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Thread: Colin Dickey - California Death Row

  1. #1
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    Colin Dickey - California Death Row




    Facts of the Crime:

    The murder victims were Fresno residents Marie Caton, 76, and Louis Freiri, 67, a friend and boarder of Mrs. Caton’s. Their bodies were discovered by one of Mrs. Caton’s daughters, Lavelle Garratt. Mrs. Garratt or her sister checked on their mother every day, “because she was lonely, because she was our mother, because we loved her and we wanted to see her.” Late in the afternoon of November 8, 1988, when Mrs. Garratt could not reach her mother by telephone, she drove to her house. She found Mrs. Caton on the floor of her bedroom, covered with a bloodstained blanket. Mrs. Caton was beaten so badly her eyes bulged out of their sockets like golf balls. Mrs. Caton also had knife wounds on her chest and a jagged cut on her back. She lingered for 11 days, but never regained consciousness. The cause of death was respiratory failure associated with “shock lung syndrome,” the shock having been caused by her injuries.

    Mr. Freiri wore a brace on his right leg and required a cane. Mrs. Garratt found him facedown, stretched across the archway between the dining room and the living room. A chair, wall, and window blinds near his body were bloodstained. Pieces of his cane were found in the living room and one of the bedrooms. Mr. Freiri had been stabbed in the chest, armpit, and forearm; he also had a bone-deep laceration on his forehead. He was stabbed with such force that two of his ribs were broken. He died of blood loss. Mrs. Garratt told the police she suspected her son, Richard Cullumber. Cullumber was, Mrs. Garratt believed, a drug addict, and he asked his grandmother Mrs. Caton for money⎯cash she would take out of a buffet drawer⎯almost every day. Mrs. Caton “grew up during the Depression and she was afraid of being hungry again, I guess, and so she hid money all over.” Among other caches, Mrs. Caton kept at least $6,000 in cash in a metal box placed inside a suitcase stored under her bed. She also kept a smaller sum in another suitcase. Cullumber, also known as “R.C.,” lived in an apartment in Fresno, along with Colin Dickey, Gail Goldman, Richard Buchanan, and two other men. The night of the murders Cullumber packed his bag and left the apartment. He returned several days later but fled again when informed the police were looking for him. On November 12, 1988, after a high-speed police chase, Cullumber, cornered, killed himself. The pistol Cullumber used to shoot himself was registered to Mr. Freiri. He had earlier warned the driver of a car he commandeered, “I need the car; I've already killed a woman. Two knives possibly linked to the murders were discovered in Mrs. Caton’s kitchen—a butcher knife and a steak knife. The steak knife was, in the opinion of Dickey’s housemates Gail Goldman and Richard Buchanan, identical to a knife belonging in their apartment.

    In addition to his knife wounds, Mr. Freiri had a four-inch-long ligature wound, caused by a cord that was wrapped around his neck. It was a cotton cord of the color, weave, and texture used in venetian blinds. The venetian blinds in Mrs. Caton’s house were intact, but a venetian blind kept in the hall closet of the apartment Dickey shared with Cullumber and the others was missing its cord.

    On the night of the murders, Gene Buchanan saw Dickey remove a venetian blind from the closet of their apartment, walk into the bedroom with it, and then replace it in the closet. Goldman testified it was Cullumber who had done that. Dickey’s thumbprint was found on a slat from the venetian blind found by the police in the apartment closet.

    Dickey was sentenced to death in Fresno County on February 27, 1992.

  2. #2
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    On March 31, 2006, Dickey filed a habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/cal...v00357/147954/

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