SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – The man accused of strangling the California serial killer known as “I-5 Strangler” is not facing the death penalty, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Amador County District Attorney Todd Riebe said he has filed first degree murder charges against Jason Budrow and will seek life in prison without the possibility of parole, reported the Sacramento Bee.
Budrow, 40, is accused of strangling Roger Reece Kibbe, whose body was discovered on February 28 in their shared cell at Mule Creek State Prison, southeast of Sacramento.
Budrow is already serving life without parole for strangling his then-girlfriend in 2011 in Riverside County.
Death penalty cases are expensive and time consuming cases that involve automatic appeals. California has not executed anyone since 2006, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a moratorium on the death penalty during his tenure.
Kibbe, 81, was initially convicted in 1991 for strangling Darcine Frackenpohl, a 17-year-old girl who had run away from her Seattle home. His nearly naked body was found west of South Lake Tahoe below the Echo Summit in September 1987.
Investigators then said they suspected him in other similar murders.
But it wasn’t until 2009 that an investigator from the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office used new developments in DNA evidence to link it to other murders in northern California counties.
Kibbe pleaded guilty to six more murders in exchange for prosecutors refusing the death penalty.
These victims were Lou Ellen Burleigh, 21, in 1977 and Stephanie Brown, 19; Lora Heedrick, 20; Katherine Kelly Quinones, 25; Charmaine Sabrah, 26; and Barbara Ann Scott, 29, all in 1986.
Kibbe was serving several life sentences without the possibility of parole when he was killed.
In a letter to The Mercury News last month, Budrow said he killed Kibbe the same day they became cell mates, initially so he would have a cell for himself.
“What started out as my original plan to do a simple homicide of a cellmate to gain my single cell status turned into a mission of revenge for this youngest girl and all of Roger Kibbe’s other victims. He wrote.