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Thread: CA - Shannon Ritter, 12, Rancho Cordova - strangled and drowned in a bath tub, 1972

  1. #1
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    CA - Shannon Ritter, 12, Rancho Cordova - strangled and drowned in a bath tub, 1972

    http://fox40.trb.com/news/ktxl-08100...ll=ktxl-news-1

    SACRAMENTO The family of a murder victim will sleep a little easier tonight. The Sacramento Sheriff's Department Cold Case Unit says it's solved a 34 year old murder.

    The victim's sister, Diana Gore, says "This day's been a long time coming." It's been 34 years since 12 year old Shannon Ritter was found strangled and drowned in a bath tub at this Rancho Cordova apartment complex.

    Now a Florida real estate agent is behind bars, accused of the murder. 57 year old James Gaines is married and has been living in Lauderhill, just north of Ft. Lauderdale for the last 20 years. Cold case detective James Barnes says "He was very cooperative with us but he was extremely shocked when we made the arrest."

    More at link.
    OB
    this is just my opinion, it may be wrong, user beware!

  2. #2
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    Trial has started in Sacramento.

    "Four young children, who Ritter had been babysitting, were asleep in the bedrooms of the apartment on Coloma Road, a retired sheriff's corporal testified Monday."

    "Gaines - who was 23 and lived in the same apartment complex at the time of the murder - had been linked by DNA evidence to a cigarette butt found at the crime scene."
    http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/182222.html - you have to subscribe to read the story I believe, sorry folks.
    Last edited by californiacarrie; 05-17-2007 at 01:51 AM. Reason: misinformation corrected
    Rest in peace little Marcus.

    Where is Jaycee Lee Dugard?

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  4. #3
    timetravel is offline care giver of all stray and feral cats who come my way.
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    wow - does anyone have a link that works - where you don't have to subscribe???? 34 years and a ciggy butt later....

  5. #4
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    I wonder if this guy's DNA has ever been compared to the "East Area Rapist" who terrorized northern California just a few years later and commited several rapes in this exact same neighborhood. He later moved to southern California and committed several murders there as the "Original Night Stalker".

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Doogie View Post
    I wonder if this guy's DNA has ever been compared to the "East Area Rapist" who terrorized northern California just a few years later and commited several rapes in this exact same neighborhood. He later moved to southern California and committed several murders there as the "Original Night Stalker".
    Maybe you should send in a tip?

  7. #6
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    Shannon Ritter was 12 years old when she was murdered, with her body found floating in a bathtub and the children she was baby-sitting still asleep in their beds.
    That was Sept. 30, 1972, and for more than three decades the death of the junior high school student remained a mystery.
    Now, nearly 35 years after Shannon was choked and drowned in a Rancho Cordova apartment, prosecutors think they have her killer in James Calvin Gaines, whose trial started Wednesday in Sacramento Superior Court.

    A 58-year-old retired handyman and father of three, Gaines was the original suspect in the crime, arrested in October 1972 by sheriff's detectives but never charged.
    He was rearrested last August in Florida after detectives reopened the case and matched his DNA sample with traces of saliva on a cigarette butt found at the crime scene.
    Prosecutor Eric Kindall told jurors in his opening statement that DNA testing identified Gaines as the smoker, even though the man said he had not been in the apartment on Coloma Road the night of the murder.
    Defense attorney Robert Blasier, a DNA specialist, said all that the tests proved was that Gaines may have smoked the cigarette, not that he had killed Shannon.
    "This case is no stronger today than it was in 1972, when they concluded there was not enough evidence to charge Mr. Gaines," Blasier told jurors.
    Gaines' lead defense attorney, John Paul Brennan, told jurors that the time between the crime and the trial made the evidence unreliable.
    "It's so long ago, no one really knows," he said.
    Kindall called three retired sheriff's investigators who testified that the mother of the four children whom Shannon was baby-sitting arrived home from a bar shortly before 2 a.m. and found the girl's naked body in the overflowing bathtub.
    The children, who apparently had slept through the killing, were still asleep when the first deputy arrived on the scene.
    In 1972, Gaines was a 23-year-old airman at Mather Air Force Base who lived around the corner from the crime scene in an apartment with his wife and three children.
    Retired sheriff's investigator Alexandria Magness testified that Gaines appeared to match a description provided by a witness.
    She said that when she questioned Gaines soon after the killing, he appeared extremely nervous and his heart was visibly thumping through his shirt.
    Magness said Gaines denied having been in his neighbor's apartment the night of the murder, but said he had gone there once to play dominos with another man who was a live-in baby sitter.
    Retired forensic pathologist Pierce Rooney testified that Shannon probably died of strangulation and drowning. Scratches on the girl's neck indicated she might have tried to pry her attacker's hands from around her throat, he said.
    He said he found no semen on her body and the only sign of a sexual assault was a bruising on her breast.
    Detectives arrested Gaines on Oct. 5, 1972, but a week later decided they didn't have enough evidence to hold him, said retired sheriff's Detective Gil Magness, lead investigator in the case.
    A short time later they arrested another suspect, John Strother, whom they also released without charging.
    Members of Gaines' family, including his daughter and a niece, attended Wednesday's session.
    His former wife of 18 years, Susan Gaines, sat in the hallway because she might be called as a witness. She said her ex-husband was "a good man, a perfect father," and she was surprised he was being prosecuted.
    Members of Shannon Ritter's family attended the trial Wednesday but said they would not comment until jurors reached a verdict. Testimony is expected to resume today.

    http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/183071.html

    Photo of Shannon at the link also.
    Brand new forum dedicated to the Keddie Cabin Murders - everyone welcome at
    www.keddieresortmurders.proboards.com

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by christine2448 View Post
    Maybe you should send in a tip?
    I just read the hard copy of the article from the Sacramento Bee - the accused here is black where the EAR/ONS is white. Never mind....

  9. #8
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    Former airman convicted in 35-year-old murder case

    http://www.sacbee.com/crime/story/233861.html



    In the oldest cold case ever prosecuted in Sacramento County, a Superior Court jury Wednesday convicted a former Mather Air Force Base airman of the sexual assault and murder of a 12-year-old girl 35 years ago.
    The jury took eight days to convict James Calvin Gaines, now a 58-year-old retired handyman and father of three. He faces life in prison at sentencing Aug. 24 before Judge Lloyd Connelly.


    In what is typically called a cold-DNA hit case, Gaines was linked with his DNA from a cigarette butt to the murder of Shannon Ritter, whose body was found Sept. 30, 1972, in a bathtub of a Rancho Cordova home where she was baby-sitting. Gaines, who lived around the corner from the murder scene and was 23 at the time, was arrested in October 1972 and subsequently released. He wasn't charged until last August in Florida after detectives reopened the case with a DNA match.


    Deputy District Attorney Eric Kindall told jurors in his opening statement that DNA testing was not only accurate, but the procedures used were reliable. Gaines matched witness descriptions of the suspect, and at the time his demeanor during his detective interrogation was nervous and incriminating, prosecution witnesses testified.


    During the monthlong trial, defense attorney John P. Brennan and DNA defense expert Robert Blasier maintained that the DNA tests only proved that Gaines was a smoker, not a killer. Ritter, whose body was found in an overflowing tub of water, was baby-sitting four children who slept through the early-morning attack. She had been choked and drowned, trial evidence showed.


    District Attorney Jan Scully's office said the case is the oldest cold case officials have prosecuted in Sacramento County.

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