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John Norris HANKS





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 2 +
Date of murders: 1966 / 1980
Date of arrest: September 1982
Date of birth: 1947
Victims profile: His sister in law / Arnetta Oakes, 30
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife / Strangulation
Location: California, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole  in 1986

A native of San Francisco, Hanks fatally stabbed his sister-in-law in 1966 and was convicted of second-degree murder, serving five and a half years in prison before he was freed on parole. 

On March 3, 1977, he was arrested for questioning in the murder of Patricia Crawford, but charges were dismissed for lack of evidence when his ex-wife refused to testify in court. 

On June 21, 1980, the strangled body of a Palo Alto woman -- 30-year-old Arnetta Oakes -- was found in a creek bed near San Jose. Police again suspected Hanks, but it would take three years for them to make their case. 

In September 1982, Hanks was picked up by Seattle police and charged with twice assaulting his wife choking her unconscious each time. She testified that these were only the most serious of seven recent attacks, and detectives widened their probe, uncovering new evidence that named Hanks as a close acquaintance of Arnetta Oakes, in California. 

Fourteen months elapsed before he was indicted on another murder charge, and Hanks was philosophical about the case. If convicted, he declared, he would provide detectives with the details of "numerous other murders." 

San Francisco homicide investigators now believe Hanks is responsible for eight known slayings in their city.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers


51 F.3d 280

John Norris HANKS, Petitioner-Appellant,
R.G. BORG, Warden, Folsom State Prison, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 94-15625.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted March 21, 1995.*
Decided March 27, 1995.

Before: SNEED, POOLE, and BRUNETTI, Circuit Judges.


John Norris Hanks, a California state prisoner, appeals pro se the district court's denial of his 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2254 habeas corpus petition challenging his conviction for first degree murder with special circumstance. The district court dismissed two of Hanks's claims without prejudice for failure to exhaust, and found Hanks's other claims to be without merit. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2253. We review de novo a district court's denial of habeas relief. James v. Borg, 24 F.3d 20, 24 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 115 S.Ct. 333 (1994). We vacate and remand.

Generally, a state prisoner must exhaust available remedies in state court before seeking federal habeas review. See 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2254(b); Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 516 (1982). A claim is considered exhausted when it has fairly been presented to the state's highest court. See Schwendeman v. Wallenstein, 971 F.2d 313, 315 (9th Cir.1992), cert. denied, 113 S.Ct. 975 (1993). A district court must dismiss without prejudice a "mixed" habeas petition containing both exhausted and unexhausted claims. Rose, 455 U.S. at 522; Ortberg v. Moody, 961 F.2d 135, 138 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 113 S.Ct. 225 (1992).

Hanks was convicted of first-degree murder with special circumstance and sentenced to prison for life without possibility of parole in 1986. Hanks appealed to the state court of appeals which affirmed the judgment and to the California Supreme Court, which denied review. In his federal habeas corpus petition, Hanks raised the following grounds: (1) prosecutorial misconduct; (2) insufficient evidence; (3) improper jury instructions; and (4) admission of improper evidence, including evidence of past spousal abuse, past homicides, damage to defendant's automobile, and testimony about defendant's state of mind. The district court dismissed the first two claims for failure to exhaust state remedies1 but went on to reach the merits of Hanks's remaining claims.

Because Hanks did not include two of the claims in his state appeal, he has failed to exhaust available state court remedies. See Guizar v. Estelle, 843 F.2d 371, 372 (9th Cir.1988). Therefore, the district court should have dismissed Hanks's petition because it contained both exhausted and unexhausted claims. See Rose, 455 U.S. at 522; Guizar, 843 F.2d at 138.

Accordingly, the district court order denying Hanks's habeas petition is remanded with instructions to enter an order dismissing the petition for federal habeas relief without prejudice.



The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for decision without oral argument. Fed.R.App.P. 34(a); 9th Cir.R. 34-4


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by 9th Cir.R. 36-3


Hanks failed to include claims of either prosecutorial misconduct or sufficiency of the evidence in his state appeal



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