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Convicted child molester to be sentenced in rape, murder of Amber Dubois and Chelsea King

May 14, 2010 |  9:55 am

John Albert Gardner III is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in San Diego for raping and murdering two girls under a plea agreement that spared him the death penalty but denies him the possibility of parole.

Gardner pleaded guilty last month to killing 14-year-old Amber Dubois and 17-year-old Chelsea King. His arrest spark a wide-ranging review of how California deals with sex predators.

He was arrested Feb. 28, three days after he attacked Chelsea on an afternoon run in San Diego, strangled her, and buried her in a shallow, lakeside grave.

Gardner served five years of a six-year prison sentence for beating and molesting a 13-year-old girl in San Diego in 2000. He faced a maximum of nearly 11 years in prison, but prosecutors called for six years.

A court-appointed psychiatrist urged the maximum sentence allowed by law. He said in court documents that Gardner was a "continued danger to underage girls" and "an extremely poor candidate" for treatment.

Maurice Dubois, Amber's father, says in a statement to be read Friday that psychiatrist Dr. Matthew Carroll "was the only one who saw Gardner for what he is, a dangerous predator interested in young girls."

Gardner lived near a San Diego preschool for at least 16 months while on parole from 2005 to 2008. That violated a condition of parole that prohibited him from living within a half-mile of a school.

Amber's mother, Carrie McGonigle, met with Gardner in jail this week. None of the details of the conversation were released, but McGonigle said he answered all her questions. McGonigle had said she wanted to know why he chose Amber and how he abducted her.

McGonigle is expected to make a statement in court Friday before Gardner is sentenced. Gardner is expected to get life in prison without the possibility of parole.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: L.A. Times file