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  1. #1
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    Dennis Fink Stanworth - California

    A former death row inmate who said he killed his own mother turned himself in to Vallejo police Wednesday, police said.

    The man, identified as 70-year-old Dennis Stanworth, called police at 11:55 a.m. to report the death.

    Officers responded to his home in the 2500 block of Marshfield Road. Police said that once there, Stanworth brought them to the woman's body.

    The woman's identity has not been confirmed, but police believe she was Nellie Turner Stanworth, 89, the suspect's mother.

    Stanworth was booked into Solano County Jail on suspicion of murder.

    Police said he pleaded guilty in 1966 to kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing two teenage girls in Contra Costa County.

    He was sentenced to death, but later his sentence was reversed and he was given a life sentence. He was then paroled and registered with Valljeo police as a sex offender.

    http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/crime-...-mother/nTrmF/
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    Former Vallejo death row inmate: 'I plead guilty' to killing mother

    At his murder arraignment Friday, ex Death Row inmate Dennis Stanworth proclaimed "It's the third time," and "I plead guilty to everything" before his public defender could finish seeking a one-week delay in the case.

    According to Solano County Deputy District Attorney Karen Jensen and a one-count murder complaint, Stanworth killed his mother Nov. 6, at his house on the 2500 block of Marshfield Road in Vallejo and kept her body there until his confession. The body was discovered outside the house, Jensen said.

    Jensen declined further comment about the unfolding investigation - including how the death occurred.

    Sitting in a wheelchair, Stanworth appeared frail in court, and complained that he couldn't hear the proceedings.

    No formal plea was entered, and Solano County Superior Court Judge Donna Stashyn scheduled another arraignment hearing for Jan. 18. Stanworth, 70, was arrested Wednesday after he called Vallejo police and said he had killed his 90-year-old mother.

    His mother, Nellie Turner Stanworth, had been living at the Olympia Mobilodge of Napa in American Canyon. Stanworth was convicted in 1966 of kidnapping, killing and raping two 15-year-old Pinole girls. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death twice, but both death sentences were later reduced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. Stanworth was paroled in 1990.

    The Solano County Coroners Office completed an autopsy of the victim's body earlier Friday. However, the final autopsy report has not been released.

    http://www.timesheraldonline.com/new...i-plead-guilty
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  3. #3
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    Dennis Stanworth: A history of crime

    Here's a timeline of the criminal history of Dennis Fink Stanworth, who was arrested this week in Vallejo on suspicion of killing his mother.

    Aug. 12, 1965: Dennis Fink Stanworth, 22, kidnaps a 20-year-old Richmond nurse at knifepoint as she drives out of the Montgomery Ward parking lot. He rapes her and nearly kills her in Golden Gate Fields parking lot in Berkeley.

    Nov. 4, 1965: Stanworth kidnaps a 24-year-old woman near an El Sobrante shopping center, holding an ice pick to her throat. He rapes her and lets her go.

    May 13, 1966: Stanworth kidnaps a 17-year-old high school student, bounds her hands behind her back and rapes her on the beach in Point Richmond. He drives her back to her high school.

    Aug. 1, 1966: Susan Muriel Box and Caree Lee Collison, both 15, are hitchhiking along a highway in Pinole when Stanworth offers them a ride, and drives them at gunpoint to Point Wilson, overlooking San Pablo Bay. He forces the girls to walk across a field where he sexually assaults them after shooting both in the head.

    Aug. 3, 1966: Girls discovered. Collison is alive but in a coma. She dies Sept. 12, having never regained consciousness.

    Aug. 3, 1966: Same day bodies are discovered, Stanworth abducts 18-year-old woman from a Pacifica shopping center parking lot, orders her to drive him to his disabled car nearby. There, he pulls out a knife, robs her, ties her up and drives her to a beach where he rapes and tries to strangle her. He leaves her bound, but after he leaves she unties herself and hours later police arrest Stanworth in her car.

    Sept. 29, 1966: A month after confessing his crimes to police -- including that he had sexually assaulted a number of other women -- Stanworth pleads not guilty by reason of insanity to all counts. Contra Costa Superior Court judge orders him examined by two court-appointed psychiatrists.

    Nov. 14, 1966: Stanworth changes plea to guilty on all counts as to first-degree murder.

    Dec. 2, 1966: After a four-day penalty phase trial, a six-man, six-woman jury decides Stanworth should be executed in California's gas chamber. Stanworth puts up no resistance, and says he welcomes the execution order.

    Aug. 20, 1969: State Supreme Court sets aside Stanworth's death sentence, despite his protests that he deserved execution. Citing a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling the year before, the state justices say trial court erred in allowing the prosecution to reject 12 prospective jurors who had voiced objections to capital punishment.

    July 1974: New Contra Costa jury sentences him again to death.

    1972-1974: State Supreme Court holds that the state's death penalty constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment," and in August 1974 affirms Stanworth's conviction but reduces sentence once again to life with the possibility of parole.

    1979: State Parole Board, after several rejections, grants Stanworth a parole date citing his good behavior in prison.

    1990: Stanworth is released from prison on parole.

    1993: Stanworth is removed from parole oversight but must continue to register as a sex offender.

    Jan. 9, 2013: Stanworth contacts Vallejo police and admits killing his 90-year-old mother, who lived in an American Canyon mobile home park.

    Source: Published reports, government and court records
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  4. #4
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    Dennis Stanworth third death row inmate spared by state court to kill again

    Dennis Stanworth is a member of the notorious class of '72.

    More than 100 death row inmates were spared the gas chamber in 1972 after the California Supreme Court ruled capital punishment unconstitutional.

    His classmates all got life sentences, including the likes of serial killer Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan, Robert F. Kennedy's assassin. But not all served their full sentences and some who were released went on to commit new crimes.

    Last week, Stanworth -- who killed two Pinole girls in 1966, and raped four other women in the Bay Area -- became the third person paroled from death row to be accused of killing again as a free man. All three of those cases involved Bay Area slayings.

    Police say Stanworth called them Wednesday and admitted to killing his 90-year-old mother in his Vallejo home about two months earlier. Her body was found outside the house, a prosecutor said.

    Now 70 and appearing frail, Stanworth came to a hearing Friday in Solano County Superior Court in a wheelchair and exclaimed: "It's the third time," and "I plead guilty to everything."

    No formal plea, however, was entered as his defense attorney requested a week delay.

    Victim advocates are fuming that Stanworth was paroled in 1990 despite having a horrific rap sheet. The killer himself pleaded for death.

    Stanworth would never have been paroled today, according to Stanford University law professor Robert Weisberg, who tracks criminal justice trends and who calls this case is an anomaly.

    Almost 40 percent of the 107 death row inmates in the class of '72 had been released on parole, according to a 2003 Contra Costa Times article analyzing Department of Corrections data. About a third of those released committed new crimes. That rate was far lower than the 65 percent, three-year recidivism rate for all parolees released from prison during 2006-07, the most current figures from the Department of Corrections.

    In the class of '72, as of 2003, 42 people have been paroled and 24 died in prison. Of the 42 released, 12 had been charged with or convicted of new crimes.

    The Times' 2003 analysis also looked at the class of '76, consisting of 67 people on death row who got life sentences after the state's second capital punishment law was again ruled unconstitutional in 1976. Six of those formerly condemned inmates were paroled, with only one, a Contra Costa man, reoffending.

    Why the release?

    Stanworth confessed in 1966 to murdering two Pinole teens on Aug. 1, 1966, and raping one of the girls after he shot them both in the head. He also confessed to the savage kidnap and rapes of four other women in Berkeley, Richmond, El Sobrante and Pacifica during a 10-month span. He pleaded guilty, and during his sentencing phase he begged the judge to send him to the gas chamber.

    Despite objecting to an appeal and again pleading to be put to death, his case was automatically reviewed in 1969 and the state Supreme Court found jurors were improperly dismissed and reversed the decision. He was sentenced again to death in 1974 after a new trial, but the sentence was automatically commuted to life in prison because of the 1972 Supreme Court decision that banned the death penalty.

    In 1979, Stanworth was deemed fit for parole after attending therapy and conducting himself well in prison. He was eventually released in 1990.

    Life without a possibility of parole became a sentencing option in 1978. Stanford's Weisberg said the criminal justice system worked differently during that era.

    "It was the last gasp in the '70s in the kind of loose, rehab-oriented" courts and criminal justice system, said the co-director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center.

    "The real question is why he got paroled in 1990. What in the world was brought before them ... to let a 48-year-old man with that criminal record go free?" Weisberg said.

    "And yet it's hard to say it's a failure of the parole system if you don't commit another crime for 22 years," he said.

    Governors also hold the power to deny any prisoner parole. Former Gov. Pete Wilson, a Republican who held the office from 1991 to 1999, allowed many of the board's decisions to stand, while Democrat Gray Davis, who served from 1999 to 2003, overturned almost 300 of the board's decisions.

    Weisberg could not imagine someone with Stanworth's criminal record being released.

    "The rape-murder and other rapes, under any regime, would not be very sympathetic," Weisberg said.

    Other class of '72 cases

    In another case tied to a class of '72 parolee, jogger Armida Wiltsey's body was found Nov. 14, 1978, in brush near the Lafayette Reservoir trail. She had been strangled and had evidence of binding on her wrists.

    Her slaying was unsolved for decades, but DNA found under Wiltsey's fingernail matched hair from Darryl Kemp, who was serving a life sentence in Texas for three rapes.

    Kemp had been on death row for two rapes and the rape and murder of a Los Angeles nurse in the 1950s. After the 1972 court decision, his sentence was commuted to life, and he was paroled in 1978. He killed Wiltsey four months after his release.

    Kemp was convicted and again sentenced to death in 2009; he awaits execution in San Quentin State Prison.

    Robert Lee Massie, a former death row inmate from San Francisco, also killed only months after his parole release in 1978. He was again condemned and executed in 2001.

    It is unusual for longtime prisoners who are paroled at older ages to kill again, Weisberg said.

    "Paroling a murderer who has served a long sentence is empirically a pretty safe proposition," he said. "The recidivism rate for lifers on parole is pretty low."

    However, inmates with sex crime backgrounds do not fall into that category, the law professor said.

    'He was evil'

    Any recidivism rate at all troubles many victim rights advocates.

    Evelyn McGann's son Richard was stabbed 53 times and killed in 1984 by a parolee two weeks after his release. She is the chapter leader of Contra Costa Co./East Bay Chapter, Parents of Murdered Children, Inc.

    The San Pablo woman remembered Stanworth's case in 1966, after the bodies of Pinole teens Susan Muriel Box and Caree Lee Collison were found in a bush overlooking San Pablo Bay. When she read last week investigators believe Stanworth killed again, she could not believe he was a free man.

    "This man should never have been paroled -- ever," McGann said. "Not because he said he wanted to get the death penalty, but because he deserved the death penalty. He was evil."

    Ricky Lee Egberto, 29, the killer of McGann's son, is serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole, and the mother cannot imagine him being free.

    "Our victims are gone forever," she said. "They don't get a reprieve."



    http://www.contracostatimes.com/crim...ce=most_viewed
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  5. #5
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    Former Death Row inmate pleads not guilty in death of his 90-year-old mother

    A week after a court outburst in which he admitted killing his mother, former Death Row inmate Dennis Stanworth on Friday pleaded not guilty to the crime.

    Shackled and in jailhouse stripes, Stanworth, 70, appeared before Superior Court Judge Bradley Nelson, who scheduled a Feb. 21 hearing for further proceedings.

    Stanworth has been charged with the murder of his 90-year-old mother Nellie Stanworth at his Hiddenbrooke-area home. Prosecutors say she was killed on or about Nov. 6, but the cause of death has not yet been revealed. The woman had lived for several years in an American Canyon mobile home park.

    Stanworth was sentenced to die in December 1966 for the brutal slayings and sexual assault of two Pinole 15-year-old girls. He had pleaded guilty to the crimes and did not contest his punishment. The state Supreme Court, however, overturned that sentence in 1969 and a subsequent re-trial sentence in 1974. Stanworth was paroled in 1990.

    http://www.cncpunishment.com/forums/...orth#post39038
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  6. #6
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    Details emerge in ex-death row inmate's Vallejo murder case

    Ex-death row inmate Dennis Stanworth hid his 90-year-old mother's decomposing body in a trash bin for weeks before calling police to say he killed her, according to testimony at his preliminary hearing Friday.

    Stanworth, 70, of Vallejo, is charged with killing his mother, Nellie Stanworth, at his Hiddenbrooke-area home in early November. He told police he hit her in the head with a brick and slashed her throat before burying her in a garbage can filled with dirt.

    Shackled and wearing jail garb, Stanworth appeared before Superior Court Judge Alesia Jones, who held him over for trial after the hour-long hearing. An Aug. 16 hearing was scheduled for further proceedings.

    Stanworth told authorities that he killed his ailing mother because he “couldn't take it anymore,” Vallejo Detective Sean Kenney testified. He also indicated he didn't want to die before she did because he was concerned about who would take care of her.

    Stanworth, who looked after his mother, suffered a stroke last year, his attorney said.

    Stanworth was arrested Jan. 9, after he called Vallejo police and confessed to killing his mother, who had lived for several years at the Olympia Mobilodge of Napa in American Canyon.

    Vallejo Police Officer Michael Koutnik testified he was dispatched about noon to the house on the 2500 block of Marshfield Road. When officers arrived, he said Stanworth was crying and saying he killed his mother.

    Stanworth then led officers to a green garbage can in the backyard full of dirt. Koutnik said he and other officers donned gloves and dug into the dirt with gardening tools.

    “I saw what appeared to be a human finger protruding from the dirt,” Koutnik testified. They called the coroner's office next.

    Authorities later emptied the bin onto a tarp, revealing a clothed human body in a crouching position, Jackson Harris of the Solano County coroner's office testified. The body — later identified as Stanworth's mother — was wrapped in a blanket with a bucket over her head. Her head was also wrapped in plastic.

    Her injuries included skull fractures and a cutting wound that severed her windpipe, forensic pathologist Susan Hogan testified. Toxicology tests revealed she had ingested antidepressants and painkillers.

    Stanworth told police he'd covered her body with dirt and leaves and left it alongside the house for 12 days. After it began to smell, he placed it in a garbage can with soil and what he believed to be a decomposing agent, Kenney said.

    Stanworth's mother had been depressed following a medical procedure that made it hard for her to care for herself, her former neighbor and caretaker Laurie Vega said. Stanworth later helped her move into an assisted-living facility in Vallejo last fall. The last time she saw her was when she returned to the mobile home park in early November saying she was moving back, Vega said.

    She later heard from Stanworth that his mother was visiting her sister. He then told her she had passed away in her sleep, Vega said.

    Stanworth was convicted in 1966 of murdering two Pinole teenage girls he picked up hitchhiking. He drove the girls to the shoreline, forced them to undress, and shot them, after which he raped one of them.

    Stanworth pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death twice, but both death sentences were later reduced to life with the possibility of parole. He was paroled in 1990 and required to register as a sex offender.

    http://www.timesheraldonline.com/ci_...vallejo-murder
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    Jury may decide Dennis Stanworth's fitness

    A judge Thursday set a jury trial to determine if ex-death row inmate Dennis Stanworth is mentally competent to stand trial for allegedly murdering his mother last year in Vallejo.

    Solano County prosecutors asked for the trial after two court-appointed doctors found Stanworth, 71, could not rationally assist his attorney in his defense. Following the brief hearing in Superior Court Judge Robert Bowers' Fairfield courtroom, the trial was scheduled for March 10.

    According to court records, Stanworth was diagnosed with dementia and possible Alzheimer's disease connected to a stroke that occurred before his arrest.

    However, Deputy District Attorney Karen Jensen said later she believes the defendant is still fit to stand trial because "he recalls the event" in which he allegedly killed his mother.

    She added if Stanworth were sent to a state hospital, his mental condition could worsen beyond repair. Under that scenario, she said he could be released back into society after being held for the maximum of three years in the state's competency training program.

    Stanworth was arrested Jan. 9 after he called Vallejo police and confessed to killing his mother, 90-year-old Nellie Stanworth, at his Hiddenbrooke-area home.

    According to testimony at his preliminary hearing in August, Stanworth told police he hit his mother in the head with a brick and slashed her throat before burying her in his yard.

    He later stuffed her decomposing body into a garbage can filled with dirt, police said. Stanworth told police he killed his ailing mother because he was concerned about who would take care of her if he died before she did.

    Stanworth was convicted in 1966 of murdering two Pinole girls, one of whom he raped after shooting them both in the head.

    Despite pleading for death, he was spared the gas chamber in 1972 after the California Supreme Court ruled capital punishment unconstitutional. His sentence was reduced to life in prison, but he was paroled in 1990 and required to register as a sex offender.

    http://www.timesheraldonline.com/new...worths-fitness
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    Paroled killer found unfit to stand trial for allegedly slaying his mother

    Ex-death row inmate Dennis Stanworth — who proclaimed “I plead guilty to everything” at his murder arraignment last year — was found mentally incompetent Tuesday to stand trial for allegedly slaying his mother in Vallejo in 2012.

    Solano Superior Court Judge Robert Bowers issued the ruling after prosecutors dropped their request to hold a jury trial to determine Stanworth's competency.

    Prosecutors sought the competency trial in December after two court-appointed doctors found that Stanworth, 72, could not rationally assist in his defense. According to court records, Stanworth — who has appeared confused and feeble at his court hearings — was diagnosed with dementia and possible Alzheimer's disease connected to a stroke that occurred before his arrest.

    The district attorney's office changed its mind about pursuing the competency trial after more doubts were raised about Stanworth's mental condition, prosecutors said.

    Stanworth, who is being housed at the state-run California Medical Facility in Vacaville, was not present at Tuesday's hearing in Bowers' Fairfield courtroom. A hearing to determine his placement in a state hospital was scheduled for April 16.

    Prosecutors have voiced concerns about Stanworth's mental condition worsening beyond repair, in which case he could be released back into society after being held for the maximum of three years in the state's competency training program.

    Stanworth was arrested on Jan. 9, 2013, after he called Vallejo police and confessed to killing his mother, 90-year-old Nellie Stanworth, at his Hiddenbrooke-area home. Two days later at his arraignment, he proclaimed “It's the third time” and “I plead guilty” before his attorney could finish seeking a delay in the case. He later entered a not guilty plea.

    According to testimony at his preliminary hearing in August, Stanworth told police he hit his mother in the head with a brick and slashed her throat before burying her in his yard.

    He later stuffed her decomposing body into a garbage can filled with dirt, police said. Stanworth told police he killed his ailing mother because he was concerned about who would take care of her if he died before she did.

    Stanworth was convicted in 1966 of murdering two Pinole girls, one of whom he raped after shooting them both in the head.

    Despite pleading for death, he was spared the gas chamber in 1972 after the California Supreme Court ruled capital punishment unconstitutional. His sentence was reduced to life in prison, but he was paroled in 1990 and required to register as a sex offender.

    http://www.timesheraldonline.com/bre...egedly-slaying
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