ANGEL P. SERNA
Dear Warden Walters:
The above-named individual is a twenty-eight year old
Mexican male. He was interviewed today in the cell at the Arizona State
Prison where he is awaiting execution.
He is a small but muscular man with intense dark eyes.
He sits quietly on the edge of his cot and answers questions somewhat
slowly, often with a preliminary "What" or "What did you say", requiring
the examiner to repeat the question. His glance is intense and expresses
a mixture of uncertainty, defiance, and apprehensiveness.
His responses are laconic but relevant. There is
little evidence of anxiety or flight of ideas nor of blocking. The
frequent hesitation before replying is associated with a slightly
defensive and suspicious manner, but the replies, although under-productive
and laconic, appear to be truthful.
Questions concerning his past elicit the fact that he
was the fourth of eight siblings, and was born in Franklin, Arizona. He
said that he reached he sixth grade at about age fifteen. He admitted
that he had not liked school nor been a good student. He was reluctant
to go into my details concerning his past, both regarding his earlier
life as well as his activities in life after leaving school. He said
that his work was mainly on ranches; that he served from 1942 to 1945 in
the ground forces of the Air Corps; that he received an Honorable
Discharge: that his grade was privates and that he was twice court
martialed for drunkenness He did not, throughout the interview give my
information about himself spontaneously.
He stated that the first time he had ever got into
trouble with the law was at the age of twenty-four and said, rather
sullenly, that he had pled guilty, having been advised to do so although
he was not guilty but merely among those present when a store was held
After having served his sentence for this offense he
was out about a year. He said that he worked in the mountains on
ranches, and again gave no details.
He stated that he had a preference for working away
from others saying that he never liked to have a lot of people around:
people made him "nervous". At the same time he denied questions directed
at bringing out the presence of actual delusions of persecution or
hostility on the part of people, saying that it was just the way he felt
that he did not actually think that people were hostile toward him nor
trying to harm him.
Concerning his crime he was particularly evasive and
reluctant. He said that he was "accused of murder" but that he hid no
recollection of the act. The only thing he could, remember was that he
was drinking in a bar and was arrested later while sleeping at the
Concerning his present adjustment he stated that he
had been feeling nervous of late. He complained vaguely of pains in the
back of the neck and head and occasional darting pains in the face. He
said that he sometimes doesn't want to talk to anyone and has the
feeling that the guards are mad at him, yet he knows they are not mad at
him because when he asks them for a cigarette or anything they give it
to him, so he thinks it is just his 'nerves.'
Asked whether he thought he might be crazy he became
quite hostile and tense and countered angrily that he was by no means
crazy and what was the examiner trying to do--make him mad?
Throughout the examination he maintained an air of
controlled and veiled defensiveness coupled with an uncommunicative
attitude. He seemed to be acting out his concept of the stoic
indifference of a condemned man. His emotional reactions were in the
main blunted, but when he was made insecure by certain questions a
volcanic outburst of anger seemed about to erupt. The examiner at these
times changed the subject in order to avoid irritating the patient but
the impression of emotional instability was definitely gained.
He was fully oriented to time, place, and person
during the examination. Aside from the alleged amnesia concerning his
crime, there was no evidence of an memory defects either in the remote
or recent sphere. He became irritated when asked to do several
calculations and was quite annoyed by questions directed toward
evaluating his general knowledge and intelligence. He did rather badly
in answering such questions and revealed what appears to be at best a
His insight was extremely shallow. His attitudes of
hostility and defensiveness and sullen defiance seem to be based on
marked emotional immaturity and shallowness of insight. He seemed
encased in a defensive armor and his attitude resembled that of a
defiant, sullen, and inarticulate child. It was exemplified by his
answer to the question as to what he thought should be done with him,
which was "I don't care. I don't care what they do with me. It doesn't
make any difference."
SUMMARY: This individual on examination today
displays the characteristics of a man of borderline intelligence, and of
immature self -circumscribed emotional development. His general mental
trends me mildly paranoid and defensive.
His affect is blunted and shallow yet unstable. He is
fully oriented and of sufficient intelligence to differentiate right
from wrong. No evidence was elicited throughout the examination of
psychotic ideas. Delusions and hallucinations, were denied and none
could be elicited aside from the tendency to periods of feeling disliked
by the guards, which the patient recognized as being subjective. This in
itself, though a paranoid trend, does not make diagnosis of psychosis.
In this case it is part of the personality patterns the so-called
Constitutional. Psychopathic States with asocial and antisocial trends.
There is no evidence of actual psychosis i.e. leg&
"Dear Governor Garvey:
I call on you personally to give the sight back to a
four and a half year old boy who has lost the sight of one eye and
within a month will have lost the sight of the other eye.
You we the one person that I ask to contact
personally any prisoner, who is condemned to die, and ask if they will
give up one of their eyes so that this young fellow may not be condemned
to a life time of darkness.
With your salesmanship and broad views on
humanitarianism I feel confident that you will take it upon yourself to
personally contact either the warden or the prisoner.
This might seem like a big task considering all your
other duties but the results would be such that I know you would gladly
donate the time that is necessary to fulfill this request.
This young lad, that we are interceding for, is the
youngest son of a Mr. Allie Hulker of 511 Wrights Ave. Augusta, Ga.
Mr. Hulker has exhausted all his funds trying to save
the first eye of his boy, and is now entirely up against it.
I realize that this is unfortunate. but please
remember, it is only someone like you that can give the eyesight back to
this 7.5 year old. boy. I would appreciate an answer to this letter,
letting me know if you feel as though you can be successful in this
Yours very truly,
J B Mannelly
'The true name of the defendant above is Angel P.
Serna. The crime for which he was tried and found guilty is Murder in
the First Degree, with the punishment set at death.
The crime occurred on December 29, 1947, near Apache
Junction, Arizona. On the afternoon of that day at approximately two
o'clock the defendant appeared at the service station belonging to Mr.
Donald Thompson, situated three quarters of a mile west of Apache
Junction service station. Mrs. Ferrie Thomson together with her two
daughters Bonnie Joan Thomson aged approximately fifteen years, and
Margaret Thompson aged approximately nine or ten years of age. They were
in the service station and store attending to business. There were some
customers in the store at the time the defendant appeared, so he ordered
a cup of coffee. Then he went out in back, apparently to the rest room,
and when he returned the customers were gone.
He drew a gun on Mrs. Thompson and ordered then into
another room. Mrs. Thompson who knew the defendant thought he was merely
fooling, and when she realized that he was serious she told him the
money was in the cash register. Then suddenly without provocation he
shot her through the upper chest.
Mrs. Thompson and the girls fled out of the back door
and in the direction of the Apache Junction Service Station. The
defendant acme out the side and ordered them to stop running or he would
shoot them again. They did not stop, and after about one hundred yards
Mrs. Thompson was picked up by a passing motorist, and the girls
continued on to Apache Junction where they reported the shooting.
The Officers of Maricopa County were first notified
and then the Officers of Pinal County. After an extensive search the
defendant was located and captured up near King's Ranch, which is
approximately six miles in an easterly direction from Apache Junction.
During his wandering up there he was in possession of
the deceased car and met a cowboy by the name of Paul Marchand. At that
time he had blood on his shirt and on his trousers and asked this man to
take him to Stafford. The man acted as if he agreed to it and went down
to the sand tanks station where he contacted one of the officers and
informed him of what had happened. In the conversation Serna had also
told Marchand that he had shot two women that afternoon.
The officers, Highway Patrolman Ike Mulleneaux,
Highway Patrolman Coy Beasley, Constable Earl Parrish of Chandler, and
an army officer from Williams Field, drove up the road to Kingís Ranch W
located the car. Soon afterwards the officers had scattered to look
through the brush, leaving Mr. Parrish in charge of the car. The
defendant appeared around a rise a short distance from the car, and Mr.
Parrish after ordering him twice to drop the gun finally captured him.
He was brought back to Apache Junction, together with the car of the
deceased. At that time it was thought proper to investigate the
residence of Mrs. Cohen. Upon arrival it was found that so was dead. She
was lying across her bed, practically all her clothes off except a
shirtwaist on the upper portion of her body. The back of her head was
beaten in and there was a bullet wound through her left wrist and into
At the time of his capture the defendant was in
possession of Mrs. Cohn's car, together with her billfold, a camera and
other personal property belonging to Mrs. Cohn. Tracks Picked up neat
the Thompsonís service station were traced through the desert south of
the highway, across the highway and up to Mrs. Cohn's residence.
The gun in possession of the defendant belonged to
cowboy living at Apache Junction by the name of Grady Haskins, and the
bullet which shot Mrs. Thompson, and the bullet taken from the body of
the deceased, Mrs. Cohn, were identified as probably coming from the
same weapon, which was in the possession of the defendant.
Complaint was filed in the Justice Court of number
One Precinct, charging the defendant with the crime Of Murder, a felony.
He was tried on the 11th 12th and13th days of May 1948, in the Superior
Court of Pinal County, and was by the jury found guilty of the crime of
Murder in the First Degree and the punishment set at death. On the 22nd
day of May, 1948, the defendant was by the Court adjudged guilty and
sentenced to be executed on the 13th day of August 1948. The defendant
has filed Notice Of Appeal to the Supreme Court. He was previously
convicted, and served a term for the crime of burglary in the Arizona
F. Preston Sult, COUNTY Attorney.
W C Truman, Judge.