Morales brutally raped and murdered 17-year-old Terri Winchell on 8 January, 1981. Winchell was involved in a love triangle with one of Morales’s cousins and another man. Morales’s cousin, Richard Ortega, asked Morales to murder Winchell in order that Ortega could have exclusive sexual relations with the third man. Morales is reported to have responded, “Sure, I’ll do it. Can I rape her, too?”
He did just that. He stalked Winchell, attacked her from behind on the side of a deserted highway, punching and kicking her all over, then attempting to strangle her with his belt. She managed to put up sufficient resistance until he produced a claw hammer from his pants and smashed her over the head until she collapsed. He then dragged her across the pavement into a vineyard, raped her while she was unconscious, and stabbed her four times in the chest with a steak knife. She died on the spot.
Morales’s execution date is currently postponed indefinitely, because a California judge ruled that death penalties must be carried out by a medical professional. The State Supreme Court ruled that this was impossible because medical professionals are prohibited, via the Hippocratic Oath, from performing executions. This is why executions are, for the most part, currently on hold in California, regardless of the savagery of the crimes.