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Casebook of the Bedroom Killer

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 For police, OC's unsolved murders have life of their own

By   Steve Eddy, The Orange County Register, January 17, 1988


The vast majority of murder cases are solved almost immediately.

In fact, homicide detectives say that the guilty party in 90 percent of the 100 or so murders in Orange County each year is identified within a day: The victim obviously knew his or her killer; they were friends, perhaps relatives. There was an argument and someone heard or saw it. The killer's license-plate number was obtained.
"The first 24 hours are critical," said Lt. Pete DePaola, head of the Anaheim Police Department's homicide bureau. "At that point, everything's `hot' -- you've got a fresh crime scene, and it's usually easy to put the facts together and sort out the players."

Those are the easy ones.

Then there are the other cases, the remaining 10 percent, the ones detectives must dog for months, even years. They are unsolved, but not unsolvable, detectives say. Many will be cleared eventually through one means or another.

But in the meantime, such cases bring detectives sleepless nights and gray hair.

In some cases, the motive is a mystery, or there may not be enough information available to trace a victim's last hours or days -- the time in which he or she might have met the killer.

But since there is no statute of limitations on murder in California, unsolved homicide cases remain open. Orange County has dozens of unsolved homicides dating to the 19th century.

"Even when cases are considered inactive, a detective is always assigned to them. They are never forgotten," La Habra Police Capt. John Reese said.

And though other trails dead-end, detectives continually review teletypes about crimes in other jurisdictions in which the modus operandi, or mode of operation, matches their case, Reese said.

"No matter what, you just keep digging," Anaheim police Lt. Billy Wright said. "It's just a question of being tenacious."

In Anaheim, detectives periodically hold "brain-trust" sessions, in which they take turns looking at each other's cases, Wright said.

"Sometimes it might just be a matter of having a fresh pair of eyes look at the same reports and material and starting from square one," Wright said. "Sometimes you get so close to a case, it's like you can't see the forest for the trees."

There also may be technological solutions to old cases. In 1984, a re-examination of a fingerprint led to the arrest of a security guard in the 1979 slaying of an Irvine woman, Savannah Anderson. The killer, Robert Sellers, was convicted of first-degree murder and is serving a life sentence.

The most exotic recent breakthrough in crime-solving technology is the Cal-ID fingerprint system, a statewide computer network that allows for almost instant comparison of latent prints against those of jail inmates.

That system helped identify Richard Ramirez as the suspect in the "night stalker" killings.

At Orange County Sheriff's Department headquarters last year, a technician was demonstrating how the system works and inadvertently matched up a latent fingerprint found at the scene of a 1985 bludgeoning death of a 61-year-old Orange woman with the print of a former county jail inmate. Tracked down in Phoenix and arrested, the man faces murder charges.

Meanwhile, a tiny percentage of murder cases exist in a sort of nether world, where there are far more questions than answers.

Cases such as these:

Patricia and Amanda Dixon

It was a sight veteran Anaheim police detectives never will forget.

Lying nude next to the bed in a motel room within walking distance of Disneyland was Patricia Ann Dixon, 25, of Seattle.

In bed was the pajama-clad body of her 5-year-old daughter, Amanda. The little girl was clutching a Minnie Mouse doll.

Both had been shot several times in the head early March 28, 1984, only a few hours after returning from the amusement park.

There was no sign of forced entry into the room of the West Street motel, leading investigators to believe the woman was killed by someone she knew.

While numerous gunshots were fired, no one reported hearing any.

Neither victim was sexually attacked.

Police investigated leads and suspects in Seattle, including some former suitors of the woman.

"We just recently had another lead come up, within the past few months," DePaola said. "It was in another state. We checked it all the way through. It didn't pan out. The case is still open."

Sharon Duncan


That's how Orange County sheriff's spokesman Lt. Richard Olson described one of Orange County's most baffling homicides, the October 1983 slaying of Sharon Duncan, 20.

On a Friday afternoon, a bicyclist riding through a parking lot at Bolsa Chica State Beach found Duncan's body, dressed in a one-piece turquoise bathing suit, next to her gray 1977 Toyota Corolla.

Duncan had been stabbed once in the back. Investigators believe the killing occurred about 4 p.m.

Robbery apparently was not the motive; her purse, containing about $100, was found in the car. And there was no evidence of sexual assault.

Duncan was a junior business student at California State University, Long Beach, and was seeking a career in the computer field. She had lived with her family in Fountain Valley but recently had moved to the Huntington Beach area. To earn money for school, the woman had been working as a waitress.

Her brother guessed that she went to the beach to study and sunbathe.

Investigators say there never was much progress in the case.

"It was the off-season, but it wasn't a cloudy day," Olson said. "There must have been people out there who saw something -- somebody loitering, or hiding. This investigation is very frustrating, because we essentially have run up against a brick wall.

"It all seemed so senseless. To this day, we believe someone out there must have seen something," Olson said.

Patricia Lopez

The little girl they found down by the river on a sweltering summer afternoon had been beaten to death.

On June 3, 1987, 9-year-old Patricia Lopez walked out of her third-grade class in Room 26 at Monte Vista School in Santa Ana.

The pretty, dark-haired youngster was never seen alive again.

Two days later, her battered body was found in the Santa Ana River bed near Fairview Street. She had been bludgeoned with a blunt object.

Initial police reports indicated the girl had been abducted on or near the school grounds. But a week after the slaying, police concluded that no one had seen anything unusual and that Patricia "either voluntarily walked to the riverbed or was transported there part of the way."

Police said witnesses saw the girl alone in the riverbed, and a burly Hispanic man in his 30s also was seen nearby. Adding to the puzzle were reports that a late-model gray mini-truck was seen parked on Fairview.

Police believe the driver might have seen something pivotal to the case. He has not been located.

Although police never said the girl was sexually molested, investigators say they have "looked at" 6,000 registered California sex offenders as possible suspects in the case.

"They were all screened in one way or another," said Santa Ana police spokeswoman Maureen Thomas. "And they all were eliminated as good suspects."

In some cases, the men's previous crimes did not fit the circumstances of the Lopez slaying. Some were in jail at the time she was killed. Some were dead. Some had ironclad alibis.

The detectives on the Lopez case won't give up, she said.

"It is being actively investigated. In fact, I would say the investigators are quite passionate about it, although I can't say right now that there are any new leads."

Marie Malmgreen

"I'll pick you up. Remember, I'll be a little late."

Those were the last words Marie Malmgreen of Brea spoke to her son on the morning of April 22, 1986, when she dropped him off for school.

She was never seen alive again. A week later, her blue Cadillac was found parked behind a Fullerton apartment complex.

In the backseat was her strangled, decomposing body. The wife of a Los Angeles police officer, Malmgreen, 38, had been sexually molested, according to coroner's investigators.

The case remains as mysterious as ever.

Investigation initially centered on transients who sleep in Craig Regional Park and under the Orange (57) Freeway near the Brea Mall.

Two young men were arrested in connection with the murder. One of them, Scott Katzin, described as a mentally deficient transient, claimed on a police videotape to possess specific knowledge of what happened.

But his information never could be confirmed. And although he was charged twice with the killing, the charges were thrown out of court. The other suspect also was released.

Fullerton detectives say the Malmgreen case is one of the most perplexing they have handled. Even a $10,000 reward has failed to turn up the killer or killers.

Sgt. Roger White once commented sullenly: "If we didn't have bad luck in this case, we wouldn't have had any at all."

CUTLINE: Patrly assaulted


Police Still Seeking Leads in '79 Bludgeon Killings

By ERIC HEALY, Los Angeles Times [Orange County Edition]  July 25, 1988. pg. 3

Sitting at his desk, Costa Mesa Police Sgt. Sam Cordeiro browses through four bundles of police reports. He is looking for a killer.
He admits that the intensity of his search has waned somewhat and that the prospects are bleak
for catching the "Bludgeon Killer," who in 1979 sexually assaulted and beat four Costa Mesa women, three of them fatally.
"We're going to have to get lucky to solve this one," he said.
So far, there have been no case-cracking leads.
All of the victims lived within blocks of the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Victoria Street. Two women, Kimberly Gaye Rawlins, 21, and Marolyn Carleton, 31, had apartments on Avocado Street. The last victim, 17-year-old Debra Lynn Senior, lived nearby on Maple Street.

The only woman to survive an attack by the Bludgeon Killer, albeit narrowly, is 24-year-old Jane A. Pettengill. Today, she speaks with an implanted voice box and breathes through a hole in her throat-remnants of a tracheotomy she underwent as a result of the attack, Cordeiro said. Pettengill has moved out of the area and changed her name.
At the height of the hysteria in 1979, Costa Mesa was covered with posters of the police
composite sketch of the suspect. It was drawn from a description by Carleton's son, who saw his mother's killer bolt from their apartment.
The killer was described as strongly built, 25 to 30 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with an olive complexion and pock marks on his cheeks.
Pamela Senior, mother of the late Debra Senior, can't forget the face on the posters.
"To even consider that he's had good days, Christmas, Thanksgiving, days that he's deprived my child of," she said, her voice cracking. "It's very hard to accept that."

But Senior said she is convinced that the police are still doing their best to find the killer.
"The police have really done a great deal," she said. "I know they haven't forgotten us."
But for the mother of Kim Rawlins, there is no solace, said Kim's sister, Cheryl.
"My mother is not any different today than she was three days after the funeral. . . . That was her baby."

Kim was the third child her mother had lost, Cheryl said. One son died as an infant and a second, Earl, was killed in a hit-and-run crash on his motorcycle. Like Kim, Earl was 21 years old and his killer was never found.
After Kim Rawlins' death, her mother moved to Texas.
Cheryl, who lived next door to Kim, moved to another Orange County community. Months earlier, the two sisters had shared an apartment.
Cheryl recalled the last day she saw Kim alive. They were "clowning around" during the drive home from an Irvine medical laboratory where they worked together.
"Fortunately, I have that memory," Cheryl said. "I'm lucky. I'm one of the people who got to know her."
Costa Mesa police still receive a couple of calls a year from people saying they have seen someone fitting the description of the Bludgeon Killer, but most of the leads turn out to be dead ends.

"We don't know what that guy looks like now," Costa Mesa Lt. Rick Johnson said. "He could be bald for all we know." According to the psychological profile prepared for police by psychiatrists and other experts specializing in criminology, the killer was driven by a need to control women, a need that ultimately was satisfied only by killing them. He probably was unintelligent and extremely insecure, police said.
If the killer was scared away by the intense publicity and poster campaign at the time of the murders, he may be committing brutal crimes elsewhere, Cordeiro worries.
However, with no fingerprints to link the killer to other crimes, police at this point can only keep a lookout for suspiciously similar cases in newspapers, police bulletins and most-wanted lists, Johnson said. There are no more leads to track, no more theories to test.
As time goes on, the chances of finding a killer lessen. "If police can't solve a crime in 10 days, then it's very unlikely that they'll solve it," Cordeiro said.


DA's Target: Ghosts of Murders Past


CRIME: The O. C. prosecutor hopes to use new technology such as DNA testing to solve about 110 murders.


By STUART PFEIFER,  The Orange County Register, December 20, 1995


A sketch of the killer's pock-marked face once was posted across Orange County, where his notorious acts caused such a panic in 1979 that many residents bought guns or moved out of town.

He would slip into women's apartments to sexually assault his victims and then savagely beat them. Police said six of his victims _ three of them in Costa Mesa _ died.
At the time, there was little police detectives could do with skin, semen or hair samples the killer left behind and those crimes, like hundreds of others in Orange County, went unsolved.

Now the District Attorney's Office hopes DNA testing and other new technology can help pinpoint suspects in those killings and more than 100 other unsolved killings.

Prosecutors hope to begin working with detectives and sheriff's criminalists early next year to re-examine unsolved killings stretching back to 1972, said Deputy District Attorney Mike Jacobs.

"We need to reopen some of these cases like they're new cases and just start over," Jacobs said. "We'll completely re-examine them."

The sheriff's crime laboratory has already sent DNA evidence from some unsolved cases to a California Department of Justice laboratory in Berkeley, where the DNA "fingerprints" of more than 4,000 of the state's sex offenders are filed.

The program will focus on about 110 unsolved homicides _ a majority of them involving sexual assaults _ that would be susceptible to new crime-solving techniques.

Those are only a fraction of the county's homicides that have yet to be solved. Between 1972 and 1994, Orange County police agencies investigated 2,479 homicides and cleared 1,591 _ meaning almost 900 murders have likely gone unsolved, according to state Department of Justice statistics.

In several of the older cases, fingerprints may have not yet been entered into a state fingerprint database _ a simple task that could identify a suspect.

In others, prosecutors and detectives will try to obtain suspects' blood samples and match DNA markers against evidence a killer left behind.

"We felt there was a high likelihood there would be evidence we could apply new technology to that has not been available until recently," Jacobs said. "There's a number of cases with semen stains on objects, clothing or obtained from autopsy. Even in some cases from the '70s, the evidence has been properly preserved." Jacobs said many of the killers who have gotten away with murder could be serving time for similar crimes.

"Wherever they are, whether they're down the street from you and me, whether they're in prison or whether they're dead, we want to get the answers to that," Jacobs said.

Jacobs, who is working on the project with Deputy District Attorney Mel Jensen, said he noticed similarities in many of the homicides and believes the project may uncover several serial killers.

"There are some striking similarities in a number of these," Jacobs said.

The scope of the program depends in large part on a $500,000 grant application to a county agency that prosecutors said could be used to staff two attorneys, two investigators and two sheriff's criminalists. If the county provides less money, prosecutors can apply for a federal grant.

"These are some of the most aggravated cases that we have," said Orange County District Attorney Michael R. Capizzi. "I don't know if you can put a price tag on the value of identifying these people and getting them off the streets."

Capizzi said he hopes sheriff's officials will agree to assign criminalists from their crime lab to the project _ something that would be more likely if the grant is approved.

"They have just an outstanding lab that is recognized as one of the finest in the nation and they would be an integral part of making it a success," Capizzi said. "Once we get the money ... I certainly anticipate that they would eagerly embrace it."

Sheriff's Lt. Ron Wilkerson said he could not comment about the project until his department has a chance to review it.

Jacobs said it is important to begin working on the project soon because the Department of Justice will expand the number of sex offenders on its database from 4,000 to about 34,000 by 1997.

The database has already been used to solve one crime in Northern California.

"It's going to be extremely valuable," said Michael Van Winkle, a Department of Justice spokesman. "Sex offenders tend to commit sex crimes over and over again. They also leave the kind of evidence, sperm and semen, that allows for real good typing for DNA."

Jacobs said he hopes the program will include regular meetings where detectives from across the county can exchange information about open homicide cases.

"Up until now there has never been one place to go to compare unsolved murders," he said. "We want to change that."

The program will not succeed without the cooperation of county police agencies, Jacobs said.

"Some of the response initially may be lukewarm because some people may view it as intervening," he said. "You know what, we have a lot of unsolved murder cases out there and something has to be done."

The program was praised by detectives contacted by The Orange County Register.

"If there was a murder that took place in 1980 or 1979 and we still haven't made an arrest, we've obviously had it long enough to do everything we can with our resources," said Lt. Timm Browne, spokesman for the Orange Police Department.

"Our primary goal is to ensure our community remains a safe place to live, work and raise children. If that means sitting down with a D.A. to talk about some expertise that was not available at the time ... we're going to be part of that."

Costa Mesa police detective Lynda Giesler, who investigated the string of beating deaths in 1979, said she would consider coming back from retirement to work the cases with the District Attorney's Office.

"Your most memorable cases are the ones with innocent victims who could be your daughter, your wife, your sister and they are unsolved," she said. "Nothing would please me more than to use the new things on the scientific horizon to solve them before my lifetime is over."

Register news researchers Jan Rose and Sharon Ostmann contributed to this report.



Between 1972 and 1994, Orange County police agencies took reports on 888 more homicides than those they cleared.


Year      Homicides   homicides

1972           74               58

1973           50               42

1974           60               38

1975           63               57

1976           83               70

1977           71               55

1978           77               46

1979               91                   72

1980         113              70

1981           96              85

1982           83              64

1983         100             62

1984         102             67

1985         115             71

1986         100             75

1987          90             66

1988        122             72

1989        145             88

1990        149             87

1991        155             75

1992        173             77

1993        196           105

1994        171             89

Totals   2,479         1,591  


Source: California Department of Justice

Killing Stopped When Suspect Jailed
CRIME: Authorities say DNA and confessions link him to the string of slayings.

By JONATHAN VOLZKE,  The Orange County Register, June 21, 1996

In the last months of 1979, many in Orange County were in fear of an intruder who slipped into homes to rape and beat women to death. Then the string of killings by the so-called "bedroom basher" suddenly stopped.

On Feb. 18, 1980, Gerald Parker was arrested for the rape of a Tustin girl, 13. Parker confessed to the kidnapping and rape. Now authorities contend that he kept a horrible secret: that he killed five women and an unborn baby in Costa Mesa, Tustin and Anaheim.
Parker, 41, has allegedly been linked by confessions and DNA tests to the slayings. A news conference is scheduled to be held by authorities today to detail the killings.

Police told former Tustin resident Dianna D'Aiello that Parker is the man who attacked her in 1979. Her unborn child was killed.

Parker is in Corchran State Prison on a parole violation, said Jack Tanaka, re-entry oordinator for the state parole agency.

When the slayings stopped in late 1979, authorities speculated the killer left the state or had been jailed for another crime.

Court documents show that by February 1980, Parker _ a staff sergeant at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station _ had been arrested twice, for the Tustin rape and for beating a Los Angeles County woman with a pipe and robbing her.

Parker was arrested for the rape Feb. 15, 1980, the same day the Tustin girl told police a man with a military uniform dragged her into his black Dodge van as she walked along Nisson Road. (The Orange County Register's policy is not to identify the victims of sexual abuse.)

Parker drove the girl around for 45 minutes before stopping at a Westminster shopping center, where he ordered her to take off her clothing. He then asked her if she'd ever been raped before and assaulted her, court records say.

A military police officer, Staff Sgt. Larry Coyle, heard a radio description of the man and van and spotted Parker near his black Dodge van. Parker initially denied any involvement, but blurted, "I'm guilty, I did it," when he learned the victim was going to look at him, court records say.

He was sentenced to six years in prison for rape and kidnapping.

Before his sentencing, Parker described himself as the victim of a troubled childhood. He had 11 siblings, he said, and his mother died when he was 8.

Parker, who is black, said he was shuttled to his grandmother's in Arizona, where he lived in a white neighborhood. When his family moved to a black neighborhood, he attended a white school. "He felt he did not fit in," court documents say.

Documents tell of a troubled life: By the time he was 9, he was sniffing glue. He ran away from home several times and burglarized a school when he was a teen-ager. He was sent to the Boys' Republic in Chino and ran away from there, too.

He never married, according to the report, and joined the Marine Corps around 1973. He enjoyed the service, but grew bored with the infantry and transferred to El Toro as a supply technician.

Register staff writer Jason Thornbury contributed to this report




Gerald Parker, 41, is suspected of killing six Orange County residents in their homes in 1978 and 1979. Here are the victims, their ages, where they were killed and the dates they were killed.

Sandra Kay Fry, 17, Anaheim, Dec. 2, 1978

Kimberly Rawlins, 21, Costa Mesa, April 1, 1979

Marolyn Carleton, 31, Costa Mesa, Sept. 14, 1979

Chantel Marie Green, stillborn, Tustin, Sept. 30, 1979

Debora Jean Kennedy, 24, Tustin, Oct. 7, 1979

Debra Lynn Senior, 17, Costa Mesa, Oct. 21, 1979



Killer Put Costa Mesa in the Grasp of Fear

CITIES: In 1979, a string of slayings made nervousness the order of the day as police followed up all leads.


By JONATHAN VOLZKE,  The Orange County Register, June 22, 1996, page A16

COSTA MESA, CA . The city was nervous in 1979.
Grocery stores used all-male crews to collect carts at night. Police advised parents not to allow their children to go trick-or-treating alone. Nighttime business dropped off at restaurants. Neighbors warned one another to lock their doors and windows.

Somewhere out there was a man who slipped into women's apartments at night to rape them and beat them. He was suspected of killing at least three Costa Mesa women and maiming at least one more.

Police handed out 25,000 fliers with a drawing of a possible suspect. They manned all-night stakeouts and started foot patrols in an effort to capture the killer.

Seventeen Costa Mesa officers were putting in 15-hour days in their search, at one point logging 1,000 leads through a system similar to that used by the Los Angeles Police Department in its search for the "hillside strangler."

Ultimately, police turned to hypnotizing a 9-year-ol! d victim and even called on psychics.

"We were doing everything we possibly could to find the guy," Lt. Tom Warnack recalled Friday. "We followed every possible lead we could."

 The man, dubbed the "bedroom basher," eluded police. He disappeared in 1980 after attacks on April 1, 1979; July 20, 1979; Sept. 14, 1979; and Oct. 21, 1979. Police speculated he'd left the state or was behind bars for another crime, his secret locked up with him.

They never considered Gerald Parker, a Marine Corps staff sergeant, who was arrested for raping a Tustin girl in 1980. They didn't have any reason to, Warnack said, and Parker pleaded guilty to rape and kidnapping and was sent to state prison.

On June 7, the Orange County Sheriff's Department notified Costa Mesa police that DNA evidence identified Parker as the man who attacked and raped Jane A. Pettengill, who survived the July 1979 attack.

DNA samples from the attack had been run through a stat! e database in hopes of a match.

On June 11, Costa Mesa Detective Bill Redmond and retired Detective Lynda Giesler flew to the state prison at Corcoran, where Parker was being held on a probation violation. He agreed to talk with them.

Scientific evidence and his statements widened the case, authorities said.

A search warrant was served June 14 on Parker at Corcoran to collect samples of his DNA.

On Friday, he was charged with the slayings of three Costa Mesa women, an Anaheim woman, a Tustin woman and an unborn Tustin girl. Special allegations were also filed that could lead to the death penalty if Parker, 41, is convicted.

"It was a long time ago, but I'm glad they got him," said Randy Garell, owner of the Grant Boys gun store on Newport Boulevard. He recalls an increased number of women buying guns in 1979 as a result of the attacks. "There was an awful lot of concern then, especially among women."


Prosecutors Crack the Case Using Old-Fashioned Detective Work

SUCCESS: Deputy district attorneys don't have time to celebrate. They've got more work to do.

By STUART PFEIFER: The Orange County Register, June 22, 1996

Veteran prosecutors Mel Jensen and Mike Jacobs quietly left a news conference Friday while the county's top law-enforcement officers were still explaining how their agencies helped solve six 1970s murders.

They had more work to do.
It was Jensen and Jacobs who designed a program to use 1990s technology to help crack murders of the county's past. The news that the first case they examined helped link six murders to one man _ and led to the release of a man wrongly jailed for 17 years _ gave them no reason to relax.

"It's really like the tip of the iceberg," Jacobs said, while praising detectives who did the investigations. "Obviously, it's a significant start. But there's a lot of other cases."

The two Orange County deputy district attorneys began examining the county's unsolved murder cases about a year ago while working on one case together.

"We were looking for cases that were similar and we found there was no database; no one kept track," Jacobs said. "We were shocked."

So the two prosecutors and one of the office's investigators, Ron Shave, began assembling a computer database that would help them identify similar unsolved killings.

After spending hundreds of hours leafing through yellowed coroner's records, Jensen and Jacobs noticed similarities in many of the cases. They asked themselves: Were serial killers responsible for many of the killings?

The prosecutors decided to work with detectives from across the county to focus on 110 unsolved killings dating back to 1972. The suspects in those cases left behind physical trails that could be traced with new technology, including DNA testing.

They figured their best resource would be the state Department of Justice's computer database of DNA samples drawn from state prison inmates convicted of sexual assaults and other types of violent crimes.

Costa Mesa police detectives asked the Orange County Sheriff's Department crime lab, which uses freezers to preserve skin and semen samples, to use a new process to extract DNA from evidence linked to a series of 1970s killings.

Late last month, the state computer database linked DNA from those crimes to Gerald Parker, a 41-year-old former Santa Ana resident serving a rape sentence at the state prison in Corcoran. It was the second unsolved homicide the computer helped clear in the state in the past year.

"The larger you sweep the net of possible suspects, the more likely you are to solve an unsolved case because you'll have more possible people in there," Jacobs said. "We expect that we'll solve more that way."

Many obstacles remain, however, namely finding a way to pay for the project. Sheriff's crime lab officials say they have five overburdened DNA specialists who struggle to keep up with their current caseload. Criminalists did the work that led to Parker's arrest _ and the release of wrongly convicted Kevin Lee Green _ between other assignments.

"We could easily double our staff and still have a backlog," said Frank Fitzpatrick, the sheriff's forensic science director. "These cases are not the only cases that these people work on. The No. 1 priority is the case going to trial."

A state agency that funds crime-fighting grants earlier this year declined to fund the unsolved-homicide project. Prosecutors on Friday said they hope that may change now that the project helped Costa Mesa, Tustin and Anaheim detectives solve six murders. Agencies across the state should realize how valuable a tool the DNA database can be in solving old homicides, prosecutors said.

"DNA is going to revolutionize crime-fighting, the same way fingerprints did in 1902," Attorney General Dan Lungren said recently. "The taking and matching of fingerprints has wrapped up literally tens of millions of crimes, which otherwise might never have been solved. DNA will fuel a similar revolution."

Evidence of that came to Orange County last month with word that the six killings had been linked to one man.

"I was very pleased, particularly for Costa Mesa and (Detective) Linda Geisler, who's worked on these for 17 years and is back from retirement," Jacobs said. "These cases are the ones that bothered her, and they bothered us for years."

Jacobs and Jensen went to lunch after Costa Mesa police called and reported that they believed they had solved the killings. But it was not time to celebrate. Yet.

"We were too busy to have a beer," Jacobs said. "We'll do it some day."


The Lives and Deaths of a Serial Killer's Victims

The Orange County Register, June 22, 1996

A look at the lives and deaths of the five women and stillborn infant allegedly killed by murder suspect Gerald Parker.

Who: Sandra Kay Fry
Age: 17

Location of killing: Anaheim

Date: Dec. 2, 1978

It was a December morning in 1978 when when the mother of nine children awakened inexplicably from sleep. Gladys Fry rose from bed and walked to a spot just inside the front door of her family's Anaheim home.

"She was screaming bloody murder . . . a blood-curdling scream," Thomas Fry, one of four brothers, recalled Friday.

"We all came running out of our rooms, the lights came on, and she was falling to the floor," he said. "We were trying to calm her down and figure out what the problem was, and then the police walked up to the door."

Sandra Kay Fry, 17, had been raped and killed only minutes earlier in the apartment she had moved into only three days before.

"A mother always knows," said Thomas Fry, now 36.

Sandra Fry, a former student at Western High School, had just completed her third day of work as clerk at the Treasury department store.

Records show she was bludgeoned with a blunt object at about 12:35 a.m. in the Lincoln Arms apartments, on South Knott Avenue.

"It's kind of ironic how it's gone full circle," said Sgt. Steve Rodig, who responded to the crime scene as a patrolman.

Rodig confirmed Friday that serial-murder suspect Gerald Parker confessed to murdering Fry during an interview in state prison. He was later linked to the case by physical evidence, according to Rodig.

Thomas Fry said word of Parker's arrest has reopened old wounds.

"With what this individual did to my family and my sister . . . he does not deserve to walk on Earth," he said. "She was a little sweetheart. Basically, she was just venturing off into the world, trying to make her mark in life."

Who: Kimberly Rawlins

Age: 21

Location of killing: Costa Mesa

Date: April 1, 1979

Kimberly Rawlins had been in her new apartment less than 2 1/2 months when she was found dead on her bed.

In 1988, Rawlins' sister Cheryl described her younger sister, who worked in the shipping department of the Shiley medical laboratory, as "very bubbly. She was just a real person. She worked hard and played hard and had a lot of real friends."

Who: Marolyn Carleton

Age: 31

Location of killing: Costa Mesa

Date: Sept. 14, 1979

There was a witness to the death of Marolyn Carleton the night she was sexually assaulted and killed in her Costa Mesa apartment_ her son, 9, who saw the killer enter her apartment and then leave it.

A published report recounted a harrowing scene: Lt. Jack Calnon, then with the Costa Mesa Police Department, told how the killer walked straight toward the boy. He said nothing to the boy, but "just walked out the door and very gently moved the boy aside," Calnon said.

A month after the killing, police, at their wits' end to capture the "bedroom basher," hypnotized the boy to see if he could help them improve on a crude sketch of the killer.

The effort at hypnosis was unsuccessful, and Carleton's slaying remained unsolved until a recent breakthrough.

Carleton, who taught self-actualization courses from her apartment at the time of her slaying, was a widow. Like many of the other women who were attacked during this period, her apartment had a ground-floor entry that was shielded from the street. Published accounts of the time indicated that Carleton had not locked her door or windows on the night she was attacked.

Efforts to reach her son this week were unsuccessful.

Who: Chantal Marie Green

Age: stillborn

Location of killing: Tustin

Date: Sept. 30, 1979

Chantal Marie Green suffocated in her mother's womb, making her the youngest victim of the "bedroom basher." Her mother didn't immediately know that she had lost her baby _ or recalled that she had been pregnant _ when she emerged from her coma after the beating.

Planning for her baby, her mother, Dianna D'Aiello, chose the name "Chantal," after her childhood pen pal in France. D'Aiello, who was nine months pregnant at the time of the Sept. 30, 1979, attack, said she still misses the daughter she never knew.

"I wonder about what it would be like to have a 16-year-old daughter . . . what she would look like," said D'Aiello, 36, who has an 8-year-old daughter with her husband, David Langenberger.

Who: Debora Jean Kennedy

Age: 24

Location of killing: Tustin

Date: Oct. 7, 1979

Debora Kennedy, 24, had been working for six years as an assembler of cassette tapes at Memorex in Santa Ana before she was slain.

Records show she was sharing an apartment with her sister, Yvette La Vey, in the 15500 block of Boleyn _ the residence in which she was raped and killed at about 10:30 a.m. Oct. 7, 1979.

Kennedy, who had never married, died of severe skull fractures, according to records.

Efforts to reach members of her family this week were unsuccessful.

Who: Debra Lynn Senior

Age: 17

Location of killing: Costa Mesa

Date: Oct. 21, 1979

Debra Lynn Senior had graduated that summer from Estancia High School in Costa Mesa and was planning to take secretarial courses at Orange Coast College.

She had moved into the apartment with a friend only two months earlier, making her start on her own with her salary derived from driving a delivery car for a blueprint and graphics firm. She and her roommate attended a party for members of the college cross-country team that night, but at 10:30 p.m., Senior decided she wanted to go home early. Her roommate discovered her body at 3 a.m.

Published reports at the time described her as "a sweet girl." Her brother, Michael Senior of Mission Viejo, declined comment Friday.

Register staff writers Dan Chang, Tony Saavedra, Bryon MacWilliams and Jonathan Volzke contributed to this report.


PEOPLE: The story of Kevin Green and Gerald Parker reverberates across the country.

By TONY SAAVEDRA and ANNE C. MULKERN, The Orange County Register, June 22, 1996

Both were Orange County Marines, imprisoned for violent crimes and dishonorably discharged from the service. Now their lives are intertwined by strands of DNA.

One may ultimately lose his life as a serial killer. The other got his life back as a man wrongly convicted of murder.
The story of Marine Staff Sgt. Gerald Parker _ accused this week of being the "bedroom basher" _ and Cpl. Kevin Lee Green reverberated Friday throughout the country. A new DNA procedure and confessions showed that Green was innocent of bludgeoning his wife and killing his unborn baby in 1979. The culprit, prosecutors allege, was Parker, who also is being accused of killing five other women in Orange County.

Green, 37, stepped off a TWA flight Friday and into his family's arms in St. Louis, leaving behind Orange County and nearly 17 years of incarceration.

He missed the deaths of both his grandmothers and one grandfather. He missed the weddings of a brother and a sister. He missed the births of his nieces and nephews. But he was home at last.

"A lot has happened. I've got kids to introduce him to," said Green's uncle Leslie Joyce from his home in Holts Summit, Mo. "We've all been hoping and praying and believing in the best. We knew the person, saw him grow up, and (murder) didn't fit the character."

Green steadfastly insisted he was innocent and from his cell at Soledad prison tried to raise the money to get his own DNA test in hopes of persuading police to reopen the case, said his attorney, Ronald Brower. But he couldn't get the cash or the attention of police investigators.

Court records also showed that Green passed at least one, and perhaps two, polygraph tests before his Orange County Superior Court trial in Santa Ana.

"He was `The Fugitive' in real life. This is a scary deal," Brower said. "He told me, `I've prayed every day for this since I was arrested.' "

The DNA test that freed Green and tied Parker to the killings became available to Orange County scientists in March, said Frank Fitzpatrick, director of the Orange County crime lab.

The test allows scientists to compare very small samples of deoxyribonucleic acid, while previous tests required large samples.

Green was convicted largely on the testimony of then-wife Dianna D'Aiello, who suffered brain damage and amnesia from the beating. She also said he had abused her in the past, which Green also denies.

Despite his erroneous incarceration, Brower said Green is not angry and may have no grounds to sue Tustin police or prosecutors.

"He is generally of the belief that nobody did anything intentionally wrong," Brower said. "It was a terrible mistake. They weren't bad people or stupid people."

State Department of Corrections records show that Green's tenure in prison was not unblemished. He was disciplined in January 1985 for having 11.8 grams of marijuana and possessing a prison weapon. Before the beating, Green was arrested in Orange County for allegedly cultivating marijuana.

In a prison ceremony, he was married a third time in 1985 to Darlene Busby, who is 19 years his senior. Green, trained in the military as a helicopter mechanic, has a daughter in Missouri who lives with his first wife.

At a news conference Friday, prosecutors and police tried to put a positive face on the wrongful incarceration, saying the arrest of the right suspect was good news and the freeing of Green "better news."

Orange County District Attorney Michael Capizzi said police and prosecutors did everything they could at the time to make sure they had the right man. Capizzi added that Dianna D'Aiello, despite her injuries, appeared "very credible." D'Aiello lapsed into a coma after the attack, leaving her brain-damaged and with a speech impediment. Her memory gradually returned, but she suffered lapses. At a preliminary hearing, she couldn't recall her own name.

Capizzi acknowleged those problems Friday, but said that "Efforts were made, I'm told, to determine her credibility. Experts were consulted. They examined her."

Orange County Sheriff Brad Gates conceded that his stomach dropped when he heard the wrong man had been sent to prison for nearly 17 years.

"My comment was, `I'm glad that wasn't my brother,' " Gates said.

As legal pundits debated her testimony, D'Aiello remained confused Friday, saying she remembers only Green hitting her with his keys. She also was fearful that the world would forget that she, too, was a victim _ a victim, forensic tests conclude, of Gerald Parker, whose DNA was matched with the sperm taken from D'Aiello's body.

A trail of forensic evidence led to Parker, authorities said Friday.

After his arrest in a 1980 rape, Parker's DNA sample was placed in the Department of Justice database, said Steve Telliano, spokesman for Attorney General Dan Lungren.

Two Orange County prosecutors analyzing unsolved killings discovered a pattern in a series of attacks in 1978 and 1979. Forensic evidence from the killings were obtained from the sheriff's crime lab.

Using the new DNA test, scientists came up with a genetic code that was entered into the Department of Justice's computer database in Berkeley.

Experts there called Orange County to say, "We've got a hit," said Frank Fitzpatrick, crime-lab director.

The code tied Parker to a July 20, 1979, attack on a Costa Mesa woman who was raped and beaten. She survived the attack, Costa Mesa Police Chief Dave Snowden said. More tests then linked Parker to three more crimes, Snowden said.

Detectives traveled to Corcoran state prison to question Parker, who confessed to the murders as well as others, including the Green case, police said.

Held at Corcoran on a parole violation, Parker was scheduled to be released in about two weeks. Instead he will be moved to Orange County and arraigned on the murder charges.

Register staff writers Jeff Collins, Marc Lifsher and Bryon MacWilliams contributed to this report.


From Series of Slayings to Arrests to One Man's Freedom

The Orange County Register, June 23, 1996, page A15

Here is the chronology of events in the cases of Kevin Lee Green and Gerald Parker:

Dec. 2, 1978: Sandra Kay Fry, 17, killed in her Anaheim apartment.

April 1, 1979: Kimberly Rawlins, 21, killed in her Costa Mesa apartment.


May 24, 1979: Kim Whitecotton, 25, beaten in her Costa Mesa apartment.


July 1979: Jane A. Pettengill, 29, beaten and raped in her Costa Mesa apartment.


Sept. 14, 1979: Marolyn Carleton, 31, killed in her Costa Mesa apartment.


Sept. 30, 1979: Dianna Green, 20, beaten and raped in her Tustin apartment. Her baby, Chantal Marie Green, is stillborn.


Oct. 7, 1979: Debora Jean Kennedy, 24, killed in her Tustin apartment.


Oct 21, 1979: Debra Lynn Senior, 17, killed in her Costa Mesa apartment.


Dec. 1, 1979: Kevin Lee Green is arrested on murder charge in the assault on Dianna Green that resulted in stillbirth of Chantal Marie Green.


Feb. 15, 1980: Gerald Parker is arre! sted for raping a 13-year-old girl in Tustin. As the year proceeds, he also is convicted of a robbery in Los Angeles.


Sept. 22, 1980: Murder trial of Kevin Lee Green begins.


Oct. 2, 1980: Kevin Lee Green is convicted of second-degree murder for death of Chantal Marie Green and convicted of attempted murder of his wife, Dianna.


Nov. 7, 1980: Kevin Lee Green is sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison.


April 1984: Parker is paroled but immediately rearrested for assaulting an inmate in prison.


July 1984: Parker is sentenced for the inmate assault.


July 2, 1985: Kevin Lee Green, now divorced from Dianna, marries Darlene Busby in prison.


November 1987: Parker is paroled for the inmate assault.


Late 1990: Dianna Green (now named Dianna D'Aiello) testifies against her ex-husband, who is denied parole.


July 1993: Parker is arrested on burglary charges in Orange County and returned to prison.


Feb. 26, 1995: ! Parker paroled.


January 1996: Parker is arrested for parole vio lations.

February-March, 1996: Tustin and Costa Mesa police submit evidence from rapes and slayings of various victims to the crime lab for DNA testing.


June 7, 1996: Costa Mesa police are informed that samples have matched DNA from Parker.


June 14, 1996: Tustin and Costa Mesa police officers interview Parker in Avenal State Prison where he awaits a July 6 release from prison on parole. He confesses to killing six women.


June 18, 1996: Tustin police inform Kevin Lee Green of news that he may be exonerated.


June 20, 1996: Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald signs writ dismissing case against Kevin Lee Green. He is freed after 16 years in prison.


June 21, 1996: Orange County district attorney charges Parker with six homicides. Kevin Lee Green flies from John Wayne Airport to St. Louis to reunite with his family.


June 22, 1996: Kevin Lee Green reunites with his wife, Darlene, in St. Louis.

Source: Court documents, Register archives


On the Streets, Suspect was Handled with Care
CRIME: Other homeless people in Santa Ana remember Gerald Parker as someone to watch out for.

By   BRYON MacWILLIAMS and ANNE C. MULKERN: The Orange County Register, June 23, 1996

He had no family to speak of, the man known as Parker.

But on the streets of downtown Santa Ana, he shared his life with itinerant men and women among whom he garnered a reputation as generous, introspective, religious and highly intelligent. And deadly.
"He had all this animosity about him," Wayne Mangrum, 48, said Saturday of the man who has confessed to six Orange County killings. "He'd be like, `Leave me alone or I'll kill you.' I believe that he meant that."

Another acquaintance, Charles Aldridge, 49, said the violent undertones to Gerald Parker's character led some to nickname him "Rambo" over the course of nearly two decades on the streets.

"He was always cool, man ... until he started drinking. He was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," Aldridge said, taking a slow drag on a generic-brand cigarette as he talked with friends on North Forest Avenue near Second Street.

"He could be violent when he wanted to, and everybody gave him his respect on the street," Aldridge said. "He'd walk up and people would start backing up. ... He could beat a (person) to death."

Parker, 41, is expected to be transported within days from state prison to Orange County Jail on charges of committing murders attributed to the "bedroom basher" in 1978 and 1979.

His reported confessions resulted Thursday in the release of former Marine Kevin Lee Green, who was convicted in 1980 of a Tustin rape and murder to which authorities say Parker has been linked by DNA evidence.

Mangrum, who said he met Parker while homeless in the early 1980s, works as a volunteer at Annie Mae Tripp's South West Community Center _ where he and Parker frequently gathered for free breakfast and conversation.

"He used to talk to me about how (messed) up his life was. His mommy died and his daddy died and his aunt or someone raised him. ... And he said she didn't give a damn about him," Mangrum said.

But such candor was rare, according to a host of the city's homeless.

"He wouldn't have put his business in the streets. He would never really let people know what he was doing," said Steven Price, 29, who has slept near Parker on the tar lot behind the Legal Aid Society of Orange County.

Lorraine Barklow, 48, said she trusted Parker with her life.

She spent nine months living on the same streets, even sleeping side by side on the floor of a mechanic's garage. "I find it hard to believe he committed murder," Barklow said Saturday.

"He was a good man. I will not believe it until I look in Parker's eyes and say, `Did you really harm and kill people?' "

Records show Parker maintained a post-office box at Spurgeon Station on North Bush Street. The site was across the street from The Episcopal Church of the Messiah, where he frequently appeared for a free meal.

"If he had some food, he'd be like, `You have any food? Did you eat yet?' " recalled Toriano Jameson, 34, a woman who is no longer homeless.

Barklow said Parker nicknamed her "Lucy" because she has red hair like Lucille Ball's. She said he also told her that she did not belong on the streets _ quoting passages from the Bible that he carried incessantly.

"He was into all that, God and everything," Price said.

The two often participated in pickup games of basketball at a park on Flower Street. "He was a good basketball player," Price said.

Everyone interviewed marveled at Parker's intellect.

"I thought the (guy) could've been a rocket scientist," Aldridge said.

"If you sat here and listened to this (guy), he was so smart he'd blow your mind," Mangrum said. "He was so intelligent, such a mastermind."

Court records show Parker served four stints in either county jail or state prison.

In February 1980, he was incarcerated after confessing to raping a 13-year-old girl. He was paroled in 1984, then recommitted to prison after an assault. In 1987 he was released again, only to return six years later for committing a burglary.

He was last paroled in February 1995, but imprisoned earlier this year for violating the terms of his parole. He was scheduled to be released again next month _ prior to his reported admissions to police.

Now he could face the death penalty if convicted of the homicides.

"It was a shocker to us, that something like that comes out about people you think you know," Price said. "I can't say nothing bad about him."

Said Barklow: "I saw nothing but goodness."

Register news researcher Wen Gao contributed to this report.


`It's Not Fair': Attack Victim is Shut Out by the Statute of Limitations
CRIME: Kim Whitecotton and other survivors may never have resolution of their cases.

By ANNE C. MULKERN, The Orange County Register, June 23, 1996

For 17 years Kim Whitecotton struggled to remember his face, struggled to recall something, anything, about the man who bludgeoned her as she slept.

She tried hypnosis, hoping it would jigger some repressed image of the man who tried to kill her May 24, 1979. Instead, she found only more questions.
Finally, 17 years later, she thinks she has an answer. But it is not the one she hoped to find.

Prosecutors on Friday filed six counts of murder against Gerald Parker, 41, in connection with a series of bludgeoning deaths that terrorized central Orange County in 1978 and 1979. At the time, police considered Whitecotton one of the victims of the crime spree, attributed to the "bedroom basher."

Whitecotton, now 42, was one of three women who survived the savage attacks. But because the statute of limitations for prosecuting assault has expired, law enforcement likely will not try to tie Parker to the crime.

"He could get convicted of (multiple) murders and get the death sentence for them, but nothing for me," Whitecotton said. "It's not fair in a way. I don't think there should be a statute of limitations for attempted murder."

There is no statute of limitations on Whitecotton's memory of the attack. Even thinking about that night 17 years ago causes her heart to race.

"It makes me so nervous, you know what I mean?" Whitecotton said, putting the palm of her hand against her chest. "I always wondered who it was. I've tried to picture him in my mind thousands of times."

Whitecotton was living alone in a duplex apartment on Santa Ana Avenue near Mesa Drive near Costa Mesa on May 24, 1979. She was asleep about 1 a.m. when she suddenly felt excruciating pain in the left side of her head.

She woke up and discovered a man on top of her, repeatedly slamming her head and face with a blunt object.

"I was thinking I was going to die," Whitecotton said.

She struggled to push the man off, but to no avail. She begged him, "Please stop, please stop."

Finally, she swung her left leg over and rolled off the bed. She started screaming and he ran out. She staggered to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. Her face was covered in blood, her left ear ripped and hanging from her head.

The attack broke both Whitecotton's cheekbones, her nose, the bone under her left eye, as well as ripped her left ear from her head.

"I was really scared that I'd never look like myself again," Whitecotton said. "They had to wire my bones back together."

Whitecotton never knew how the attacker got into her home. But she had been reading the paper, and knew the style of the assault fit the pattern of the "bedroom basher." She believes the man would have raped her if she had not broken free.

She wanted desperately to help police catch the man, but she never saw his face during the attack.

"I was really worried it was going to happen to someone else," Whitecotton said.

Police say Whitecotton's fears proved true. Parker has been tied through DNA to six killings in 1978 and 1979 dubbed the work of the "bedroom basher." Four of those occurred after the Whitecotton attack.

Investigators are looking to see if he can be connected to other unsolved killings.

Orange County District Attorney Mike Capizzi said Friday that even though Parker is suspected in several attacks in which women survived, he will not be prosecuted in those cases because of the statute of limitations.

One of those cases is the July 1979 attack on Jane A. Pettengill, bludgeoned in her Costa Mesa bedroom. Pettengill, 29, still speaks through a voice box. She changed her name and moved to Northern California.

Parker has been linked to the Pettengill case through DNA, police said. Reached Friday at her new home, Pettengill declined to talk about Parker or the attack.

The third woman who survived a bludgeoning attack also is struggling to deal with the consequences. Dianna Lynn D'Aiello wrongly accused her husband in the Sept. 30, 1979, attack that caused the death of her unborn baby, later named Chantal Marie Green. Kevin Lee Green spent nearly 17 years in custody for the murder before he was exonerated Thursday.

Whitecotton said she hopes sheriff's investigators can at least tell her if they think Parker committed her attack.

"That I know is the most important thing," Whitecotton said. "I can't change the law."

Whitecotton, a former aerospace worker now doing temporary clerical work, still feels the scars on her skull from where the attacker bashed her head. A small scar sits over her right eye, and a plastic implant under the left replaces shattered bone.

But the deepest scars are on her psyche: her inability to feel safe, and her awareness of what evil people can commit.

"You just can't believe that people can be so vicious to one another," Whitecotton said.

Whitecotton moved in with her parents in Huntington Beach after her release from the hospital in 1979. She returned to the apartment only once, to collect her belongings.

Whitecotton said she forced herself to go on with her life, but still thinks about the attack.



CRIME: A smoldering anger may trigger criminals such as the `bedroom basher' to mete out suffering.

By TERI SFORZA, The Orange County Register, June 24, 1996, page A1


Something goes wrong. Terribly, horribly wrong.

A hideous chemical aberration in the brain, perhaps. Or a brutal childhood at the hands of savage parents. Something that triggers a rage inside.

These people never fit in; the notoriety of their actions spawns nicknames that both depersonalize and mythologize them: the "freeway killer," "night stalker," "hillside strangler" and "bedroom basher."

"The interesting thing is that firearms are hardly ever used by serial killers to kill," said Bruce Danto, a forensic psychiatrist in Fullerton. "Guns don't give them that feeling of power that they crave. They want a more intimate contact. They want to see the suffering up close. Bludgeoning. Stabbing. Strangling. These are the methods of choice."

Last week, a former U.S. Marine named Gerald Parker reportedly confessed to being Orange County's "bedroom basher" _ a man who savagely beat at least six women in 1978 and 1979, causing such a panic that many bought guns or moved away.

Law-enforcement authorities said Friday that he is being looked at for additional crimes here and outside Orange County that also fit his pattern.

The killings stopped after Parker went to prison for raping a 13-year-old girl in 1980. He was paroled in 1984 but immediately taken into custody on an assault charge. He spent the next three years in jail and was paroled in Nov. 1987. He was arrested in 1993 on burglary charges and, after spending two years and four months in jail, was arrested again for another parole violation this January.

Police believe that at least three of Parker's victims from the 1979 attacks survived:

Kim Whitecotton was attacked in her Costa Mesa apartment May 24, 1979. She awoke to find a man repeatedly striking her face and head. She was unable to see him; she says she believes that the man intended to kill her.

Jane A. Penttengill was attacked in her Costa Mesa home in July 1979. Pettengill, 29, was bludgeoned about the head and still can only speak with the help of an electrical device. She changed her name and moved to Northern California after the assault.

Dianna Green was nine months pregnant when Parker allegedly raped her and smashed her skull Sept. 30, 1979. Green's unborn daughter died. Green suffered brain damage. But she nonetheless accused her husband, Kevin, of the attack.

On her testimony, an innocent man went to prison for 16 years. Kevin Lee Green was released Thursday when DNA evidence cleared him and linked Parker to the attack.

Experts in the field are cautious in attempting to generalize about motive.

"Be wary of anyone who says there's one cause behind serial killing: Every case is unique," said Michael Rustigan, a criminology professor at San Francisco State University. "What cuts through all these cases is rage _ rage against their own feelings of impotence and powerlessness, an early anger that's been smoldering for years.

"With most serial sadistic lust killers, you can't find any medical defect. You can't find abnormal biochemistry or organic lesions or vitamin deficiencies. Most are as physically healthy as anybody else. What we find is that something's been festering. There's a lot of repressed hostility. Look at a gallery of (Ted) Bundy's victims, very much resembling the one woman who dumped him," Rustigan said.

There are other common traits: Extreme narcissism. Monstrous egos. A lack of guilt feelings. "They feel no compassion," Rustigan said. "They blame the victim. It's always her fault: `The bitch wanted too much money.' What they've done is completely undermine their own moral responsibility. What's missing is conscience."

Killers are often plagued by self-loathing as well, said Reid Meloy, a forensic psychologist in San Diego.

"They often choose victims who reflect what they consider to be their own most disgusting characteristics. It's like a killing of the self," Meloy said.

And perhaps the most simple, cliched, but true motivation: hatred of women.

"There's a lot of data showing that these are misogynistic crimes," Meloy said. "The hatred is displaced from the original woman in every man's life: his mother. It sounds too Freudian and simplistic, but we have 50 years of cumulative data suggesting that's the case."

That Dianna Green was raped in her ninth month of pregnancy _ and left for dead _ speaks volumes about the attacker's wrath toward women and motherhood, several experts said.

Peek into the background of many serial killers and you'll see a baby who never bonded with his parents, Danto said. "There's no mother, no feeling of life or appreciation for love. They've never had it. And particularly for the males, there's no contact with the father, and no healthy social-sexual model. Dad is violent or not there at all. It's not difficult to see how these people come into being. The American family has been breaking down for years."

Court documents show that Parker was one of eight children. His mother died when he was 8, and he was sent to live with his grandparents.

Rustigan believes there are six kinds of serial killers:

The "sadistic lust killer" (like Randy Kraft and Ted Bundy) “gets the most attention and adores the feelings of power and control that killing gives him.”

"Thrill killers" enjoy terrorizing the community and lashing back at society.

The "greed killer" wants money, like the landlady who murders her renters and then cashes their checks.

At first, "pedophiliac killers" murder the children they have sex with, usually young boys, to get rid of the witnesses. Then they grow to enjoy killing as much as sex, as "freeway killer" William Bonin did.

"Black widow serial killers" are often women who use poison to murder husbands or children, often for control or money.

The Unabomber is an example of a "missionary serial killer" who murders for what he believes is a holy cause.

The experts are divided on whet her there has been an increase in serial killers in the past three decades. Danto believes the surge in Southern California sociopaths in the late 1970s and early 1980s is linked to the closing of many mental-health hospitals during budgetary cutbacks.

There is also disagreement on whether America is more prone to producing serial killers than other nations. Rustigan is convinced this is so.

"America has about 5 percent of the world's population, and we produce 70 percent of the world's serial killers," Rustigan said. "England has certainly had its share, and Russia. But it's distinctively American, and it has a lot to do with the kind of extreme individualism we practice in America."

In other nations, violence is collective: In Bosnia and Rwanda, it's tribe against tribe, clan against clan, Rustigan said.

"Ours is much more the loner, the drifter, the wide-open society."

Register staff writer Jonathan Volzke contributed to this story.




Randy Kraft: Believed to have killed as many as 65 young men in Oregon, Michigan and California during a 13-year span that ended in 1983. Kraft was convicted of mutilating and murdering 16 young men in Orange County in 1988. Kraft is currently on death row in San Quentin prison.


William George Bonin, aka the "freeway killer": Convicted of murdering 14 boys, four of them in Orange County. He lured them inside his green van and sexually assaulted and strangled them. Their nude bodies were often found face-down, their wrists still bound. Bonin was executed by lethal injection Feb. 23 at San Quentin prison.


Richard Ramirez, aka the "night stalker": The tall, lanky drifter from El Paso, Texas, was convicted of 13 murders as part of a grisly rampage that terrorized Southern California and led to a nationwide hunt. Some of the assaults were tinged with satanic symbolism, such as pentagrams drawn on the body of one victim. Ramirez is on death row in San Quentin prison.


Angelo Buono, left, and Kenneth Bianchi, aka the "hillside strangler": Between 1977 and 1978, the two men participated in the killing of 10 women in Los Angeles. Buono was convicted in nine of the killings and sentenced to life imprisonment; Bianchi, who testified against Buono, pleaded guilty to five murders, plus two others in the state of Washington. Buono is in Folsom prison serving a life sentence; Bianchi, who subsequently changed his name to Anthony A. Amato, is serving a life sentence in a Washington prison.


Charles Manson: Manson and members of his notorious "family" are serving life terms in various prisons for at least 11 murders committed in the late 1960s. Manson is currently serving a life sentence in Corcoran state prison.




John Wayne Gacy Jr.: Convicted in 1980 of the sex slayings of 33 young men and boys. The victims' bodies were buried in a crawl space at Gacy's home near Chicago. Gacy was executed in 1994.

David Berkowitz, aka "son of Sam": Terrorized New York City in 1976 and '77 by killing six people on the streets and in their cars. Currently in a New York prison serving a life sentence.

Theodore Bundy: Convicted in 1979 of three murders, but police suspect Bundy of killing 36 women in six states before his apprehension in Florida. Bundy was executed in Florida in 1989.


Jeffrey Dahmer: After police found body parts in Dahmer's Milwaukee apartment in 1991, he admitted killing 17 young men and boys, mutilating and sometimes cannibalizing his victims. Dahmer was killed by a fellow inmate in a Wisconsin prison in 1995.


Joel Rifkin: The New York landscaper admitted strangling or suffocating 17 prostitutes over two years in 1994. He claims he dismembered two or three for easy disposal. Currently in prison in New York.



Rosemary West: Convicted in Great Britain in 1995 of torturing and killing 10 women and girls, including a daughter and a stepdaughter.


Photo caption: Rosemary West: Convicted in Great Britain in 1995 of torturing and killing 10 women and girls, including a daughter a! nd a stepdaughter.

Parker Convicted of Multiple Murders

VICTIMS: Family members weep, then rejoice over a long-awaited conviction. Many want his penalty to be death.

STUART PFEIFER, JIM RADCLIFFE, The Orange County Register, October 21, 1998, page: B1


Finally, Oct. 20 means something good.

Debra Lynn Senior, 17, was sexually assaulted and attacked that night in 1979 in her Costa Mesa apartment, dying the next day.

But on Tuesday - exactly 19 years after the attack - an Orange County Superior Court jury in Santa Ana found Gerald Parker guilty of killing Senior, four other women and an unborn baby in a 10-month killing spree.

Most of the dozen or so family members following the trial sat silently or quietly sobbed when the verdicts were read at 5:07 p.m. When they left the courtroom, though, smiles broke out.

"Wonderful!" said Pamela Senior, Debra Lynn's mother. "This is true justice. I don't think you ever heal. But we sure feel a hell of a lot better than we did this morning. This is a wonderful day."

 Jackie Bissonnette, Debra Lynn's older sister, said this time of year won't be as awful as it used to be - at least now it will prompt the memory of Pa! rker's conviction.

"We're halfway there," said Bissonnette, with a picture of her sister pinned to her blouse. "We just need the death penalty now.

... It's what we wanted. We got all of the counts. But it doesn't bring Debbie back.

"Watching the trial has difficult at times," Bissonnette said.

"You just want to kill him. You want to be handed a 2-by-4," she said, referring to the weapon Parker told detectives he used in several of the killings.

Debora Jean Kennedy was 24 when Parker slipped into her Tustin apartment and killed her. She would have been 43 now - just two years older than her niece, Sandra Kennedy. The pair had a sister-type relationship.

Sandra Kennedy compared the grisly photos of the victims shown during the trial to the crimes committed in the movie "The Silence of the Lambs." She nearly stopped attending the trial and was even prompted to adopt an Akita-chow-mix dog for safety. But she felt obligated! to be there for her aunt.

"I don't really have a whole lot t o say," an emotional Kennedy said just after the verdicts were read. "I always knew he was going to be guilty. It's now just what his penalty will be."

Sandra Kennedy wants the death penalty for Parker. So do three of the nine surviving siblings of Sandra Kay Fry, 17, who was killed in her Anaheim apartment three days after moving in. The three drove from their Las Vegas homes.

"I would probably have driven 100,000 miles to be here," Bob Fry said.

"I wanted to see the last person my sister saw alive," said Lori Fry, who was 8 when her sister was murdered. "I wanted to see if he had any remorse. Which he didn't."

"Our prayers have been answered," said Judi Brown, Fry's older sister. "We've waited 20 years for this. ... Why shouldn't he get the death penalty, when we've been sentenced for life."

The verdicts, however, didn't satisfy all of the victims' relatives in court Tuesday.

Dianna D'Aiello's ex-husband, Kevin Green, spent 16 years in prison for allegedly attacking her and killing their 9-month-old fetus. But he was freed in 1996, after DNA evidence showed that Parker was the man who raped D'Aiello on Sept. 30, 1979.

Still, D'Aiello insists that she remembers Green punching her that night before she passed out. D'Aiello blames Green for most, if not all, of the injuries she suffered, including partial loss of hearing and loss of smell. She also believes it was Green's blows that killed their unborn daughter, Chantal Marie Green.

Parker apparently slipped into the apartment later, but most of the damage already had been done, D'Aiello said. The District Attorney's Office didn't present the right scenario, she added, choosing to lay all of the blame on Parker.

"My case is different than the other five," said D'Aiello, who attended the trial in large part to support the family members of the victims.

Kevin Green disagreed, pointing to Parker's conviction: "Hopefully, now, my ex-wife will start to get a clue."




Gerald Parker was found guilty Tuesday of six murders, the most for any Orange County defendant since Randy Kraft was convicted of 16 murders and sentenced to death in 1989. Here is the background:


Dec. 2, 1978: Sandra Kay Fry, 17, is sexually assaulted and killed in the Anaheim apartment she had moved into only three days before.


April 1, 1979: Kimberly Rawlins, 21, is sexually assaulted and killed in the Costa Mesa apartment she had lived in for two months.


Sept. 14, 1979: Marolyn Carleton, 31, is sexually assaulted and killed in her Costa Mesa apartment.


Sept. 30, 1979: The unborn Chantal Marie Green suffocates in the womb of her mother, Dianne D'Aiello. D'Aiello has no memory of the attack in her Tustin

apartment, but police say she was sexually assaulted while her husband, Kevin Green, was at a Jack In The Box.


Oct. 7, 1979: Debora Jean Kennedy, 24, is sexually assaulted and killed in the T! ustin apartment she shared with her sister.


Oct. 21, 1979: Debra Lynn Senior, 17, is sexually assaulted and killed in the Costa Mesa apartment she had just moved into with a friend.


Dec. 1, 1979: Kevin Green is arrested on a murder charge in the assault on his wife and the stillbirth of Chantal.


Sept. 22, 1980: Murder trial of Kevin Green begins.


Oct. 2, 1980: Kevin Green is convicted of second-degree murder for the death of Chantal and attempted murder of his wife. The next month he is sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.


June 14, 1996: Tustin and Costa Mesa police officers interview Gerald Parker in Avenal State Prison, where he awaits a July 6 release on parole. Confronted with DNA evidence, he reportedly confesses to attacking and killing several Orange County women in the late '70s, when he was a Marine staff sergeant stationed in Tustin.


June 20, 1996: Based on DNA evidence and the police interview with Parker,! Kevin Green is freed from prison after nearly 17 years.


July 30, 1996: Parker is indicted in six "Bedroom Basher" slayings.


Sept. 6, 1996: District Attorney's Office announces it will seek the death penalty against Parker.


Sept. 12, 1996: Parker pleads not guilty to six murder charges at his arraignment in Orange County Superior Court.


Sept. 17, 1998: Jury selection begins in Parker trial.


RELIEF OVER GUILTY VERDICT. Sandra Kennedy, right, and Lori Fry, relatives of two murdered women, embrace in a Santa Ana courtroom Tuesday after a jury took two hours to find Gerald Parker Jr. guilty in their deaths and four others. Parker's killing spree terrorized Orange County in the 1970s and led to the 16-year imprisonment of an innocent man. Parker, 43, will be sentenced in November and could get the death penalty. Kevin Green, the man once wrongly imprisoned in the `bedroom basher' case, says the verdict shows the system can work.


PHOTO CAPTION: A TEAR FOR DEBRA: Emotion shows on the face of Jackie Bissonnette after Gerald Parker was found guilty of killing her sister, Debra Senior.




Conscience key in `basher' case


COURTS: Gerald Parker apparently was moved by the plight of a fellow ex- Marine imprisoned for one of his alleged crimes.


By TONY SAAVEDRA and STUART PFEIFER: The Orange County Register, August 20, 1996


Gerald Parker held tight to his secrets, even as investigators plied him with DNA evidence and asked him to think of the victims' families.

Then the talk turned to a fellow ex-Marine, a man convicted 16 years earlier of bludgeoning his pregnant wife _ a man Parker knew was innocent.
No longer could Parker keep silent, according to Orange County grand jury transcripts released Monday.

"I believe there is a man on death row because of something I did, and out of all these murders and crimes I committed over the years, that was the one that bothered me the most. Now, don't ask me why," said Parker, 41, whose confession marked him as the "bedroom basher" and freed Kevin Green, convicted of attacking his wife.

Before the June 14 interviews were over, Parker had confessed in jarring detail to the deaths nearly two decades ago of five Orange County women and the unborn child of Kevin and Dianna Green. Parker was indicted July 30 on multiple murder charges in a case that hinges on his confession and the genetic evidence that led police to his prison door.

Parker's lawyer, David A. Zimmerman, said Monday that he will fight to get the confession thrown out, saying detectives questioned Parker for hours after he declined to talk.

Zimmerman also said Parker, a convicted rapist who was awaiting release after serving time for a parole violation, was taking prison-issued medication when he talked to police.

"I think this was a deliberate attempt on the part of the police officers of obtaining information against the defendant's wishes," Zimmerman said.

New DNA technology linked Parker to the five unsolved murders, but it was his conscience that broke the case, according to transcripts of the police interviews.

Although Green, 37, was not on death row, as Parker thought, he had been serving 15 years to life for the 1979 attack on his wife, which left her brain damaged and killed their baby.

Parker told police how he skulked outside the Greens' Tustin apartment, heard them argue, and then heard the door slam and a motor rev as Kevin Green left.

Parker entered through an unlocked front door, grabbing a two-by-four as he walked in. He found Dianna Green in the darkened bedroom.

She sat up in bed, then laid down as if she recognized Parker, he said.

"And then I just hit. I rushed into the room and hit her over the head with the board," Parker told Costa Mesa police investigators. "Then I raped her."

That's how most of his attacks went, Parker said. He bashed his victims over the head, in one case with a mallet that he found in the back of a pickup. He said he flung the weapons onto nearby roofs as he fled.

Parker said he was surprised that he hadn't been caught earlier, because he was intoxicated on alcohol or PCP during the attacks.

"It's almost like you've been drinking all of your life and you never had a DUI, you know?" Parker said during the taped interview at Avenal State Prison in central California.

Parker said he never wore gloves or tried to wipe away his fingerprints. He chose his victims randomly, searching for unlocked windows or doors, never sure of what he would find.

"There could have been a raving lunatic on the other side of that door. I'm drunk, to the point to where I just didn't care," Parker said. "I was a vagrant black man in those days. I was walking up and down the streets and in between apartment complexes, you know, and no one was saying anything."

One teen-age girl who spotted Parker after an attack told reporters that he was white. Parker was puzzled by the discrepancy.

Born in Phoenix, Parker said his mother died when he was 9 and his father abandoned the nine siblings. He said his sisters were parceled out to relatives, but he and some brothers were sent to youth homes. Two years later, he moved to San Diego with an aunt.

As an adult, he said, his shyness kept him from meeting women, a need intensified by his alcohol and drug addictions.

"When I came out of bars drunk ... the first thing I start thinking about is a prostitute or a woman," he said. "That's where it started, you know, looking through windows or hoping that you find a door open."

A fistfight led Parker to what he thought was the perfect weapon, prosecutor Mike Jacobs told the grand jury.

Losing the fight, Parker grabbed a chunk of two-by-four in desperation and swung it at his opponent.

"That man did not die and was not seriously injured, so he felt the two-by-four would not cause serious injury on other people," Jacobs told the grand jury.

But the women Parker is accused of killing were beaten savagely. Investigators Tom Tarpley of Tustin and Lynda Geisler and William Redmond of Costa Mesa jogged Parker's memory by taking him on an imaginary travelogue to each crime scene.

That's how he remembered climbing through a bathroom window at the Costa Mesa home of Debra Lynn Senior, 17, in October 1979.

Parker recalled knocking down the blue shower curtain _ a detail captured by a crime-scene photographer. He watched from the bathroom as Senior arrived home and mixed a drink in the blender.

Senior sat on the couch drinking and then fell asleep.

"So I came out, I cross the living room to her, she opens her eyes and I hit her in the head with the two-by-four. One, two, three times, I don't know," he told police.

Jacobs told juors that Parker played down the viciousness and sophistication of the attacks.

Parker peppered his descriptions with details. He knew the layouts of the apartments. He talked about scaling a concrete wall behind one home. He described precisely an encounter with the young son of another victim.

Ending one session with police, Parker said his detox program set the stage for his attempt at redemption. And he knew that spending his life in prison probably would be the best he could expect.

"Probably what I've been doing all these years is trying not to face what I'm facing now," Parker said. "I don't know what the hell is coming next, (but) I got a pretty good idea."



Joey Carleton was 9 years old when he ran into his mother's killer in the hallway outside her bedroom door.

The Sept. 14, 1979, encounter is one of the more troubling aspects in the "bedroom basher" slayings of the late 1970s.

In an interview with Costa Mesa police Detectives Lynda Giesler and William Redmond, slaying suspect Gerald Parker recounted the attack and his meeting with Joey. This is an annotated sample from the interview:

Giesler: Do you remember one, again, on Avocado, where her little boy was home?

Parker: Oh, yeah. Jeez, how did I forget that one?

Giesler: Yeah, tell me about that one.

Parker: OK, I entered this complex from the back. It was about a 7-foot concrete wall in back. OK? She was laying in the, the lights were on in the bedroom, she was laying in the bed. (He describes the rape.) I turned to leave and the little boy said something about his mother.

Giesler: Now, did he actually come in her bedroom?

Parker: No, he didn't come in, he stayed in the darkness in the hallway. ... When I opened the door, I stepped outside into the hallway and I bumped into him. ... And I moved him aside and then exited the apartment complex. I didn't hurt him.

Giesler: Uh-huh.

Parker: I just put him to the side and left.

Giesler: And what was he saying to you?

Parker: His exact words was, ah, "Mommy. Something's wrong with Mommy. What's wrong?"



The Orange County Register, November 28, 1999




Malinda Gibbons had lived in Costa Mesa for just three days when the 22-year-old was bound, gagged and stabbed to death in July 1988.
Costa Mesa police Lt. Ron Smith started investigating Gibbons' murder the day it occurred.

"It was my first case as a homicide sergeant and I have a very personal stake in the case," Smith said.

The Gibbonses had moved to Costa Mesa from a small town in Utah.

The couple, devout Mormons, moved to Orange County where Kent Gibbons, 25, had just started a job as an engineer at Western Digital Corp. in Irvine.

Smith said Malinda Gibbons appears to have been killed by a stranger.

Costa Mesa police have 25 unsolved murders on the books, and three retired detectives have been hired to work exclusively on solving them, said Smith. The murder of Malinda Gibbons is high on their priority list.

That case was included in the 20 priority unsolved homicides targeted by the district attorney's homicide chief.

"We'll call down the deputy DA and go through all the evidence.

I want her to see all the bloody clothing. I want her to see every bit of evidence. I want her to take this case very personally," Smith said.

If you have information on the case, call Smith at (714) 754-5256.


Philip George Cousins, 44, was shot once in the chest and once in the back of the head. His body was locked in the trunk of his undamaged 1990 Honda Accord for at least three days, police said after the March 1994 killing.

"I know the person who did it is out there walking around free," said his widow, Rachel Cousins, who has been active in the victim-rights movement and talks to detectives about the case nearly once a month.

Rachel Cousins said the absence of an arrest in the case "is much like a big black hole. I realize that an arrest is not going to bring him back, but I feel that I owe it to him, to have the person who killed him brought to trial."

Philip Cousins, a property manager, was last seen alive by his employer at Preferred Real Estate Management in Santa Ana. His body was found five days after he disappeared, in the trunk of his car parked outside Wolf Auto Parts at 4200 Third St. in Santa Ana.

A cellular telephone and a tape deck were found in the car, but the victim's wallet and all forms of identification were missing.

If you have information on the case, call Santa Ana police Investigator Dennis Bannon at (714) 245-8360.



The 1977 sexual assault and murder of Jane Bennington, 29, in her Corona del Mar apartment appears to have been committed by a stranger.

"All indications are that she did not know the person who attacked her," said Newport Beach Detective Thomas Fischbacher, who is investigating the case. Bennington was killed Aug. 2. Police suspected that her boyfriend committed the crime, but he was later cleared of suspicion in that case and sent to prison for an unrelated bank robbery, Fischbacher said.

Bennington had gone to a local club the night before her murder and was last seen alive by her female roommate. The roommate returned home and found a sliding-glass door to the apartment ajar.

She went to bed and discovered Bennington's body after she awoke.

Bennington had been strangled and hit on the head.

Investigators reopened the case in 1996 because it appeared to fit the pattern of crimes later attributed to ex-Marine Sgt. Gerald Parker. Parker was convicted in 1998 of six Orange County murders committed in the late 1970s.

The DNA evidence that linked Parker to the six murders exonerated him of involvement in the Bennington murder.

If you have information on the case, call Fischbacher at (800) 550-6273.



The 1946 murder of waitress Carrie D. Bendel, whose body was dumped in the field at a Stanton ranch, is one of the oldest cases that Orange County investigators have reviewed in recent years.

"We found the file when we were moving; the rest of our cases only go back to the early '60s," said sheriff's Investigator Brian Heaney.

Bendel was in her early 20s when she was sexually assaulted and strangled. Police have no picture of her. Her body was found with her clothes in disarray, but it was concluded that she had not been raped.

Bendel had been at the El Sombrero Bar in Belmont Shore the night she was killed and was reported to have left with an unidentified man who said he had come from Laguna Beach. He bought her a few drinks, police records show.

Police also suspected the victim's brother. Long Beach police had stopped the brother from beating Bendel just two weeks before her death.

Heaney said he ran a check on the brother recently but was unable to find any record of his whereabouts in California.

"Whoever did it would have to be in their mid-70s or 80s by now," Heaney said. "Even if somebody confessed, we'd have to locate witnesses to check out the confession."

If you have information on the case, call the Sheriff's Department at (714) 628-7170.