STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) - A state prisoner suspected of being the "I-5 Strangler" could face the death penalty if he's convicted of six murders committed more than two decades ago along Interstate 5 in California's Central Valley.
Roger Reese Kibbe, 68, was arraigned in San Joaquin County Friday on charges he murdered five women in 1986 and a sixth woman in 1977.
He is currently serving a life term at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga for strangling a 17-year-old West Sacramento prostitute and leaving her naked body in the mountains south of Lake Tahoe in 1987.
Investigators have long said they suspected Kibbe in the other slayings.
El Dorado County prosecutors presented some of that evidence at his 1991 trial for Darcie Frackenpohl's murder. The runaway from Seattle was killed after she disappeared from a West Sacramento street frequented by prostitutes.
At the time, the state Department of Justice said fibers from nylon rope used by skydivers was among the microscopic evidence linking Kibbe to three of the other slayings. Witnesses alleged Kibbe, who was a skydiver, had a murder kit including handcuffs and scissors.
But prosecutors previously said the multiple jurisdictions where the crimes occurred and complications in state law made it difficult to press other charges. California law has since been changed to let one county prosecute crimes from several jurisdictions.
Only one of the victims' bodies was dumped in San Joaquin County, but investigators from Sacramento, Napa, Contra Costa and Amador counties all testified before the San Joaquin grand jury that indicted Kibbe Feb. 25.
He faces six counts of murder with special circumstances including rape, kidnapping and multiple murders that make him eligible for the death penalty.
Kibbe, a furniture maker whose brother was a police detective, has been portrayed on television crime shows and was the subject of a 1999 book by Bruce Henderson entitled "Trace Evidence: The Search for the I-5 Strangler."
Prosecutors released few details on the victims and would not comment.
According to the indictment and media accounts, Kibbe is charged with the murder of Lou Ellen Burleigh of Walnut Creek in 1977 and five other slayings in 1986:
- Stephanie Brown, 19, of Sacramento, was sexually assaulted,
strangled, and her body dumped in a ditch. A crumpled map was found
near her car parked along I-5.
- Charmaine Sabrah, 26, a mother of three from Sacramento, disappeared after her car broke down along I-5 and she drove off with a strange man who offered to help. Her strangled body was found three months later.
- Heedrick, 21, of Modesto, was last seen getting into a car. Her body was found along I-5 five months later.
- The other two victims are Katherine Kelly Quinones, 25 and Barbara Ann Scott, 29.
Kibbe, who has receding short white hair, is being held without bail for a court appearance Monday. He spoke briefly and barely audibly during Friday's arraignment, saying only that he wants an attorney appointed to represent him.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)