Andrew Stuart Luster
December 15, 1963
|Criminal status||Incarcerated at Valley State Prison|
|Conviction(s)||January 22, 2003 (in absentia; captured June 18, 2003)|
|Criminal charge||Rape, sodomy, oral copulation, unlawful flight to avoid prosecution|
|Penalty||50 years (before appeal, 124 years), $1 million fine|
Andrew Stuart Luster (born December 15, 1963) is the great-grandson of cosmetics giant Max Factor, Sr., and heir to the Max Factor cosmetics fortune. In 2003 he was convicted of multiple sexual assaults using the date-rape drug GHB.
Andrew Luster is the son of Henry Luster, a psychiatrist, and Elizabeth Luster (née Shore). His mother was the adopted daughter of Max Factor, Sr.'s daughter Freda. He grew up in Malibu, California, and attended Windward School in Los Angeles.
After graduating, Luster moved to Mussel Shoals, California, living on a $1 million trust fund and living in a $600,000 cottage on the beach. According to the Los Angeles Times, this move and Luster's "freewheeling lifestyle" weakened his "already tenuous" ties to the Factor family, which was heavily involved in the arts and philanthropy.
Sexual assault charges and conviction
In 2000, Luster was arrested when a student at a local college told police that she had been raped at Luster's home. Upon investigation, police charged Luster with drugging three women with the date-rape drug GHB, sexually assaulting them, and video-taping the assaults, having found videotapes of the assaults when they searched his home. After paying $1 million bail, Luster failed to appear in court to defend himself against the charges in January 2003. Luster was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 124 years in prison.
Luster's legal case earned major attention due to his family's wealth, and in January 2003 the FBI issued a warrant for Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution. In June 2003, he was captured by American bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Both Luster and Chapman were subsequently arrested by Mexican police. Luster was handed over to American authorities. Chapman's felony kidnapping charge was reduced to a misdemeanor, and his lawyer advised him to flee Mexico when he was released on bail. Chapman later wrote that he believed his actions in Mexico were legal due to working closely with a Mexican police officer while in that nation, but the American judge in Luster's case refused to grant Chapman any reward or bond. Chapman also explained that during his pursuit of Luster, he consulted with "a forensic expert who specialized in sex crimes" who believed Luster's preference for raping unconscious, passive victims indicated a necrophile tendency that might lead to murder.
The California Court of Appeal refused Luster's appeal, citing that Luster had been a fugitive. Longstanding precedent holds that fugitives flout the court's authority, and thus forfeit their right to appeal. The California Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court later refused to overturn this ruling.
Prison sentence and civil suits
Luster is currently incarcerated at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla, California. Under California law, since his crimes harmed other persons, he is required to serve at least 85% of his sentence before becoming eligible for release with time off with good behavior. Had his original sentence stood, Luster would not have even been considered for release until he served 105 years—effectively a life sentence.
In late 2009, Luster filed a petition for habeas corpus as the final possibility of having his case reviewed by another court on appeal. Luster was represented in that suit by Jay Leiderman and J. David Nick. The habeas corpus petition was granted in April 2012. On March 11, 2013, the Ventura County Superior Court vacated Luster's 124-year sentence but not his conviction, based on the trial judge's failure to state specific reasons for imposing consecutive sentences, and ordered a new sentencing hearing April 4, 2013.
On April 16, 2013, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Kathryne Stoltz reduced Luster's sentence to 50 years—48 years for the rapes and two years for the drug-related charges. Luster's lawyers have indicated there will be an appeal.
In 2016, opponents of California Proposition 57 released a brochure that stated that Luster could be released early due to the lack of clarity for what defines "violent crimes." In response to this brochure, California Governor Jerry Brown told Fresno County sheriff Margaret Mims that Luster was originally sentenced to 100 years in prison and was a registered sex offender, "and on both accounts would not be getting out." Brown's administration later clarified that since Luster would have to register as a sex offender, he would not be eligible for parole even if Proposition 57 passed.
After Luster fled the United States, a movie based on his crimes, A Date with Darkness: The Trial and Capture of Andrew Luster was produced with the intention of aiding in his capture by ending with a photo of him, and a request for witnesses to his whereabouts to notify authorities. Because the film was in production when Luster was captured, the ending was re-written to incorporate his capture.
On August 31, 2017, Investigation Discovery aired the first episode of Guilty Rich, which recounted the story of Andrew Luster's crimes, arrest, flight, and ultimate conviction and incarceration.
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- Fischer, Mary A. (1 December 2002). "The Thin Blurred Line". latimes.com. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
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- "Max Factor heir to pay damages". the Guardian. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- In Re Grand Jury Transcripts in The Matter of the Investigation of Andrew Luster's Flight to Avoid Prosecution
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- Chapman, Duane "Dog"; Morton, Laura (2007). You Can Run But You Can't Hide. New York City: Hyperion Books.
- "California Courts Appellate Courts; Docket (Register of Actions)". Appellatecases.courtinfo.ca.gov. Archived from the original on 2012-07-07. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- Supreme Court of the United States Docket for 03-854, Andrew Stuart v. California December 11, 2003
- Record of the Motion to Dismiss Appeal at FindLaw
- Hernandez, Raul (November 12, 2009). "Luster petitions court to free him". Ventura County Star.
- "Ventura County Star 10 December 2012, retrieved 23 January 2013". Vcstar.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- Chawkins, Steve (March 11, 2013). "Convicted rapist Andrew Luster's 124-year sentence vacated". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California: Tronc. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- "Andrew Luster, Max Factor Heir, Resentenced To 50 Years For Rapes". The Huffington Post. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
- Gomez, Luis (August 26, 2016). "Jerry Brown chews out sheriff in voicemail over Prop. 57". San Diego Tribune. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
- Krajicek, David. "Andrew Luster, Max Factor heir and convicted rapist". The Crime Library. Atlanta, Georgia: Turner Broadcasting Systems. Archived from the original on October 11, 2008. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- Luster crimelibrary.com