Convicted Rapist, Murderer Sentenced to Death Again

Kevin Darnell Pearson has been sentenced to death for the second time this week, following his conviction for the December 1998 kidnapping and murder of 43-year-old mother Penny Keprta.

The 36 year-old’s initial death sentence was handed down on November 19, 2003. However, the California Supreme Court ultimately threw out this first sentence, citing “the trial court’s improper excusal of a prospective juror because of her views on capital punishment.”

{loadposition latestnews}Pearson–along with two other suspects, Jamelle Armstrong and Warren Hardy, who also were sentenced to death and whose automatic appeals have yet to be heard–attacked Keprta, also known as Penny Sigler, while she was walking home from a store in Long Beach. She was then robbed of $6 worth of food stamps and subsequently raped before being beaten to death with a wooden stake, resulting in 114 injuries.

Her 5-foot-2, 110-pound body was found by CalTrans workers the following day on an I-405 embankment near Wardlow Road and Long Beach Boulevard.

After his initial death sentence was dismissed, Pearson was given a retrial in which jurors recommended he face the death penalty.

Pearson’s updated sentence was handed down by Long Beach Superior Court Judge Tomson T. Ong, who immediately denied the motion to have the sentence reduced, stating that the “weight of the evidence supports the jury’s verdict of death,” while calling Pearson an “active participant in the crime.”

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 19 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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