LOS ANGELES – A man on death row for a Palmdale woman’s killing pleaded guilty Thursday to strangling another woman in her South Los Angeles home more than three decades ago.
James Robert Scott, 53, pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of Vivian Johnson and admitted the special circumstances of rape in commission of a murder and conviction of a prior murder. He was immediately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench.
Vivian Johnson, 40, was found found strangled to death on Nov. 29, 1982, inside her home in the 3900 block of Welland Avenue in Leimert Park, according to Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller.
Los Angeles police said in 2014 that Scott was linked to Johnson’s killing through DNA evidence collected at the crime scene. [Read more here.]
At the time of his arrest in connection with Johnson’s killing, Scott was on death row for Wanda Jensen‘s murder.
In April of 1986, Scott broke into Jensen’s Palmdale apartment, struck her on the head with a baseball bat, then raped, beat and choked her into unconsciousness on her bed. [Read more here.] Scott set the bed on fire before leaving Jensen’s apartment, according to a 1997 California Supreme Court ruling upholding his conviction.
Jensen — who suffered burns over 35 percent of her body — died in February 1987 as a result of her injuries, according to the Supreme Court’s ruling.
He had pleaded guilty in 1983 to assault with a deadly weapon involving a knife attack on a woman who managed to escape from her home, and a 1986 rape of another woman, according to the ruling.