LOS ANGELES — On Monday, August 16, 37-year-old Daryl Tamal Ragsdale was found guilty for the killing of Irene Franco. The murder took place on December 15, 1989, at a drive-in movie theater in Carson. It took the Los Angeles Superior Court jury a mere 20 minutes to find Daryl Tamal Ragsdale guilty of first-degree murder, equaling to two life prison terms, plus 37 years.
The jury consisted of an eight-woman, four-man jury, additionally convicting Ragsdale of two counts of kidnapping for robbery involving Franco and Jesus Martinez, her then 24-year-old boyfriend.
According to Martinez, who testified last week, he and Irene were at the drive-in, watching “Blaze” and “Cocktail,” when three men approached them at gunpoint and demanded they get in the backseat of Martinez’s own car, a Pontiac Firebird.
Martinez was then struck on the head, while the three men took turns in sexually assaulting Irene Franco. Martinez was able to drag himself down to a nearby liquor store and call the police to report the incident.
Deputy District Attorney Hoon Chun let the jurors know on Monday that the DNA test results linked Ragsdale to sperm that was found on Franco’s body. Franco was later found dead in a Willowbrook field from an obvious gunshot wound to the back of her head.
The final man involved, who was underage at the time of the incident, could not be prosecuted under state law at the time, but he is now serving a life prison term without parole linked to another murder.
Charles Grisham, who was one of the three men involved in the murder, pleaded guilty on January 2008 to first degree murder shortly after prosecutors obtained DNA proof that linked him to the assault. At that point, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.