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.

Print This Post Print This Post

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


10 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

  4. ken schroder on January 18th, 2017 5:19 pm

    Hello I was there that morning for swimming,I was 12yrs old. i did not know them but i think one of them lived on my street clara he lived on the west side of wilcox i was close to the riverbed. we moved out in summer of 78 i allways remember that day at the park i still go there from time to time thinking if they had ever got guy who did this. to bad it’s all about the $$$ i would rather her that he was put to death not death row for the rest of his life.

  5. John Parrish on February 2nd, 2017 5:50 pm

    My name is John Parrish. I went by Johnny Smith back then, until my mother remarried and we took my step-father’s last name, a few years after Scott dies. Scott was my best friend in the world. I loved behind him and his family on Clara Street, with my sisters Cindi and Missy. Scott and I were inseparable for a period of time, and we’d walk to school together every morning with my sister Missy. We would play in the U-Haul rental park before school, and it’s still there today. After school we would go down to the corner Dairy Queen, and play pin ball all afternoon, or head down to Ford Park. I knew Ralph also, though not nearly as well as Scott. Even to this day, I have always viewed him as my lifelong best friend, and think about him often.

    I have a vague memory of his brothers, Tim, and I believe an older brother by several years…Richard maybe? I remember the day I learned of Scott’s death. First seeing on the news that they were found in the park, without knowing who it was they had found. Then my brother David breaking the terrible news to me. I broke down and cried, and was distraught for a long time over it. When I think about it, it still brings tears to my eyes today, and I am 52 years old.

    I love you Scottie!

  6. Gail Rimmer on August 25th, 2017 8:23 am

    My twin brother worked there i lived there in Bell Gardens,Bell,South Gate …Why us he still alive is what i wanna know just not right

  7. Gail Rimmer= on August 25th, 2017 8:24 am


  8. Mike Jones on October 7th, 2017 10:13 pm

    I was there that day in the pool until it closed, I also went to school a year later with his older brother at Nimitz Jr high,this is something that has always haunted me.. it was the only day that I didn’t take a walk around the pond to see who was catching what…

  9. Mark Davis on November 12th, 2017 11:44 am

    Hi,I’m mark big brother is john Davis,we lived on Clara street,right across the street from Scott,and next door to the apts.Ralph lived at..I was 7,my brother was Scotts age and they hung out too..I remember Scott was the best pinball wizard ever ! Was fun watching him play.. Ok catering,and other cool places back then..oh,red owl brother John and I talk about those days with Scott and Ralph and our neighborhood. John went to ford park with them but mom told him to be back before dark,Scott and Ralph were mad cause he had to leave,called him a pussy..God,I wish they would have left too!! You are STILL loved and never ever forgotten..

  10. Bob Meyers on March 16th, 2018 7:22 pm

    I remember that day every day of my life, we all thought we were safe in that park until that happened

Comments are intended to further discussion on the article topic. EGPNews reserves the right to not publish, edit or remove comments that contain vulgarities, foul language, personal attacks, racists, sexist, homophobic or other offensive terminology or that contain solicitations, spam, or that threaten harm of any sort. EGPNews will not approve comments that call for or applaud the death, injury or illness of any person, regardless of their public status. Questions regarding this policy should be e-mailed to

 characters available

Copyright © 2018 Eastern Group Publications/EGPNews, Inc. ·