Tuesday, April 15, 2014

David Oliver Huffman -- The Good Samaritan

A veteran actor equally at home in films (F.I.S.T., 1978; The Onion Field, 1979; Blood Beach, 1981; Firefox, 1982) and television movies (Eleanor and Franklin, 1976), Huffman (born May 10, 1945) was currently appearing in San Diego, California in the Old Globe Theatre stage production, Of Mice and Men.  On February 27, 1985, the 40-year-old actor was walking in Balboa Park not far from the theatre when a Canadian couple spotted someone rifling their motor home.  Huffman gave chase to the intruder, but when he failed to return, the tourists assumed the prowler escaped and their protector left the park.  Later that day, Huffman's body was found in a narrow crevice off a nature trail by a group of school children on a field trip.  An autopsy determined that he had been stabbed five times in the chest and abdomen with a screwdriver.  The Canadian tourists notified San Diego police after seeing Huffman's photo in a newspaper account of the murder.  Their description of the intruder combined with fingerprints left in the motor home led to the arrest of Mexican-born Genaro Samano Villanueva, a 16-year-old illegal alien living in the city with relatives since November 1984, was ordered to stand trial as an adult.  While admitting that he stabbed Huffman to death out of fear that his pursuer would either kill or turn him over to police, Villanueva pleaded for forgiveness insisting he never meant to kill the man.  Rejecting a defense motion to place the teenager in the California Youth Authority until the age of 25, Superior Court Jude Norbert Ehrenfreund sentenced Villanueva to the maximum term of 26 years to life on June 2, 1986.  In asking the judge for the stiffest possible sentence, Huffman's wife, Phyllis, stated, "I adored that man for 20 years.  He was life, not just to me but to all of us.  The loss is immeasurable and is impossible to articulate."  As of April 2014, Inmate #D30762 was incarcerated at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran under the name "Genaro Villanueva-Samano."


  1. I was in the cast of the production of "Of Mice And Men" that David was starring in. I've never forgotten and never will forget this nightmare all of us went through 28 years ago. His wife has since died, and his sons are now close to the age he was when his life was cut short. His killer is still in prison and I still feel blessed to have known this man. I have often thought of his sons and still pray that they have found the happiness and peace their parents wanted for them.

    1. What a HORROR this MURDER was ! I feel so GRIEVED for his late wife: Phyllis Grennan-Huffman and their 2 sons over this HORRIBLE MURDER!