Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Released Killer Accused of Murdering Own Mother

Dennis Stanworth. Police photo.

In 1966, Dennis Stanworth shot and killed two teenage girls. He had seen Susan Box, 15, and Caree Collison, 14, walking in Pinole, Ca., and offered them a ride. He then forced them to walk away from the road at gunpoint and ordered them to undress. When Collison tried to escape, Stanworth told her that if she ran, he’d kill her friend. She came back, and he shot them both in the head. He then performed sex acts on Box’s body. Prior to the murders, Stanworth raped two adult women and one 17-year-old girl. In 1969, Standworth pleaded guilty to murder, kidnapping, rape and other charges.

Stanworth was sentenced to death. He had confessed to everything and, while in prison, was remorseful. He actively objected to an appeal on his behalf, stating “The fact is I did it and I am guilty as charged and there is no doubt to that fact. I had a fair and impartial trial and swear that the conviction, which has resulted in the sentence of death is valid.” However, state law requires automatic appeals of death sentences, even against the wishes of the defendant. Based on several issues, including the dismissal of numerous jurors who objected to capital punishment, Stanworth’s death sentence was overturned. In 1979, he was released on parole under the condition that he register as a sex offender. Now, decades later, he’s accused of killing his 90-year-old mother.

According to Vallejo police, Stanworth, 70, called 911 Wednesday claiming to have killed his mother, Nellie Turner Stanworth, known to friends as “Nellie Belle.” A neighbor in the American Canyon mobile home park where Nellie Stanworth lived believed that the woman had been dead for over a month, because, according to NBC, that’s what Stanworth had told him. Instead, say police, her body was found in Stanworth’s home in the Hiddenbrooke neighborhood of Vallejo.

A relative of Caree Collison had a feeling Stanworth would strike again, telling ABC, “I knew, I knew something was going to happen; he’s such an evil man.”

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