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Man convicted of murdering his parents and ex-girlfriend loses appeal

City News Service | 2/26/2013, 10:33 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.--A state appellate court panel today rejected an appeal from a Los Angeles man who was convicted of murdering his parents and the mother of his child.

The three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal turned down the defense's claim that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Bob S. Bowers Jr. had erred in revoking Joshua Vick's right to act as his own attorney.

Vick was convicted in a non-jury trial in May 2011 of first-degree murder for the Jan. 14, 2005, shooting deaths of his parents, Mary and Gable, and the slaying of his ex-girlfriend, Tesha Collins, a day later.

The murder charges included the special circumstance allegations that Collins was murdered during the commission of a kidnapping and that there were multiple murders.

Vick also was found guilty of one count each of robbery and attempted robbery involving separate victims and three counts of criminal threats involving Collins and two of her friends.

In a 17-page ruling, the appellate court panel also rejected the defense's contention that there was insufficient evidence to support two of the criminal threats charges.

The panel noted that Vick only spoke with one of Collins' friends, but that he "clearly intended his threat to kill all three of the women" unless he got his keys back to be communicated to all three of them.

Vick's trial attorney, Marc Lewinstein, called the case "a tragedy," and said Vick had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

"He thought his parents were trying to poison him," Vick's attorney said at his client's May 2011 sentencing. "He doesn't understand that he's sick."

The District Attorney's Office had initially sought a death sentence against Vick, but decided before trial against seeking it.

Vick killed his parents in their apartment in the 700 block of West Imperial Highway, shooting his 52-year-old mother twice and his 54-year-old father once.

Collins, a 29-year-old mother of four who had a child with the defendant, was kidnapped the following day from Hooper Early Education Center on East 52nd Street, where she worked as a teacher's aide.

Vick was wounded the next day by police, who spotted him in a car in South Los Angeles. Collins, who had been shot with the same weapon used to kill Vick's parents, was found dead nearby.

Vick had been arrested a few weeks before the slayings for violating probation in an assault case. He was freed after three days as part of an effort to reduce the county's jail population.