SAN QUENTIN TRIPLE KILLER DIES
- From: "lushange67" <wimply88@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 15:46:27 GMT
Natural causes appear to take 'Sausage King,' on death row for murdering meat cops, 1 from Island
By Ricci Graham and Josh Richman, STAFF WRITERS
Inside Bay Area
SAN QUENTIN - Stuart Alexander, the self-proclaimed San Leandro "Sausage King" who was sentenced to death in the execution-style slayings of three meat inspectors - including one from Alameda - was found dead in his prison cell Tuesday morning.
A correctional officer making a routine inmate check found an "unresponsive" Alexander lying inside his San Quentin cell at 4:30 a.m., said Sgt. Eric Messick, a prison spokesman.
Messick said Alexander, 44, was immediately taken to a triage center inside the prison, where attempts to revive the former San Leandro businessman and one-time city mayoral candidate failed.
Alexander was declared dead at the prison's infirmary at
5:15 a.m., Messick said.
"There is no foul play suspected in his death," Messick said. "There's nothing to suggest that it was a suicide at this time. It appears that the cause of death is natural at this point."
Messick said the Marin County coroner will perform an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
"As to when the autopsy will occur, it will depend on the coroner's schedule," Messick said. "We have no influence on that."
Alexander's mother, Shirley Eckhart, was reached at her
Isleton home but declined to comment, saying she first wanted to visit her son's body at the prison, where she hoped to be briefed on the cause of his death.
Alexander's defense attorney, Michael Ogul, said he was saddened - but not shocked - by Alexander's death.
"It's a great tragedy," said Ogul, a former lawyer for the Al-ameda County Public Defender'sOffice who is now Solano County's chief deputy public defender. "It only proves how serious Stuart's mental and psychological problems were."
Ogul said he presented evidence during the trial showing Alexander suffered a serious brain injury during a high-speed motorcycle accident years ago that he believed contributed to his violent behavior.
Alexander's death, he added, illustrates just how seriously ill the man was before and during the shootings.
"We knew all along that it was wrong to execute Stuart - and today, God proved that," Ogul said. "I don't think Stuart could have survived a 10- to 20-year prison sentence because of his health problems."
Assistant U.S. Attorney John "Jack" Laettner, who led the prosecution against Alexander, said evidence of brain damage suffered during a 1997 accident "wasn't quite persuasive enough," adding that the defense failed to show that the "slight concussion" was a factor in the shooting rampage.
"I argued for his death and described (Alexander) as a miserable sociopath," Laettner said. "Knowing the pain and misery he caused, there's no way I can find compassion for him."
A jury convicted Alexander on Oct. 19, 2004, of three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and four special-circumstance clauses for gunning down three meat inspectors at his family-owned San Leandro sausage plant in 2000.
Alexander was sentenced to death in February by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Vernon Nakahara.
U.S. Department of Agriculture compliance officers Jean Hillery, 56, of Alameda; Thomas Quadros, 52, and state food inspector William Shaline, 57, were shot and killed at the Santos Linguisa Factory on June 21, 2000 - a horrific event captured by a security camera at the factory and characterized by Laettner as "an ambush."
Alexander also was convicted of the attempted murder of state Inspector Earl Willis, who narrowly escaped the onslaught after Alexander fired five shots at him.
When contacted by telephone Tuesday at his home in Elk Grove, near Sacramento, Willis said: "I don't wish any ill will, but he wrote his own epitaph, he did indeed. It must be divine intervention. I don't feel sorry for him. He showed no remorse for what he did. I feel he got what he deserved."
At the time of his death, Messick said, Alexander - who arrived at the prison Feb. 15 - was being housed in an outpatient housing unit in the maximum-security section of the prison, where he was under constant video surveillance and was being regularly checked by a correctional officer.
"The officer had a good enough eye to notice around 4:30 (a.m.) that his chest was not moving up and down, which is a very difficult thing to do," Messick said.
Alexander had exhibited signs of psychiatric problems since his arrival and had been moved to the outpatient unit inside the prison grounds Dec. 24, Messick said.
"His mental state had deteriorated," he said. "He was being provided the best care that this department could have given him."
An East Bay police investigator who happened to see Alexander while visiting San Quentin on business about six weeks ago told The Daily Review of Hayward, a sister paper of the Tribune, that it was clear the man was in poor health.
The officer described a heavily medicated Alexander as being half-dressed and "not lucid."
"He looked very absent, very disconnected," the officer said. "He just didn't look like he was all there."
Rubin Vargas, a proprietor of the Chelsies jewelry and gun shop in San Leandro and a longtime acquaintance of Alexander, said the death comes as no surprise. Alexander had spoken of suicide while being held at the Santa Rita county jail in Dublin, Vargas said.
"He blew up," Vargas said. "The last time I saw him, it looked like he had literally doubled in weight, and he was having a hard time carrying it."
Some family members of those slain during the shooting rampage learned of Alexander's death early Tuesday.
"News like this travels fast," Hillery's daughter, Sheri Lehman, said from her home in Iowa.
Lehman said her family watched the legal wrangling surrounding the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams earlier this month and dreaded the possible legal battle that certainly would have preceded Alexander's execution.
"I'm very thankful it's over," Lehman continued. "We can now put everything behind us. There won't be any wasted time for my family. It's done. It took 51/2 years, but there's relief, there's finality. It's closed."
Fremont residents John and Kathy Quadros - the brother and sister-in-law of Thomas Quadros - said a friend called to inform them of Alexander's death.
"We were relieved that we will not have to face the 20 to 25 years of appeals," said John Quadros, recalling the emotional toll of attending Alexander's murder trial. "It was tough to go through. It was like the movie 'Groundhog Day,' where you relive things over and over again. We feel like we can put that behind us now."
Meghan Shaline, a West Sacramento resident whose father, Bill, was gunned down by Alexander, expressed absolutely no sympathy for Alexander, saying: "The way I feel about it is that he should have been dead a long time ago."
"He saved the taxpayers a lot of money," added Shaline, who feared the endless appeals of Alexander's death sentence would have prolonged her family's grief and anger. "I don't think I wanted to go through the whole trial all over again.
"I don't think I could have handled that," she continued. "There's a reason things happen the way they do. But if it was natural for him, he got it a lot better than his victims did."
- Prev by Date: Re: He blames his son's suicide on sexual assaults in childhood
- Next by Date: Re: Petersons hire noted attorneys to begin Scott's appeals
- Previous by thread: James Dungy's Homepage (is up for today only)
- Next by thread: Mother of suspect says she is "shocked" about Wal-Mart shooting