Ca. Supreme Court Won’t Hear Latest Appeal in 1988 Murder Case

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the case of a convicted murderer whose latest re-sentencing bid was denied.

Timothy Pinckney Jr., now 59, was convicted in October 2008 of first- degree murder for the beating death of 29-year-old Ella Lawrence, who was found dead on Nov. 16, 1988, in the middle of a handball court at Manual Arts High School in South Los Angeles.

Jurors rejected a special-circumstance allegation that the victim was murdered during the commission of a rape.

Pinckney — who was linked by a state DNA database to evidence recovered from the woman’s body — was in prison on a drug case when he was charged in March 2006 with murder.

In August, a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld a Superior Court judge’s ruling that Pinckney is not eligible for re-sentencing under a state law that affects the convictions and sentences of defendants in some murder cases.

The appellate court panel noted in its 22-page ruling that the defendant was unable to provide an explanation to police for why his DNA was found in the woman’s body or why his palm print was found on a bench at the crime scene.

Authorities said shortly after Pinckney was charged that he had been due to be released from prison later that year.

Pinckney is serving a 25-year-to-life state prison sentence.

Authorities believe a second man was also involved in the attack.

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