Billy Ray Waldon
(born 1952), aka Billy Joe Waldon and
Nvwtohiyada Idehesdi Sequoyah, is the creator of the
constructed language Poliespo (Polisinteza Esperanto).
Born in Tahlequah,
Oklahoma, he is on Death Row in California for murder.
On May 16, 1986 he became the 399th fugitive listed by
the FBI on the Ten Most Wanted List. A month later, he
was arrested June 16, 1986 in San Diego, California
after local police attempted to pull him over for a
routine traffic citation.
Since 1992, the organization "Friends
of Sequoyah, Team Research Switzerland" have been trying
to overturn the conviction, arguing that
Devoid of both motive and
forensic evidence, the prosecution case rested on
stolen property found in a car belonging to NIS,
questionable eye-witness testimony, and a
proficiency in outmaneuvering an unskilled and
inadequately prepared defense, unable to attach
substance to its claims of political subterfuge
targeting American Indian activists.
Billy Waldon scarcely knew his mother.
During 1957, at the tender age of five, he was delivered to his
grandmother's care, and the older woman raised him as her own around
Tahlequah, Oklahoma, teaching him the values that she hoped would guide
his steps through life.
Enlisting in the navy out of high school, Waldon
had fourteen years of service behind him when he was discharged, as a
first petty officer, in January 1985. One-quarter Cherokee, he was
described by friends and neighbors as "a brilliant man" who
"spent more time listening to others than talking about himself."
If Waldon had a quirk, it was his fascination with the subject of AIDS,
a compulsive quest for knowledge that encouraged some associates to
think he might be homosexual.
The death of Waldon's grandmother, in 1985, appeared to be the trigger
incident for an astounding, lethal shift in Billy's personality. A quiet,
unassuming man by all accounts before her death, he changed dramatically
in later weeks, like Mr. Hyde emerging from the passive Dr. Jekyll. With
the change of seasons into autumn, Billy launched a one-man reign of
terror that could claim four lives and leave at least eight other
The rampage began in Tulsa, close to home. Police suspect that Waldon
was the gunman who wounded an elderly man outside a neighborhood grocery
store on October 10, 1985. The following day, they believe, he robbed
three persons at a shopping mall, rebounding for an unsuccessful robbery
attempt on October 15. Witnesses were hazy on descriptions of their
assailant, but the crimes fit an emerging pattern, and there would be no
doubt of Waldon's involvement in the next outbreak.
Laying off a month
from his activities, the phantom gunman surfaced on November 15, firing
a single shot that grazed 20-year-old Cynthia Bellinger's skull outside
her parents' Tulsa home.
Two days later, Annabelle Richmond, age 54, was
cut down by four .25-caliber bullets outside her apartment.
continued in Broken Arrow, on November 23, when Waldon confronted Frank
Hensley and Tammie Tvedt in a parking lot, demanding cash, wounding them
both when they refused to pay up.
The heat was on in Tulsa, and Waldon fled west, presumably to visit his
ex-wife and their two small children in Gardenia, California. Drifting
into San Diego, refreshing old memories of his navy days, Billy picked
up his crime spree where he had left off in Tulsa. By mid-December, he
would be suspected of three rapes, five robberies, two burglaries, and
one count of receiving stolen property.
On December 7, a gunman invaded the home of 42-year-old Dawn Ellerman,
shooting her in the neck with a .25-caliber pistol, beating her dogs and
locking them inside a bathroom, then setting the house on fire before he
fled with a personal computer and other valuables. Erin Ellerman, 13,
came home from babysitting to find the house in flames, and she died in
a futile attempt to save her mother's life.
Two weeks later, on December 20, a masked man tried to rob a San Diego
woman in a parking lot. Foiled in the attempt, he fled on foot, veering
through a yard where two men were working on a car. Frustrated again in
his attempt to steal the vehicle, the gunman killed Charles Wells, 59,
and critically wounded John Copeland, 36, with a spray of .25-caliber
Eluding 150 officers in a seven hour manhunt, the killer still
left traces of himself behind. Police recovered the Ellerman computer in
an abandoned car registered to Billy Waldon, along with Waldon's
military passport and other pieces of I.D.
Communication with police in Tulsa matched the murder slugs from San
Diego with the Oklahoma shootings. On January 3, 1986, a federal warrant
charged Waldon with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution for murder,
attempted murder, robbery, burglary) rape, and arson. His name was added
to the FBI's "Most Wanted" list on April 23.
By that time,
Billy had performed an serie disappearing act. His latest stolen car,
picked off a street December 20, had been discovered outside Tijuana on
January 27. There was no other trace of the fugitive before June 16,
when San Diego officers routinely stopped a car with a defective brake
light. They had planned to let the driver off with a warning, but his
face was familiar, and Waldon's use of the alias "Steven
Midas" fooled no one at police headquarters.
Ordered to trial on multiple charges in San Diego, Waldon had truly run
out of luck. Jailers discovered his effort to tunnel through a wall of
his cell, and fellow inmates proved dangerous.
On July 24, 1986, Waldon
was severely beaten by cellmates, hospitalized for two days, after he
refused their orders to kill another prisoner. The motive for the
bungled contract? Jailers noted that the target was unpopular with other
cons because of his attitude, which was "basically
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia
of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans
Billy Ray Waldon Gets Death Sentence
Los Angeles Times
February 29, 1992
While emotional victims, jurors and relatives looked on,
Billy Ray Waldon was formally sentenced to death Friday for a 1985 crime
spree that took three lives.
Superior Court Judge David Gill had announced Wednesday
his intention to uphold a jury's recommendation that Waldon be executed,
but the action was not completed until Friday.
"Billy Ray Waldon shall be put to death by the
administration of lethal gas behind the walls of San Quentin," Gill said,
completing a trial that began May 10, 1991.
Waldon, a 40-year-old former Navy enlisted man who
prefers the name Nvwtohiyada Idehesdi Sequoyah, defended himself during a
The jury deliberated for just over six hours to convict
Waldon of three murders and 21 other crimes, including rape.
Local Death Penalty Case From 1985
Finally Goes To Appeal
More than 20 years after he
killed three people in San Diego, Billy Ray Waldon's death penalty
appeal is finally ready to go.
A jury convicted Waldon of
murdering a mother and her 13-year-old daughter during a 1985 robbery in
Del Mar. Two weeks later, Waldon fatally shot a Kensington man in the
head while running from police.
Defense attorney Allen Bloom
was one of several lawyers briefly assigned to the case.
"In this case there was an
enormous amount of starts and stops in the case, and it left a paper
trail in the county courthouse," Bloom said.
It took seven years to
convict Waldon, mainly because he insisted on representing himself.
Waldon claimed he was set up
by the FBI and the CIA, and he filed long, rambling, handwritten motions.
One of them claimed his female attorney was a psychopath who had sex
with the trial judge.
Waldon was found competent to
act as his own attorney, and questioned himself on the witness stand
during the trial. All of this generated massive amounts of paperwork --
hundreds of thousands of pages.
"Not only does the defense
lawyer have a copy, but the attorney general has a copy, the courts get
a copy, so there's a huge logistical effort," Bloom said.
San Diego court clerks have
spent the past 14 years organizing and binding the official case record
and tracking down missing transcripts. In 1996, an appellate attorney
was finally assigned.
"They donít pay all that well,
and there's not a whole lot of lawyers that are qualified, so there's a
long time getting a lawyer," Bloom said.
A judge certified the case
record as accurate just two months ago. Now, it all gets shipped to San
Francisco, where the state supreme court will hear new motions and new
oral arguments. Those justices have the power to order a new trial.
"It doesn't usually happen.
The percentages are very high that the courts affirm convictions,
because we have a good system at the starting point. But we know it's
flawed, we know it's not perfect," Bloom said.
death penalty case, the court want to make sure they get it right.
SEX: M RACE: W TYPE: N MOTIVE:
MO: Apparent thrill-klller on
motiveless rampage; some victims robbed incidentally
DISPOSITION: Condemned, 1987.