Accused rapist and murderer, Gardner, matches description in other attempted kidnappings in Riverside and San Diego counties

SAN DIEGO – A registered sex offender accused of murdering Poway High senior Chelsea King was reported today to match the description of a man seen stalking a 13-year-old girl on the same day and in the same community where Chelsea went missing. San Diego police received a report a week ago today about a man in a black sedan following a 13-year-old girl as she walked near Bernardo Heights Middle School in Rancho Bernardo, CW6 News reported this morning.

A black sedan frequently seen parked in front of John Albert Gardner III’s mother’s townhouse in Rancho Bernardo has since been towed away by police, according to the news station.

Gardner also bears a striking resemblance to a composite sketch of a suspect in an attempted abduction of a girl less than four miles from his residence in Lake Elsinore last October.

The Press-Enterprise in Riverside reported that the girl was walking to a friend’s house when she was approached by a man driving a sedan. After a brief conversation, the man showed the girl a gun and demanded she get inside his car, but she refused and ran, according to the newspaper.

Local authorities say they also are investigating whether Gardner might be responsible for the February 2009 disappearance of Escondido High School freshman Amber Dubois, who was 14 when she vanished while walking to campus.

Gardner, 30, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murdering 17-year-old Chelsea, who vanished last Thursday after she went for an after-school run at Rancho Bernardo Community Park.

In addition to murder, Gardner was charged with assault with the intent to commit rape for an attack on another woman in the same park last December, according to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

The murder charge includes a sentence-enhancing allegation of murder during the commission of a rape or attempted rape.

The defendant could face the death penalty if convicted. A decision on what penalty Gardner will face will be determined after the preliminary hearing.

Gardner — who is being held without bail in solitary confinement in a downtown jail cell — was ordered back to court Tuesday, and a preliminary hearing was tentatively scheduled for March 18.

According to public records, Gardner was convicted of assaulting and molesting a girl in 2000. The victim, a 13-year old neighbor, said he repeatedly punched her in the face and fondled her at his mother’s townhouse, which is about a mile from Rancho Bernardo Community Park.

The girl said she went to the residence after Gardner invited her in to watch a movie.

Gardner was sentenced to six years in prison and served five before he was released in September 2005. He was on probation until 2008.

He registered as a sex offender using his grandmother’s Lake Elsinore address but reportedly had been staying with his mother lately.

Dr. Matthew Carroll, a psychiatrist who interviewed Gardner following the 2000 assault, described him as ”callous” and lacking remorse, making him ”an extremely poor candidate for any sexual offender treatment,” according to court records.

”It is my opinion that (Gardner) would be a continued danger to underage girls in the community,” Carroll wrote as he recommended the maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

A memorandum from the District Attorney’s Office said prosecutors asked for a six-year sentence to resolve the case without a trial and to spare the victim from testifying.

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18 Responses to "Accused rapist and murderer, Gardner, matches description in other attempted kidnappings in Riverside and San Diego counties"

  1. fbkmomto2   March 4, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Epic fail…

  2. acemerrill79   March 4, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    if this was europe, he’d be dead by now, dont you love this system of ours?

  3. Califmom   March 4, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    this just disgusts me. I wonder if he is also responsible for the disappearance of Lindsey Baum. LE should look into his whereabouts that time of year. I am so glad he is off the street. I told my kids "look at this man, you would never think of him as a murderer, they come in all shapes and sizes." Just like Ted Bundy, they can appear like a wolf in sheeps clothing. We need to change the laws, the peeing in public/boys having sex with their underage girlfriends (vice versa) need to be in a difference classification and the child molesters should have one strike and thats it. I know it’s not that simple but it should be that simple. May you rest in Eternal Peace Chelsea.

  4. caln8tive   March 4, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    What a sick individual…he will get his eventually

  5. Common Sense   March 4, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I have a novel idea for the police – how about looking at registered sex offenders as possible suspects the next time this happens. Oy.

  6. mom of lots   March 4, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I still want to know why this man was not jailed after he attempted to rape the woman in Dec. and she got away by elbow punching him (his DNA was found on her arm). WHY, as a registered sex offender was he not immediately apprehended and imprisoned after this?!) Also, his mother (and father if he also lives there) should be prosecuted for harboring a sex offender that was supposed to be and REGISTERED AS LIVING IN ELSINORE (for good reason- his parents have a school too close to them)!! All of these "little" hoops all led to a tragedy that could have been avoided. OUR TAX dollars should concentrate on protecting our citizens from dangerous sex offenders- PRIORITY #1- if it was a priority, he would have been jailed for the Dec. incident. Too many people think he’s "ok" and he won’t do it again (including his negligent parents).

  7. deb   March 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    When will they make examples out of all these guys – they can not be cured….cut off their privates to start, without pain meds. Now he gets free food, bed, doesn’t have to work – more than these girls get a chance to do.

  8. momma   March 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    he wasn’t jailed in december bc they couldn’t get his dna on her elbow…i think they tied him to it when she was able to identify him from a photo. either way i agree: epic fail. i say the parents and him have a cell together. her blood is definitely on their hands as much as it is on his. makes it kind of easy to understand why he is the way he is. enabling parents=selfish, irresponsible, narcissistic kids

  9. mom of lots   March 4, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    momma- you got it right! I read that they did get his DNA on her elbow- when they received/analyzed the results I am not sure.

  10. eddie   March 4, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    not only is this another sad ending of a life(lives from a humanistic approach) but another constant reminder that these r the end of days. whether its 5 years or 500 its clearly evident that the world is becoming increasingly sick, warped and depraved. the only way to possibly reverse this circling of the drain so to speak, is to re-institute the core values and beliefs of yesteryear. family cohesiveness, respect for others, and if necessary, castration.

  11. WTF   March 4, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Our system sucks. Why do they even let them out, they know it will happen again just this time the man is so afraid of getting caught he kills the girl thinking that there will be no evidence. They need to make a new state and let all the rapers/murderers/and sick freak live there and murder and rape eachother… the world be a far better place

  12. loco   March 4, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    this guy needs the death penealty asap!

  13. Lee Chew   March 5, 2010 at 6:56 am

    The system is broken in California. It’s time to microchip the sex offenders and as others have mentioned castration. All, take time to get to know who’s living around you. You might be shocked by what you find.

  14. Califmom   March 5, 2010 at 11:15 am

    just a thought…If Ambers cell was turned on on Saturday after her disappearance and picked up from a cell tower on Amber Lane, would that be the cell tower used if that monster was in his mothers house turning on her phone?? I wish the death penalty on him as well so that we know he can never hurt another child but I want him to suffer as well as Chelsea suffered. I have written my congressmen, Obama etc. What else can I do to help change these stupid laws? The Watchdog website says there’s a registered sex offender living 1/2 mile from my kids school, that’s just great.

  15. Pessimistic   March 6, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I am confused, or at minimum need some clarification. Who, or what, are the "Epic Fail" comments being directed at? And, please expound upon whatever or whomever it is. This could generate some great debate, or not. Please do tell…

  16. bs   March 7, 2010 at 10:38 am

    that dude should die he deserves it

  17. lindsay   March 12, 2010 at 9:12 am

    go to , you can see all the registered sex offenders in your area.

  18. riverside   May 30, 2010 at 6:03 am

    that ,,,,hole so get raped for he can feel how it is


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