway-area pet store.
After she disappeared, a man who identified himself as Gallego’s roommate called both restaurants where she worked and said Gallego had returned to her home country of Brazil, according to the ruling. The roommate asked them not to fire her as she was only in Brazil to visit her mother, who had been hospitalized.
Prosecutors said Parker cashed a $350 check from Gallego’s bank account on Aug. 12, then tried to cash another two days later.
One month prior to the killing, he had also arranged for a week off from his workplace from Aug. 7 through Aug.12 because he said his mother had terminal cancer, which turned out to be false.
He was arrested on Aug. 15 at the apartment he shared with Gallego.
Parker was convicted of first-degree murder and three special circumstance allegations: lying in wait, killing Gallego for financial gain, and killing her in the commission of rape.
In his appeal, he made several contentions that his conviction and death sentence should be set aside, all of which were rejected by the state’s highest court.
Among these were claims that certain evidence was improperly admitted, including hundreds of pornographic photographs found in his home, in which pictures of Gallego’s face were pasted onto other women’s bodies.
He also argued that crime scene and autopsy photos may have prejudiced the jury and that the defense was improperly limited in their ability to cross-examine a jailhouse informant who alleged that Parker had confided in him about killing Gallego.
Before he was sentenced, Parker read a rambling, hour-long statement in which he accused his two attorneys and two prosecutors of collusion.
Parker said he was continually denied a chance to bring up evidence that would prove that witnesses lied and evidence was unlawfully presented.
“Twelve jurors were duped into believing anything,” the defendant said.
At the end of his statement, Parker apologized to Gallego’s family, saying the things they heard at trial ” didn’t happen.”
He said the victim didn’t suffer the way prosecutors said she did.
“All I really wanted was mutual care and respect,” Parker said.
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