SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom called the death penalty a "failure" that has discriminated against the mentally ill, minorities and the poor while announcing his decision to place a moratorium on executions in the state.
The 737 inmates on the largest death row in the nation were given a reprieve Wednesday when Newsom signed the executive order.
Here are some notable inmates out of more than 700 people on the nation's largest death row:
After he reported his pregnant wife missing on Christmas Eve 2002, police pursued nearly 10,000 tips, and looked at parolees and convicted sex offenders as possible suspects. Ultimately, Peterson was arrested and convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Laci Peterson and second-degree murder for their unborn son in Modesto, California. Now 46, he's housed at San Quentin State Prison.
RICHARD ALLEN DAVIS
Davis, 64, has been on death row at San Quentin since his 1996 conviction in the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Polly Klaas of Petaluma, California. The case helped gain support for California's "three-strikes law" for repeat offenders. A third conviction for a serious felony leads to an automatic life sentence.
A serial killer nicknamed the "Grim Sleeper," Franklin was convicted in 2016 for the killings of nine women and a teenage girl in Los Angeles dating to the 1980s. He was linked at trial to 14 slayings, including four women he wasn't charged with killing. Police have said Franklin, now 66, may have had as many as 25 victims.
He was convicted along with an accomplice, Leonard Lake, of killing 11 people at a cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills during the 1980s. Lake killed himself in 1985. Ng's prosecution cost California approximately $20 million, the most expensive trial in state history at the time. Now 58, Ng is housed at San Quentin.
RODNEY JAMES ALCALA
Prosecutors said Alcala, now 75, stalked women like prey and took earrings as trophies from some of his victims. He was sentenced to death in 2010 for five slayings in California between 1977 and 1979. In 2013, he received an additional 25 years to life after pleading guilty to two homicides in New York. Investigators say his true victim count may never be known.
A former high school vice principal, Brothers was convicted of killing his wife, their three young children and his mother-in-law. Prosecutors said he tried to create an alibi by flying to Columbus, Ohio, with the pretext of visiting his brother. He then drove his rental car to Bakersfield, California, to kill his family and returned to Ohio. Now 57, he's been on San Quentin's death row since 2007.
Her husband's death was initially ruled undetermined, which meant Rodriguez was ineligible for a payout on his life insurance. After she pushed for more testing, it was determined that Frank Rodriguez died of antifreeze poisoning. She was arrested for his death and convicted in 2004. She also was accused — but never convicted — of killing her infant daughter in 1993.
Here are things to know about California's death row.
WHAT HAPPENS TO CONDEMNED INMATES' SENTENCES AND APPEALS?
They will remain on death row, sentenced to death and their appeals will continue. County prosecutors can still demand the death penalty, and trial court judges can still sentence convicted murderers to death after a jury recommends execution. But no executions will be scheduled while the governor's moratorium remains in effect.
"Everything keeps going as before," said Santa Clara University law professor Ellen Kreitzberg. "Just no executions."
WHERE ARE CONDEMNED INMATES KEPT?
They are confined to individual cells in one of three special sections of San Quentin State Prison. There are 520 cells stacked five stories high in the prison's east block, where the vast majority of condemned inmates live. There are three dozen cells on the sixth floor for condemned inmates deemed to cause the least trouble. The so-called "adjustment center," the solitary confinement wing of death row for disruptive prisoners, has 81 cells.
The 22 women sentenced to death are housed in the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla. No woman has been executed since California reintroduced capital punishment in 1978.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE SO-CALLED DEATH CHAMBER?
Newsom ordered the dismantling of the never-used death chamber at San Quentin. Prison officials built it in 2008 in an attempt to comply with a federal court order to improve death chamber conditions and training of execution staff. The sterile chamber was built on the site of the prison's old gas chamber. Death by gas was stopped in 1996 after a court ruling questioned its constitutionality.
WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON EXECUTED IN CALIFORNIA?
Clarence Ray Allen, 76, was executed by lethal injection at 12:20 a.m. Jan. 17, 2006, after spending 22 years on death row. He was the oldest inmate executed since the reinstatement of capital punishment. Allen was convicted of ordering the 1980 murders of three people he believed had helped prosecutors convict him of a 1974 murder. He was serving a life term for the 1974 murder of a burglary accomplice when he ordered the three additional murders. Billie Ray Hamilton, who Allen met in prison, was convicted of the triple slaying and sentenced to death, but died at age 57 of natural causes in 2007.
WHICH INMATE WAS TO BE EXECUTED NEXT?
Authorities called off the lethal injection of Michael Morales two hours before his scheduled Feb. 21, 2006, execution for the murder and rape of a 17-year-old girl. Prison officials said they could not comply with a recent court order requiring licensed medical professionals to administer lethal injections. California then indefinitely suspended capital punishment to rework its lethal injection policies and procedures. Since then, 25 condemned inmates including Morales have exhausted all of their appeals and were considered "next in line."
WHO HAS LIVED ON DEATH ROW THE LONGEST?
One of the two "Tool Box Killers," Lawrence Bittaker, 78, entered death row on March 30, 1981, after he was convicted of raping, torturing and killing five teenage girls in 1979. His accomplice, Roy Lee Norris, accepted a plea bargain of life in prison without parole in exchange for testifying against Bittaker. They were called the Tool Box Killers because of the everyday tools they used in their crimes.
WHO WAS THE NEWEST DEATH ROW INMATE?
Eric Jimenez, 34, arrived on death row on Nov. 29, 2018. A Tulare County jury found him guilty in 2018 of two gang-related murders, six years after Porterville police arrested him in California's Central Valley. His first appeal — an automatic appeal to the California Supreme Court — has not been filed.