I heard about yesterday’s discovery of convicted killer Spencer Brasure’s dead body in his prison cell at San Quentin so I took a look into the case.
“Savage, barbarous, merciless and cruel” is how Judge James P. Cloninger described the 1996 murder of Anthony Guest. He went on to say that “Spencer Brasure displays a depth of cruelty that is, fortunately, quite rare.” This reminded me a bit of Judge Edward Cowart’s commentary on Ted Bundy when he stated his heinous acts were “extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile.”
The murder of Anthony Guest took place on September 7th, 1996. The 20-year-old aspiring actor was working in the fast food industry in Redondo Beach area. He was abducted at gunpoint by 26 year old Spencer Brasure and his 18 year old friend, Billy Davis. Anthony Guest was forced into a vehicle and driven to a home where he would endure immense torture at their hands. According to court testimony Guest was supposed to suffer a beating as there had been rumors he had stolen from the men, who were involved in methamphetamine, but it ended up going well beyond retribution. Anthony Guest was forced to eat glass, had his eyes glued shut, had pieces of wood stapled to his ears and was electrically shocked. At one point during the torture a third perpetrator, Matthew Ormsby (who knew Brasure and David from the drug scene) came to the home and joined in on the depravity. After hours of brutal abuse, Guest was driven to a remote campsite and burned alive by the trio. On September 13, 1996 a pair of maintenance workers found Guest’s charred remains.
The trials that followed saw Spencer Brasure receiving a death sentence for the first-degree murder of Anthony Guest. Billy Davis received a sentence of life in prison without parole and Matthew Ormsby who was just 16 when the crimes were committed, was sentenced to 25 years to life.
As for Brasure, his cause of death is still unknown pending an autopsy. He was found unresponsive in his cell around 12:30 Thursday morning and pronounced dead about 45 minutes later. Brasure had been on death row since Aug. 28, 1998.
According to California Department of Corrections there are 732 inmates on California’s death row, minus Spencer Brasure, 731.
The Los Angeles Times, Tuesday, August 25, 1998, Page 183 via newspapers.com
The Los Angeles Times,Tuesday, December 12, 2000, Page 275 via newspapers.com