By Denise Nix STAFF WRITER A former assistant manager at a Torrance Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant broke into tears on the witness stand Tuesday as she recalled trading shifts with a co-worker who was killed that night during a robbery. Cheryl Fuller said softly that Robin Hoynes, the 21-year-old manager, “was nice enough to say she would trade” shifts with her on Oct. 30, 1984. She was transferred to replace Marshall, whom she has never met. However, she said she spoke with him the day of the murder on the telephone, when he called to say he was coming to the restaurant to pick up a briefcase he left behind. Fuller testified about the store’s policy of handling cash receipts from the day. The managers were to either take them to the First Interstate deposit drop box across the parking lot or take them home. The policy had recently changed because of two recent thefts, she added. During questioning by Deputy District Attorney John Lewin, Fuller described the floor safe in the kitchen area. It was encased in concrete and not removable, she said, and needed two keys and a combination to open. Fuller also said the combination had been changed after Marshall’s termination. Fuller said she arrived at work at 9 a.m. Oct. 31, 1984, and found it unusual that Hoynes’ yellow Datsun was parked outside. When she went to unlock the dead bolt on the employee door, she noticed it was already unlocked. She walked in and saw Hoynes on the floor. Fuller said she thought she was sleeping, but realized she wasn’t moving and had blood on her face and neck. She also noticed a lot of paperwork and debris on the floor, including photographs of Hoynes’ nieces and nephews from her purse and a piece of foam, which would prove to be a key piece of evidence in the case against Marshall. “I was hysterical; I was really upset,” Fuller said. She ran outside and saw the cook, and he called the police. Fuller said she later helped detectives open the safe, and noticed it was “banged up.” Lewin told the jury that Marshall came after the restaurant closed and Hoynes let him in. He attacked Hoynes from behind, then tried to open the safe, according to the prosecution. Marshall, Lewin said, had a drug problem, and the evidence will suggest he stole from the restaurant twice before he was fired and was casing another Kentucky Fried Chicken while under surveillance about 10 days after Hoynes’ death. Marshall was arrested that night wearing hiking boots. The foam on the floor near Hoynes’ body came from the heel of that shoe, the prosecution contends. Earlier Tuesday, a police officer testified that he took a report from Marshall on Oct. 18, 1984, about $1,120 missing from the Kentucky Fried Chicken safe. Lt. Mark Hein said another officer took a similar report from Hoynes three days before. She reported the theft when she opened the restaurant. Greg Rabdau, the district manager, testified that the only people who had access to the safe were Marshall, Hoynes and himself. Rabdau said he suspended and fired Marshall for being late for several shifts, asking for cash advances and for the money that “mysteriously” disappeared from the safe. Rabdau was the last person to see Hoynes alive. When he left the restaurant that night she was killed, he told her to lock the door behind him. Rabdau said he had an uneasy feeling after he left. “I’m not the kind of person ? I don’t believe in ghosts,” he began. “But I had the feeling something was wrong.” Rabdau said he parked across the street and watched the store, seeing Hoynes inside doing her paperwork. Then, he looked at himself in the car’s mirror, called himself “crazy” and drove home. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I was supposed to close that evening,” Fuller said before she was overcome with emotion. Late that night, while working alone, Hoynes was stabbed to death, allegedly by William Marshall, who had been terminated from his assistant manager job about a week before for, among other things, suspicions that he was stealing. Marshall, 46, was an early suspect in the crime. But it wasn’t until 2005 – after new evidence, including his purported confession to a former girlfriend – that Marshall was indicted on a murder charge and the special circumstance of killing during a robbery. Marshall, who was a state Department of Forestry fire captain at the time of his arrest, could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. Fuller told the Torrance Superior Court jury that she had only worked at the franchise on Palos Verdes Boulevard just south of Pacific Coast Highway for a couple of weeks.
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