May 14th, 2010
05:27 PM ET

Man who admitted killing two teens gets multiple life terms

Registered sex offender John Albert Gardner III was sentenced to three consecutive life terms Friday for the deaths of two teens and the attempted rape of a third victim in a case that has sparked calls for stiffer penalties against sex offenders.

Gardner, 31, pleaded guilty April 16 to the murders of San Diego, California-area teens Chelsea King and Amber Dubois. He also pleaded to assault with intent to commit rape of a third person.

Gardner was arrested on February 28, three days after he abducted, raped and stabbed 17-year-old King, and buried her body in a shallow grave, according to court documents.  She was last seen alive leaving Poway High School. Her car was found at Rancho Bernardo Community Park, where she was known to run on the trails.

Dubois was last seen alive walking to Escondido High School on February 13, 2009. She was considered a missing person for more than a year, until Gardner led authorities to her remains in March in exchange for assurances that it would not be used against him in court.

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Filed under: Justice
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. chicagogam

    i think when one person said execution costs more, he wasn't referring to the cost of the bullet, but the cost of legal fees of the decades of appeals. lawyers aren't cheap...and the gov will have to probably pay for both sides.

    justice isn't cheap..nor is it guaranteed 🙂 but it's better than just giving up on it i guess...

    May 14, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jim

    @ks Do *your* homework. California has almost 700 men and women on death row and has executed 13 prisoners since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, almost 35 years ago. There have been no executions in over three years and currently there are only six inmates who have exhausted their appeals and are "ready" to be executed.

    The death penalty is a joke in California. In effect a death sentence in California is life without parole. On the other hand the cost of incarcerating death row inmates is $90,000/year MORE than is the cost of incarceration of prisoners serving life without parole. That doesn't take into account the millions spent on appeals and the wasted court time.

    The death penalty is broken in California. This animal would be safer on death row than in the general population, I say justice was, and will be, served

    May 14, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Never Got Closure

    He has probably been responsible for other missing girls over the years. Maybe over time he will confess to more killings and give closure to other families wondering what happened to their missing loved ones. My sister vanished when she was 11, right from our back yard. This was in the early 70's. We never had closure. We never knew what happened. We don't know if she is alive out there or passed on.

    May 14, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Moo cow moo

    Life if in a max security prison (which I assume he'll be at) is way worse than death, unless of course the punishment included a slow torturous death, like cutting out his intestines and letting him bleed to death while having the Jonas Brothers perform in front of him.

    Lethal Injection is like going to sleep. Big woop dee doo. Let him think about what he's done and let tyrone and bubba rip him a new one.

    May 14, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John Lane

    There are plenty of innocent people in jail, including death row. Innocent people have been executed. People who are innocent sometimes claim to be the perpetrator of a crime. For these reasons no one should be executed.

    But there is an even bigger reason: if they are guilty you send them to hell forever. If they live, they might repent. No crime is so big that they should go to hell forever without the chance to repent.

    May 14, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Orion Q. Pickletickle

    John Gardner pleaded guilty in exchange for the death penalty being removed from consideration. There was no trial here. The D.A. made the right choice. Why force the surviving victim and the victims' families to go through a trial? And, god forbid, open up the possibility of some crazy acquittal or mistrial? Accept the guilty plea, live without the death penalty, and lock him up for the rest of his life. Fine by me.

    May 14, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff

    Public castration followed by crucifixion – I have no qualms about making him suffer. Let the punishment fit the crime

    May 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Daniel Morgan

    You really must be kidding... Allowing this individual the right to live on this planet in this society.
    We have vast strides that need to be addressed within our criminal justice system that even remotely allowed something as tragic as this to occur. When looking into the background of this case these two young girls and their families were dealt an un-forgivable injustice.
    Life without the possibility of parole. Guess what your tax dollars my tax dollars will support him and others just like him until the day they die.
    I say all criminals convicted of murder should be allowed one appeal. This appeal should be extremely thorough as not to execute innocent people (which has happened). After that one appeal if there guilt is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt they should be executed.
    They took someones life and more than that they take a piece of life from the victims loved ones.
    On average across the United States Death Row Inmates sit on the row for approximately 12 years before their execution, and we pay for it......

    May 14, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. brenda

    Had you been following the entire story, you would have known that the families, the parents stated that when asked, they were ok with not going for the death penalty becuase its a waste of money ( the appeals parts), also, the DA accepted it in exchange for information about Amber. In CA, those monsters get appeal after appeal which is a waste of tax dollars... this way, the monster accepts life without parole, no more wasted money on appeals, he gets the slammer, his outfit, hit cot and his food. Yes, I agree, CA sucks where the 'lack of death' penatly in concered but, please, get all the facts before comments are made that sound 'ignorant'

    May 14, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BrotherJohn of Dallas

    Wow. Seriously? Looks like California might as well abolish the death penalty if this case does not warrant such a sentence.

    May 14, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mford66215

    Cheaper to keep him alive than kill him....which is kinda sad.

    Report of the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice
    “The additional cost of confining an inmate to death row, as compared to the maximum security prisons where those sentenced to life without possibility of parole ordinarily serve their sentences, is $90,000 per year per inmate. With California’s current death row population of 670, that accounts for $63.3 million annually.”

    Using conservative rough projections, the Commission estimates the annual costs of the present (death penalty) system to be $137 million per year.

    The cost of the present system with reforms recommended by the Commission to ensure a fair process would be $232.7 million per year.

    The cost of a system in which the number of death-eligible crimes was significantly narrowed would be $130 million per year.

    The cost of a system which imposes a maximum penalty of lifetime incarceration instead of the death penalty would be $11.5 million per year.

    Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, June 30, 2008).

    May 14, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. wayne

    he deserves to be tortured like the beast he is to feel the pain he's inflicted.....again and again

    May 14, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jeff briggs

    Bring back stoning or lynching. Maybe if there was some fear of a touture like death these sick F#$%s would think twice. Why waste taxpayers $$ to feed them?

    May 14, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ruby

    If giving him the deal to get life in prison as opposed to the death penalty meant that Amber's family got to bury and find out what happened to their little girl, then it's not a total loss people! Trust me, he'll get his just-desserts in Prison with the general population. This guy will be suffering for the rest of his life for what he's done, and I'm glad he has to be reminded everyday until he dies of what he's done to these two families (and to the ones we don't know about)!

    May 14, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tim Buteau

    We should chop of his unit.

    May 14, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
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