The death penalty of the “Cold Storage Killer” was upheld this week by the California Supreme Court.
The case involved the body of a woman that was found in a freezer on the property of the convicted killer, John Famalaro.
Here’s the gruesome part — the body was found three years after the woman’s abandoned car was found with a flat tire parked on the shoulder of the Corona del Mar Freeway in Newport Beach.
The woman, 23-year old Denise Huber, was found to be bludgeoned to death after being kidnapped and sexually assaulted during the 1991 incident. Prosecutors alleged that Huber was kidnapped after her car broke down and was murdered in a Laguna Hills warehouse.
Several years later, when Famalaro had relocated to Arizona, a local business owner had alerted police to some suspicious activity, only to lead police to a freezer holding the body of Denise Huber, which Famalaro kept as a memento of the murder.
During his trial, Famalaro's defense attorneys disputed the kidnapping charges and the sexual assault allegations but not the murder, itself.
Famalaro's lawyers moved for a change of venue, citing negative publicity and prejudice. His attorneys argued that he could not get an impartial jury. The motion was denied.
After conviction, the defense attorneys moved for a new trial again, saying that the verdict was influenced by the negative publicity. While the California Supreme Court acknowledged that the publicity was heavy and negative, but that its impact was not so severe as Orange County is served by numerous media outlets, not all of which covered the case.
Famalaro's death sentence was upheld, with Justice Joyce L. Kennard rendering the decision.