Man accused of strangling "I-5 Strangler" won't face death

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The man accused of strangling the California serial killer known as the "I-5 Strangler" will not face the death penalty, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Amador District Attorney Todd Riebe said he has filed first degree murder charges against Jason Budrow and will seek life imprisonment with no parole, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Budrow, 40, is charged with strangling Roger Reece Kibbe, whose body was discovered on February 28 in their shared cell at Mule Creek State Prison, southeast of Sacramento.
Budrow is already serving a life without parole for strangling his then girlfriend in Riverside County in 2011.
The death penalty is a costly and lengthy affair that involves automatic appeals. California has not executed anyone since 2006, and Governor Gavin Newsom has imposed a moratorium on the death penalty while in office.
81-year-old Kibbe was convicted in 1991 for strangling Darcine Frackenpohl, a 17-year-old who ran away from her Seattle home. Her almost naked body was found west of South Lake Tahoe below Echo Summit in September 1987.
Investigators said at the time that they had suspected him in other similar murders.
However, it was not until 2009 that a San Joaquin District Attorney investigator used new developments in DNA evidence to link him to more murders in Northern California counties.
Kibbe pleaded guilty to six other murders in return for prosecutors who failed to petition for the death penalty.
Those victims were Lou Ellen Burleigh, 21, in 1977 and Stephanie Brown, 19; Lora Heedrick, 20; Katherine Kelly Quinones, 25; Charmaine Sabrah, 26; and Barbara Ann Scott, 29, all 1986.
Kibbe was serving several life sentences without parole when he was killed.
In a letter to The Mercury News last month, Budrow said he killed Kibbe the same day they became cellmates, initially so that he could have a cell to himself.
"What began as my original plan to simply murder a cellmate to achieve my single-cell status grew into a mission to avenge the youngest girl and all of Roger Kibbe's other victims," ​​he wrote.
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