California State’s Highest Court Refuses To Hear Case Of Double-Murder Mastermind

Judge Gavel
Judge Gavel

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The California Supreme Court refused today to review the case of a man convicted of masterminding the kidnap-murders of two Redondo Beach men in 1994.
  
Howard Bloomgarden, now 52, is serving a life prison term without the possibility of parole for the Oct. 26, 1994, strangulations of Peter Kovach and Ted Gould.
  
Authorities believe Kovach, 26, was targeted after having a falling-out with Bloomgarden over a drug operation, while Gould was in the wrong place at the wrong time, according to Deputy District Attorney Geoff Lewin.
  
Kovach and Gould, who worked at the Galleria Telecom store in Redondo Beach, were abducted from the store near closing time and taken to a motel in Lawndale, where they were strangled by Kenneth Friedman, who was sentenced to death in December 2005. Their bodies were dumped in San Diego County.

Friedman died in August 2012 on San Quentin’s Death Row of an apparent suicide.

The prosecutor painted Bloomgarden as the mastermind behind the plan, calling the evidence against him “absolutely overwhelming.”
  
Last October, a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected Bloomgarden’s claim that his Los Angeles trial for the murders constituted double jeopardy because he had already pleaded guilty in New York to a federal charge — for which he had been serving a 33-year federal sentence — arising from the killings.
  
“California’s dual sovereignty doctrine permitted the appellant to be convicted under state law of aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder with special circumstances in addition to his earlier conviction under federal law for the violation of the Travel Act,” the panel found in its 47-page ruling.
  
The appellate justices noted in their ruling that Bloomgarden “had a motive and the means to orchestrate the kidnappings.”

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