State's Worst Killers Mostly Younger Men
A portrait of Washington's worst killers in the past decade shows them to be mostly young men who often used guns to kill other young adults, a computer-assisted analysis of the state's aggravated first-degree-murder convictions shows.
The study looked at the 125 aggravated-murder convictions handed down since the state's revised death-penalty law went into effect on May 15, 1981.
As of that date, aggravated first-degree murder is the only crime in Washington that carries the death penalty. If a defendant is convicted and not sentenced to death, the only other sentence possible is life in prison without the possibility of release.
All but 14 of those convicted of the crime since May 15, 1981 were sentenced to life without parole. The 14 were sentenced to die. Eleven are still alive and on death row, including Westley Allan Dodd, who is scheduled to be hanged Tuesday.
Dodd and the other killers, who were convicted of slaying a total of 159 people, committed their deeds years apart and in a number of places, yet they and their crimes have common traits.
The murders were the worst among an estimated 2,445 slayings in the state between the time the death penalty was re-enacted and July of this year.
An examination of the 125 aggravated-murder cases reveals that 80 percent - or 100 cases - occurred in seven counties: 39 in King, 21 in Pierce, 12 in Clark, 10 in Kitsap, six in Snohomish, six in Yakima and six in Spokane County.
The killers were most often young, single or divorced men. In 63 cases, the murderers were between 18 and 29; they were white in 67 percent of the cases, males in 94 percent, single or divorced in 70 percent.
In only seven cases were women convicted of aggravated murder:
Rosalina Edmondson, 27, who hired her ex-husband to kill her husband in 1981 in Kitsap County; Christine Susan Cummings, 16, who participated in the murder of an elderly woman in 1983 in Walla Walla County; Sandra Entz, 42, who paid to have her husband killed in 1987 in King County; Diane Bowerman, 34, who hired someone to kill her ex-boyfriend in 1987 in King County; Shawn Reite, 20, who in 1988 shot her adoptive mother and her mother's boyfriend while they slept in their Pierce County home; Minviluz Macas, 46, who set the fire that killed her husband and two children in 1989 in King County; and Susan Kroll, 31, who hired two Idaho men to shoot her husband in 1989 in Asotin County.
Officials sought the death penalty against only Kroll. The Asotin County prosecutor's office sought death, but the jury disagreed and voted to put Kroll behind bars for the rest of her life.
In 57 percent of the cases, the killer knew the victim and in 12 percent killer and victim were related. However, in 43 percent the killer did not know the victim.
The analysis also revealed that victims tended to be young white adults. If the 12 men murdered in Seattle's Wah Mee gambling club in 1983 are taken out of the equation, there were about as many women killed as men.
Also, defendants and victims in aggravated-murder cases were more often than not longtime residents of Washington.
The killers in more than two thirds of the cases were judged to have average-to-high intelligence, and in half the cases they possessed either a general-equivalency diploma (GED), a high-school diploma or some college.
At least three of the murderers worked as security guards and one was a police officer and jail guard in the Philippines.
Overall, the killers had spotty employment records, often as a result of frequent scrapes with the law. In more than two-thirds of the cases, they had prior criminal convictions.
For instance, one man served time in 1969 for manslaughter before being convicted of aggravated first-degree murder in the 1984 slaying of a Pierce County junk dealer.
Another killer raped a woman in 1980, four years before he beat, raped and killed a 27-year-old King County waitress.
Donald Galbert's convictions dated back to 1966 and included burglary, rape, larceny, forgery and bank robbery. The 42-year-old received life for a 1984 murder in Clark County.
The weapon of choice in aggravated murders? Guns were used in 72 cases; knives in 35.
Many of the murderers, however, expressed their rage and cruelty with a multitude of tools:
-- In 1982 Robert Lindamood, 18, used a table leg and firewood to bludgeon to death a 77-year-old man in King County.
-- In 1983 John Anderson, 21, employed his hands, a table leg, a dowel and a screwdriver to kill a 24-year-old woman in King County. All her facial bones were broken.
-- In 1984 Louis Maryland, 41, beat an 85-year-old Pierce County woman with his hands and feet. Then, he injected her with medications and toxic substances.
-- In Seattle's Madrona neighborhood on Christmas Eve 1985, David Rice, 27, killed the Charles Goldmark family - father, mother, and the couple's two children - by bludgeoning them with a steam iron.
The defendant then stabbed one of the victims.
In other murders a club, hammer, pipe wrench, rope, a telephone receiver and fire were used.
Defenses? They were many and varied.
Defendants pleaded guilty in only 19 of the 125 cases.
Some clung to alibis or blamed an accomplice. Many cited booze. Some of the cases:
-- Kwan Fai Mak, 22, and Benjamin Kin Ng, 20, claimed they did not intend to kill anyone when they entered the Wah Mee club in Seattle's International District in 1983 and fatally shot 13 people.
-- Mitchell Rupe, 29, flatly denied his 1983 shooting of two bank tellers in Thurston County. He's on death row.
-- William Pawlyk cited insanity for stabbing his two victims more than 100 times each in 1989 in King County.
-- Brothers Paul St. Pierre, 24, and Christopher, 21, were convicted of two murders and had a myriad of excuses.
They were both convicted in the fatal beating of a 20-year-old Tacoma man in February 1984. Paul admitted being drunk, but blamed his brother for the murder.
Paul was convicted of aggravated first degree murder and given life. Christopher got away with the lesser conviction of first-degree murder.
The second slaying involved the shooting, stabbing and beheading of a 22-year-old Pierce County man in May 1984. In that case, Paul cited intoxicants, diminished capacity, insanity, justifiable homicide and self-defense. Christopher offered two excuses: duress and justifiable homicide.
Both were convicted of aggravated first-degree murder in the second case and received a sentence of life without parole. -- Times staff reporters Jack Broom and Richard Seven contributed to this report.
Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.