No death penalty for man accused of killing parents

Posted at 2:57 PM, Jun 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-24 17:57:55-04

SAN DIEGO - Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against a man accused of gunning down his parents in their Point Loma home the day after Thanksgiving 2014, it was announced Friday.

Instead, 24-year-old Peter David Haynes will face life in prison without the possibility of parole if he's convicted of killing Dr. David Haynes and Lissa Haynes on Nov. 28, 2014.

The defendant is charged with two counts of murder and special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and multiple murders.

Superior Court Judge Laura Halgren set the defendant's trial for Oct. 18, but that could change if Peter Haynes enters a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, said his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Mignon Hilts.

A status conference is scheduled Aug. 19.

The defendant shot his 61-year-old mother, Lissa, the morning after Thanksgiving, then ambushed his father when the 62-year-old emergency room physician came downstairs to check on his wife, according to evidence presented at a preliminary hearing in January.

Courtney Gant, who lives next door, testified she heard screaming, yelling and what sounded like gunshots at about 3 a.m.

The witness said she looked down into the victims' kitchen and saw someone walking, then heard a male voice say, "He shot her in the chest. I think she's dead."

Gant said she saw the silhouette of a man consistent with Peter Haynes standing outside a sliding glass door holding a gun.

She said she was on the phone with a 911 operator when she heard a man scream, then three to four more shots.

San Diego police Officer Bradford Green testified that he found Lissa Haynes' lifeless body and a wounded David Haynes after another officer kicked in the front door.

"He (David Haynes) said, 'My son shot me,'" the officer testified.

When he asked the wounded man why his son shot him, David Haynes responded, "He's schizophrenic," according to Green.

David and Lissa Haynes both were pronounced dead at a hospital.

Officer Andrew Korenkov testified that an armed but confused Peter Haynes was arrested without incident some time after 6:30 a.m. near the crime scene.

Deputy Medical Examiner Steven Campman testified that Lissa Haynes was shot once in the chest and her husband was shot nine times.

Campman said David Haynes was probably shot once in the upper abdomen, then a number of times in the back. A shot to the victim's right side struck his spinal cord and would have rendered him paralyzed from the chest down, Campman said.

After David Haynes was shot, the phone line to the 911 operator remained open, with the victim seemingly writhing in pain before his moaning stopped.

A family member told authorities that David Haynes had an interest in guns, which he used to bond with his son. Detective Anna Yankovich testified that an AR-15 rifle was found during a search of David Haynes' bedroom.