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Crime

Riverside County inmate dies while on death row for killing mother

Donald R. Millwee
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Donald R. Millwee

A California death row inmate who killed his mother in her Riverside home and then drove to San Diego, where he killed a surfer, died from natural causes while hospitalized in Northern California, state prison officials announced today.

Donald Ray Millwee, who had been housed at California State Prison, Corcoran since October 2015, died early Tuesday evening in an outside hospital, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He was 68.

Millwee was sentenced to death in Riverside County in March 1990 for the slaying of Esta Millwee and sent to San Quentin State Prison.

According to court records, the defendant, who had a violent past, was often at odds with his mother and was generally not allowed to be around the physically disabled woman unless his father was present.

Millwee lived on the streets, and after a confrontation with his father outside a bar on the morning of Sept. 8, 1986, the defendant walked to his parents' home, where he entered through an unlocked door and pulled a .22-caliber rifle from a closet.

According to Riverside County prosecutors, Millwee's mother was sitting on a stool in the kitchen when the defendant leveled the rifle at her head and fired one time, killing her on the spot.

He then stole the victim's wheelchair and Lincoln Continental, driving south to a San Diego beach, where less than two days later he was involved in a confrontation with another transient, whom he assaulted, prosecutors said.

When a surfer, identified in court transcripts as ``Whalen,'' tried to intervene, Millwee fatally shot him in the stomach, according to the prosecution. However, the defense convinced a San Diego jury the shooting was accidental, resulting in a 1987 conviction for voluntary manslaughter and inflicting great bodily injury, and having a prior felony conviction for a serious offense.

Millwee received a 13 1/2-year sentence for that crime. In Riverside County, he was convicted of first-degree murder and special circumstance allegations of killing in the course of a robbery and killing during the commission of a burglary for the death of his mother.

The length of time he was hospitalized outside the penitentiary was not disclosed by the CDCR, which reported that Milwee died of natural cause.

Local News / News

City News Service

Jesus Reyes

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