USA - California. Billy Ray Waldonâs death sentence overturned
January 23, 2023:
Billy Ray Waldon’s death sentence overturned
Waldon, now 71, Native American, was found guilty in December 1991 and was sentenced to death in February 1992 in 3 1985 San Diego murders.
The California Supreme Court on Monday overturned the murder convictions and death sentence, and ordered a new trial for Waldon, ruling unanimously that a lower court judge improperly allowed Bill Ray Waldon to represent himself at trial despite testimony at an earlier competency hearing that he suffered from paranoia and a thought disorder impairing his ability to think clearly.
The judge overturned a previous decision by another judge who had found Waldon wasn’t competent to represent himself.
Authorities said that over a 2-week period in December 1985, Waldon shot and killed Dawn Ellerman and set her home on fire, killing her teenage daughter, Erin Ellerman, by smoke inhalation.
He also broke into an apartment and robbed and raped the resident, robbed 4 women of their purses, shot and killed Gordon Wells as he worked on a car and wounded a neighbor who had heard the shots and went to help Wells, authorities said. Waldon was finally arrested 6 months later.
At trial, Waldon claimed federal agents had framed him for the crimes “to thwart his efforts to promote world peace, spread new languages, and advance Cherokee autonomy," according to the Supreme Court's ruling. He also claimed CIA agents had monitored him.
https://apnews.com/article/california-state-government-crime-60cf09ec70406fdee6a81ce92ba2aa62 (Source: Associated Press, 23/01/2023)