Gardner Sentenced To 3 Life Terms For Murders Of Chelsea King And Amber Dubois
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May 14, 2010 – Judge David Danielsen sentenced John Gardner to three life terms without the possibility of parole for the murders of 14-year-old Amber Dubois and 17-year-old Chelsea King.
Amita Sharma joins me from the KPBS News center. So Amita, John Gardner was sentenced today for the murders of two San Diego teenagers. What was the mood like in the County Courtroom? Gloria, it was wrenching day in a San Diego Courtroom today. Here's the sentence from Judge David Danielsen. DAVID DANIELSEN: At this time it is the judgment and the sentence of the court that for the crime of murder in the first degree of Chelsea King under special circumstances…life without the possibility of parole. For the crime of murder in the first degree of Amber DuBois under special circumstances …life in prison without the possibility of parole." SHARMA: The judge sentenced John Gardner to three life terms without the possibility of parole for the murders of 14-year-old Amber Dubois and 17-year-old Chelsea King. The sentences capped an emotional hearing in which the girls' parents condemned their daughters' killer calling him a coward who would burn in hell. Amber's mother Carrie McGonigle said no one can appreciate the horror that her life has become. CARRIE MCGONIGLE: You have taken my daughter and my best friend. You have taken my youngest daughter's role model and her innocence. You have taken a bright shining star from this community and our world away from us, and for what purpose? To serve your sick twisted, perverted mind. Today, justice is served. I do not hold the justice system guilty, I hold you guilty. Guilty for robbing each of us of these beautiful girls. SHARMA: Chelsea's father Brent King said he blamed Gardner's mother - a psychiatric nurse - for indulging her son. King said she should have come to authorities when Amber disappeared last year and when searches got under way for Chelsea near her home. King said the criminal justice system has also failed. BRENT KING: I am not alone in my frustration with a justice system that ten years ago identified this coward as a serious and violent threat to young girls, and failed to imprison him and monitor him for the rest of his life. I am angry at the so-called experts who repeatedly tell us that cowards like him, violent predators who target children, can be rehabilitated when all of us with a sense…with an ounce of common sense know that our children are not safe, and that these cowards pose an untenable risk to our kids. SHARMA: Gardner did not address the grieving parents. He sobbed when a video was played of Amber as a young girl. He did lift his gaze when Chelsea's mother Kelly King told him to look at her.