In 2011, in a courtroom in Kent, Washington, convicted serial killer Gary Leon Ridgway pleaded guilty to killing a 20-year-old woman. This was his 49th victim. The charge was aggravated first-degree murder after the woman’s remains were found in a ditch in December 2010 near Auburn, Washington.
Plea Deal Removes Possibility of Death Penalty
The plea deal that removed the possibility of Ridgway receiving the death penalty was controversial. In exchange for this, Ridgway led police to the remains of many of his victims. While Ridgway allegedly claimed that he had killed over 60 women between 1982 and 1998 in King County, when the plea deal was agreed to, prosecutors had evidence in 48 murders.
Many of the women he killed were drug users, runaways and prostitutes. He was finally picked up by police after someone saw one of his victims getting inside his truck. He denied being involved in the killings, though, and actually passed a polygraph test in 1984. Eventually, DNA evidence was used in 2001 to connect him to some of the murders.
According to The Seattle Times, he told police that he killed the women “because he hated them, didn’t want to pay them for sex, and because he knew he could kill as many as he wanted without getting caught.” Ridgway told police he found the women on the street, picked them up and strangled them in his truck or in his home. He would get rid of the women’s bodies by hiding them near fallen logs or trees so he could remember where he put them.
Defenses Against First-Degree Murder Charges
There are several defenses that might be used when facing such a serious criminal charge. These can include insanity, self-defense, and more. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help those who have been charged with murder by developing a strong defense strategy.
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