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Parents of Chelsea King, Amber Dubois supported plea deal for killer, prosecutors say [Updated]

The families of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois supported a plea agreement by a 31-year-old registered sex offender who has admitted murdering the two teenage girls, prosecutors said.

John Albert Gardner III, 31, has pleaded guilty to strangling King during a rape attempt and stabbing Dubois during a rape attempt. He also admitted attacking another female jogger, who escaped.

Answering in a clear voice, Gardner answered “yes” to a series of questions from the judge, asking if he understood the terms of the bargain.

The plea bargain was meant to spare him from the death penalty. Under the agreement, Gardner will be returned to prison for life without the possibility of parole.

In a news conference with Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis, Amber Dubois’ father, Maurice Dubois, said the plea bargain will allow “justice and closure” for his daughter’s murder. Brent King, Chelsea’s father, said lengthy court proceedings would have had a “destructive effect” on their 13-year-old son, Tyler, and the community and distracted from the family’s campaign for tougher laws for sex offenders.

Dumanis said that without Gardner’s guilty plea, her office would not have had enough evidence to take him to trial for Amber Dubois’ murder.

[Updated at 4:06 p.m.: Authorities said Gardner led them to the body of Dubois, 14, who had been the subject of several searches.]

King, 17, an honor student at Poway High School, disappeared Feb. 25 while jogging near Lake Hodges. Gardner was arrested three days later, reportedly on the strength of DNA evidence.

On March 2 law enforcement searchers found King’s body in a shallow grave 10 feet from the water’s edge.

On March 6, the skeletal remains of Dubois were found buried in the rugged Pala area northeast of Escondido. She disappeared Feb. 13, 2009, while walking to class at Escondido High School.

Gardner pleaded not guilty March 3 to the murder and rape of King. The discovery of Dubois’ body, after hundreds of volunteers had searched for months, led to speculation that Gardner had led authorities to the body. But until Friday’s hearing, his indictment for the murder of Dubois had not been made public. His next court date in the King case was not until August.

The hearing in San Diego County Superior Court was hastily arranged, with prosecutors and defense counsel refusing to give a reason. Gardner’s arrest has sparked widespread public criticism over allegedly lax supervision of sex offenders.

Gardner spent five years in prison for beating and molesting a 13-year-old girl. He was paroled in 2005.

--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photos: Amber Dubois, left, and Chelsea King.

Comments () | Archives (19)

I want to see Gardner DIE, not in a lockup making problems with the other cons and the officers.

A terrible tragedy. Thank God this viscious scumbag will be locked up forever. The only thing that pains me is that he will be feed and live a healthy life on the taxpayer's dime...

how come they do not mention the jogger, i think she is latino. is she not worthy

Having visited San Diego County in the last year and seeing Amber's picture on signs you say where is the child? u learn of her death and life and say what a tragedy. So young, innocent, caring, loving.

To see that the parents wanted just justice, not death, reflects the lives of thier beautiful children.

So much love , so much hate, in the end love wins, what a tradegy.


the only justice for that sack of trash is a 45 cal bullet!

Are these comments really moderated? If so, how was Jim's comment approved?

It's so tempting to say; "too easy, too easy". This guy Gardner deserves nothing less than prolonged, painful slaughtering leading to his sure death.
But on the other hand this agreement may, in the long run, prove just and final.
By this agreement, the surviving families, members and friends of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois life are certainly spared a continuing torment of trials and appeals. Only that this route is more humane for the victims loved ones, let’s not lose sight that the otherworld is not finished with Gardner.
Being that he won't enjoy the protective protocols of death row; his future may prove to be a very limited tenure amidst the waiting general prison population.
Karma will find you Mr. Gardner and I pray that it is terrifyingly brutal.

Welcome to the USA. Sickos kill, rape, and live.

The law-abiding die because the scum lawyers will get the sickos off on technicalicites if things go to trial.

Hopefully this piece of crap gets his in jail.

Our legal system is broke. Not much justice.

they should hang him

hope he suffers a slow painful death. but what he really deserves is one right between the eyes. Take him abruptly to his place of execution and drop the hammer on an empty chamber. Do this 3 or 4 times a day, and at all hours of the night. Beat him till he shits on himself between trips. No food,no medical care,treat him like the pussy cur that he is. After a couple of days give him some rope and tell him to do the right thing for once in his pathetic life. But don't let him die. Revive him and THEN put one between his eyes

@ little italy
May they didn't identify the other jogger because there wasn't a need to. She got away and wasn't raped and murdered. She wasn't a rape victim, but there was an attempted rape, so it's the same concept; rape victims who survive aren't identified. Seems like the media is allow her the same privacy that white people get too. Stop trying to see racism in everything.

Very sad indeed. My condolences and prayers to the family. Sadly, under California law, Life Without Parole does not really exist. This POS will be eligible for "review" after 35 years in prison. Something to consider as he is 31 years old.

Wow, these parents are much stronger willed than I. Maybe I need to start going to church. If any dirtbag ever finds his life in my hands because he harmed my family in any way, I would have a hard time forgiving. Especially for raping and murdering my child. I personally think, for rape and murder especially, that we should hold public executions. If there is strong DNA evidence or a confession, immediately hold a public execution and force lesser criminals and "at risk youth" to witness in person and up close. For people that are against public execution, DON'T WATCH!!. If capital punishment is used more often and more timely , and you made criminals watch "what is going to happen to you next time", crime will go down. Also, this rapist/murderer now has the rest of his life to escape from prison and rape and kill someone elses beautiful young daughter. I hope that doesn't happen, but if it does there WILL be a few people to blame for it.

thats what happens when leftists win. death rape and ultimately the death of the culture an the invasion of murderers rapists. history. fact. good news is at least the liberals get murdered too.

One of the overlooked benefits of concealed carry laws, beyond the obvious and well-documented effect of preventing crime, is that rapists and murderers who are apprehended at gunpoint or killed are prevented from preying on others.

Out in 35 years? When will the legal system align itself with the protection of the public instead of the "rehabilitation" of the predators?

I'm sure all of the Democrats, Obamaites and others who hold criminal rights over victim rights are thrilled! Who sickening that this was allowed. The liberal justices and prosecuting attorneys who allow such things to happen are just as bad as this scumbag.

Another victory for criminals and those who believe they have rights.

How did the police miss this one? Amber had been missing almost a year when the attempted rape was reported. Why didn't detectives scour the sex offender data base for the attempted rape victim to review, she reported a very violent attempt at rape. Gardner was labeled as a high risk sex offender who showed no remorse at his prior actions, how many of those do we have in So CA?
Also it was reported on the radio by a friend or relative that Gardner was living with relatives in San Diego County while registering as a sex offender in Lake Elsinore. Those relatives should be accountable for this child's death, how deceitful to harbor a violent sex offender in a community without registering him.

I think that life in a California prison without the possibility of parole is a fate worse than death. Maybe the average citizen doesn't realize what a hell these prisons are. To make this man live for years locked up in some hell hole in the desert while he reflects on his crimes, most likely despised and abandoned by everyone on the outside, is much worse than dying by lethal injection. Nothing can bring back these young women and the families have suffered enough. Let the suffering begin for the guilty man. As someone who has had experience with the California Dept of Corrections, I can assure you he has indeed been sentenced to a fate worse than death.


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