Gallego dies in prison medical center
July 20, 2002
Gerald Gallego, the so-called “fantasy sex slave” serial killer who has been on Nevada’s death row 18 years, died Thursday night in the prison’s Regional Medical Center.
Gallego was moved to the center in March because of the advanced condition of his cancer. Until then, he had been in the maximum security prison in Ely. He died one day after his 56th birthday.
Gallego was convicted of picking up two 17-year-olds, Karen Twiggs and Stacey Redican, at a Sacramento shopping center, taking them to Nevada and killing them.
His common law wife, Charlene, testified she helped lure the girls into their van. She testified in both California and Nevada trials that Gallego was seeking the “perfect sex slave” and when the young girls they picked up refused to indulge his fantasies, he killed them.
Their bodies were found in a remote canyon near Lovelock. The district court there convicted him and he was sentenced to die in June 1984. His death renders moot his ongoing appeal of that sentence in federal court.
He was convicted by a California jury of the 1980 murders of Craig Miller, 22, and Mary Beth Sowers, 21, two Sacramento State College students. A superior court judge sentenced him to death in that state as well. His appeal of that sentence was before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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According to Charlene Gallego, he also killed two Sparks girls, Brenda Judd, 13, and Sandra Colley, 14. They disappeared from the Washoe County Fairgrounds in Reno in 1979 but their bodies weren’t found until Charlene helped police search for them years later. Gallego was never tried in their deaths.
She testified Gallego also lured Kippi Vaught and Rhoda Schaeffler into the van in 1978. Their bodies were found near Baxter, Calif. She said he murdered Linda Aguilar after picking her up on the Oregon coast highway some five months before killing Sowers and Miller. And she said he murdered Virginia Mochel in the same time period after abducting her from the bar where she worked in the Sacramento Delta.
Altogether, Gallego was implicated in the deaths of nine women and one man.
Gallego wasn’t the first in his family convicted of violent crimes. His father was convicted of killing a police officer and a jail guard and executed in the Mississippi gas chamber 35 years ago.
There have been no executions in Nevada since Sebastian Bridges was killed a year ago May. Since that time, three death row inmates including Gallego have died of natural causes. Gallego died of colon cancer that had spread throughout his body.
Mel Geary died of heart failure in May and Charles Manley died in March.
In addition, Henry Dawson died a month before Bridges was put to death.
There are still more than 80 men and one woman, Priscilla Ford, on death row in Nevada.