Court Denies Bell Gardens Child Murderer’s Appeal

By City News Service

The California Supreme Court has denied the latest appeal in the case of a man convicted of murdering three boys in Los Angeles County in the 1970s.

The state’s highest court on Aug. 30 unanimously rejected a petition filed by attorneys for Harold Ray Memro, who legally changed his name to Reno while on death row in December 1994.

Memro was convicted of first-degree murder for the July 1976 slaying of 10-year-old Ralph Chavez Jr. and the October 1978 death of 7-year-old Carl Carter Jr., and second-degree murder for the July 1976 killing of 12-year-old Scott Fowler.

His initial conviction for the slayings was overturned by the California Supreme Court and he was retried and again sentenced to death in 1987.

Chavez and Fowler were found dead near a pond in John Anson Ford Park in Bell Gardens on July 26, 1975. The boys — who had been fishing at the park — had their throats slit.

Memro told police that he had gone to the park to take pictures of young boys and admitted slitting the boys’ throats, according to a 1995 ruling from the California Supreme Court.

He also told police that he choked the 7-year-old boy — who was the son of a family friend — after the youth asked to leave Memro’s apartment where he had hoped to take nude photos of him, according to the 1995 ruling.

Memro later claimed that his confession involving the 1975 killings was coerced by South Gate police.

In the latest ruling, Associate Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar wrote that there was “strong, even overwhelming evidence he was guilty of killing three boys, that he forcibly sodomized one victim (possibly after he was dead) and that he represented a continuing threat to the safety of children in the neighborhood (inferable from the discovery by police that the petitioner possessed hundreds of photographs of young children).”

The justices found that the 521-page petition filed by the defense in its latest appeal is “an example of an abusive writ practice” and “is by no means an isolated phenomenon.”

“Some death row inmates with meritorious legal claims may languish in prison for years waiting for this court’s review while we evaluate petitions raising dozens or even hundreds of frivolous and untimely claims,” Werdegar wrote.

The California Supreme Court will allow an unlimited length for the first habeas corpus petition submitted on a death row inmate’s behalf, but limit subsequent petitions to 50 pages, according to the ruling.

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September 6, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


3 Responses to “Court Denies Bell Gardens Child Murderer’s Appeal”

  1. richard avila on December 5th, 2013 11:05 am

    It’s been many,many years my dear friend Scott, but even after all this time I still think about you & wonder what could have been. Would we still be friends? How many children would you have had?, Scott I’m so sorry you weren’t given a chance to live a full life, remember I will never forget the short but great friendship we had, & you will always live in my mind and in my heart, till my time come I will see you again in heave & we can go fishing with out having to look over our back because our lord and saviour will be the to protect us. I love & miss you Scott. Richard a Avila.

  2. Timothy M Fowler on December 20th, 2014 8:16 pm

    I am Tim Fowler. Scott’s older brother. Scotty and I were very close. He was also very well liked by many other people in the neighborhood we lived in. They called him the pinball wizard because he was so good with the games. I was 13 years old at the time and still remember the day the police showed me a picture of him after he was murdered, of what they found. I had to identify him as my mother couldn’t look at the picture. I also remember that Ralph’s mother took the news of her sons death, very well. A little too well infact.

    It wasn’t until Harold Memro murdered the 7 year old boy that he was caught and confessed to Scott and Ralph’s murders. My mother had to see him in court and wanted to kill him herself. We had to take her out of the courtroom.

    I am 52 years old today and I see Harold Memro is still on death row, when he should have been put to death years ago. Like Richard said. I miss him really bad and wonder what he would have become. My mother passed away in 2001 ans will not get to see Harold memro truly pay for his sick crimes, and that saddens me. I just wish Justice would move a little faster.

  3. Sandra Garcia on April 24th, 2016 1:14 pm

    Breaks my heart i have four boys one girl have lived in Bg all my life but was not born yet in this years but my heart goes out to the family such young and innovent lifes taken & no … way the state and all people taxes are supporting this … something should be done ….justice is has not been done yet …sorry to u friend & brother it must be hard…i still live in BG loveland st & Selfland ave

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