A former Millbrae police officer's conviction and death sentence for six 1983 murders were upheld Tuesday by a federal appeals court in San Francisco.
Anthony "Jack" Sully, 59, was convicted in San Mateo County Superior Court and given a death sentence in 1986 for the brutal shooting and beating murders of five women and one man during a six-month period in 1983.
Sully was a Millbrae police officer for eight years before he established an electrical contracting business, which he operated out of a warehouse in Burlingame.
He also invested in an escort service, used the service of prostitutes and became addicted to freebasing cocaine, according to the ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The nude bodies of three of his victims were found stuffed in barrels in Golden Gate Park. Two other victims were found along roadsides in San Mateo County.
A three-judge panel of the circuit court rejected Sully's appeal claims that his defense lawyer was ineffective and that Sully was mentally incompetent to stand trial.
Judge Sidney Thomas wrote, "At trial, the prosecution presented overwhelming physical and testimonial evidence establishing Sully as the murderer."
Sully appealed in the federal court system through a habeas corpus petition after completing state court appeals. The California Supreme Court upheld his death penalty in 1991.
Tuesday's ruling brings Sully close to the end of possible appeals, but all executions in California have been put on hold as a result federal and state lawsuits challenging the state's lethal injection procedure and the way that procedure was adopted.
Most recently, the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown disclosed last month that it will now develop a new execution protocol that uses one lethal drug instead a combination of three. The development of the new protocol could take a year or more.
Brown took that action after deciding not to appeal a state appeals court ruling that concluded state officials hadn't followed the proper steps for public review in adopting the three-drug protocol.