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Saturday, May 16, 2009

CA- Man found guilty of murdering cellmate

5-15-2009 California:

STOCKTON - Jurors found a 41-year-old man guilty Thursday of first-degree murder for killing his cellmate in 2007 at Tracy's Deuel Vocational Institution because he wouldn't stop talking.

According to trial testimony, Richard Henry Kase repeatedly told Randy James Rabelos, 28, to be quiet one night before he punched his cellmate in the throat, shoved a towel down his throat, pinched his nose closed and said, "Goodbye, Randy."

He waited until the next morning to tell jailers his cellmate was dead.

"It was a calculated, methodical killing," said San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Valli Israels, who prosecuted Kase in the trial lasting about three weeks. Jurors deliberated for one day before returning the verdict.

Kase, who has a long rap sheet, was at Deuel after pleading guilty in Santa Clara County to being a felon in possession of an illegal weapon - a sword concealed in a walking cane. He was sentenced to 11 years.

An appeals court overturned the conviction on a technicality, but not before Kase suffocated his cellmate, a convicted sex offender.

Kase is expected to appear again on Monday before San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Michael Garrigan for a further hearing and to set a sentencing date. Kase is expected to receive a prison sentence of at least 25 years to life. ..News Source.. by Scott Smith, Record Staff Writer

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