Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Roger Reece Kibbe: The I-5 Strangler

New Developments

It's clear to anyone who understands the psychological nature of a killer's signature that whoever killed one of these victims most likely killed the others. The uniqueness of the cutting and the consistency of the trace evidence, as well as the nature of the murders, indicate a repeat offender. Kibbe still faced the possibility of murder charges for the other deaths, if evidence could be developed, although the district attorney was notably reluctant to pick up the other cases. Yet the other families wanted legal closure so they kept the pressure on.

It took 17 years, but in March 2008, as Kibbe neared his second parole hearing (he was denied parole in 2004), it became clear that authorities had been preparing. The news emerged that Kibbe, now 68, has been accused of six more murders and had been indicted by a grand jury that had listened to eighty witnesses over the course of a month. The homicides had occurred between 1977 and 1986, and new names had been added to the list.

Lou Ellen Burleigh
Lou Ellen Burleigh

Despite having been convicted in only one murder thus far, Kibbe still bears the moniker "the I-5 strangler." On March 7, he appeared in a Stockton, Calif., court to face the indictment. The grand jury came back with an indictment that day.

Kibbe now stands accused of murdering Lou Ellen Burleigh on September 11, 1977, Lora Heedick on April 21, 1986, Barbara Ann Scott on July 3, 1986, Stephanie Brown on July 15, 1986, Charmaine Sabrah on August 17, 1986, and Katherine Quinones on November 5 that year—a crime to which he allegedly admitted to someone in prison. He was also charged with other crimes, such as kidnapping, rape, and forced oral copulation. If convicted of them all, he would face the death penalty.

On September 29, 2009, Kibbe pleaded guilty to all six murders as part of a deal to avoid the death penalty. Now 70, he is to be sentenced on Nov. 5 and faces six consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. To successfully avoid the death penalty, Kibbe must cooperate fully with police by providing details about the slayings.