A mentally ill man who killed a 54-year-old Fresno woman 43 years ago is a danger to society and should remain confined in a state hospital, a jury ruled Thursday.
The Fresno County Superior Court jury of six men and six women deliberated less than three hours before finding that Stanley Rendon, 60, still posed a substantial harm to others because of mental illness or defect.
Rendon was 17 when he raped and killed Lorraine Marie Prince, whose nude body was discovered Oct. 19, 1970, inside her home in a neighborhood just east of Roeding Park.
She had been beaten to death with a chair leg, police said.
Before his arrest, Rendon tried to kill himself with an overdose of barbiturates and had slashed his wrists while in county jail awaiting trial, authorities said.
In May 1971, Judge Denver C. Peckinpah concluded from psychiatric reports that Rendon was legally insane when he killed Prince. In his ruling, Peckinpah noted Rendon's history of mental illness and drug abuse.
Because Rendon was found not guilty by reason of insanity, he was committed to a state hospital. But since 1979, prosecutors have filed court petitions every one or two years to make sure Rendon remains confined in a state hospital, court records show.
Most of the petitions have not been contested by Rendon. But this week, he sought his freedom without any restrictions, said attorney Richard Oberto, who represented Rendon.
During the trial, jurors learned about Rendon's murder conviction, his childhood and his schizophrenia with paranoia tendencies.
He was one of seven children raised by an alcoholic father who abused his children and wife, Oberto told jurors.
Stanley Rendon ran away from home and later lived in foster homes. By age 12, he was drinking and using LSD and methamphetamines, and was kicked out of school, Oberto said.
Regarding the killing, Oberto told jurors there's no evidence that Rendon knew the victim or had any animosity toward her.
If released, Rendon would live on state disability checks, Oberto said.
In arguing for freedom, Oberto said Rendon has never hurt anyone while confined in a state hospital. Oberto then asked jurors: Does schizophrenia make Rendon dangerous, especially since his medicine helps him?
Prosecutor Jeff Dupras said yes, telling jurors that Rendon should remain locked up in a state hospital because his mental illness causes him to be delusional and hallucinate.
Rendon also gets easily agitated "when asked about his original crime," Dupras said. And if released, Rendon does not have a prevention plan to stay out of trouble and already "has a hard time staying on his medication," Dupras said.
In the past, Rendon was allowed to go to outpatient treatment programs, Dupras said, but each time he violated terms of his release and was sent back to a state hospital.
Oberto said the violations in 1983, 1985, 1996 and 1998 weren't for violence but for breaking program rules. One of the violations happened in July 1983 when Rendon's outpatient status was revoked after he was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure, court records show.
For the past 14 years, Rendon has been confined to Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino, Oberto said.
When the verdict was announced, Rendon showed no emotion.
His next release date is Oct. 24, 2015, when prosecutors likely will file another petition to keep him locked up.
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