LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Derik De Baun can only look at pictures of his mom and talk about her through what others tell him. That’s because Eileen De Baun was murdered when he was only 20 months old.
“With everything that’s happened in my life since then, yeah, I feel cheated,” said the 34-year-old De Baun.
In 1984, 28-year-old Eileen De Baun was working as a night manager at an LAX restaurant. Late one night, she was brutally stabbed to death during a robbery. A cashier at the restaurant, Henry Earl Duncan, was later convicted of first degree murder and robbery and was sentenced to death.
But after 33 years Duncan is now getting a new trial after an appeals court found his attorney did not introduce DNA evidence that might have shown he had an accomplice.
“We never thought we’d even be here. As far as the family is concerned, he should’ve been dead a long time ago,” said De Baun.
So a new jury could decide to sentence Duncan to life in prison without parole or commute his sentence.
That would be possible because of a bill penned by Gov. Jerry Brown that gives inmates who were convicted of serious crimes when they were young, like Duncan, a chance to earn parole.
De Baun has lost faith in the justice system. He says although he never had a chance to know his mother, he won’t give up fighting for her.
“I don’t think that a murder charge warrants a release back into society,” said De Baun. “I hope that every time he looks at the view, it’s through bars.”
Jury selection for Duncan’s trial has started. The trial is expected to begin within the next couple of weeks at the Torrance Courthouse.