In overturning the conviction of a murderer, the state Supreme Court claimed that the victim didn't "suffer needlessly" while trying to prevent the robbery of her home. The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed:
The jury saw autopsy photographs showing Steacy McConnell’s mangled head, her skull crushed by 15 to 20 blows from a steel dumbbell bar the jury found to have been wielded by Belmontes. McConnell’s corpse showed numerous “defensive bruises and contusions on . . . [her] hands, arms, and feet,” . . . which “plainly evidenced a desperate struggle for life at [Belmontes’] hands.” Belmontes left McConnell to die, but officers found her still fighting for her life before ultimately succumbing to the injuries caused by the blows from Belmontes. The jury also heard that this savage murder was committed solely to prevent interference with a burglary that netted Belmontes $100 he used to buy beer and drugs for the night.Obviously, the learned justices in California concluded Ms. McConnell suffered just the right amount.