Seattle's Green River Killer to plead guilty to 48 murders

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Brian W., Nov 2, 2003.

  1. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    Gary Ridgway, the accused "Green River Killer" from Seattle, Washington, is apparently planning to change his plea to guilty next Wednesday in exchange for King County prosecutors not seeking the dealth penalty against him. This will make him the person with the most murder convictions ever in the United States.

    I have a particular fascination with this case, since I was raised in the Seattle area during the time the murders were going on during the early 1980s. I recall there was near-hysteria in Seattle as police kept discovering new bodies, sometimes several in one week. The victims were mostly young female prostitutes or runaways. The final "official" victim was found about 2 miles from my house, in the forest behind Panther Lake Elementary School. I think that was in 1989, but she had been murdered in 1984.

    But the years went on, the body count seemed to dry up, and no one was ever charged with the crime. Books were written, and a lone detective continued working on the case, but I really felt, as did most people I'm sure, that they would never find their killer.

    Finally last year, a man whom the police had pegged as their number one suspect since 1984 was arrested for four of the murders, linked by DNA from semen matched to a DNA sample he had given back in '84.

    I was in the lunch room at work when I saw that report scroll by on CNN last year, and I RAN up the hall, all in a frenzy: "My God, they just arrested the Green River Killer!" I was out of breath, I was shaking. People were like, "What's the Green River Killer?"

    I guess it's hard to explain my reaction if you didn't live in the Seattle area in the early 1980s, but this case CONSUMED the news media up there for years. It was at the top of the news EVERY DAY for months on end. I remember having a nightmare when I was a teenager that I knew who the killer was, he lived next door to me -- and he knew I knew who he was, so he was after me.

    Then the case just seemed to dry up... They stopped finding bodies, the Green River Task Force disbanded, and there was little mention of the case for over a decade. To hear out of the blue that they'd made an arrest just knocked me for a loop.

    The man they arrested, Gary Ridgway, had been questioned by police in 1982 when a pimp called police to say his "girlfriend" had climbed into a black pickup truck with a white primer spot to turn a trick, then the truck sped off and the girl disappeared. Her name was Marie Malvar.

    The pimp and the girl's father drove around in the neighborhood where she'd disappeared and found the truck. They called the police, who went to the house and questioned the man living there, who claimed he'd never seen the girl before. That man was Gary Ridgway.

    Two years later, Ridgway's name came up on a list of men who'd been arrested for prostitution, and among the many intriguing details in his background, police found that he'd NEVER reported to work at his night-shift job on any night that a Green River victim disappeared.

    But they could never come up with anything more than circumstantial evidence, and he passed a lie detector test, so he remained free until the DNA test last year.

    Several months ago, according to "sources within the prosecutor's office," Ridgway began secretly leading detectives to additional bodies as part of a plea deal. Four additional bodies have been discovered so far, women that had been on the Green River "missing" list, but had never been found. And after all these years, the body of Marie Malvar, the young woman who had climbed into his black truck, was finally found just last month.

    Now the AP and other media outlets are reporting that he's prepared to plead guilty to all but seven of the "official" Green River victims, and will also confess to six others that were not on the Green River list -- including one in 1998, a case that had been ruled a drug overdose. (He apparently won't confess to anything outside of King County, where he's being charged.)

    Anyway, I just think it's a terribly interesting case, and I wondered if anyone else had been following it.
     
  2. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    Now they should turn on the juice and let him have every volt of it.
     
  3. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    Well, they can't... That's the deal -- full confession in exchange for no death penalty. And that's part of the current controversy surrounding the case.

    But it doesn't rule out the possibility of a death penalty case in another county, if they could proven he was guilty.
     
  4. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Hopefully he'll pull a Dahmer and get himself killed soon after landing in prison.

    I know the above sounds like an awful thing to say, folks, but my compassion meter doesn't work in cases like this.
     
  5. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    I realize they cannot do it since they made the deal. It was just wishful thinking. Anyway, rotting in jail with a 150 year sentence might actually be worse than a quick demise. I'm sure, after admitting to 48 murders, that the guy will not be returning to society, except in another life......and that one would be as a maggot.
     
  6. Brett Hancock

    Brett Hancock Supporting Actor

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    My mom was born and raised in the greater Puget Sound area and I remember her saying how scared every single women that she knew/worked with was during the whole thing back in the day. I was about 1-2 when the case dried up but I remember her telling me about it once. I was to young to grasp what she was saying but it's still creepy to think about now.

    And I really don't want to get in a debate about this but adding one more death to the 48 doesn't make it just.
     
  7. D. Scott MacDonald

    D. Scott MacDonald Supporting Actor

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    A lot of people around here are pretty upset. If the green river killer doesn't get the death penalty, how can you possibly justify it for anybody else? I guess the moral of the story is that if you do enough crime, the death penalty doesn't apply.
     
  8. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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  9. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    There was a good L&O episode on this topic.

    Disallowing the DP to allow closure for some families. Talk about King Solomon's choice, but helping the healing is more critical, I believe.

    Jail will not be kind. Let us hope.

    Take care,
    Chuck
     
  10. Noah Gottula

    Noah Gottula Stunt Coordinator

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    I also find it wierd that only people who live here in the Puget Sound region have ever heard of the Green River Killer. Although he might become more mainstream after the trial (made for tv movie?). But I never understand why criminals would rather spend their entire life behind bars as opposed to just ending it immediately. He will definately get messed with in a normal prison, so my bet is he will end up in some cushy prison where he gets to watch TV all day.
     
  11. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Scary stuff. I'm aware of the Green River Killer case, mostly due to A&E/TLC programming, and my wife's fascination with forensics.

    It's amazing that after all this time, they got the SOB. It's even MORE amazing to me that he's able to dodge a death penalty by pleading guilty. Somehow that seems backwards to me...
     
  12. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    Having grown up in the town where this nut was finally nabbed, I've been playing the 'Have-I-Walked-Past-This-Creep' game for the past few months. It's spooky, especially seeing that he isn't a wild-eyed loon, at least on the outside!
     
  13. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Brian, your post was very well-written.
     
  14. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    Thanks, Jack. I was worried it was too long, but I guess not.

     
  15. Hugh Jackes

    Hugh Jackes Supporting Actor

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  16. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    I knew about the Green River killer even though I lived in Sweden, but that was just because I liked the band Green River. [​IMG]

    I'm really glad they caught him, and I hope some of the victims families will find some closure. I don't like these bargains the prosecutors make with criminals.
     
  17. Jacinto

    Jacinto Second Unit

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  18. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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  19. D. Scott MacDonald

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    I've been listening to live coverage of the court proceeding in which he is currently pleading guilty. the prosecutors are being extremely careful to cross their I's and dot their T's. They submitted a 16 page summary, most of which was written by Ridegway himself. They were still reading it when I arrived at work. It's both fascinating and sickening to hear it read.

    According to the prosecutor, most of the victims families are happy with the plea agreement, but admit that many are not. They did point out, however, that without it Ridgeway would only be charger with 7 murders (vs. the 48 he currently admitting to). There are still 6 or 7 more green river victims to which he is pleading not guilty because the murders occurred in a different county where the plea agreement has no affect.
     
  20. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    It's amazing how little national coverage there's been. I've never seen any mention of the case on courttv.com. Sure we get tons of Kobe, Laci Peterson, and Robert Blake, but nothing on one of the most prolific and heinous serial killers in history. Ridgeway must feel slighted.
     

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