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1979 May 29
US District Judge John Wood (b.1916) was assassinated in San Antonio as he was about to preside in a drug conspiracy trial against Jimmy Chagra. Joe Chagra (1946-1996), Jimmy’s brother, conspired in the killing and served as a prosecution witness against Charles V. Harrelson. Joe served 6 1/2 of 10 years. Charles Harrelson (d.2007) was convicted of the murder. Prosecutors said a drug dealer facing trial had hired Harrelson to kill the judge, who was known for giving maximum sentences. In 1985 Harrelson’s son Woody began an acting career with a role in “Cheers.”
Links: USA, Murder, Texas     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Jun 16
In Aleppo, Syria, Captain Ibrahim el-Yousuf, the officer on duty (in charge of moral and political steering and head of Ba’ath Party Unit) at the Military Artillery school, committed a massacre, killing 32 cadets and wounding 54 others. The culprits targeted cadets from the Alawite sect, however the then minister of information Mr. Ahmad Iskander Ahmad stated that they included Christians and Sunni Muslims. Immediately after the massacre, a country-wide campaign was started to uproot the Muslim Brotherhood organization.
Links: Syria, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Jun 20
Robin Samsoe (12) was kidnapped in Huntington Beach, Ca. Her dismembered and decomposing body was found 12 days later in the Angeles National Forest. Rodney Alcala was arrested and convicted of the slaying in 1980, but the sentence was overturned. He was convicted again in 1986 but a judge faulted the ruling in 2005 and a retrial was scheduled. Alcala pleaded innocent to 4 other sex-torture killings that dated back to 1977.
Links: California, Sex, Murder, Kids     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Jun 20
ABC News correspondent Bill Stewart was shot to death in Managua, Nicaragua, by a member of President Anastasio Somoza's national guard.
Links: Nicaragua, USA, Murder, Journalism     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Jul 3
Dan White, convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting deaths of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, was sentenced to seven years and eight months in prison. He served five years.
Links: USA, SF, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1979 Jul 23
A Miami jury convicted Theodore Bundy of first-degree murder in the slayings of Florida State University sorority sisters Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy. In 1980 he was convicted of the murder and rape of Kimberly Leach (12). Bundy eventually confessed to more than 30 killings and was executed in 1989.
Links: USA, Murder, Florida     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Jul 28
Rachel Moncrief (50) was stabbed to death at Camino Camper in Santa Clara, Ca. In 2011 DNA evidence on a marijuana cigarette linked David Dixon (61) of Richmond, Ca., to the murder.
Links: USA, Murder, DNA, SF Bay Area     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Aug 14
In northern Wisconsin Rob Pfiel (27) was killed by a shotgun blast to the back of his head. 2 months earlier Rusk County sheriff’s deputies killed his 3 dogs because they had gotten loose. Rusk County DA Robert Rogers (d.1984), his wife Cherie Barnard, and 3 brothers were later accused of plotting to kill Pfiel, who had threatened to get even. In 2005 police arrested 2 of the Rogers brothers for Pfiel’s murder as well as Barnard.
Links: USA, Murder, Wisconsin     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Aug 25
Cannie Bullock (8) of San Pablo, Ca., was raped and killed. DNA evidence in 2002 identified Joseph Cordova Jr., inmate in a Colorado prison, as the murderer. In 2007 Cordova was sentenced to death.
Links: USA, Murder, DNA, SF Bay Area, Kids, Rape     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Sep 16
Hafizullah Amin took the presidency of Afghanistan following the killing of Nur Muhammad Taraki. Amin was later executed and replaced with Babrak Karmal.
Links: Murder, Afghan     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1979 Sep 26
The body of a young woman was found in Blackie’s Pasture in Tiburon, Ca., She had been stabbed over 40 times with an ice pick and burned. In 2007 DNA evidence identified her as Tammy Vincent (17). She had testified this year against several people arrested during a raid in SeaTac, Wash., of 2 establishments believed to be prostitution fronts.
Links: California, Murder, DNA, Washington, SF Bay Area     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Oct 21
In SF the body of Mary Frances Bennett was found at Lands End. She had been stabbed at least 25 times. In 2010 DNA evidence tied her murder to David Joseph Carpenter, who was on death row at San Quentin for 7 other murders.
Links: USA, SF, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Oct 25
In Texas Johnny Penry raped and stabbed to death Pamela Mosely Carpenter (22). Penry, said to have an IQ of 51-63, was convicted of murder and faced execution in 2000. The US Supreme Court blocked the Nov. execution. The US Supreme Court overturned his death sentence in 2001 due to flawed instructions in his initial conviction.
Links: Murder, Texas, Rape     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Nov 1
In Oakland, Ca., Nancy Lugassy (28) was fatally shot by Harvey Heishman. She had told police that Heishman had raped her on the night they had met July. Heishman was later convicted and sentenced to death. In 2010 an appeals court upheld his murder conviction.
Links: Murder, SF Bay Area, Rape     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Nov 3
John McGinest, a drug dealer, was killed by a shotgun blast in Long Beach, Ca. Thomas Goldstein (30), a college student who lived nearby, was convicted of the murder following the testimony of Eddy Fink, a jailhouse informant coached by police. Goldstein was freed in 2004 after judges on an appeal panel concluded he was wrongly convicted. In 2010 Goldstein settled for a $7.95 million payment.
Links: USA, California, Murder, Lawsuit     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1979 Nov 7
In California Linda Ann Jozovich disappeared during a work break in Santa Clara County. In 1995 a hiker in the Los Gatos Hills discovered her jawbone and some teeth. In 2004 her skull and bones were discovered in the same area. In 2007 Terry Childs, a convicted killer serving time in Salinas, confessed to her murder.
Links: USA, California, Murder, SF Bay Area     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Dec 5
Teresa De Simone (22) was found strangled in her car outside the pub where she worked in Southampton, 80 miles (130 kilometers) southwest of London. Sean Hodgson initially confessed to the killing, but he later recanted and pleaded not guilty. His lawyers argued he was a pathological liar and any confession he made was false. In 2009 Hodgson was released from prison based on DNA evidence.
Links: Britain, Murder, DNA, Rape     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979
"The Life and Crimes of Charles Sobhraj" was published as was "Serpentine." The 2 books covered the story of Charles Sobhraj, aka "The Serpent," a criminal jailed in 1975 in India for forgery, fraud and murder. He was released in 1997 and admitted to killing young tourists.
Links: India, Murder, Books, Fraud     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979
Boris Naumoff, owner of a Twin Peaks liquor store in SF, was murdered. Robert Massie was convicted but the ruling was overturned in 1985. He was sentenced to death for the murder in 1989. He was dubbed "The Killer Who Wants to Die," for requesting his death, but changed his mind. He was also once on death row for a 1965 murder of a San Gabriel woman, but was paroled in 1978, when the state’s death penalty law was struck down. His death sentence was upheld in 1998.
Links: USA, SF, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979
In Northern Ireland Robert "Basher" Bates pleaded guilty to 10 murders. He was a member of the Shankhill Butchers, a Protestant gang that kidnapped and tortured Catholics. He received 14 life sentences but was released in 1996 after turning state’s evidence and converting to a born-again Christian. In 1997 he was shot to death in revenge.
Links: Murder, Northern Ireland     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1979
Donald T. Lunde (1937-2007), Stanford forensic psychiatrist, authored “Murder and Madness.”
Links: Murder, Books, Mad Man     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Jan 3
Conservationist Joy Adamson, author of "Born Free," was killed in northern Kenya by a servant.
Links: USA, Kenya, Writer, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Feb 26
Al Mills (51), his wife Jeannie (40) and their daughter Daphene (16) were shot to death at 2731 Woolsey St. in Berkeley, Ca. In 2005 police arrested Edward Michael Mills (43), the son and brother of the victims, based on new evidence. Mills was soon released for lack of sufficient evidence to try him.
Links: USA, Murder, SF Bay Area     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Feb 26
Ricky Keel and Jeffrey Taylor shot and killed Campbell liquor store owner Frank Gummer during a robbery. Connie Keel (21), Ricky’s abused wife, remained in a car during the robbery, but all 3 were convicted of 1st degree murder. In 2009 Connie Keel was allowed parole.
Links: Murder, SF Bay Area, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Mar 10
"Scarsdale Diet" author Dr. Herman Tarnower was shot to death in Purchase, N.Y. Jean Harris (56) shot and killed her unfaithful lover, cardiologist Herman Tarnower, co-author of "The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet" in Purchase N.Y. She was granted clemency by Gov. Mario Cuomo after she served 12 years of a 15 year sentence. Harris was released in January 1993.
Links: USA, New York, Murder, Food     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1980 Mar 11
Marilyn McIntyre (18) was beaten, stabbed and strangled to death at her home in Columbus, Wis. In 2009 Curtis Forbes, a friend of her husband, was charged with 1st degree murder based on DNA evidence.
Links: USA, Murder, Wisconsin, DNA     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Mar 12
A Chicago jury found John Wayne Gacy Jr. guilty of the murders of 33 men and boys. The next day, Gacy was sentenced to death; he was executed in 1994.
Links: USA, Chicago, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Mar 24
Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, one of El Salvador's most respected Roman Catholic Church leaders, was shot to death by gunmen as he celebrated Mass in San Salvador. In 1993 a UN-sponsored truth commission determined that the assassination was ordered by a former army major and Maj. Roberto D'Abuisson, founder of the Nationalist Republican Alliance party (ARENA). D’Abuisson (d.1992) was also credited with founding the national death squads. In 2004 a California federal judge found Alvaro Rafael Saravia, a retired Salvadoran air force captain living in Modesto, Ca., liable in the slaying of archbishop Romero and ordered him to pay $10 million in damages.
Links: El Salvador, Murder, Assassin     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Apr 5
Sister Margaret Ann Pahl (71) was stabbed about 30 times and strangled to death. Her body was found in the chapel of Mercy Hospital, Toledo, Ohio. In 2004 Rev. Gerald Robinson (63) was arrested for the murder. In 2006 Robinson was convicted of murder.
Links: USA, Ohio, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Apr 12
In Texas Richard Whitehead (16) was shot and killed after allegedly drinking into the early hours with co-worker Delma Banks. Banks claimed he was innocent, but was convicted in the murder and sentenced to death. The US Supreme Court stopped the execution in 2004 and allowed Banks to appeal his conviction.
Links: USA, Murder, Texas     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1980 Apr 30
In Pinole, Ca., Rena Aguilar was stabbed to death. 4 days later as police closed in James R. Odle shot and killed Officer Floyd Swartz. Odle was convicted and sentenced to death but his competency was later questioned due to a removed temporal lobe following a car accident. Swartz was the father of Amber Swartz, born 4 months after his death. Amber Swartz-Garcia disappeared in 1988.
Links: USA, Murder, SF Bay Area     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Jun 4
In northern California the body of Anna Menjivas was discovered in Mt. Tamalpais State Park. Her murder had not been connected with the "Trailside" slayings at the time. Investigators later learned she was a long-time friend of David Carpenter, who often let him drive her home from work. In 1988 Carpenter was convicted of 4 killings in Marin County.
Links: USA, Murder, SF Bay Area     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Jul 22
In Maryland David Theodore Belfield, a convert to Islam (Daoud Salahuddin), murdered Ali Akbar Tabatabai, a former Iranian official and critic of the government of Ayatollah Khomeini. Belfield escaped to Canada and then to Iran. In 2001 Belfield appeared in the movie "Kandahar" made in Afghanistan as an actor named Hassan Tantai.
Links: Canada, USA, Iran, Maryland, Filmstar, Murder, Afghan     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Aug 8
In Rantoul, Illinois Brianna Stickle (3) was found raped and killed. In 2012 Andre Davis (50) was released from jail after spending 32 years in jail. DNA evidence taken at the scene was found to not be his.
Links: USA, Illinois, Murder, DNA, Rape     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Sep 5
In Fresno, Ca., Billy Ray Hamilton and his girlfriend Connie Barbo killed Bryon Schletewitz (27), Josephine Rocha (17) and Douglas White (18), employees at Fran’s Market, on directions from Clarence Ray Allen. Allen, incarcerated at Folsom Prison for murder, had ordered the murder of Schletewitz for testifying against him during his 1997 trial for the murder of Mary Sue Kitts (17). Clarence Ray Allen (76) was executed by lethal injection on January 17, 2006 at San Quentin State Prison in California.
Links: USA, California, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1980 Oct 8
1980 Oct 9
In Buffalo, NY, 2 African American taxi drivers were murdered and found with their hearts cut out.
Links: USA, New York, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Oct 11
In northern California Cynthia Moreland (18) and fiance Richard Stowers (19) were shot to death on Mount Wittenburg in the Point Reyes National Seashore. David Joseph Carpenter was arrested in May 1981. In 1984 he was convicted of 2 murders in Santa Cruz and sentenced to death. In 1988 he was convicted of 4 killings in Marin County and again sentenced to death.
Links: USA, Murder, SF Bay Area     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Oct 13
In Houston, Texas, a delicatessen clerk was shot and killed by one bullet during a robbery. Willie Williams, who admitted to firing the fatal shot, was executed in 1995. His accomplice, Joseph Nichols, was convicted in 1982 at age 20 and in 2007 was also executed for the murder.
Links: USA, Murder, Texas     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Oct 13
In northern California Anne Evelyn Alderson (26) of San Rafael was raped and shot to death on Mount Tamalpais. David Joseph Carpenter was arrested in May 1981. In 1984 he was convicted of 2 murders in Santa Cruz and sentenced to death. In 1988 he was convicted of 4 killings in Marin County and again sentenced to death.
Links: Murder, SF Bay Area, Rape     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Oct 28
Susan Jordan (15) of Riverside, Ca., was raped and murdered by Albert Greenwood Brown. In 2010 Brown (56) was scheduled to be executed.
Links: USA, California, Murder, Rape     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1980 Nov 17
Gerald Gallego and Charlene Williams were arrested in Omaha, Nebraska on murder charges for crimes in Nevada and California.
Links: USA, California, Murder, Nevada, Nebraska     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Nov 17
Clifford Olson (1940-2011) began a murder spree killing 3 girls and 8 boys, ages 9 to 18, in British Columbia over an eight month period. The victims were tortured and sexually assaulted. Olson, who had an extensive criminal history, was arrested on August 12, 1981. He later confessed to the murders and, in a controversial deal, gave police information on the location of the victims' bodies in return for a C$100,000 ($95,000) payment to his family.
Links: Canada, Sex, Murder, Kids     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Nov 28
In northern California Diane Marie O’Connell (22) of San Jose and Shauna May (23) of San Francisco, were shot to death on Mount Wittenburg at Point Reyes. David Joseph Carpenter was arrested in May 1981. In 1984 he was convicted of 2 murders in Santa Cruz and sentenced to death. In 1988 he was convicted of 4 killings in Marin County and again sentenced to death.
Links: USA, Murder, SF Bay Area     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Dec 2
Three American nuns and a lay worker were abducted, raped and shot in San Salvador. Peasants discovered their bodies the next day and buried them. Nuns Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, Maura Clark, and lay worker Jean Donovan were raped and shot by guardsmen. The murders occurred as the US began a 10-year $7 billion aid effort to prevent left-wing guerrillas from coming to power. Five national guardsmen were later convicted in the killings, and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Links: El Salvador, Murder, Rape     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Dec 3
In El Salvador peasants discovered the bodies of nuns Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, Maura Clark, and lay worker Jean Donovan and buried them.
Links: El Salvador, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1980 Dec 4
In El Salvador the bodies of four American nuns slain two days earlier were unearthed. Colonel Edgardo Casanova was the military commander of the area at the time. Five national guardsmen were later convicted of murder and sentenced in May 1984 to 30 years in prison. In 1998 the guardsmen admitted that they were acting on orders from above. In 1993 a UN Truth Commission report concluded that Colonel Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, director of the National Guard and brother of Edgardo, and Gen’l. Jose Guillermo Garcia, the minister of defense, had organized an official cover-up. Both men were granted residence in the US. 3 of the 5 convicted guardsmen were released in 1998 due to prison overcrowding. In 1999 families of the victims filed suit against Casanova and Garcia who were living in Florida. In 2000 a federal jury cleared the 2 retired generals. In 2002 a Florida jury found Casanova and Garcia responsible for torture and ordered payment of $54.6 million to 3 victims living in Florida.
Links: El Salvador, USA, UN, Murder, Florida     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Dec 8
John Lennon, musician and one of the Beatles, was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman outside his New York City apartment building. Chapman was a schizophrenic with the delusion that he himself was John. In 1984 Prof. Jonathan M. Wiener wrote a book on Lennon and later got the FBI to surrender its secret files on Lennon.
Links: USA, NYC, Murder, Pop&Rock, Beatles     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Dec 20
John Riggins (18), a freshman at UC Davis and Sabrina Gonsalves (18) went missing. Their bodies were found 2 days later with their throats slit. The case went cold but was picked up by reporter Joel Davis in 2000. His efforts led to a cold DNA hit in 2002 that implicated Richard Hirschfield, a suspected child molester. In 2005 Joel Davis authored “Justice Waits.”
Links: USA, California, Murder, DNA     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980
1990
Herbert Baumeister (1947-1996), an Indianapolis businessman, killed 16 men, most of them gay, and dumped them in the woods behind his home and along rural roads in Indiana and Ohio. Baumeister committed suicide in Canada at age 49.
Links: USA, Gays, Murder, Indiana     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980
Blufford Hayes Jr. killed Vinod Patel, a motel manager in Stockton, Ca., during a robbery that netted $23 and some cigarettes. Hayes was convicted and sentenced to death. The sentence was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2002.
Links: USA, California, Murder, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1981 Jan 2
"Yorkshire Ripper" Peter Sutcliffe (b.1946), murderer of 13 women, was arrested on a traffic violation. On Jan 4 he declared he was the ripper and charges were filed on Jan 6. He was convicted on May 22 on 13 counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison. In 2003 Michael Bilton authored “Wicked Beyond Belief: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper.”
Links: Britain, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Jan 8
Terri Winchell (17) was beaten, raped and stabbed to death in San Joaquin County, Ca. Michael Morales (31) was convicted in the murder and was slated for execution in 2006. Morales said he was enlisted by his cousin, Ricky Ortega, who had learned that Winchell was having an affair with Ortega’s male lover. Morales' original execution date of February 21, 2006, was postponed as a result of two court-appointed anesthesiologists withdrawing from the procedure.
Links: USA, California, Murder, Rape     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Jan 12
In Iowa Richard Huntbach (85) and wife Goldie (77) were found shot to death in their home in Waterloo. On May 10, 2012, Jack Wendell Pursel (66) turned himself in to police and confessed to the killing saying he had become a Christian. Months after the Waterloo killings, Pursel began serving a 21-year sentence for two sex offenses; however, he was paroled in 1992. He was completely discharged from his sentence in September of 1995. On June 7, 2012 Pursel pleaded guilty to the Waterloo murders and was sentenced to life in prison.
Links: USA, Murder, Iowa     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Feb 24
A jury in White Plains, New York, found Jean Harris guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of "Scarsdale Diet" author Dr. Herman Tarnower.
Links: New York, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Mar 6
In Lubeck, Germany, Klaus Grabowski, a child molester, was shot and killed by the mother of a girl he had molested and strangled. Grabowski had earlier avoided a life sentence by agreeing to castration.
Links: Germany, Murder, Kids     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1981 Mar 15
Steacy McConnell (19) died following a robbery in Victor, just east of Lodi, Ca. Fernando Belmontes (19) had hit her 15-20 times with an iron dumbbell. In 2006 the US Supreme Court reinstated his death sentence. An appeals court then ruled that Belmontes’ lawyer had represented him incompetently. In 2009 the US supreme Court upheld the death sentence.
Links: USA, California, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Mar 20
Former girls’ school headmistress Jean Harris (1923-2012) was sentenced in White Plains, New York, to 15 years to life in prison for slaying "Scarsdale Diet" author Dr. Herman Tarnower. Harris was released in 1993 following a grant of clemency by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo.
Links: USA, New York, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Mar 20
Michael Donald (b.1961), a black teenager in Mobile, Alabama, was abducted, tortured and killed in what prosecutors charged was a Ku Klux Klan plot. Henry Hays (d.1997) murdered Michael Donald in a random abduction. Donald was beaten, cut, strangled and his body was strung up a tree. Hays was convicted and sentenced to death. He was executed Jun 6, 1997. In 1987 A wrongful death suit filed by Donald’s mother gave a $7 million verdict against the United Klans of America, led by Robert Shelton (d.2003 at 73).
Links: USA, Black History, Murder, Alabama, KKK     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Mar 29
In northern California Ellen Hansen (20), a UC Davis student, was shot to death after resisting a rape attempt at Henry Cowell Redwood State Park, near Santa Cruz. Her boyfriend was wounded but survived and later identified David Joseph Carpenter as the assailant. Carpenter was arrested in May 1981. In 1984 he was convicted of 2 murders in Santa Cruz and sentenced to death. In 1988 he was convicted of 4 killings in Marin County and again sentenced to death.
Links: USA, California, Murder, SF Bay Area, Rape     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Apr 23
Stacy Benjamin (19) and Patty Geddling (23) were murdered in Redwood City, Ca., under drug-related circumstances. In 2003 A federal appeals court upheld the conviction of Donald Beardslee of San Mateo. Beardslee had killed a woman in Missouri in Dec, 1969. Psychiatric evidence later showed that Beardslee suffered from brain damage due to an accident in 1964. Beardslee was executed by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison on Jan. 19, 2005.
Links: USA, Murder, SF Bay Area     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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