A state appeals court panel rejected a bid for re-sentencing by a man serving a life prison term without the possibility of parole for the stabbing deaths of a World War II veteran and his wife in their West Hills home.
In a ruling late Tuesday, the three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal agreed with a Superior Court judge’s decision that Gregory Douglas Miner is not eligible for re-sentencing under a recent change in state law that affects some murder cases.
Miner, who is now 45, was convicted of first-degree murder for the February 2001 slayings of 76-year-old William Lasky and his 74-year-old wife, Bertha.
The appellate court panel noted that jurors found true the special circumstance allegations of murder during the course of a robbery and burglary, which “preclude relief.”
The Laskys, who had been married nearly 53 years, had just returned from a vacation cruise when they were killed.
Investigators said Miner — and possibly two other people — entered the couple’s home in the 7200 block of Pomelo Drive after they saw Bertha Lasky leave to go shopping.
William Lasky was confronted at knifepoint as the intruders ransacked the home, and his wife was attacked when she returned some time later.
Lasky was stabbed three times in the chest and his wife’s throat was slit. Firefighters discovered the victims dead in their master bedroom when they responded to what they believed was a residential fire.
The couple’s son, Scott Lasky, told Miner at the sentencing that he deserved to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“As parents, I couldn’t have asked for anybody better … I shall never forgive you for the grief you brought to my family,” the victims’ son said during the sentencing hearing, noting that his children had lost both paternal grandparents at one time in a violent manner.
Miner was arrested in August 2001 on an unrelated offense and made statements implicating himself in the deaths, authorities said. He was charged with murdering the two in January 2004, about a week before he was due to be released from Avenal State Prison in central California.
At his sentencing in 2007, Miner offered his” condolences to the family and friends of the victims,” but told them, “I’m not your true closure.”
“… I’ll do what it takes in my own way to find justice, true justice,” the defendant said then.
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