Stayner is an
American serial killer currently on death row for the 1999
murders of four women in Yosemite, California. Stayner's victims
were Carole Sund, her daughter Julie, Argentine exchange student
Silvina Pelosso and park employee Joie Armstrong.
Born on August
13, 1961, Stayner claimed after his arrest that he had
fantasized about murdering women since the age of seven.
Stayner's family life was fairly traumatic; his younger brother,
Steven, was kidnapped by pedophile Kenneth Parnell in 1972 and
held hostage for eight years. Stayner would later say he felt
neglected as his parents grieved over the loss. When Steven
escaped and returned home, he received massive media attention
(a true crime novel and TV movie were made about the ordeal),
further embittering his older brother. Steven died in a
motorcycle accident in 1989. The following year, Stayner's
uncle, whom he was living with at the time, was murdered. Since
Stayner's arrest, some have speculated he may have been the
culprit although this has never been proven.
attempted suicide in 1991 and was arrested in 1997 for
possession of marijuana and methamphetamine, although the
charges were eventually dropped. That same year, he was hired on
as a handyman at Cedars Lodge in Yosemite ó where, between
February and July 1999, he murdered four women. He was initially
questioned when his first three victims were found, but was
never seriously considered a suspect. When the fourth body was
found in July, however, he was questioned again and arrested
after a search warrant for his truck yielded evidence linking
him to the victim. He eventually confessed to all four murders.
He pleaded not
guilty by reason of insanity, his lawyers citing a family
history of sexual abuse and mental illness, manifesting itself
not only in the murders but also in Stayner's admitted
pedophilia (he at one point requested child pornography in
return for his confession) and obsessive-compulsive disorder. He
was nevertheless found sane and convicted of four counts of
first degree murder by a jury in 2001. In 2002, during the
penalty phase of his trial, he was sentenced to death. An appeal
nationwide publicity the case received, the FBI was heavily
criticized for not arresting Stayner before he murdered his
fourth victim. There is also speculation among some law
enforcement officials and forensic science specialists that
Stayner did not commit the murders by himself. To date, no one
else has been charged in connection with Stayner's crimes.
Cary Stayner: Murder Among the Sequoias
National Park is a vast area of mountain paths, alpine
wilderness and redwood forests, one of the most beautiful scenic
attractions in America. Set aside in 1890 to preserve a portion
of the natural beauty of the Sierra Nevadas in California, its
breathtaking topography rises as high as 13,000 feet above sea
level. Two-hundred miles of winding road and .840 miles of foot
trail have lured tourists, campers and skiers for decades.
recently, under the mosaic of green conifer pines, domes of
granite rock, silvery waterfall and misty mountain sky, a killer
lurked. His first victims were a 43-year-old woman and two
teenagers. They were missing for more than a month, and when the
FBI located their bodies a cry of "serial killer!" shook the
peaceful tranquility of God's country.
began on Feb 12, 1999.when Carole Sund, daughter Juli 15, and
16-year-old Silvina Pelosso left the Sund home in Eureka,
California, and started on a vacation to where the foothills of
the Sierra Nevada Mountains melt into Yosemite. After first
flying to San Francisco, where Mrs. Sund rented a red 1999
Pontiac Gran Prix, they paused in Stockton, where Juli took part
in a cheerleading contest at the University of the Pacific. They
then headed out for Cedar Lodge in El Portal, which is located
on Yosemite's western slope. There, a room for three was
reserved. They arrived at the inn early on the 14th.
Sund and her husband, Jens, 43, both prominent realtors in the
Stockton area, had been entertaining the Pelosso girl for
several weeks. A foreign exchange student from Argentina and a
friend of Juli's, she was spending three months with the family
that had already shown her the Bay Area and Disneyland. Jens
couldn't accompany them on this trip because he needed to
prepare for an upcoming business trip.
15, the ladies hiked and took in the wonders of the park.
According to the FBI, witnesses later reported seeing the trio
inspecting the giant sequoia trees in nearby Tuolumme Grove.
That evening, by reports, the mother and the teens rented a
couple of videos from the lodge's service desk to watch in their
them were seen alive again.
staff claimed that when they cleaned the room the next morning,
Feb. 16, they had detected no evidence of foul play. Check-out
had been done in advance and the keys were left on the room
desk, as was customary. Jens Sund had scheduled to meet them at
the San Francisco airport that evening on his way to Arizona, to
where the others were to accompany him. While he attended his
meeting, the females were to tour the Grand Canyon.
did not find his wife at the airport and assumed she had flown
ahead," writes columnist Robert F. Howe in Time magazine. "She
was not in Phoenix, either, but he played a round of golf there
the next day and when she had still not attempted to contact
him, he called the police." Evidently, it seemed that the ladies
had never returned the rented Pontiac nor notified an anxious
rental agency that they were extending their agreement.
police and Yosemite security began to search the area where the
missing three were last seen. Initial suspicion was that they
may have wandered off the main hiking paths and got lost in the
maze of confusing woodland. But, soon that assumption dwindled.
four weeks, police, family and volunteers combed the rugged
terrain of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in and near Yosemite
National Park by helicopter, foot and skis," report Patricia
King and Nadine Joseph in Newsweek. "They were looking for a
missing red 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix -- and the women who rented
it." But, when days passed and, strangely, Carole's wallet,
showed up on a Modesto (Calif.) street -- its money and contents
intact - the FBI smelled something bigger.
point, we have not yet uncovered evidence to allow us to
determine conclusively whether this was a tragic accident or a
criminal act," said FBI agent Nick Rossi on Feb. 26. But, two
weeks later, FBI predictions darkened. After a massive
search-and-rescue team working around the clock in a 30-mile
radius failed to find anyone, agent James Maddock, now placed in
charge of the investigation, told the press, "We feel almost
certain that the women were victims of a violent crime."
of the discovery of Sund's wallet in suburban Modesto, police
and FBI canvassed (to quote Maddock) "the logical routes in and
out of that spot, interviewing homeowners and business owners
and others who may have seen them." The Bureau relocated its
headquarters from Yosemite to Modesto at this point and, on Feb.
28, twelve days after the women's disappearance, hinted that was
is no longer treating the Sund incident as a missing persons
case, but as murder. More than a thousand leads, they confessed,
produced nothing. Still, the Bureau intensified its search,
recruiting the use of more high-tech equipment and air support.
last days of February stumbled into March, the public still
hoped. In Modesto, a march and vigil were held for the missing
persons. Unofficially, Jens Sund offered a $250,000 reward for
information that would lead to the to the return of the missing
women. After a couple of weeks, he upped the sum to $300,000.
But, to no avail. Mrs. Sund's parents, Francis and Carole
Carrington, appeared on television's Good Morning, America, to
entreat the prayers of Americans and their help in locating
their daughter and the children.
nowhere else were expectations higher than among the other Sund
children who believed their mother and sister Juli would be
returned. By the middle of March, however, even their
anticipations sagged. "Her mother, sisters and family friend had
been missing for a month by the time Gina Sund read her poem in
front of a thousand or so people who gathered in Modesto,"
writes Time. "'Deep in my heart I know something my mind does
not want to learn,' said Gina,13. 'I try to stay strong because
I know that's what you'd want your baby to be, but, Mommy, I
don't want you to leave me.'"
came hard reality. The Sund family's worst fears were confirmed
when a hiker wandered onto the site of a burned-out red 1999
Pontiac hidden off the Highway 108 in the Stanislaus Forest
region late in the day on March 18. The California Highway
Patrol verified the car's license plate as Mrs. Sund's rented
vehicle and immediately notified the FBI. Agents arrived at the
scene early the 19th. Opening the trunk, investigators found two
charred bodies. The corpses were unrecognizable, bit within days
were identified as Carole Sund and Silvina Pelosso. Authorities
now suspected that young Juli may have met with a similar fate
the vicinity, FBI agents spread out along Highway 108,
questioning locals and stopping cars for any information that
might tell them how and when the car got there, but, more
importantly, to find Juli.
was near Lake Pedro in Tuolumme County, miles away, that the
badly decomposed body of Juli Sund was at last found on March
25. The girl's throat had been cut.
Throughout the next several weeks, a task force (comprised of
FBI agents and law enforcers from four surrounding counties),
dedicated to no other purpose than to round up suspects,
arrested several known sex offenders, drug users and ex-convicts
with a record of violence from within a 75-square-mile area
between Modesto and Sonoma. The police figured that the killer
of the three women was someone familiar with the county, for
whoever was guilty had successfully maneuvered an otherwise
obvious shiny red Pontiac unseen through the natural terrain of
ravines, lakes, dense woods and country roads. More so, opined
the FBI, only a native would have been aware of the
out-of-the-way site where the car, with its grisly contents, was
March 29 edition of Newsweek: "The FBI...believes that the
killer knows the area of abandoned gold mines well enough to
hide the car off a spur road where locals dump old
refrigerators, cars and washing machines. And well enough to
know that the smell of a burning car would likely not attract
attention because the air often reeks from people burning their
garbage. Unsettled locals are starting to whisper about possible
murderers in their midst."
mid-April, those who had been apprehended-on-suspicion were
ordered to testify in front of a grand jury in Fresno,
California. "A few weeks later," says the Fresno Bee, "(James)
Maddock (in charge of the FBI manhunt) ...confirmed what The Bee
and other news media outlets already were reporting: that the
key players in the sightseer slayings had been arrested and were
in jail on unrelated charges."
not named in print at the time, these names have since been
published by the Fresno Bee:
Michael "Mick" Larwick, 42, of Modesto, part of a vagabond group
of methamphetamine drug users and friends centered in the
Modesto area. Larwick, who grew up in Tuolumme County near where
the bodies of Carole Sund and Silvina Pelosso were found, was
jailed March 16 after he allegedly shot a Modesto police
officer, an event that was ensued by a 14-hour standoff. He has
an long criminal record and has been questioned extensively by
the FBI. He denies any role in the Yosemite slayings.
"Rufus" Dykes, 32, also of Modesto and Larwick's half-brother.
Arrested in March, he is now serving a year at Deuel Institute
for an unrelated parole violation and has a long criminal record
including sex and weapons convictions. In an interview from
Deuel in June, he denies any involvement in the murders.
Joe Strange, 39, an El Portal parolee who worked at the Cedar
Lodge lounge and restaurant, where the murdered women were last
seen. He was arrested March 5 when he allegedly reported to his
parole officer with liquor on his breath. The FBI pushed for
Strange's arrest, but he denied any part in the triple murders.
Reportedly, many friends have rushed forward to his aid, calling
the FBI's suspicion a travesty.
Darrell Gray Stephens, 55, Strange's roommate. Convicted in 1978
for rape and robbery, he was jailed March 14 for failing to
register as a sex offender. Stephens told the Bee that he is
the four men listed above were considered the main murder
suspects in the initial inquiries, others have since been
questioned by the FBI in the meantime. These people, who were
never regarded as the possible killers, were nonetheless dragged
into the case as perhaps abettors or witnesses:
Lou Campbell, 36, of Modesto, who was charged in April with
stealing checks and credit cards, and converting them into cash
and merchandise worth $365,000. Campbell, who pleaded innocent
to that charge, reportedly is a key witness. When first arrested
on mail fraud charges, she had in her possession Carole Sund's
checking account and automated teller machine numbers.
Duane Utley, 41 an associate of Dykes and Larwick, first picked
up during a March parole sweep. He was arrested in May on an
unrelated crime charge, but was soon released.
Kay Gray, 36, of Modesto. The FBI task force investigating
Yosemite issued a federal warrant for her arrest after she
failed to appear in Stanislaus County drug court in June.
Kenneth"Soldier" Stewart, 24, a former cellmate of Dykes who was
charged with attempted murder. He has been questioned about any
Angelia Dale, who testified before the federal grand jury. She
was subpoenaed because she is a friend of Dykes and Larwick.
Ledbetter, 24, of Modesto, an admitted methamphetamine addict
and former girlfriend of Dykes, about whom she was questioned
Jeffrey Wayne Keeney, 32, of Modesto. Arrested on an unrelated
drug charge, he has been questioned about the Yosemite case.
end of June, the FBI had reviewed the testimonies of and the
evidence linked to the suspects in custody. At that time, the
Bureau stated that, while no one had yet been charged, it felt
that those responsible for killing the three women at Yosemite
were already behind bars.
nation breathed a sigh of relief.
too, had been questioned in the slayings -- more routine than
anything -and released. One of these was a man named Cary
Stayner, clean cut, no record of violence, and was in the
employment of Cedar Lodge as its handyman.
weeks after the FBI made its statement above, the case was
reopened. And the nation grimaced. A fourth victim was brutally
slain just a few miles from Cedar Lodge.
on a tip from a caller who was worried about the whereabouts of
his friend Joie Ruth Armstrong, park rangers found her mutilated
body on the morning of July 22. It was discovered beyond a
campground adjacent to her living quarters in the Foresta
community, an enclave of some 30 cabins for use by park workers.
Twenty-six-year-old Joie had been employed by the Yosemite
KCRA-TV in Sacramento, citing an unidentified source, was the
first to leak the terrible news that the girl was decapitated.
She had probably been murdered on the evening of Wednesday, July
21, investigators determined. In fact, she had been seen that
day at the Institute offices near where Carole Sund and the
teenagers were found earlier in the year.
Armstrong was probably only hours away from leaving her quarters
to visit a friend in Sausalito, California. When she did not
appear as planned, her would-be host had phoned the park. Police
found her car in front of her cabin, packed for the trip.
of its earlier estimation that the case was closed, the FBI
remained relatively quiet, but conceded that the case needed to
be re-evaluated. Chief James Maddock said he himself questioned
whether the Bureau could have done anything to prevent
Armstrong's killing. "I've struggled with that issue for the
last 24 hours and continue to do so," he confessed. He did feel,
however, that the FBI spared nothing to investigate the earlier
killings. "I'm confident we've done everything that could be
Armstrong tragedy reawakened dark fears and brought back those
bad dreams the local residents thought they could put behind
them. By Friday, the day after she was found dead, a hush had
fallen over Yosemite Park.
"Freckled, red-haired and full of energy and enthusiasm,
Armstrong loved children, nature and teaching. Those loves took
her to Yosemite, a place known for its peace and beauty," wrote
the Modesta Bee, one of a line of community Bee newspapers
throughout California. Written the weekend after Armstrong was
slain, it went on: "For the past year, she had worked for the
Yosemite Institute, a nonprofit group that runs education
programs through a partnership with the National Park Service...
was a bright light to all who knew her,' said Mike Lee, the
Yosemite Institute's director 'We will remember her as so full
of laughter and love, and as a committed and gifted teacher.'...
"Authorities went to the meadow Armstrong loved on Thursday, not
long after she was reported missing (and) found her body next to
a stream she and her friends used for drinking water.
should come see this place - I wonder if you ever will,'
Armstrong had e-mailed her friend, only days earlier. 'I love my
garden and living in Yosemite - one of the most beautiful places
in the whole wide world.'"
Saturday, July 24, within 48 hours of the Armstrong killing, FBI
agent and in-charge James Maddock announced at a press
conference that a man was in custody on strong suspicion of
murder and that a "significant announcement" would be made
suspect, Cary Stayner, 37, had been one of the people questioned
after the triple killings in February, but, at that time no
evidence linked itself to Stayner and he had been released.
Because he was the handyman at the Cedar Lodge in El Portal
where Carole Sund and her two charges had stayed before they
were murdered, his questioning at that time seems to have been
more routine than anything
now, after another ghastly murder, he was again led in for
questioning immediately after the body of Miss Armstrong was
found. This time, agents detained him and forced him to answer
more questions. Investigators searched his truck and confiscated
his backpack for examination. Upon release, the FBI warned him
not to leave El Portal as they probably were not through with
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "(A witness claimed
that) Stayner was angry about authorities seizing his backpack
after he was questioned earlier that day. He was also angry
about how his truck had been searched."
Evidently, the agents also searched Stayner's apartment later in
the day and discovered evidence that they determined linked him
to Armstrong's murder. And they found even more. Special agent
Maddock explained, "During the last 24 hours, we have developed
specific information linking Stayner (also) to the Sund-Pelosso
murders." What this evidence is was not made known, but he did
indicate it was discovered in a search of Stayner's apartment
over Cedar Lodge.
in the meantime, had disappeared from the locale and was gone
from the premises by the time agents came to arrest him. This
was Friday evening, July 23rd.. They caught up with him,
however, at the Laguna Del Sol nudist colony, where he was known
to frequent. Its manager had seen a newscast on television,
recognized Stayner's photo as one of his guests, and notified
the FBI. Agents returned him to El Portal on Saturday where he
was put through a lengthy interrogation.
evening's end, the FBI felt it had gathered enough evidence and
damaging testimony to arrest Cary Stayner for murder, Sunday
morning, they rushed him to Fresno to officially lodge a
complaint, then to Sacramento on Monday where he was arraigned
before the courts.
same day, Stayner allowed himself to be interviewed by a
reporter from KNTV. During the session, an unexpected event
occurred. In a voice that seemed relieved to be unburdening from
its depth a long-kept secret, Stayner blurted, "I am guilty. I
did murder Carole Sund, Juli Sund, Silvina Pelosso and Joie
Armstrong ...None of the women were sexually abused in any way."
confession and the details that followed shocked America.
(the) interview, Stayner said he had fantasized about killing
women for the last 30 years," reports Yahoo!News, "and described
in detail how he murdered Carole Sund, her daughter Juli, and
visiting Argentine student Pelosso. He had strangled Pelosso and
Carole Sund in their rented cabin in the Cedar Lodge motel, then
took Juli Sund to a lake, where he killed her early the next
abandoned the group's rental car with the bodies of Mrs. Sund
and Silvina inside, returning two days later to burn evidence
and retrieve Mrs. Sund's wallet, which he dumped in Modesto to
confuse authorities," the Yahoo! report continues. "Stayner said
he thought he had gotten away with the earlier crimes, but could
not resist the urge to kill Armstrong after he struck up a
chance conversation with her..."
Concluding the interview, he addressed the victims' families: "I
am sorry their loved ones were where they were when they were. I
wish I could have controlled myself and not done what I did."
sources claimed that he had already confessed his guilt during
the Saturday evening interrogation. In the Bureau's mind, this
time it had the right man. He had given the FBI details "only
the killer would know in such specificity that agents were able
to recover evidence confirming his confession," Yahoo! asserts.
"Knives were used in the slayings and the weapon suspected in
Ms. Armstrong's death was recovered."
as "Mr. Nice Guy"
would have been the furthest of suspects in the locals' minds."
comment made by Cedar Lodge restaurant manager Kathy Hefner
sounds unforgivably naÔve, read further. Most of Stayner's
coworkers would probably say they fully understand why he had
fooled the FBI as long as he did. He just wasn't the killer
type, not a troublemaker, not a wise guy, never violent. His
only encounter with the law was for marijuana use in 1997.
relatively quiet but friendly motel handyman's only passions
seemed to be nude sunbathing and hiking. On days off he would
escape to Laguna Del Sol, a nudist colony in Sacramento County.
Despite this sensual surrender, he never behaved lewdly nor
Stayner's father, Delbert, admits that he thinks son Cary may
have suffered a trauma at age 11 when younger brother Steven,
then seven, was abducted in 1972, disappearing for eight years.
In that time, Steven had been forced to endure molestations by
his kidnapper, whom he finally turned in to the police. The
real-life drama was later turned into a television movie. But,
says Delbert, puberty-aged Cary endured some emotional hardships
because of that incident.
graduation from Merced (California) High School, Stayner worked
as a window installer at a glass company. The Cedar Lodge hired
him as handyman in 1997 and gave him the use of a small
apartment on the top floor. Management found him a hard-worker
and honest. In his capacity, Stayner performed technical and
housekeeping duties, everything from fixing electrical and
mechanical breakdowns to delivering extra towels and bedding to
guests. He usually ate lunch and dinner at the motel restaurant
and often after work would relax with one beer and a bowl of
knew Cary have an incredibly difficult time accepting the facts.
Sandy Cox, whose husband owned the window company where Stayner
worked for in Atwater, says, "We've known Cary since he was a
little boy...It just doesn't match up. Out of respect for his
family and the victim's family, we don't want to say anymore."
& No Ends
questioned further by the press about the FBI's error in not
identifying Stayner as a suspect earlier, as well as what
finally led them to Stayner, Maddock replied, "I do look forward
to the day I can share the details of the investigations from
start to finish."
answer, however, was not good enough for many, including two
attorneys representing some of the previously mentioned four men
behind bars who are still considered as suspects in the Yosemite
killings. Some of these suspects have already passed lie
detector tests, say their lawyers, and have even offered to give
blood samples to support their innocence. One suspect, it has
been recently learned, had conclusive proof he had been working
out of state at the time of the killings, but remains under
scrutiny just the same. And meanwhile their perturbed lawyers
see their clients as patsies forced to wait in the side lines
while the FBI struggles to makes up its own mind.
understand how such a large investigation with such experienced
investigators missed the trail completely," says Ramon Magana,
representing two of the men. "They put so much time, energy and
resources into an investigation of people that appear to be
unrelated and unconnected to the case."
brother-in-cause to Magana is Stanislaus County public defender
Tim Bazar who claims, "I have never heard any evidence that ties
(anyone) to these slayings. Not only did (the FBI) arrest
everybody, over the last several months they attempted to put
pressure on one or the other to turn the others in the group
in...It actually appears they had nothing against anybody."
these voices is more entreating, however, than that of Mrs.
Raquel Pelosso whose daughter Silvina perished in Yosemite: " I
just cannot understand how so many people...didn't realize that
maybe (Stayner) was the man, since I heard that he was
interviewed some time ago."
Stayner Act Alone?
defense of the FBI's hesitancy to speak and commit, they and
many others cannot believe that Stayner acted by himself.
Accounts conflict. In the meantime a grand jury continues to
look into whether or not others were involved, including the
previously listed suspects. "(No one's) off the hook yet," an
unidentified source has told the San Francisco Chronicle.
the Modesto Bee: "In El Portal, a number of residents are
convinced that no one person could have created so much horror,
especially in the Sund and Pelosso slayings. "'The logistics of
it say it had to involve more than one person, said Letty
Carolyn Barry, owner of the Yosemite Rosebud Lodge, west of
Cedar Lodge. "Privately, some members of the Sund-Pelosso task
force are saying the same thing, sources have told the Bee.
Those sources say it is difficult for some investigators to
believe Stayner could have gotten the jump on all three women
without any help, let alone dispose of their bodies."
the flip-side, the same paper notes another unconfirmed source
that maintains Stayner did act alone, with the help of only a
weapon. "Stayner," says the source, "used a gun after gaining
entry to the motel room of the Sunds and Pelosso, and tied them
* * * *
and many other questions that are slowly emerging since Cary
Stayner's arrest. They may be answered in the trial ahead, which
is expected to begin Aug. 6. The Crime Library will provide
major updates as they happen.
affidavit filed August 30, 1999, by FBI Special Agent (SA)
Marcee Robinson in support of a search warrant for blood, hair
and saliva samples from Cary Stayner, further details were
presented about the murders in Yosemite. In this official file,
which was requested by the state of California, it is made clear
that Stayner, despite earlier denials, sexually assaulted two of
his victims, Juli Sund and Silvina Pelosso.
bases his report on the evidence discovered by local police and
FBI agents - in particularly Special Agent Christopher Hopkins
-- who investigated the case and rounded up the evidence.
"According to SA Hopkins, both the (FBI's) Evidence Response
Team and the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office collected items of
potential evidence from Room 509 at the Cedar Lodge Motel, the
room in which Stayner claims to have sexually assaulted Juli
Sund and Silvina Pelosso and murdered both Carole Sund and
Silvina Pelosso," reads a passage from the affidavit. "In his
interview, Stayner claimed that hair from his body was left on
the bedspread in their motel room, but he returned later and
changed the bed. Upon examination by the FBI Laboratory, some
items have yielded trace evidence. Among other things, the FBI
Laboratory has found hairs in vacuum sweepings taken from Room
509 and possibly body fluid stains on a blanket (and) a latent
palm print from the window sill."
Joie Armstrong homicide, previously unreleased evidence strongly
supports Stayner's confession and gives new details of that
murder. For instance, according to the affidavit, "Vacuum
sweepings taken from inside Armstrong's house, where Stayner
claims to have bound her with duct tape, have yielded hair
evidence. The FBI Laboratory has also found possible bodily
fluid stains on a bed sheet taken from Armstrong's residence.
The FBI also seized clothing stained with blood from Joie
Armsttrong's body. Although most of the stains are likely to
include Armstrong's blood, Stayner was observed to have a
laceration on his hand during his interrogation, and therefore
may have been cut and bled during the attack. Latent
fingerprints have also been lifted from the interior of Joie
Armstrong's truck, which Stayner admits to touching during his
encounter with her."
objects of evidence are being examined in the interim. These
include the knives Stayner claimed to have used to kill Juli
Sund and Joie Armstrong, pieces of duct tape from Armstrong's
house, and a blanket Stayner said he wrapped around the Sund
Two vials of Stayner's blood, as well as 25
samples of Stayner's head and pubic hair, saliva and
fingerprints, are scheduled for testing against trace evidence
in the Fresno County Jail in the presence of law enforcement
officials. Findings will be reported by The Crime Library.
Cary Stayner: Murder Among the Sequoias
Update from May 2002 to December 2002
by Marilyn Bardsley
death-penalty trial of Cary Stayner was moved from Mariposa
County to Santa Clara County, CA. In May, 2002, Stayner pleaded
not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1999 murder of three
tourists in Yosemite National Park. In mid-July of 2002, the
trial began in Judge Thomas C. Hastingsí courtroom with the
prosecution team headed by George Williamson and the defense
team headed by Marcia Morrissey.
Monday, July 22, the court heard the former motel handymanís
taped confession, which he had given to FBI agents.
According to Fresno Bee reporter Cyndee Fontanta, ďIn the
taped confession, Stayner calmly reviewed how he strangled
16-year-old Silvina Pelosso in a motel bathtub near Yosemite
National Park. How he sexually assaulted Juli Sund, 15, for
hours before spiriting her away from the motel room she shared
with her mother, 42-year-old Carole Sund, and friend Silvina.
then, not as calmly, how he carried Juli -- "kinda like a groom
carrying a bride over the threshold" -- to a lonely vista point
near Lake Don Pedro, pledged his love and then cut her throat as
the sun lightened the sky.Ē Staynerís confession to the
strangulation murder of Carole Sund had been played to the court
the previous week.
issue was no longer who committed the murders but whether
Stayner was insane at the time and whether the confession to the
FBI agents was coerced. Stayner is serving a life sentence for
the Yosemite Park murder of Joie Ruth Armstrong. The issue of
whether Staynerís confession was coerced seemed to be resolved
when on July 24, the court heard the recorded demands that
Stayner made to the FBI agents that he wanted satisfied before
he would give them his confession.
demanded that his parents be given the reward money, that he be
incarcerated at a prison near his parentsí home, and, to
Staynerís detriment, that he be given a large cache of child
pornography. Previously, the defense had maintained that the FBI
had coerced Staynerís confession. In the end, Stayner confessed
without the promise of child pornography or reward money for his