Death Row Diaries: Richard Djerf kills family of man who robbed him

Posted at 10:12 AM, Aug 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-27 17:56:40-04

Arizona’s most notorious death row inmates past and present have incredible stories including Richard Djerf who took revenge on a co-worker he suspected robbed his home.



Date of Birth: November 6, 1969

 Sentenced: May 22, 1996

The Crime:

Richard Djerf and Albert Luna Jr. worked together at a Safeway where they became friends.

It all turned around in January 1993 when several items in Djerf’s home were stolen, including his TV, VCR, stereo equipment, and an AK-47 rifle.

Djerf suspected the robbery was done by his friend Albert Luna Jr. and reported his suspicions to police. After several months with no arrests, he decided to take revenge by himself.

Luna Jr. would later confess to robbing Djerf’s home after the murders.

On September 14, 1993, Djerf entered Luna’s home under the guise of delivering flowers and forced himself in wielding a 9MM Beretta handgun.

(He) asked her, whether she or her son should die first

After entering the home Djerf forced Patricia, Luna Jr.’s mother, to load her car with several items believed to be stolen, along with more items from their home.

Patricia and her youngest son, five-year-old Damien, were tied to chairs with rope and electrical tape. The whole ordeal would go on for roughly seven hours.

The daughter, 17-year-old Rochelle, came home several hours later. Djerf took her to her bedroom where he sexually assaulted and killed her.

When Luna Jr.’s father arrived home, Albert Luna Sr., he was forced into a bedroom at gunpoint, handcuffed to the bed, beaten with a baseball bat and left for dead. Djerf unbound Luna Sr under the assumption he was already dead.

Luna Sr. regained consciousness and attacked Djerf with a knife, stabbing him multiple times. Djerf grabbed his gun and fired several shots into Luna Sr., killing him.

Before shooting Damien and his mother, Patricia, in the head, he first tried other methods to kill them, including electrocuting the young boy.

The attempted cover up:

In an attempt to cover the crime Djerf spread gasoline throughout the home and placed a pizza box on lit stove burners in hopes of lighting the house on fire. He left, but the house never ignited.

Djerf spread gasoline on the bodies

Albert Luna Jr, the man Djerf worked with and believed robbed his home, came home the next day to find the dead bodies of his family. He contacted the police and Djerf would be arrested after admitting to his girlfriend and friend what he had done.

Police searched Djerf’s home and found the stolen items along with the 9MM Beretta handgun used to kill the victims.

He was arrested on September 18, 1993.

Djerf accepts guilty plea:

Djerf's high school education is little preparation for a major murder trial

Djerf insisted on representing himself, and after a suicide attempt, was able to show his competence to defend himself. He was still appointed two attorneys to help in his case.

On May 22, 1996 Djerf accepted a plea bargain after admitting his guilt. He was convicted of four first-degree murder charges and sentenced to death on each count.

Djerf remains on Arizona's death row.