The California Supreme Court today upheld a death penalty for an East Palo Alto woman who fatally shot two people while burglarizing offices where she had worked as a janitor.
Celeste Carrington, 47, was sentenced to death in San Mateo County Superior Court in 1994 for the murders of Victor Esparza, a janitor at a San Carlos shoe factory, and Carolyn Gleason, a property manager at a Palo Alto real estate firm, in two separate incidents in 1992.
Both victims were shot in the head at close range.
Carrington was also found guilty of the attempted murder of pediatrician Allan Marks in his Redwood City office. Marks was wounded but survived and testified at her trial.
Carrington had worked as a janitor at all three offices. She is now one of 15 women among 683 inmates on death row in California.
The state high court, in a ruling issued in San Francisco, unanimously rejected a series of appeal arguments, including Carrington’s challenges to a search of her home and to a confession she made to police after giving up her right to a have a lawyer present.
Carrington’s lawyers said at her trial that she was under pressure to support her lover and her lover’s three children. They argued she should be spared a death penalty because she was abused as a child.
Carrington’s automatic appeal to the California Supreme Court is the first step in the state’s death penalty appeal process.
She has a separate habeas corpus petition pending before the state high court and also has the right to file a petition in federal court.