State Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Latest Appeal From Double-Murderer

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to hear the latest appeal filed on behalf of one of two men convicted in the November 1998 slayings of two witnesses in West Hills who were expected to testify against him in a burglary case.

Kenneth C. Leighton, now 59, and co-defendant Randall B. Williams, now 58, were found guilty of first-degree murder for the Nov. 4, 1998, shooting deaths of Jamie Navaroli and April Mahoney as the victims returned to a friend's home where they were staying.

Jurors found true the special circumstance allegations of killing a witness to a crime, multiple murders and lying in wait against both men, along with an allegation that Williams personally used a firearm.

Prosecutors alleged that Williams shot the two at the behest of Leighton -- who owned an automobile repair shop in the San Fernando Valley -- to keep them from testifying against Leighton.

Navaroli died at the scene. Mahoney died a few weeks later, after identifying Williams from a photo lineup she was shown by police detectives. Leighton and Williams were each sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Leighton has asked twice to be re-sentenced under a new state law that affects defendants in some murder cases, but a judge turned down both requests.

In a Jan. 19 ruling, a three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal noted that "the record of conviction conclusively established that Leighton's petition was meritless."

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