Family urges judge not to reverse man’s death sentence in NoHo murder

LOS ANGELES, CA — The widow and two daughters of a man who was kidnapped, robbed and murdered three decades ago urged a judge on Wednesday to request the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office override his death sentence. murderer and reconvict him refusing to serve life in prison with no chance of parole.

“I have lived for thirty years in the peace that the state of California has given me,” Sharon, Fred Rose’s widow, told Judge William Ryan. “I also lived 30 years without Fred. Every second of my life – both practically and emotionally – has been affected by that.”

She said anything but denying the request to re-convict former Palmdale resident Scott Forrest Collins “would be to victimize my family again,” and urged the judge to “consider my wish.” that the request for a new conviction is not granted.” †

One of the victim’s daughters, Heather Scott, told the judge that her father was taken from his three children when they were 14, 12 and 10, saying that Collins “cost several hundred dollars and my father’s life, so he could buy beer and party.” †

“Judges and jury decisions matter today. How can we ever trust our justice system when we allow a few people to undo what was legally intended to be permanent sentences? What am I saying that Collins will not be convicted of anything again? even less in the future?” she asked. “Our family unanimously wishes Scott Collins’ current sentence to stand and not be reduced.”

In a written statement read in court on her behalf, another daughter of the victim, Amy Rose, said: “It was horrific that my father was murdered as a teenager. for the crime he had committed.

“In recent months, knowing that his sentence can be changed has given me many sleepless nights,” she added.

The judge – who noted that he would not immediately rule on the prosecutor’s request – will hear the lawyers about the case on July 19.

Collins, now 51, was sentenced to death in 1996 for the kidnapping, robbery and murder of Rose, a 42-year-old father of three who failed to return to his job at a construction company in Lancaster after a lunch break. He was found next to a track in North Hollywood with a gunshot wound to the head on Jan. 23, 1992, and died the next day after being taken off a ventilator, according to a May 2010 California Supreme Court ruling that sentenced him to death.

Earlier that day, the victim’s debit card had been used to withdraw $200 from a Northridge bank and his gas station’s credit card was used to buy gas in North Hollywood on the night of the shooting.

Collins – previously convicted of armed robbery, assault and possession of narcotics – was found guilty of first degree murder, robbery and kidnapping. Jurors also found the special circumstance charges of murder during a kidnapping and murder during a robbery, along with a claim that he personally used a firearm while committing the crimes.

The same jury that found Collins guilty of Rose’s murder advised him to be sentenced to death, but then Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Leon Kaplan approved the defense’s motion for another sentence based on the juror’s alleged misconduct and denied he then himself to preside further. procedure in the case.

An appeals court overturned the court’s decision and reinstated the jury’s verdict, which recommended that Collins be sentenced to death. The death sentence was handed down about three years later by Judge Howard Schwab.

In the 2010 ruling upholding Collins’ death sentence, Associate Justice Carol Corrigan noted that Collins alleged that he took Rose’s gray 1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass after parking it on the side of Sierra Highway with the keys in it.

In a lawsuit in February, Deputy District Attorney Shelan Joseph wrote that Collins “was only 21 years old at the time of the crime and had endured hardships as a child, including the death of his father.”

Joseph’s file noted that the defendant’s learning disabilities were “never adequately treated in school” and that he has been pursuing “educational and employment opportunities” since he was transferred to the California Correctional Facility in Tehachapi under a voluntary program that allows convicted inmates with good behavior to transfer from death row. She described him as a “model prisoner.”

Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley and former Deputy District Attorney Kathleen Cady, who represent the victim’s family, wrote in a lawsuit in February that “any objective assessment of the case and procedural history leads someone to the conclusion would lead the people’s recommendation to be reconvicted as a result of (District Attorney George) Gascón’s policy that ‘a death sentence is by no means an appropriate solution’ and working backwards to make the ends justify the means.”

“If the evidence suggests that the prosecution and defense are colluding, the court is the last and only gatekeeper to ensure justice is done and victims’ rights are respected,” said Cooley and Cady, who are both involved in a lawsuit. attempt to recall Gascón — wrote in their file.

Last December, Gascón’s office noted that no more death sentences are being sought in Los Angeles County homicide cases and said that post-conviction death sentences were being reviewed to determine whether there was a meritorious legal reason to lift or reinstate an inmate’s death sentence. te – sentence them in the interests of justice, saying that five people had already been sentenced again to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.

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