CNN.com International
The Web    CNN.com      Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ON TV
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TRANSCRIPTS


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Gary Ridgway Pleads Guilty to Green River Murders

Aired November 5, 2003 - 12:34   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I want to go to Washington State. There's a dramatic development unfolding right now. Gary Ridgway is about to plead guilty to the murder of 48 women, the so called Green River killer. And I want the viewers to be able to listen to this. A very dramatic development in order to save his own life and not get the death penalty, to get life without the possibility of parole. He's about to announce -- at least we are told -- that he did in fact kill 48 women over the past couple of decades.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to read it into the record, and then I'm going ask you if this is your statement and whether it is true or not. So I would ask you to follow along with me as I read it.

GARY RIDGWAY, GREEN RIVER KILLER: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And again, if you have any questions about what I say, or what I read, I hope you will take it up with your lawyers before you proceed any further in this proceeding, correct?

RIDGWAY: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. It says here, "I killed the 48 women listed in the state's second amended information. In most cases, when I murdered these women, I did not know their names. Most of the time, I killed them the first time I met them, and I do not have a good memory for their faces. I killed so many women, I have a hard time keeping them straight."

Is that true?

RIDGWAY: Yes, it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The statement continues: "I have reviewed information and discovery about each of the murders with my attorneys, and I am positive that I killed each one of the women charged in the second amended information. I killed them all in King County. I killed most of them in my house, near Military Road, and I killed a lot of them in my truck, not far from where I picked them up."

"I killed some of them outside. I remember leaving each woman's body in the place where she was found."

Is that true?

RIDGWAY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your statement continues: "I have discussed with my attorneys the common scheme or plan aggravating circumstance charged in all these murders. I agree that each of the murders I committed was part of a common scheme or plan. The plan was, I wanted to kill as many women I thought were prostitutes as I possibly could."

Is that true?

RIDGWAY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your statement continues: "I picked prostitutes as my victims because I hate most prostitutes. And I did not want to pay them for sex. I also picked prostitutes as victims because they were easy to pick up, without being noticed."

"I knew they would not be reported missing right away, and might never be reported missing. I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught."

Is that true?

RIDGWAY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your statement continues: "Another part of my plan was where I put the bodies of these women. Most of the time I took the women's jewelry and their clothes to get rid of any evidence and make them harder to identify. I placed most of the bodies in groups which I call clusters."

"I did this because I wanted to keep track of all of the women I killed. I liked to drive by the clusters around the county and think about the women I placed there. I usually used a landmark to remember a cluster and the women I placed there. Sometimes I killed and dumped a woman intending to start a new cluster and never returned because I thought I might get caught putting more women there."

Is that true?

RIDGWAY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then your statement reads: "My statement as to each count are as follows..." I would like to ask you about what you say about each of these crimes, and although I agreed not to read the entire second amended information into the record, I am going to read the principal portions of a couple of counts just to make sure that we understand, that you understand exactly what you are charged with and what you are pleading to.

You understand, looking at the second amended information, that it charges as follows: that the defendant, Gary Leon Ridgway, in King County, Washington, on or about a period of time intervening between July 8, 1982 and through July 15, 1982, with premeditated intent to cause the death of another person, did cause the death of Wendy Lee Cawfield (ph), a human being, who died on or about a period of time intervening between July 8, 1982 and through July 15, 1982. That further, an aggravating circumstance exits; to it, there was more than one victim and the murderers were part of a common scheme or plan.

Do you understand the nature of that charge?

RIDGWAY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any questions whatsoever about it?

RIDGWAY: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your statement pertaining to count one reads as follows: "In King County, Washington, some time between July 8, 1982 through July 19, 1982, with premeditated intent to cause her death, I strangled Wendy Lee Cawfield (ph) to death. I picked her up, planning to kill her. After killing her, I placed her body in the Green River."

Is that a true statement?

RIDGWAY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that your statement?

RIDGWAY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Count two, in the second amended information, contains, as you understand, very similar language to the count charging you with the death of Wendy Cawfield (ph). Is that correct?

RIDGWAY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am going to read the principal portions of this, which charges you as follows: that the defendant, Gary Leon Ridgway, in King County Washington, on or about a period of time intervening between August 1, 1982 and through August 15, 1982, with premeditated intent to cause the death of another person, did cause the death of Marcia Chapman (ph), a human being, who died on or about a period of time intervening between August 1...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Count three.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I beg you pardon. Mr. Ridgway, that's count three.

Let me continue finishing count three, your honor, and then we'll go back to count two. Thank you.

Marcia Chapman (ph), a human being, who died on or about a period of time intervening between August 1, 1982 and through August 15, 1982. That further, an aggravating circumstance exists; to it, there was more than one victim and the murders were part a common scheme or plan.

With regard to count three, your statement reads as follows: "In King County, Washington, some time between August 1, 1982 through October 15, 1982, with premeditated intent to cause her death, I strangled Marcia Chapman (ph) to death. I picked her up, planning to kill her. After killing her, I placed her body in the Green River." Is that true?

RIDGWAY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going back to count two, Mr. Ridgway, your statement reads as follows: "In King County, Washington, sometime between July 25, 1982 through August 12, 1982, with premeditated intent to cause her death, I strangled Deborah Bonner (ph) to death. I picked her up, planning to kill her. After killing her, I placed her body in the Green River."

Is that a true statement about your murder of Deborah Bonner (ph)?

RIDGWAY: Yes, it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Count four, Mr. Ridgway, alleges the aggravated murder of Cynthia Hines (ph). Your statement reads as follows: "In King County, Washington, sometime between August 11t, 1982 through August 15, 1982, with premeditated intent to cause her death, I strangled Cynthia Hines (ph) to death. I picked her up, planning to kill her. After killing her, I placed her body in the Green River."

Is that your statement?

RIDGWAY: Yes, it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it true?

RIDGWAY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With regard to count five, alleging the aggravated murder of Opal Mills (ph), your statement reads as follows: "In King County, Washington, sometime between August 12, 1982 through August 15, 1982, with premeditated intent to cause her death, I strangled Opal Mills (ph) to death. I picked her up, planning to kill her. After killing her, I placed her body next to the Green River."

Is that your statement?

RIDGWAY: Yes, it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it true?

RIDGWAY: Yes.

BLITZER: Gary Ridgway, the so-called Green River killer, acknowledging, admitting now to the murder of 48 women, women he described as prostitutes, by and large. Women he simply picked up, going back to the mid 1980s, the early 1980s, and killed them, believing they were prostitutes.

He now becomes the nation's deadliest serial killer over two decades, admitting today in court that he killed 48 women, brutally, randomly, because he said he hated prostitutes. Let's bring our guests to get some analysis of this, Rich Lowry and David Corn.

Rich, a lot of people are going to say, why would the prosecution give this man life without parole instead of the death sentence after admitting that he killed 48 women so brutally?

RICH LOWRY, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Well, that's a good question, Wolf. And just listening to this, my thought was, he is going to die in prison probably very rapidly.

This is the kind of guy that usually gets taken care of by other prisoners. And it is just a sad fact that we have a very brutal prison system. It has rape and all sorts of things. This guy will end up be strangled or bludgeoned to death very quickly, I would think.

BLITZER: David, if there it was ever justification, a lot of viewers will say for the death sentence, for capital punishment, it would seem to be this case, this man who admits to brutally murdering 48 women who did nothing wrong to him.

DAVID CORN, "THE NATION": Right. I am opposed to the death penalty on principle, and that means on all cases. As the father of two young girls, I have to say, a case like this really tests one's adherence to such principles. I mean, there are philosophical notions about why -- why not to support the death penalty, and in this case it certainly doesn't have any bearing on whether the public is going to be safer or less safe, whether he is killed or put away, and is offed in jail or spends the rest of his life there.

So these are the hard cases. And I am kind of struck by the fact that you look at him -- I don't know what to expect when you gaze at someone like that. But you see very few signs of remorse. And you look at someone who, you know, you would never pick out as a serial killer. Very uncinematic as it is.

Terrible, tragic day. I feel for the families.

BLITZER: The prosecution saying that the reason they accepted this plea agreement was to come to some conclusion, because the only way they could resolve the deaths of the women who mysteriously were murdered, disappeared along in Washington State and perhaps elsewhere, was to get his cooperation. That is why in the end they agreed to give him life without the possibility of parole in exchange for his confession.

Unfortunately, gentlemen, we are going to have to leave it right there. A very, very dramatic development. The nation's deadliest serial killer now standing in a courtroom, acknowledging one by one by one the 48 women he deliberately murdered.

David Corn, Rich Lowry, we will have both of you back. Thanks very much.

LOWRY: Thanks, Wolf.

CORN: Thank you.


CNN US
On CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNN AvantGo CNNtext Ad info Preferences
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.