After waiting 27 years, father dies without seeing his daughter's killer executed
George Cullins, whose daughter was murdered by Los Angeles-based serial killer Dean Phillip Carter in 1984, has died without seeing his most fervent wish come to pass: Carter's execution.
Cullins, 88, a retired Marine officer, died last week in Antelope Valley of complications from injuries he suffered in a traffic accident in October. His wife, Helen, remains hospitalized.
After the murder of his 24-year-old daughter, Janette, Cullins became an activist in favor of the death penalty and victims' rights. His daughter was found dead in her apartment in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego.
As the years after Carter's conviction dragged on, Cullins became dismayed with the judicial system and what he saw as its failure to carry through on court-ordered executions. "The death penalty is just another term for a long period of incarceration," he told the judge at Carter's sentencing hearing.
Carter, now 55, remains on death row at San Quentin for the murder of Cullins and three women in Los Angeles. He was sentenced to death in 1984 for the Los Angeles murders and in 1991 for the San Diego murder. He was also convicted of murdering a woman in Oakland.
"I think the death penalty is well warranted in this particular case," said San Diego Judge Melinda Lasater in accepting the jury's recommendation that Carter be executed for the sexual attack/murder of Janette Cullins.
Cullins was billed $65 by San Diego County for the cost of taking his daughter's body to the county morgue. The bill lead to public outrage and a change in county policy and state law.
When Carter's case was heard by the California Supreme Court, George and Helen Cullins were in the front row of the courtroom.
Cullins wrote innumerable letters and Op-ed articles decrying the slowness of death penalty appeals, a process that he felt only inflicted agony on the families of murder victims.
When a reporter from the North (San Diego) County reporter went to the Cullins home for an interview in 1998, a large picture of Janette Cullins was on the wall, with the motto, "Don't stop until the job is completed."
-- Tony Perry in San Diego