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Death sentence reversed in Los Angeles murder of father, stepmother, and step-sister

A Los Angeles man twice convicted of killing his father, stepmother and 8-year-old step-sister 40 years ago had his death sentence overturned by the California Supreme Court on Thursday.

Court upholds Robert Bloom’s first-degree murder conviction in his father’s murder but overturns second-degree murder in other murders because his attorney violated his right to choose a defense of the 6th Amendment.

Bloom admitted to shooting his father, Robert Bloom Sr., but denied he killed the other two. However, his lawyers told jurors he killed Josephine Bloom and her daughter, Sandra Hughes, as part of a legal strategy to claim that his mental state had committed the crimes of manslaughter, not murder.

“The defense has admitted, to Bloom’s objections, that both Bloom killed Josephine and Sandra and Bloom were criminally responsible for the murder,” wrote Justice Leondra Kruger. “The decision by the Attorney General to admit Bloom is guilty of these charges cannot be squared with a rule that gives the guilty defendant the right to ‘objection (e). . . any admission of guilt. ‘”

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office did not immediately say whether it was seeking to retry Bloom in the other murders.

The 7-0 verdict came on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the murders in the Sun Valley area of ​​Los Angeles.

According to prosecutors, Bloom, then 18, shot his father in the front lawn, then entered the house and shot his stepmother, and shot and stabbed his step sister.

Witnesses testified that Bloom’s father beat him when he was an infant, and the two often argued.

The day before the murder, Bloom called her father from a pay phone and said, “You’re running away from my life now, but you won’t be long,” according to an insider. proof.

Bloom was first convicted in 1983 and sentenced to death in 1984. A federal appeals court overturned the case in 1997 because his attorney failed to effectively investigate and present evidence. on mental decline.

In the second trial, jurors convicted Bloom of first-degree murder in the murder of his father but were unable to reach a verdict on the other two counts. After prosecutors denied that those killings were premeditated, jurors convicted him of second-degree murder in the murders of his stepmother and sister.

Because Bloom had said he was insane at the time of the murder, another stage of the trial was held in which jurors found he was calm when he killed his father, but they did not. could make a sober verdict for the other two murders.

Bloom then withdrew his plea of ​​not guilty by reason of insanity and went on to take the penalty he represented for himself. The juries returned the death sentence and he was returned to the death penalty in 2001.

The California Supreme Court overturned the death sentence because jurors found Bloom guilty of multiple murders.

“Reversing two of the three counts of murder also requires us to reverse the jury verdict on the only special case alleged here, multiple murders,” Kruger wrote. “Ultimately, this requires us to reverse the death sentence, which cannot exist in the absence of a valid special situation conclusion.”

Although prosecutors could ask for the death penalty again, that is unlikely because current Attorney General George Gascón is an opponent of the death penalty and has vowed not to pursue it.

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