The Marin County DA's office announced in a statement late Wednesday that the death penalty would not be sought in the case of the suspected murderous trio of drifters apprehended in October, Morrison Haze Lampley, 23, Sean Michael Angold, 24, and Lila Scott Alligood, 18. They have been charged in a pair of murders, two days apart last October: the murder of 23-year-old Canadian backpacker Audrey Carey in Golden Gate Park on October 3, and the murder of 67-year-old tantric yoga instructor Steve Carter on a Marin County hiking trail on October 5. The motives in both cases appear to be robbery, and according to anecdotal sources who witness the trio around the Upper Haight in the days and weeks preceding the killings, they were high on crystal meth.
As KRON 4 reports, the Marin County DA has been reviewing various aspects of the case, and concluded that the death penalty was not appropriate despite the brutality of the crimes.
The meat of the statement, below:
The decision to seek death in qualifying murder cases first rests with the District Attorney under California law. In deciding whether the interests of justice speak to the use of that punishment, a review of the factors in aggravation and mitigation set out statutorily in Penal Code section 190.3 are reviewed with respect to each charged defendant. The family members of the murder victims were contacted and their input was sought and taken into consideration.
The law enforcement officers from both San Francisco and Marin were also brought into these discussions. Ultimately, the final decision rests with the District Attorney and after careful review and evaluation, the decision not to seek death was determined to be the most appropriate prosecution path based on the facts and surrounding circumstances of this particular case. The preliminary hearing for the three defendants is scheduled for May 9, 2016.
The "surrounding circumstances" may have partly to do with the drugs these three were apparently on, with one of them perhaps the ringleader in the robberies, though those details have not been released by investigators. According to those living on the street and neighbors in the Upper Haight, the trio had already been committing petty theft and "acting so edgy they even spooked the [other] street folks," in the days prior to Carey's death. This was attributed to methamphetamine use, which is not necessarily common among the Haight Street homeless.
Also, as the Chronicle reports, there was no match from the suspects in the national DNA database of unsolved crimes.
Audrey Carey, who was taking her first trip out west on her own from her home in Canada, was found to have marijuana and methamphetamine in her system at the time of her death. Her body was discovered on the Saturday of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, face down with a nylon rope around her ankles, and marks of trauma on her head and face.
Two days later, Steve Carter and his dog were both found dead of gunshot wounds on a hiking trail near Fairfax. The gun used in the killing of Carter was apparently stolen out of an unlocked vehicle near Fisherman's Wharf, and was later recovered when the trio of suspects were apprehended in Portland, Oregon. They were tracked there via a GPS locator in Carter's Volkswagon Jetta, which they had allegedly stolen.
Previously: Alleged Golden Gate Park Killers Appear In Court, May Face The Death Penalty
Alleged Killer Drifters Spark Heightened Outrage Against Haight Street Vagrants
23-Year-Old Killed At Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Was Tied Up, On Meth