For more than 20 years, a self-confessed monster lived among us here in Vallejo, and only, it seems, by the grace of God, probably didn’t kill anyone until he apparently recently murdered his 90-year-old mother.
There are a few things I find really troubling about this story, besides the obvious revulsion that a man would rape and murder two young teenagers, attack several others and eventually kill his mother.
First, according to reports, this guy, Dennis Stanworth, convicted of the 1966 rapes and murders of two Pinole teens, welcomed his death sentence at the time, writing a letter to the courts that suggests he was aware of a fundamental character flaw over which he had no control.
Despite this, he was eventually released to kill again.
“Under California law, death sentences are automatically appealed,” the Times-Herald story says. “Stanworth, according to court records, wanted no part of an appeal, and said he wanted to die. He repeatedly said the state should waste no more money on him, that he had accepted his death sentence, and did not wish to contest it.”
Then 27, Stanworth’s letter to the courts, said, “I know that I will never see the freedom of the outside world again, I have dishonored my family’s name … I understand that I and I alone must suffer for my actions and I understand also that the law holds me to task for my actions.
“I cannot continue living with this cloud over my head, please be merciful and give me an endless sleep as soon as you can…… all I want, is to die.”
Nevertheless, the state Supreme Court in its infinite wisdom, reduced Stanworth’s death sentence to life imprisonment, citing, among other things, that prosecutors had rejected a dozen prospective jurors who’d expressed opposition to capital punishment, the story notes.
The following July, another Contra Costa County jury sentenced Stanworth to death, but that sentence was reduced in 1974 based on the state Supreme Court’s 1972 ruling that the gas chamber was “cruel and unusual punishment.”
He was eventually released on parole in 1990.
So, first, the fate of any victims since 1990, whether known or unknown, including the man’s own mother, are on the heads of the court officials who let him out despite his pleas to the contrary.
This man knew he was a monster and seems to have tried his best to save society from himself. The blood is on the court’s hands. And, we don’t necessarily know how much blood that is.
The story says Stanworth was visited by a parole officer annually and there had been no complaints.
It fails to give me much confidence, though, which leads me to my next problem.
Why was this monster living in Vallejo?
We are told that prison inmates are paroled to the county in which they offended. But Pinole is in Contra Costa County, not Solano County where Vallejo is.
This must mean the rumors that somehow years ago Vallejo was made the dumping ground for the region’s dangerous felons; rapists, murderers, child killers, thieves, is true. I moved here with my two very young sons in the late 1990s and no one told me we were building our lives in a viper’s nest.
If nothing can be done to ensure these criminals really are returned to the counties in which they offended, so everyone has the same incentive to fix the underlying problems instead of palming them off on the less affluent and unsuspecting people of Vallejo, then, at least, Realtors and civic leaders here should be required to reveal that information to prospective residents so they can make an informed decision whether they’re willing to put themselves and their children’s lives at risk.
Maybe the state, or whoever is responsible for turning Vallejo into the vermin-infested hell hole it is, should be made to pay to relocate all the law-abiding citizenry to the areas in which they, themselves live, and erect a fence around this place. Create a leper-like colony. Call a spade a spade.
I want to know who’s responsible for importing these monsters to this town and for keeping that information from the general public.
If whoever that is, doesn’t live here, they should be made to move here with their children and grandchildren.
In fact, it should be illegal for anyone making rules that effect people’s lives to not be subject to those rules themselves.
What kind of asylum are we running here?
Have PoliticalMavens.com delivered to your inbox in a daily digest by clicking here