SAN QUENTIN — Condemned inmate Royal Hayes, 81, who was on California’s death row at San Quentin State Prison, was pronounced dead on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at 2:34 p.m. at an outside hospital. The cause of death is unknown pending the results of an autopsy.
Hayes was sentenced to death by a Stanislaus County jury on August 8, 1986, for the December 29, 1981, first degree murders of Lauren de Laet and Donald MacVicar. Under the pretense of receiving cocaine for a payment MacVicar had given Hayes, Hayes lured each victim individually to a remote location on the Santa Cruz campus of the University of California, where shallow holes, in which the victims were to be buried, had been prepared.
The victims were told that they had to be searched before the delivery of the cocaine was to occur. Hayes shot both victims in the back of the head when they leaned forward against a tree to submit to the search.
Hayes’ two accomplices ― Deborah Garcia and Diane Weller ― both testified against him in court. Hayes was also convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a controlled substance and false imprisonment.
He had been on California’s death row since August 18, 1986.
Since 1978, when California reinstated capital punishment, 77 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 25 have committed suicide, 13 have been executed in California, one was executed in Missouri, one was executed in Virginia, 8 have died from other causes, and three (including Hayes) causes of death are pending. There are currently 743 offenders on California’s death row.