Gary Ridgway – the Green River Killer – will observe his 62nd birthday in a King County courtroom in Kent on Feb. 18 and enter a plea in one of the longest and largest cases of serial murder in American history.
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg announced Monday that he was charging Ridgway with aggravated first-degree murder in the death of 20-year-old Becky Marrero.
It is Ridgway’s 49th count of aggravated murder.
On Nov. 5, 2003, he had stood in a courtroom in downtown Seattle and pleaded guilty to killing 48 girls and young women dating back to 1982. He responded “guilty” to each charge the judge read.
In exchange for his pleas, the death penalty for the Kenworth truck painter was removed and he was ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison.
The plea bargain was controversial, but then-Prosecutor Norm Maleng defended it as a way to know the truth about the unsolved cases and “to give victimized families answers to haunting questions.”
On Monday, in announcing the charge in Marrero’s death, Satterberg said, “This is not a death penalty case,” and added the charge fell “squarely within the agreement made in 2003” by Maleng.
“ ... he (Maleng) had cases like this one, and families like the Marreros, in mind,” Satterberg said.
Last December, teenagers exploring a steep ravine behind their house near Auburn found remains that, based on dental records, were identified as Marrero’s.
The remains were about 100 feet from the spot where Marie Malvar, another Ridgway victim, was found in 2003.
The 2003 plea agreement required Ridgway to plead guilty to any future cases where reliable facts could corroborate confessions.