A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted Steven Arthur Duarte of first-degree murder in the March 18, 2008, shooting death of Serena Lynne Williams in her Carmichael home. Prosecutors said Duarte killed Williams because he thought she gave him the HIV virus.
Jurors also found in a hearing in the early afternoon that Duarte, 56, also murdered a man in Sacramento in 1975. The jury's confirmation of the special circumstance allegation of Duarte having been convicted of second-degree murder in the earlier case means that he is likely to be sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. Judge Timothy M. Frawley scheduled Duarte's sentencing for Oct. 19.
According to court documents, Duarte previously had been convicted in the May 24, 1975, shooting death of a man named Donald Erdman. Detectives told the Sacramento grand jury that indicted Duarte that the victim had been shot once in the head. Erdman's body was found on the American River levee near North 10th Street with his pants down to his knees, the documents said.
Duarte was convicted of second-degree murder in the Erdman killing. He received a term of seven years to life in prison. He served five years.
The body of Serena Williams, 35, was found slumped over her kitchen stove in her residence in the 4900 block of Douvan Court. She had been shot once in the left eye.