By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
'Do I Have the Bigger Penis?'
Imagine you're a 911 operator, and you answer a call as a woman screams in the background, "Hurry, God!" Then a calm male voice says, "I just killed her boyfriend, okay? He is not alive. . . . This is her husband."
John Angel Salcida didn't claim self-defense. How could he? The murder had been an early-morning ambush with a steel-claw hammer and a knife on Sergio Ojeda, the 18-year-old man sleeping with Salcida's estranged wife.
At trial, Salcida offered a heat-of-passion defense as a legal justification, and there was some evidence to support his position. There had been intense personal provocations.
Jump back to 1999, when Salcida and Brianne (the Weekly is not revealing her last name) met as students at Edison High School in Huntington Beach. After four months of dating, she became pregnant, and they married. Salcida was 18 years old; she was 17.
The couple moved to Nevada. Not surprisingly, the marriage was rocky. Salcida had never really dated any other women and often showed signs of immaturity. He'd go out drinking with buddies, and, Brianne had reason to believe, he cheated.
Eventually, Brianne took the couple's kid and moved back to a cheap, one-bedroom Huntington Beach apartment. She got a job. Salcida soon returned from Nevada, but he struggled to find work. In the summer of 2003, she told him she wanted "her space." She began staying out overnight, claiming falsely that she was sleeping at a girlfriend's house. Then she'd be gone all weekend.
Salcida tried to heal the marriage. He bought her flowers, told her he loved her more often, and took care of their daughter during Brianne's frequent disappearances. She remained aloof, however.
Brianne had found new love: Ojeda, her co-worker. Salcida discovered the relationship by checking her cellphone calls. They exchanged heated words. She asked for a divorce.
But Salcida wouldn't let go. In the car, he complained about Ojeda, threatened suicide and grabbed a shotgun. Brianne jumped from the vehicle to flee, according to testimony. Another time, he found her alone and threw her to the floor. He told her that because she didn't appreciate rough sex, he had to employ prostitutes. He also demanded to know if Ojeda had a bigger penis. Salcida must not have liked the answer. He put a knife to Brianne's throat, tore her pajamas off, raped her, ejaculated, and then wiped semen all over her face. He was arrested. His mother bailed him out of the Orange County Jail and took him back to Nevada.
A week later, Salcida—the product of a drug-dealing father and a heroin-addict mother who lived on welfare, according to court records—returned to Southern California, ostensibly to find a defense lawyer. In fact, he'd brought with him a hammer and a knife. When he arrived, he exchanged cellphone text messages with Ojeda, who called him a "retard" incapable of taking care of his family. It was the final humiliation.
On the morning of Nov. 6, 2003, Ojeda and Brianne woke up, showered and prepared for work. They'd left the front door unlocked after walking the dog. In a guest bedroom, Ojeda ironed Brianne's clothes for work, with his back to the door. Brianne ran a bath for her daughter. Suddenly, her "dazed" husband walked in.
"He's dead," Salcida said. "I killed him."
Brianne ran to see Ojeda and saw his bloody, lifeless body. She screamed. Salcida picked up his frightened daughter and walked to the kitchen phone to dial 911. With police on the way, he grabbed Brianne by the hair, dragged her to the bathroom, ripped off her clothes, tossed her on the floor and raped her while holding a ceramic pot over her head. When the police arrived, he broke the pot and used the fragments to repeatedly stab himself in the neck. The wounds required emergency surgery.
Ojeda had no chance. An autopsy showed no defensive wounds on his hands or arms, meaning he probably never saw the first hammer swing to his skull. The second blow was delivered with such force that the hammer broke. Without a word, Salcida then stabbed Ojeda 24 times in his head, neck, chest, back and, most gruesomely, in the groin.
Now living in Mule Creek State Prison, Salcida recently begged the Santa Ana-based state Court of Appeal to overturn his conviction and punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole. He claimed a judge had been unfairly restrictive of his heat-of-passion defense. Earlier this summer, the justices ruled that prosecutors had more than adequately proved murder by premeditation, deliberation and lying in wait.
Never mind that Theresa (again, the Weekly is not revealing her last name) was topless as she made food in her Orange apartment kitchen. She violated an unwritten rule: Don't nag the boyfriend—in this case, Roy Lee Morton—while he's watching a porno.
The 38-year-old convicted felon with few, if any, non-criminal skills didn't appreciate the interruption. "I'm going to kill you, you fucking bitch," Morton told her, according to court records. He threw a chair and a wooden tray, chased her into the hallway, tore a cellphone out of her hand as she called 911, and tossed her down. He head-butted her, landed a series of punches, and wrapped both hands around her neck and squeezed. Theresa suffered wounds to her eyes, cheeks, chin, throat, nose, jaw, legs and chest. In a final show of domination, Morton pulled his pants down, hung his ass over Theresa's face and said, "I'm going to shit on you," according to her testimony.