WARNING: The following crime summaries contain graphic descriptions of one or more murders and may not be suitable for all audiences or ages.
Date Received: 07/15/1982
County of Trial: Sacramento
Sentence Date: 07/06/1982
County of Residence: Unknown
County of Offense: Sacramento
Offense Date: 12/19/1980
Court Action: Affirmed
Court Date: 06/16/1988
Case #: NA
Victims: Leah Schendel (female, 78)
On the night between Dec. 18 and 19, 1980, Manuel Pina Babbitt broke into the South Sacramento apartment of Leah Schendel and brutally beat and sexually assaulted the 78-year-old woman. The offender also attempted to rape Mrs. Schendel before ransacking and robbing her residence.
Mrs. Schendel’s semi-nude body was found lying on the floor of her bedroom, partially covered by a bloodstained mattress. Later coroner examinations indicated that she may have been sexually assaulted.
Mrs. Schendel’s cause of death was determined to be heart failure caused by stress related to the robbery and beating.
The following night, Dec. 19, 1980, the offender attempted to rape another Sacramento woman, whom he grabbed and beat unconscious before robbing her of money and jewelry. Following his arrest, the offender did not deny committing the crimes, but said he had no memory of what happened. However, several items of Mrs. Schendel’s property were found in his possession, linking him to her murder.
A Sacramento County jury found the offender guilty of first degree murder with special circumstances. He was sentenced to death on July 6, 1982.
In March 1998, while serving time on death row, the offender was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds he received in the Vietnam War 30 years previously.
At 12:29 a.m., May 4, 1999, the execution by lethal injection of Manuel Pina Babbitt began in San Quentin State Prison’s execution chamber. Babbitt was pronounced dead at 12:37 a.m.
Babbitt declined a last meal and fasted until his execution. He spent his last hours with family, friends and his attorneys.
Manuel Pina Babbitt’s last words were “I forgive all of you.”