December 19, 2003
Green River Killer sentenced +
The 20 year investigation and trial of the Green River killer, who murdered 48 women, finally ended yesterday with a fitting sentence of 48 consecutive life sentences. Gary Ridgway, the murderer, actually offered some apology to the families of the victims, saying he has "tried for a long time to keep from killing any more ladies." During the trial, he had been totally flat and without remorse.
Each family got to have 10 minutes to tell him whatever they wanted, and some of them told him what his murders did to their families, with stories of depression, substance abuse, and suicide. I think the judge's statement is the best though: "The women you killed were not throwaways, or pieces of candy in a dish, put upon this earth to satisfy your murderous desires ... There is nothing in your life that was significant other than your own demented, calculating and lustful passion of being the emissary of death."
Interesting how murders like Laci Peterson get total media saturation and national outpouring of emotional tributes, whereas stories about the murders of 48 young women, many of whom were prostitutes and runaways, aren't anywhere near the front page. Except in Seattle, where the Times features excerpts from the families' statements to Ridgway. -amy
Also of note is that his apology came on the same day that the nurse who "mercy"-killed all those people began resisting (through his lawyer) the express path to the death sentence he had previously been on. His lawyer has said he will no longer cooperate unless the death penalty is taken of the table. It seems to me he doesn't have much to bargain with, since investigators presumably could just check the records of where he worked and take another look at those who died under his care. It would take a while, but if what you really want is to execute this person, why let him off the hook just for telling you information you're going to uncover yourself anyway?
All in all, it was just a terribly grisly day in the news yesterday, with the GRK, the nurse, the Malvo conviction, the M. Jackson charges, and so on. Well, someone's going to get a lump of coal in his stocking in a few days! Santa hates serial killers. -adm