Probe Casts Doubt on Son’s Conviction in Mom’s 1983 Murder


A Los Angeles Times investigation calls into question the 1985 murder conviction of a teenager for killing his mother in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Dorka Lisker, 66, was stabbed and beaten in her home on March 10, 1983. Her son Bruce, a 17-year-old with a drug problem and a history of conflict with his mother, was convicted in the case and sentenced to prison, where he remains today. The Times found that key evidence, including a bloody footprint and indications of a second suspect, had been overlooked or downplayed, and other clues had been misinterpreted. The prosecutor in the case, Phillip Rabichow, who is now retired, acknowledged that the newspaper’s probe casts doubt on the conviction.

In a followup story, five of the jurors who convicted Lisker said they would have acquitted the youth had they known about the new evidence. One of the jurors, Lorraine Maxwell, said in a sworn statement filed in federal court that there was “no way” she would have convicted him. “I am saddened, as well as angered, that the evidence … was not presented to the jury,” Maxwell said. Lisker’s lawyers submitted her declaration Monday in connection with a habeas corpus petition they have filed on his behalf.


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