Court leaves killer on death row

Court leaves killer on death row

There are 128 comments on the Palo Alto Daily News story from Jun 20, 2007, titled Court leaves killer on death row. In it, Palo Alto Daily News reports that:

The state Supreme Court upheld the murder conviction and death sentence Monday of a man who conspired with others to murder his partner and take over the business they shared.
The state Supreme Court upheld the murder conviction and death sentence Monday of a man who conspired with others to murder his partner and take over the business they shared. <br/> <br/>The court voted unanimously that Steven Wayne Bonilla, now 60 and formerly of Mountain View, should remain on death row for the October 1987 slaying of Jerry Lee Harris, 45, of Blackhawk. <br/> <br/>Bonilla, who had invested in several of Harris' businesses, in 1986 became Harris' partner in a Cupertino nightclub. But arguments over money and control of the business mounted, and Bonilla plotted with William Nichols of Mesa, Ariz., and Bradley Keyes of Elko, Nev., to murder Harris and take over the business. <br/> <br/>They lured Harris to a Pleasanton office park, overpowered him, wrapped his head with duct tape and put him in a car trunk, where he suffocated; they buried him in a shallow grave in the Nevada desert, where his remains were found months later. <br/> <br/>The court on Monday rejected Bonilla's claims that the jury had received faulty instructions; that he hadn't qualified for the lying-in-wait "special circumstance" that made him eligible for the death penalty; that a prosecutor had impermissibly vouched for Keyes' credibility as a witness; that the trial judge had erred by allowing certain jurors to serve; that prosecutors discriminated racially in selecting jurors; that photographs of Harris' grave and mummified remains shouldn't have been admitted as evidence; and so on. <br/> <br/>Harris also owned the Hot Rod cafes in Fremont and Alameda, the Shakers restaurant in Hayward, a Monterey County steel company and a San Diego tool-rental firm. Nichols was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole; Keyes received a three-year sentence in exchange for testifying against Bonilla and Nichols. <br/> <br/>The direct, automatic appeal decided Thursday exists only within parameters set at trial, seeking reversible error. Bonilla also has pending before the state Supreme Court a separate petition for a writ of habeas corpus: a reinvestigation of the whole case in which new evidence can be brought in or existing evidence can be recast. <br/>
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#1 Sep 13, 2007

United States

#2 Oct 26, 2007
Jerry was an old friend... my late fiance and I designed a couple of his nightclubs in fresno.. we were shocked when we found out he was murdered... Where is Suzy??

United States

#3 Oct 28, 2007
This is so sad. Jerry Harris sounds like a great man. Where is his widow? Are Jerry's clubs/restaurants still in existance? I wish there was more to find out.
Steve Bonilla deserves his sentence.

Rome, GA

#4 Nov 8, 2007
This was such a sad story,Iread the book by Ann Rule.I have heard that Mrs.Harris got married and keeps her whereabouts a secret.I pray for all the families affected by this senseless tragedy.
Gary Cody Wyoming

United States

#5 Nov 29, 2007
I just finished reading Ann Rules book and was so moved that I had to search the internet to see what happened to this low life killer. I am sad to see he is still alive as I am sure Jerry's family members need some final closure. It is not often we read a story that moves someone as much as this one did me. I feel I would have liked to have known Jerry Harris.

South Africa

#6 Jan 23, 2008
What happened to the little, bald fellow called Steve Bonilla? I really hope he's dead already. He does not deserve to live. If he is still on death row (because of mummy's money), I hope he dies a slow and painful death. As he deserves.
shannon florida

United States

#7 Feb 8, 2008
yep, that little feller shouldve been dead by now but california is slow in appeals

Cambridge, MA

#8 Feb 21, 2008
Jerry Harris was my Uncle, I was pretty young when It happened, we miss him

Perry Point, MD

#9 Mar 27, 2008
shannah wrote:
Jerry Harris was my Uncle, I was pretty young when It happened, we miss him
Hi Shannah,

I, too, read about your Uncle in Ann Rule's book, and, like the guy above said, I have felt since then that knowing Jerry in person would have been awesome.

To this day, whenever I hear "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You', it reminds me of Jerry.
I think about Susan often and hope she is doing well and has found happiness and security.

Every so often, I check the internet to make sure Bonilla is either still locked up or, hopefully, dead.
He didn't give Jerry any chance, any time, when he had him killed. I can't stand the thought that he's been given so many days and nights to live that Jerry was robbed of.

Just know that your Uncle is known of and thought well of by a LOT of people all across the country.
(For instance, I'm in Gettysburg, Pa.)
By the same token, Bonilla is known by all as a murdering lowlife scumbag.

Jerry was, by all accounts, a good, kind and decent man. He was all that Bonilla could never be.

If you ever see or hear from Susan, if you would, let her know that there are still those of us, to this day, who wish her nothing but peace and happiness and who also love the story of her and Jerry. The beginning of it, anyway...

Rest in peace, Jerry...

I, for one, won't ever forget your story.

Marblehead, MA

#10 Apr 15, 2008
I just finished Ann Rules Book "In The Name of Love" 4/14/08. I was telling my husband what a nice guy Jerry seemed to be and I was wondering if the Hard Rock Cafe's got their start because of Jerry's great ideas. I had to get onto the internet to find out more about Jerry and his wife. I hope the family has found peace in knowing that many people are feeling their loss even after all these years.

Terrebonne, OR

#11 Apr 21, 2008
Hello, We must be family, Jerry was my cousin. My fathers name is Robert Harris. I am trying to do some geneology on the grandparents harris, can you help?
Thanks, Ellen
shannah wrote:
Jerry Harris was my Uncle, I was pretty young when It happened, we miss him

Fox Island, WA

#12 May 13, 2008
I hope that they do finally send that little rat, Bonilla, to the 'gas' chambers. I'm sure there are plenty of people who would be there to watch. How could anyone have a mind like that? It's creepy. To all of Jerry's family and friends I hope you have found peace. I wish I had a chance to know the guy he sounded like a very fun-life-loving person. Ann Rule did a great justice to his life story.

Northampton, UK

#13 Jun 24, 2008
I read In The Name of Love, and i couldnt help but research about Steve Bonilla. My heart goes out to Susan and all of Jerry's family. I hope Susan's okay, and i hope the rest of the family is doing good too.
Id just like to say, if i've ever seen a perfect couple, it would have to be Susan and Jerry. They were soulmates. Its heartbreaking how it ended so soon.
I'll always pray for Jerry. And like Ann Rule wrote infront of her book, Jerry was a friend who i'll never meet.=)
R.I.P Jerry.

Perris, CA

#14 Jul 5, 2008
I am still readng the story by Ann Rule chroniciling the life and death of Jerry Harris, his wonderful life with Susan and the ultimate betrayal by a man to whom Jerry was never anything but a great friend, perhaps his only friend. What a riveting story, sad and tragic and I hope that the family of Jerry and Susan and her family has been able to move on as best as they possibly can. I also hope that the lowlife who took Jerry's life will get what he has coming to him; either by the state or pehaps the same fate that found Jeffrey Dahmer will find Bonilla.
Portland Girl

Eugene, OR

#15 Jul 11, 2008
shannah wrote:
Jerry Harris was my Uncle, I was pretty young when It happened, we miss him
Shannah-I am so sorry. I have read and reread Ann Rules' book several times. Jerry was very well liked and respected. I hope that the rest of your family still keeps in contact. I lived in Sacramento when this happened and remember reading about in the Sacramento Bee. God Bless.

San Diego, CA

#16 Jul 26, 2008
If you read Ann Rules book you will remember that even in prison Steven Bonilla was a real threat to anyone he considered an enemy, he was able for a while anyway to operate his criminal and psychopathic activities by using other criminals to do his dirty work. What a shame justice takes so long to bring about an end to such a vile person. I believe his mother is dead so I guess she can't help him financially, but his sister who still believes in him is still alive, I wonder if she supports him financially. Susan is probably wise to keep her where abouts unknown.
pure evil does exist.

New Port Richey, FL

#17 Aug 9, 2008
What a shame- so sad for a genuine heart of gold!
All for the love of money and power. Truly the root of all evil! May his wife and family find peace and some understanding as to why bad things happen to good people.

United States

#18 Aug 26, 2008
joi wrote:
Jerry was an old friend... my late fiance and I designed a couple of his nightclubs in fresno.. we were shocked when we found out he was murdered... Where is Suzy??
Are you Koi, that appears in the book?

Seattle, WA

#19 Aug 27, 2008
I am in the middle of reading Jerry Harris' story but couldn't help to look for more information on the internet. Jerry sounded like a truly smart person and a wonderful human being. I'd like to let his family know that through Ann Rule's book he can still be remembered.

Clarksville, TN

#20 Sep 14, 2008
I just finished Ann Rule's book about this case "In The Name Of Love" and also searched the internet to see if Scumbag Bonilla was still alive. The book was published in '98 so there may be other events but the "Afterword" stated that Susan Harris changed her name - moved to another state and had not remarried. She also had become involved in Bosnia Human Rights and had traveled there twice, I think, because the suffering there helped put her suffering in a larger persepective. Susan's parents were still alive at the time but Jerry's were gone by the time the death penalty was issued - Sadly, Dad Harris in a freak accident & Mom Harris of cancer plus a broken heart, I think. Her sister that had been stalked with her had remarried and had a baby. Bonilla's enabler Mother Ella was dead and the disabled sister continued to support Brother Steve - altho' no word on who cares for her.(?)

There was no update on Jerry Harris's only child "Tiffany" - I hope she is well.

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