Surviving victims outraged of 'unconstitutional' ruling of California death penalty

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Backlash from victims tied to some horrendous murders is coming out after the death penalty in California is ruled unconstitutional. A federal judge said Wednesday the death penalty process is too problematic. It's lengthy, he says, it is cruel treatment to the convicted killers.

The man who organized the vicious killings at Fran's Market 36-years-ago was put to death in 2006. But with the death penalty being call unconstitutional the surviving victim's say some are not thinking about their treatment or their justice.

Federal Judge Cormac J. Carney's ruling says the state's current death penalty process only gives the worst killers 'life in prison with the remote possibility of death.'

"Look how they made other people suffer," said Jack Abbott. "And now all the do-gooders are worried about them."

Abbott is angry over the ruling and personally offended. 36-years-ago, in his home, he heard gunshots come from the neighborhood store called Fran's Market. He grabbed his shotgun and ran to help.

"That was one of the most brutal things that I've experienced to see somebody, coldheartedly, go in there and do that to those kids," Abbott said.

Abbot found three store employees dead, and another one wounded. The suspect then shot Abbott in the back. He returned fire, hitting the suspect in the leg.

The killings were organized in Folsom State Prison by Clarence Ray Allen. He ordered Billy Ray Hamilton to murder the store owner's family members whose testimony at Allen's initial murder trial helped put him in prison.

Allen is the 13th and final inmate put to death in California since 1978, with about 700 others still on death row.

Abbott isn't alone in his outrage. "To me it just trivializes the system in the minds of the public," said former California Justice James Ardaiz. He prosecuted Allen's first murder trial and was one of the first to see Allen's brutality left behind at Fran's Market.

He says the California death penalty delay is brought on partly by repeated appeals and the slow moving federal portion of the process. "If anybody suffers cruel and unusual punishment it's the victims," Ardaiz said. "This type of thing is frankly insulting to people who have lost everything."

Both men fear other victims may not see the same justice that took them 26 years to witness.

Former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti, who supported the death penalty, now says supporters and opponents agree the death penalty does not serve as a deterrent and drains the state of billions of dollars.

Judge Ardaiz doesn't think the ruling will survive on appeals.

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