|By: 190. The Sacramento Bee | Date: Jul 6, 2010 |
|July 6, 2010
Aaron Dunn sentenced to death for Elk Grove murders
By Andy Furillo
A Sacramento judge today ordered that Aaron Norman Dunn be executed by lethal injection for his 2006 shotgun killing spree in which he murdered two men who had just finished dining with their families in Elk Grove.
"It is the judgment and sentence of this court that you, Aaron Norman Dunn, should be put to death within the walls of San Quentin in the manner proscribed by law upon the date to be fixed by this court in the warrant of execution," Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet told the 32-year-old defendant.
Dunn (left) was convicted of murder April 13 in the March 25, 2006, slayings of Michael John Daly, 45, and Jon Johnson, 46. The two men were leaving popular Laguna Boulevard restaurants when they were killed by Dunn, who was distraught over the break-up of his marriage and had been ingesting methamphetamine.
The same jury that convicted Dunn voted on May 12 to recommend he face the death penalty. Dunn also was convicted of trying to kill four other people in the spree, two of whom were Elk Grove police officers.
Wearing a yellow jail T-shirt and flanked by three defense lawyers, Dunn remained silent but fiddled with a pencil at times during the sentencing hearing. At one point, he turned to look at Karen Johnson, the wife of victim Jon Johnson, who told the court, "Satan worked through that man that night."
Still, Johnson told the killer, "Aaron Dunn, I have forgiven you."
In a letter read to the court by Deputy District Attorney Scott Triplett, Daly's older sister, Dianne McGarry, refuted the defense contention that drugs, depression and a lousy upbringing combined to lead Dunn to murder.
McGarry said in her letter to Dunn that he had a choice in the events that have sent him to California's death row.
"Aaron Dunn, you have brought these consequences upon yourself with the actions you chose in March 25, 2006," McGarry wrote. She told Dunn in the letter, "You are truly a cold, ruthless killer."
Earlier in the hearing, Sweet rejected a defense motion to exercise "independent mercy" and refrain from sentencing Dunn to death.
The judge said the aggravating circumstances of the killings were "so horrendous" that they outweighed the defendant's problematic upbringing of a drug-abusing father and an indifferent, uncaring mother.
Sweet then delayed the sentencing hearing for a half hour while he read the probation report on Dunn that had been filed under seal.
|By: 180. Ann Laurence | Date: Jun 19, 2010 |
You are still loved so very much. I am proud to have known you. God bless your wonderful family.
|By: 179. Paul Madott | Date: Jun 15, 2010 |
|To Mike's family:
This website is an excellent tribute to Mike. I met him in February 2006 and although we only knew each other for that one week in Leesburg I find myself thinking about him from time to time; like tonight.
Four years later - it's funny how some people can have an impact on a person's life...
To Mike: GO IRISH!
|By: 178. Diane McGarry | Date: May 14, 2010 |
|This note from brother Dave on the last day of the penalty phase of the trial:
Mike would always say that "Game Days" are different. Special. On game day you wake up with a purpose. You eat smarter. You sleep smarter. Think smarter, too. You plan your day carefully. You take care of family. You take care of business. You pace the day so that you can be at your peak--mentally, emotionally and physically. Because a Game Day is special. Because you really want to "play like a champion today."
Here is my suggestion -- a "Daly Reminder" if you will -- compliments of Mike. The world would be a better place if we could treat every day like a Game Day.
Rest in Peace, my brother.
|By: 177. Diane McGarry | Date: May 14, 2010 |
|Mike's friend Greg Hayes asked me to post this story about Mike. He wrote this note to Dave (Mike's younger brother):
I had met Mike at Notre Dame in 1979. He helped transform my school experience. Like everyone who i know that knows him, you loved him. You're his brother, off course you know, forgive my indulgence.
I always loved his aura and being a long island guy, his west coast optimism. He had the bluest eyes of anyone I've known. I would graduate in 1980 and end up back east where we caught up a bit in the mid 80's. I lost track of him towards the end of the 90's and never met his wife or his children. Though time can scamper away, when seeing Mike the friendship is refreshed and things would be in the now. If you can forgive me for waxing nostalgic I'd like to tell about two of my fondest memories of Mike. Both occurred in New York City. The first happened around 1985 or so...
There was a bit of a ND reunion and a good bunch of us were pedestriating around Manhattan. I believe we may have come out of the Metropolitan Museum of Art . It was early afternoon and school was letting out. I think we were walking down Fifth avenue and it was a beautiful spring day. The group of us were happy to be reacquainted in those confusing days of our 20's. The sidewalks were billowing with people and at the corners the crowd would overflow and spill out onto the street waiting to cross.
Above all the distracted curbside chatter of ourselves came a screech, and a thud. As heads swiveled to eye up the action a school bag came into view. Airborne and in slow motion , it hit-crash landed onto the macadam skidding to a halt alongside of an oddly angled Sedan. The Sedan was in the intersection and not moving. The driver had both hands on the wheel and appeared to be in a catatonic state. Reason informed us that the school bag belonged to a young student. A cursory view did not reveal the bags owner. A dulling thudding of the senses revealed that the student was pinned under the front wheel of this Sedan. Its' engine was running, the driver frozen, with front wheels attempting to climb over the young boy pinned by the tread.
A few of us in our panic ran to the front bumper to push the Sedan off the kid. We were screaming at the driver to put the car in neutral so we could safety roll it off of the child. The driver was unresponsive, hands at 10 & 2 o'clock on the wheel, engine running, car in gear, people surrounding the car, shouting at him, in anger, put it neutral, put it in neutral. We were frightened as the driver seemed as likely to give it gas as take it out of gear. He was not with us. Put it in neutral. Three of us pushed on the front bumper cursing this guy to get this car off this kid, afraid he would freak and gas it, running over the kid and us with it. We shouted louder hoping the increase in volume would make our instructions easier to understand. It was not working. The car was running, a child was under the front wheel and a school bag was scattered across Fifth avenue. The crowd was starting to lynch, banging on his glass. The driver was unresponsive, surrounded, numbed, in shock at what had/was happening.
Mike Daly in a moment of great clarity broke away from the stampede, surfed through the crowd to the driver, opened the door, reached across the wheel, turned off the ignition and pocketed the keys. The car relaxed off the child. The drivers hands were still at 10 & 2 o'clock on the wheel.
We had tried muscle and shouts and threats without success. We banged the glass like apes. Mike chose clear thinking with action. It was a brilliant heroic moment. It was 'Game Day' and it was a good thing Mike was on the team. Thank you for the Daly reminder.
Oh and the other 'memory' i mentioned will keep for now, as will Mike. I keep a photo button of him dancing at the 7th inning stretch of a minor league game on my car visor. Sometimes people ask who that is. So i tell them.
I'm so sorry for what happened it is so beyond words. I think of him often. I was very lucky to have met Mike. You are luckier to be his brother. I wish you and all the Daly's well. They must be quite a family. Hopefully some day we'll meet.
another friend of Mike
|By: 176. The Sacrammento Bee | Date: May 13, 2010 |
Jurors tell why they decided spree killer must die
By Andy Furillo
Published: Thursday, May. 13, 2010
Aaron Norman Dunn's random shotgun killings of two good men and the night of danger he presented to an entire region convinced a Sacramento jury Wednesday that the meth-fueled murderer must answer with his life.
The six-man, six-woman panel reached its finding "that the penalty shall be death" for Dunn, 33, after nearly nine days of deliberations. The blood drained from Dunn's face when the clerk announced the penalty-phase verdict to a courtroom's capacity crowd.
It was Sacramento County's first death-penalty verdict in a little more than three years.
In weighing death vs. life for Dunn, jurors said the horrific post-mortem photos of murder victims Jon Johnson, 46, and Michael John Daly, 45, brought over the last panel member who had held out for a life sentence with no parole term. They said they were deeply moved by testimony from the victims' families and unpersuaded by the "meth psychosis" theory put forth by Dunn's defense team.
Mostly, though, they said they were overwhelmed by the brutality of Dunn's March 25, 2006, attack that imperiled a community, stretching from his residence in Olivehurst to the family restaurants along Laguna Boulevard in Elk Grove where he blasted homicide from the barrel of a shotgun.
"He attacked our community, the communities of Elk Grove and Sacramento County," juror Fred Young said afterward.
Johnson, a sports and news cameraman who wanted to explore the trauma of AIDS in Africa and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, had his jaw shot off. Dunn's shotgun tore a baseball-size hole through the face of Daly, a musician and hockey-playing Xerox salesman. Both men were dining out with family who witnessed the point-blank shootings.
The pronouncement Wednesday that Dunn would die for his crimes brought little relief to the victims' relatives.
"I have wrestled back and forth with the death penalty," said Johnson's wife, Karen. "I wanted justice to be served. In the case of my husband and Michael Daly, I believe that happened. But then again, another man is going to die."
Michael Daly's brother David said "there are no winners here, only losers. My mother lost her son. My five siblings lost their little brother. Roberta lost her husband. William and Julia lost their father. I lost my brother and my best friend."
Except for the ashen face, Dunn offered no response to the death sentence. He left the courtroom in handcuffs.
"I hoped for a different result," said his attorney, Hayes Gable III. "But I know the jury worked very hard."
In the guilt phase of the trial, the jury convicted Dunn of the two murders and of trying to kill four other people, including two Elk Grove police officers. One of those two, Tisha Smith, was in the courtroom Wednesday.
It was Smith and her partner, Janell Bestpitch, who stopped Dunn's attack with barrages from their service revolvers.
Police, prosecutors and defense lawyers said Dunn launched his spree because he was distraught that his estranged wife had dumped him for other men.
Jury foreman Mike Pierce said maybe he could understand it if Dunn had directed his rage toward the wife or her boyfriends. "But he took people in the community – 'I'm mad at this guy, so I'm going to kill you,' " Pierce said. "He shot people in the face, up close and personal."
Pierce said the panel members "felt sorry" for Dunn and his troubled upbringing. Defense lawyers presented evidence that Dunn's father was emotionally and physically abusive. They portrayed Dunn's mother as emotionally distant.
Nevertheless, Pierce said, "Other people have been in that situation and didn't turn into mass murderers or do those kind of things."
"I can only give so much leeway," he said.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet set July 6 as the official sentencing date. If he follows the jury's recommendation, Dunn would be the first defendant sent from Sacramento to San Quentin's death row since James Leslie Karis Jr., who was ticketed for execution in 2007 for a kidnap-murder.
"When we reviewed the facts of the (Dunn) case, the circumstances, and the backgrounds of the victims, everything in this case called for the death penalty, for us to seek that," said District Attorney Jan Scully.
Wednesday's pronouncement, if confirmed by the judge, will bring the state's death row population to 703, according to the corrections department.
But no condemned prisoner has been put to death in California since Clarence Ray Allen was executed on Jan. 17, 2006. The state's lethal injection protocol has since come under attack in the federal courts, extending the average time served on death row to 17 1/2 years.
|By: 175. The Sacramento bee | Date: May 13, 2010 |
|Death penalty for Aaron Norman Dunn in California
By Andy Furillo
Published: Wednesday, May. 12, 2010
A Sacramento Superior Court jury today recommended that Aaron Norman Dunn be sentenced to death for the March 25, 2006, shooting spree in Elk Grove in which he murdered two people and tried to kill four more.
The panel came back with its decision after deliberating nearly nine days on the penalty phase of Dunn's trial. The jury chose the death penalty instead of a term of life in prison with no chance of parole.
It was the first death penalty verdict returned by a Sacramento jury in three years.
|By: 174. The sacramento Bee | Date: May 12, 2010 |
|Dunn jury ends 8th day in death penalty deliberations
By Andy Furillo
Jurors in the Aaron Norman Dunn murder case today completed more than
eight days of deliberations without reaching a verdict in the penalty
phase of the convicted spree killer's trial.
The panel took a little more than one day to return first-degree murder
convictions April 13 against Dunn for the shooting deaths of Michael
John Daly, 45, and Jon Johnson, 46. The two were shot down while out
with their families in Elk Grove.
Dunn, 33, also was convicted of trying to kill four other people the
night of the March 25, 2006, shootings. Police and prosecutors, as well
as his defense attorneys, said Dunn was distraught over the breakup of
his marriage and his estranged wife going out with other men.
Jurors haven't had any more questions for Sacramento Superior Court
Judge Michael W. Sweet since they asked last week whether they could
consider remorse as an aggravating factor in the case.
A Sacramento jury has not sentenced a defendant to death since April
25, 2007, when a panel recommended capital punishment in a penalty
phase retrial for James Leslie Karis Jr.
Karis, a paroled rapist, had been convicted and sentenced in 1982 for
the kidnap-murder of a woman in Placerville. His trial had been moved
to Sacramento from El Dorado County because of pre-trial publicity.
The last death penalty murder sentence in Sacramento that also included
a guilt phase in the trial was returned on Dec. 21, 2006 against Joseph
Moreno Aguayo for the kidnap, rape and murder of a woman in 1979.
Both Karis and Aguayo are on California's death row.
|By: 174. patti mathews | Date: May 10, 2010 |
|love to you all
|By: 172. Diane McGarry | Date: May 10, 2010 |
|For those keeping track of the penalty phase in this horrendous trial, the jury got the case on Thursday April 29th about 3pm PST. So far they have not been able to produce a verdict. At some point last week they asked the judge if they could see the shotgun, and they also asked him if they could consider remorse (or lack thereof) a factor when considering the penalty.
The judge responded that they could consider remorse in their deliberations if they felt the defendant showed no remorse at the crime scene. And he told them to let him know if they wanted to see the shotgun again. They had seen it early on in the guilt phase of the trial, and they were shown exactly what it took to shoot, reload, and shoot again...eight times the night of the shooting spree.
Dave and Kris, and Mo have been standing by waiting for the jury to come in with their verdict. The only decision to be made is a choice between life without parole or death. This must be a very difficult and intense decision for the twelve who pronounced him guilty of first degree murder in both counts, and attempted murder in five of six counts. They have deliberated for more than seven full days, and they will be back again on Tuesday morning.
I wish them well in their deliberations.