[BREAKING:] State Supreme Court Affirms Death Penalty for John Famalaro, Killer of 23-year-old Woman Kept in Cold Storage

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The California Supreme Court has confirmed the death penalty for John Famalaro, the phony cop convicted of killing Denise Huber, who disappeared on her way home to Newport Beach from a Morrissey concert in 1991, and keeping the 23-year-old's body in cold storage until it was discovered in Arizona three years later.

The justices decided unanimously that 60 54-year-old Famalaro received a fair trial on his way to conviction in Orange County Superior Court in 1997.

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Denise Huber
The Orange County Register has the scoop on the latest ruling.

Famalaro's appellate court attorneys tried to argue he was denied a fair trial due to intense media attention and that hearings should have been moved out of Orange County because pre-trial publicity tainted the jury pool. Justices did not buy it, writing in their  56-page decision that Judge John J. Ryan conducted a fair jury selection and trial.

The killer's legal team must now appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, a process that could take years to resolve. But it's not like Famalaro would have been quickly put to death anyway as California has imposed an informal moratorium on capital punishment while the legality of lethal injections is being argued. So, for at least the next several years, Famalaro will remain on death row at San Quentin.

Grad student Huber, a friend and a friend of that friend had seen Morrissey at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood the warm summer night of June 2, 1991, before having a bite at El Paso Cantina in Long Beach.

After dropping her friend off at his Huntington Beach home around 2 a.m., Huber headed home. That was the last time anyone saw her. Her blue 1984 Honda Accord was found abandoned with a flat tire on the connector between the 405 freeway and Route 73, south of Bear Street in Costa Mesa.

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This is where John Famalaro kept the body of Denise Huber.
She remained missing for three years, something locals were reminded of thanks to a painted portrait of the pretty young woman next to a plea for anonymous tips that were splashed on a wall facing the freeway connector.

Elaine Court, the owner of a paint shop in Prescott, Ariz., arranged to buy paint from Famalaro in 1994. Pulling up to Famalaro's home, Court found it odd that a Ryder truck was parked in the driveway, so odd that she called the local police. Officers arrived, looked inside the back of the truck and found a freezer. Huber's body was inside.

Detectives later found guns and handcuffs strewn about Famalaro's home. A box marked "X-Mas decorations" contained a bloody hammer and nail puller. A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Patrol shirt was found inside a closet. He likely wore that as he offered stranded motorist Huber "aide" the night he took her.

Garden Grove author Dan Lasseter penned the true crime book Cold Storage about the case. It was also the subject of the Jan. 17 premiere episode of Investigation Discovery's Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets:


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18 comments
mozart19851985
mozart19851985

Has he finally been put to death and if not has he ever admitted to other murders? Seems their would have been more killings?

Mac
Mac

Wow. This Myra person is just pissed off at any entry it seems...maybe just to start a fight. Weird. Regardless of intent or mental stability, he deserves death. Sorry but killing is one thing, shattering someone's skull with over 30 hits and keeping the body in a freezer for 3 years is beyond a blaming childhood buse. Dahmer was also severely abused as a child and numerous other sociopaths. Stop blaming others. This guy knew what he was doing and he needs to take responsibility. Lots of people are abused and they don't all go out smashing in people's skulls. These folks can't be reformatted to fit into society. Should we rehabilitate Gary Ridgeway too? Please.

alegalbutterfly
alegalbutterfly

I personally worked for Warren Famalaro in 1986-87 and went out with John on numerous occassions (to include a Whitney Houston concert).  John was a VERY smart, outgoing and personable man at that time.  Mental stability was great, in my opinion.  What transpired years later still seems to amaze me.  I was absolutely shocked when I found out the he was the person who killed Denise.  To this day, I still wonder and wish that I could just ask him, "what the heck happened and why?"  There was no reason or excuse for this kind of behavior.

Sal@50msn.com
Sal@50msn.com

This case hit my heart....I was going to concerts then myself late at night..MyPrayers still go out to this family....I was reminded every time I drove by that signOf her picture in costa Mesa ca...Carefull who I meet.....I keep to myself with myFamily....I stop for no one on the road..If I break down and someone comes up toMe I will hit 911 period for added help....They say stay in your car with doors lockedUntil auto club arrives....Have auto club do it....If car break a on freeway call for help..Do not walk into traffic reminder....That was before cell phones.........I always hadThree friends in car for concerts added security.. in numbers.....Prayers to family.....When driving always look make sure you are not being followed....If you suspect itFirst feeling is usually right call police.......

Myra Bain
Myra Bain

Are you at all familiar with severe mental illness, Jim? This is not an evil man, this is a sick man. Even the jurors wept when they sentenced him to death, and Denise's mother stated in the hall outside of the courtroom that "They should have given his abusive mother the death penalty instead of him."

Myra Bain
Myra Bain

Well, I see that you corrected your error about his age, but have left the "phony cop" fabricationin. I guess you sell more newspapers this way. 

jim
jim

age and uniform mistakes aside this guy is scum who should be put to death now, not in 20 years

Myra Bain
Myra Bain

"Phony cop"? Famalaro did not dress as a "phony cop" that night. If you check the court records, there was no evidence introduced about that. It is an unsubstantiated rumor. If you're going to write an article, go back to the source for information. (Just a suggestion.) Oh, and by the way, Famalaro is 54 years old, not 60. I guess your fact checker slept through this article.

dianepatriciasampson
dianepatriciasampson

I don't think she is saying that childhood abuse is an excuse to murder someone. I think Myra is saying that severe abuse coupled with psychosis brought on by mental illness is a whole different thing than premeditated murder. You might want to look up "psychosis" before you reply.

Diane Sampson
Diane Sampson

There is another side that you never saw. He was deeply troubled but masking it to the best of his ability. I will go to my grave saying that he is not an evil man. This act was evil, but as I asked a previous poster "Do you know what psychosis is?" The smart, loving and funny man that you knew was the real John Famalaro.

James
James

You must be a liberal to believe this man is not evil... You see most liberals try to explain away vicious crimes perpetrated by evil people by blaming someone else,often the victim themselves. That is whats sick.

Liberals don't want the death penaltyLiberal courts let them out of prisonLiberals are quick to accuse the innocentLiberals

Blame the mother?

Smilie181
Smilie181

Mental illness, please.  stop using that as an excuse.  There is a big difference between right and wrong!  even menatlly chanlanged know the difference between hitting someone over the head with a hammer, DRAGGING the body back to their vehicle, and then rapping and finishing this poor soul off with a nail puller.  oh and lets not forget the freezer and christmas box for 3 years.  yes this person is sick, not in a mental way though, in a demented way. As the bible says and eye for an eye.  Tax payers should not have to pay to keep this man alive.  and by rights he should have to die the same way.  Let him feel the fear, the pain, and anguish.  He deserves nothing better.  I feel no pitty for him nor any other person who believes they have the right to decide who lives or dies. 

matt
matt

Famalaro is NOT 54 sweetie...I went to school with him in elementary school in the 60's...He was ahead of me by one grade...I am 58....Get your facts straight!

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

You're right about the age, Myra: Famalaro was 37 in 1994, which would make him 54 now.

Justincase
Justincase

Have you ever heard the term "psychosis"?

Myrabain
Myrabain

You are thinking of Warren John Famalaro, John Famalaro's older brother, sweetie.

Justincase
Justincase

John Joseph Famalaro was born on June 10, 1957.

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