Man executed for killing four
In 1974, Allen and his son burglarized Fran’s Market, owned by Ray and Fran Schletewitz, whom Allen had known for years. The girlfriend of Allen’s son, 17 year old Mary Sue Kitts, eventually told the Schletewitz family that Allen was responsible and that she helped cash the checks that were stolen. Allen then ordered a hit on Kitts. The teen was strangled and thrown into the Friant-Kern Canal. Her body was never found. In 1977, a jury convicted Allen of burglary, conspiracy and first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life without parole. While at Folsom Prison, Allen solicited the help of Billy Ray Hamilton, who was soon to be paroled, to eliminate eight prosecution witnesses so they would not be around for a retrial if he won his appeal. Allen did not know Rocha or White, but he wanted Bryon Schletewitz, Raymond Schletewitz and six others dead for testifying against him during his 1977 trial.
Upon release, Hamilton and his girlfriend, Connie Barbo, lingered in Fran’s Market until they were the last customers. Hamilton pulled out a sawed-off shotgun, and Barbo drew a .32-caliber revolver. They herded all the employees toward the stockroom and ordered them to lie on the floor, including the son of the store owner, Byron Schletewitz, age 27, and employees Douglas White, age 18, and Josephine Rocha, age 17. Schletewitz volunteered to give the couple all the money they wanted. He then led Hamilton into the stockroom. Once inside, Hamilton pointed the shotgun at Schletewitz’s forehead and shot him from less than a foot away. Hamilton came out of the room and turned to White and said, “OK, big boy, where’s the safe?” White responded, “Honest, there’s no safe.” Hamilton shot him in the neck and chest at point-blank range. Rocha began crying. Hamilton shot her two or three times from about five feet away. The shots pierced her heart, lung and stomach. Rios had managed to escape to the bathroom. Hamilton pushed his way in, stood three feet away and fired, according to the documents. Rios raised his arm just in time, and the shot entered his elbow, saving his life. Jack Abbott, who lived next to the market, grabbed his gun and came outside when he heard the shots. He and Hamilton exchanged fire, and Hamilton fled after being shot in the foot. Police arrived and found Barbo hiding in the market. Hamilton was arrested a week later after trying to rob a Modesto liquor store and now is on Death Row with Allen. A hit list containing names and addresses of the eight trial witnesses was found on him when he was arrested. It’s what linked him to Allen, who has always denied ordering the killings.