What happened to the Clairemont killers

What happened to the Clairemont killers

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San Diego, CA

#1 May 27, 2008
Back around 1990 Christopher Box and Manuel Flores clubbed and slashed several people to death including children in a house on Clairemont Mesa Blvd in Clairemont. I think they were convicted and received relatively short sentences. I didn't know any of the victims or criminals but lived very nearby at the time. Whatever happened to these two?
Their crimes took place about the same time that Cleophus Prince jr raped and killed 6 women in the Clairemont area. I think he is on death row but what about these other guys?

San Diego, CA

#2 May 27, 2008
I remember that all of the 11 victims in these various crimes were white. 2 of the perps were black and 1 a latino. Never was a word about catagorizing these as hate crimes.

San Diego, CA

#3 May 27, 2008
Neighbor, when I saw your post I was so surprised because I had recently read about Christopher Box and Manuel Flores in Union-Trib archives (actually I was looking for something else and the headline got my attention).
I will copy and paste an article here. I grew up in Bay Park and while I was in high school when it happened I thought I would at least remember something about it but I didn't so it was sort of surprising, considering the viciousness of the killing.
I can't find an article if Christopher Box received life w/o parole or execution??
The Superior Court jury that yesterday found Christopher Box and Manuel Flores guilty of all charges in a drug-related triple murder in Clairemont will begin Tuesday to determine whether Box should be executed.
The jury deliberated for two and a half days before finding the two former Clairemont High School athletes guilty of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, robbery and burglary during an Aug. 9, 1989, crime spree.
Both Box, 21, and Flores, 18, were convicted of planning and carrying out a scheme, which turned violent, to steal marijuana and cash from the Clairemont duplex in which April Gilhousen, 20, lived with her son, Bryan, 3.
Gilhousen, her son and Kevin Chandler, a transient living out of his van at the duplex, were beaten with a baseball bat and stabbed with a razor-edged box cutter, according to testimony during the trial before Judge J. Perry Langford.
The jury also found to be true the special-circumstances allegations filed against Box by Deputy District Attorney Lorraine Rooney. They next will decide whether to recommend the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Flores will not face the possibility of a death sentence because he was 17 years old when the murders occurred.
He faces a minimum sentence of 26 years to life and a maximum of 77 years to life followed by another life term. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 18.
Flores testified in his own defense that he was intimidated into committing the crimes by Box, who is older and larger.
Box did not testify, but one of his attorneys, Charles Adair, told jurors that such behavior would not have been typical of the former star football player and wrestler.

San Diego, CA

#4 May 29, 2008
Thank You Waldecker! I remember reading this article at the time. I lived across the alley from the crime. Yes Clairmont has a few alleys, The murders happened on the 4300 block of Clairemont mesa Blvd and I lived on the 4300 block of Bannock St. There had been a commotion all day in the neighborhood with police cars everywhere. I went out into the alley in the afternoon and looked in that direction and saw a young man standing alone but a few feet away from the police. I believe he was the boyfriend of the murdered girl and possibly the father of the little boy. I think he had come home from work to find this crime scene at his house. He seemed so alone and confused, it was heartbreaking. As I recall the killers had taken at least one of the victims who had been killed there, the child I think, and dumped him somewhere else in town. It was such a weird time in Clairemont. I don't think it was much later that some guy stole a tank and drove it through the area. I think it was just a few years earlier that the serial killer David Allen Lucas was convicted of his crimes. I think he had grown up on Samoset about 6 blocks away. There was also Cleophus Prince about that time busy killing women who he followed home from the gym.
I guess I wrote this because I imagined that due to our revolving door prisons that Box and Flores were probably out and living among us again. Your pasting of the article (I had forgotten the sentencing info) leads me to hope that maybe these animals are still doing time. Any further info would be appreciated. If any of you other San Diegans remember a murderer please put the story here so they don't get to settle confortably among us. God Bless the Police! I believe that there is a special place in heaven for people like them!

San Diego, CA

#5 May 29, 2008
Hi Neighbor, I typed a response this morning and I realize that it didn't get posted?? Ok, here it goes again - I discovered something - IF you happen to have a library card, you can go to http://sdplproxy.sandiego.gov/login and enter your card # and access San Diego Union-Tribune articles dating back to 1983. I will check back and see if you are able to enter and/or when I get some more time I will just copy and paste the articles I read because I think you would find them interesting. From what I read it must have been Michael Ross (or something like that?) who was April Gilhousen's boyfriend and father of the little boy, that is just so awful, and that you saw him standing there, I can't even imagine.
You mentioned David Allen Lucas - I haven't heard that name?? Now I have to go look that up!

Like I said, I'll check back and if you need any help with the S.D. Public Library database, about how to access the S.D. Union I can tell you exactly.

San Diego, CA

#6 May 31, 2008
Hi Waldecker, I no longer have a library card unfortunately. Is there any other way of accessing such things?

San Diego, CA

#7 May 31, 2008
Lucas was arrested in 84 and had a death penalty trial in 89. Someone I know was even contacted by his scumbag attorneys because she had grown up across the street from him many years earlier. The attorney was looking for anyone to give some reason to justify what Lucas had done. They of course found no justification because there is none. I saw a crime show the other day that featured Lucas' story.'Suburban Secrets' maybe or 'Forensic Files?' one of those. I don't recall whether he received the death penalty or whether he has been executed.
Another story that hit close to home for me was the killing of a good man named Elias Atallah.
He owned a corner market on Orange ave and Euclid ave in East San Diego. He was killed by a robber on sept 9 1976. His killer was never caught as far as I know. As a kid I went to his market every day until one day it was surrounded by police cars. He was a good man and the first person I ever knew who died.

San Diego, CA

#8 May 31, 2008
Neighbor, I looked at the SDPL site again and I can't see another way to access their database??
I will post the articles, no problem! BTW, when I read about ol David Allen Lucas, I did remember him in connection to the Mesa College student he abducted and killed (let me see if I can find THAT article).
Two different personalities emerged yesterday for Christopher Box, a former star athlete arrested in connection with a brutal string of slayings Wednesday in Clairemont, including that of a 3- year-old boy.
Neighbors, school officials and coaches say they knew 20-year- old Box as a star wrestler and football player and as a person who had been an inspiration to other students when he attended Clairemont High School.
But residents in another Clairemont neighborhood paint a picture of a man they feared, a man who often brandished a club and terrorized them.
It was in that Haidas Avenue neighborhood that Box was arrested by homicide detectives about 10:15 p.m. Thursday. He was driving his four-wheel-drive vehicle in the 3400 block of Haidas, a street where his girlfriend lives and where, residents there say, he spends most of his time.
Also arrested in connection with the slayings of April Gilhousen, 20; Bryan Gilhousen, 3; and Kevin Morton Chandler, 29, was Manuel Flores Jr., 17, a former running back for the Clairemont High football team, who would be a senior at the high school this fall.
Flores was arrested early yesterday in the 4800 block of Cole Street, where he lives with his family. Police said that neither Box nor Flores resisted arrest and that they cooperated during their separate interrogations.
Sgt. Frank Martinez, who has been in charge of the investigation since April Gilhousen's body was discovered Wednesday by a neighbor in her mustard-colored duplex in the 4300 block of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, said it appears that the theft of drugs and money was the motivation behind the three slayings.
Gilhousen had been stabbed in the heart and beaten on the head with a blunt object, the coroner's office has reported. Her baby daughter, Aspen, was found unharmed in her crib nearby, but her son, Bryan, was strangled and beaten. His badly bruised body was found under a blanket by a couple walking through a nearby alley.
Police say they believe that Aspen's life may have been spared because, unlike her 3-year-old brother, she was too young to be a witness.
Box is being held without bail at County Jail and Flores is at Juvenile Hall. Both are scheduled to be arraigned Monday morning on three counts each of murder.
Martinez said three separate witnesses told detectives they had seen Box and Flores at the Gilhousen residence early Wednesday morning, when the fatal beatings are believed to have taken place.
Martinez said it is believed that the bodies of the man and boy were taken from the duplex apartment to the alleys in Box's four- wheel-drive vehicle.
He said an amount "between $1,000 and $2,000" was found in the two suspects' possession and said detectives today will inspect Box's impounded vehicle for, among other things, stashed drugs.
Box's arrest came as no surprise, however, to some residents of Haidas Avenue who said the strapping man had become a terror in their neighborhood.
One neighbor, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, said Box was the leader of a band of people who would often dress in black and frighten neighborhood residents. Another neighbor, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Box could often be seen brandishing a club.
The detective said he couldn't confirm that there was some drug dealing going on at the Gilhousen residence, but he said reports that there were a lot of people going in and out of the two-bedroom apartment made it "very possible."

San Diego, CA

#9 May 31, 2008
A triple-murder trial got off to an unusual start in Superior Court yesterday with the attorneys for the co-defendants taking turns blaming each other's client for the bloody 1989 Clairemont slayings.

The initial characterizations of defendants Christopher Box, 21, and Manuel Flores, 18, presented to the jury by the defense attorneys were at least as unflattering and certainly more violent than that offered by the prosecutor.

The jolting start came in a trial before Judge J. Perry Langford in which Box, a former star athlete at Clairemont High School, faces the death penalty and Flores faces up to life in state prison if convicted.

The two men are charged with the Aug. 9 murders of April Gilhousen, 20; her son, Bryan, 3; and Kevin Chandler, 29, all of whom were slain in Gilhousen's Clairemont Mesa Boulevard duplex.

Box's attorney, Charles Adair, outlined in his opening statements a scenario in which he said the murders were the result of the continuous drug dealing and consumption he said pervaded the Gilhousen household.

While not admitting Box's involvement in the crimes, Adair said the incident was ignited by the actions of Chandler, who Adair called a "speed (methamphetamine) freak," and that "what happened then was not the fault of Christopher Box."

Flores' attorney, Robert Boyce, then followed with a stinging accusation of Box in which he said a youthful, impressionable Flores was pressured into committing the crimes by a domineering Box, who Flores "had idolized."

"Christopher Box, unprovoked, picks up a baseball bat, raises it up and brings it down on the skull of Kevin Chandler," Boyce said. "From that moment on, Manny Flores is not the same person who walked in the door of that house."

Boyce said Box then ordered Flores to cut Chandler's throat and later forced him to stab April Gilhousen, who was killed in her bedroom. A devastated Flores complied, Boyce said.

"He's in shock," Boyce said. "He's scared to death. He's afraid of what will happen. Christopher Box from that time forward, from the first blows struck, controls the emotions of Manny Flores."

Gilhousen's son was found beaten and strangled.

Because of Boyce's remarks, Langford then allowed Adair a rebuttal statement and Adair launched into an attack against Flores' character.

Adair said he will present evidence that Flores "was violent and unpredictable" and a county jail prisoner will testify that Flores bragged of the killings in jail.

"The evidence will show the duress defense is something that was concocted after his arrest in an attempt to save him in this case," Adair said.

Deputy District Attorney Lorraine Rooney said she would prove both defendants guilty of killings committed because they wanted to steal a pound of marijuana and a large amount of cash they knew Gilhousen kept in the house.

Rooney said the murder weapons were an old, splintered baseball bat owned by Gilhousen's fiance, a box cutter with a retractable razor blade used by Flores in his job as a box boy and a kitchen knife taken from Gilhousen's kitchen.

Rooney said the box cutter was found in a neighbor's yard, but the baseball bat, the kitchen knife, the marijuana, nearly $2,500 in cash and April Gilhousen's purse are still missing.

"We believe the evidence will show that Mr. Box and Mr. Flores conspired days ahead to murder the three individuals in the house and to rob and burgle the residents in 4341 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard," Rooney said.

San Diego, CA

#10 May 31, 2008
As a youth, Christopher Clark Box was a model student, an athletic hero and a student leader looked up to by other classmates, a Superior Court jury considering a death penalty for Box was told yesterday.

"Christopher always had a smile on his face that would melt concrete," testified Robert Teegarden, Box's eighth-grade principal at St. Rita's parochial school in Southeast San Diego.

"He was very supportive and protective of his sister, he got along well with his classmates, he was a captain of the football team, he took a leadership role in school activities and was a solid member of his class."

Teegarden was one of 18 former teachers, classmates and neighbors who portrayed Box as a kind, caring and good-humored boy during his formative years.

The all-American image clashes with the three brutal murders for which Box could be put to death.

Box, 21, and co-defendant Manuel Flores, 18, were convicted last week of committing the murders during a drug-related robbery and burglary at a Clairemont duplex on Aug. 9, 1989.

The victims -- April Gilhousen, 20; her son, Bryan, 3; and Kevin Morton Chandler, 29, who was living there -- were beaten or stabbed to death.

In this phase of the trial, the jury must decide whether to recommend that Judge J. Perry Langford sentence Box to death in the gas chamber or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Because Flores was 17 when the crimes occurred, Deputy District Attorney Lorraine Rooney could not seek the death penalty against him. Flores faces 26 years to life in prison at his sentencing Jan. 18.

Defense attorney Charles Adair said he will present nearly 80 witnesses who will testify about positive traits in Box's personality. He told the jury that he hopes the witnesses will persuade them to spare Box's life.

"Our purpose here is to show you that Christopher Box -- this individual here -- does not have the soul of a killer," Adair said.

The burly, 240-pound Box, a former star wrestler and football player at Clairemont High School, wiped tears from his eyes while listening to the praise of several witnesses.

Sister Marcella Slaughter, another former principal at St. Rita's, said Box always was much bigger than his classmates but never used his size to bully anyone.

"His size could have been intimidating, but he was friendly and the other kids were never afraid of him," she said. "He was always very pleasant, very courteous to deal with, but very shy."

Prosecutor Rooney said she does not plan to present any witnesses to rebut Adair's witnesses but will argue for the death penalty "based on the gravity and the circumstances of the murders."

San Diego, CA

#11 May 31, 2008
Rejecting defense pleas that he spare Christopher Box's life because of his youth and his athletic, academic and personal achievements, a judge yesterday sentenced Box to death for his role in a drug-related triple murder in Clairemont.

Box, once a star football player and wrestler at Clairemont High School, showed little emotion as Superior Court Judge J. Perry Langford told him that his violent behavior during the Aug. 9, 1989, murders was carried out with "awesome callousness."

Box, 22, and co-defendant Manuel Flores, 18, were found guilty Dec. 12 of the three murders, an attempted murder, conspiracy, robbery and burglary. The same jury that convicted them recommended that Box die in the gas chamber.

The convictions stemmed from a midmorning crime rampage carried out as part of an attempt to steal marijuana and cash.

The victims, April Gilhousen, 20, her son, Bryan, 3, and Kevin Chandler, 29, a transient living out of his van at Gilhousen's duplex on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, were either beaten, stabbed or choked to death by Box and Flores, courts have found.

Langford said he was nearly brought to tears by the almost 80 former schoolmates, teachers and friends who testified on Box's behalf and remembered him as a kind and friendly boy in junior high and high school.

However, Langford said, sticking in his mind was the testimony of one of Box's former coaches, who described Box's efficiency on the football field by saying: "He did what was necessary. He did what had to be done."

Langford related that description of Box to the behavior of Box and Flores in "cleaning up the crime scene and taking the bodies away" during a lengthy attempt to cover up their gruesome crimes.

"Anybody would be getting sicker and sicker and sicker unless he was pretty good at doing what has to be done," Langford said.

"Anybody who could strangle that kid after all that had gone before it has a level of callousness ... that makes the blood run cold."

Langford cited Box's involvement with drugs as the reason for the paradoxical differences between Box's All-American image and his role as a bloody murderer.

The judge said Box had been using and selling drugs after graduating from high school.

"In short, this ideal record is not the whole picture, and was not, even before the events that gave rise to this crime," Langford said.

Defense attorneys Charles Adair and Elizabeth Barranco unsuccessfully asked Langford to reduce the jury's recommended sentence to life in state prison without the possibility of parole or allow them to have Box undergo special psychiatric evaluations.

Barranco said such an evaluation would determine whether Box might have been suffering from organic brain disorders that could have affected his behavior when the crimes were committed.

Langford ordered that Box be transported to death row at San Quentin State Prison within 10 days. An execution date will not be set until the automatic appeal of the case to the state Supreme Court is resolved.

Prosecutor Lorraine Rooney could not seek the death penalty against Flores because he was a juvenile at the time the murders were committed. Flores faces a minimum sentence of 26 years to life and a maximum of 77 years to life.

Langford is awaiting a California Youth Authority evaluation to determine whether Flores is eligible to be held in juvenile institutions until he turns 25.

San Diego, CA

#12 May 31, 2008
A 20-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy have been arrested and each charged with three counts of murder in connection with Wednesday's triple murder in Clairemont.

Christopher Clark Box, 20, was arrested yesterday at 5:45 p.m. in the 3100 block of Haidas Avenue in Clairemont. And early today, the 17-year-old, Manuel Flores Jr., was arrested in the 4800 block of Cole Street.

Both addresses are less than a half-mile from where police believe the victims were murdered.

Box has been booked in the downtown County Jail without bail, and Flores has been taken to Juvenile Hall, said police spokesman Dave Cohen.

"Robbery appears to be the motive and very possibly (the crimes) were drug-related," he said, adding that a small quantity of methamphetamine and paraphernalia were found.

Police say Box was an acquaintance of April Gilhousen, 20, whose body was one of three found Wednesday. Her son Bryan Gilhousen, 3, and an acquaintance, Kevin Morton Chandler, 29, were found dumped nearby in different parts of Clairemont.

Cohen said police believe that all three victims were killed at Gilhousen's home in the 4300 Block of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard. He said the murders probably occurred around 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Cohen said three witnesses have placed Box and Flores at the home the morning of the murders. However, he would not elaborate.

He said police have impounded Box's car, which they believe was used to transport Chandler's and Bryan's bodies. Each was discovered, bundled in blankets, about one hour and one mile apart in alleys behind Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.

Box was the 1988 San Diego CIF heavyweight wrestling champion at Clairemont High School and also was a star football player.

Neighbors today said Box was arrested after he was followed by undercover police to the house on Haidas Avenue.

Neighbors said Box's girlfriend lives at the house.

Box often would walk around the neighborhood carrying a club, neighbors said. He was described by one person as the leader of a group of people who would often dress in all-black clothing and terrorize residents.

One person said Box has owned three expensive vehicles in the past two years, including a Ford Bronco that the neighbor said was impounded by police last night.

Flores lived in a condominium complex with his family in the 4800 block of Cole Street.

San Diego, CA

#13 May 31, 2008
Sorry if that was over-kill but there are so many details - but I think that covers most of it. Now I'm curious if Christopher Box was actually executed.

San Diego, CA

#14 Jun 3, 2008
Thanks W for finding and posting that.
Yikes! Thankfully they were caught and put away.


#15 Jun 13, 2008
hello, I am new to this site and looking for any information about David Allen Lucas. Internet does not show much. This is the most I have found from you guys on him. I'd like details or info on where I can find that. thanks so much.

San Diego, CA

#16 Jun 14, 2008
HeidiMD, I happened to see your post so I am going to post the articles that I read about David Allen Lucas - if you are interested in accessing the archives from the S.D. Public Library read post #5 about how to access it online.

Sidebar, in my "research", I also found some about a gentleman named John Moncrief who killed his girlfriend's daughter in his van...it's awful but again another I hadn't heard of either.

San Diego, CA

#17 Jun 14, 2008
David Allen Lucas, the 29-year-old Spring Valley man arrested yesterday in connection with the kidnapping and slaying of Anne Catherine Swanke and in two other homicides, was convicted of rape and assault with a deadly weapon in 1973 when he was 18, court records show.

Forensic psychiatric reports at the time said Lucas had a long history of antisocial behavior and that he was "dangerous to the community."

Yesterday, Lucas waited silently to be admitted to jail five hours after his arrest.

His face betrayed no emotion as the steel door to the downtown jail slammed shut, marking what authorities believe will be an end to the search for a suspect in a death that frightened and shocked San Diego County residents.

In addition to being booked on a murder charge in the Nov. 20 slaying of the 22-year-old Swanke, an honors student at the University of San Diego, Lucas was booked on two other murder counts, one count of attempted murder, and two counts of kidnapping. He was being held without bail and was expected to be arraigned in court later this week.

Formal murder charges are being sought in connection with the Oct. 23 deaths of Rhonda Strang, 31, and of Amber Fisher, 3, both of whom were slain while Strang was baby-sitting Amber in her Lakeside home, said San Diego County Sheriff John Duffy.

The attempted murder and kidnapping counts are in connection with an assault on a San Diego County visitor, Jody Santiago, June 9 in El Cajon. Her throat was slashed after she was held overnight.

Santiago's memory of that assault led to the arrest of Lucas at 7 a.m. yesterday, when two detectives entered the house where Lucas lived in the 10100 block of Casa de Oro Boulevard in Spring Valley. They took him into custody without resistance.

Lucas was convicted on charges of forcible rape and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a May 27, 1973, sexual attack on the 21-year-old maid of a friend of the family. He denied the allegations and was referred to Superior Court to be examined by forensic psychiatrists. Two court psychiatrists said they believed Lucas was a mentally disordered sex offender and recommended commitment to Atascadero State Hospital.

Lucas demanded a trial on the issue of the disorder and a judge ruled he did not fall into that category. Consequently, he was sent to the California Youth Authority at Norwalk for an indeterminate sentence.

Youth Authority spokesman Art German said today that two months after Lucas was sent to Norwalk, he was transferred to Atascadero. He said Lucas was "dishonorably discharged" from CYA parole in August 1977 when he was arrested out of state and sentenced to a federal prison. He knew of no details on the federal case.

San Diego, CA

#18 Jun 14, 2008
David Allen Lucas has pleaded innocent to charges of murdering two women and a girl.

Lucas, 29, of Spring Valley, is accused of killing University of San Diego honors student Anne Catherine Swanke, 22, of San Carlos, on Nov. 20, and Rhonda Strang, 24, and a child she was baby- sitting, Amber Fisher, 3, both of Lakeside, on Oct. 23.

He also is charged with kidnapping Swanke and kidnapping, raping and trying to murder Jody Santiago on June 9.

Municipal Judge Richard J. Hanscom yesterday scheduled a Jan. 2 preliminary hearing.

After the arraignment, defense attorney G. Anthony Gilham said of his client: "He feels confident that he'll be cleared. My guy's innocent."

Gilham said that he may ask to have the trial in another county and that Lucas was arrested only because of his 1973 convictions of rape and assault with a deadly weapon.

"There was a lot of pressure on the sheriff to make an arrest in this case," Gilham said in reference to the Swanke slaying.

The special circumstances of multiple murders could, if proved, result in the death penalty.

During the arraignment, Gilham said his forensic investigator has "certain evidence" taken from Lucas' house. After the hearing, the lawyer said the evidence includes gasoline receipts that could show "where he was on certain dates" and clothing.

Gilham told Hanscom that Deputy District Attorney Daniel Williams has asked for the receipts and clothing but that he will keep them "a reasonable time, two weeks" to analyze them.

Hanscom refused Gilham's requests that Lucas be allowed to wear civilian clothes, that cameras be excluded and that a gag order be imposed on attorneys and court officials.

"I'm not blind to the news coverage this case has gotten, but I have seen nothing unfairly prejudicial," Hanscom said.

He did direct that all restraints be removed from Lucas before he entered the courtroom.

Recalling Lucas' 1973 conviction of raping and assaulting the 21- year-old maid of a friend of the family, Gilham said: "I believed my client was innocent then, and I believe he is innocent now."

After those convictions, Lucas served nearly four years with the California Youth Authority.

Earlier, he had served time in juvenile detention on charges of burglary, forgery and running away from home.

San Diego, CA

#19 Jun 14, 2008
A woman who survived a throat-slashing attack has identified the Spring Valley home of multiple-murder defendant David Allen Lucas as the site where she was assaulted, according to a search-warrant affidavit filed in Municipal Court.

Jodie Santiago of Seattle was abducted June 9 while vacationing in El Cajon. She said that while in the house she was bound and then choked into unconsciousness by her attacker, the document says.

Santiago told sheriff's investigators that part of the attack took place in a "Datsun Z-type vehicle" with sheepskin seat covers, the affidavit says. Lucas sold such a car four days after the attack was reported, according to the affidavit.

The document also says two witnesses saw a truck similar to one Lucas drives coming off a Spring Valley hill where the partly clad body of Ann Catherine Swanke, 22, was subsequently found. Swanke, a University of San Diego student, was last seen at 2 a.m. Nov. 20 in La Mesa and was found dead four days later in Spring Valley.

According to the affidavit, the witnesses said they saw the truck on the hill at about midnight the night Swanke was abducted. The affidavit did not make clear whether this meant two hours before Swanke was last seen or 22 hours after she disappeared. Authorities refused to elaborate on the affidavit.

The telephone conference -- used to support the issuance of warrants to search Lucas' home, car and carpet-cleaning business on Adams Avenue in San Diego -- occurred Dec. 15 among sheriff's homicide Detective Craig Henderson, Deputy District Attorney Daniel Williams and Municipal Judge Frederic L. Link, who approved the warrants.

Henderson told the judge he wanted to search for "mementos" the women's attacker may have saved.

"It's been my experience that the perpetrators of crimes such as this will retain mementos of the -- of the crimes -- for unknown reasons," Henderson told the judge.

Specifically, Henderson said he was looking for such items as lingerie, a hunting knife, Santiago's purse and gold necklace with a doughnut-shaped jade pendant, and a diary belonging to another slaying victim.

Among the items seized in the search of Lucas' truck and home on Casa de Oro Boulevard were four knives, including two hunting knives known as Buck knives, as well as a brown purse and "stained" sheepskin headrest covers for a car, according to an inventory attached to the warrant.

Henderson told the judge that he and Santiago have looked at the sheepskin covers now on the seats in Lucas' truck and observed stains "similar in appearance to blood."

However, the Sheriff's Department refused to comment yesterday on whether the items found can be linked to the victims or what stained the headrest covers.

In a subsequent search, conducted by district attorney's investigators Dec. 17, a stained pillow and jacket were removed from Lucas' bedroom, according to an inventory of that search. Prosecutor Williams is out of town and unavailable to comment on that evidence.

The initial warrants were served Dec. 16 when Lucas was arrested at his home and ncharged with murdering Swanke; and with murdering Rhonda Strang, 24, and Amber Fisher, 3, whom Strang was baby- sitting. Strang and the child were slain Oct. 23 in Strang's Lakeside home.

In the affidavit, Henderson links Lucas to Strang, saying her brother, Rick Adler, lives with and is employed by Lucas. A former employee, Matthew Limback, told investigators that Lucas knew Strang and occasionally talked to her, Henderson said.

Lucas, 29, is also charged with kidnapping, raping and assaulting Santiago, who has identified Lucas as her attacker, and is a suspect in two killings attributed to another man who is in the county jail awaiting trial. All the victims' throats were slashed.

San Diego, CA

#20 Jun 14, 2008
A La Mesa doctor who operated on a Seattle woman's slashed throat last spring has testified that her injuries were similar to those of three people David Allen Lucas is accused of murdering last autumn.

The witness, Dr. Charles Geiberger, testified yesterday in a preliminary hearing for Lucas, 29, on charges of murdering University of San Diego student Anne Catherine Swanke, 22, on Nov. 20; and Amber Fisher, 3, and her baby sitter, Rhonda Strang, 24, on Oct. 23.

Lucas also is charged with kidnapping and assaulting the Seattle woman, Jody Santiago, on June 9.

Geiberger testified in Municipal Court that he operated on Santiago's slashed throat and looked at autopsy photos of Swanke, Amber and Strang.

The doctor listed similarities of the four attacks as use of a sharp instrument and irregularities indicating that the instrument was used more than once. In the cases of Santiago, Swanke and Strang, the cuts were made at the same spot on the throat, he said, while the child's throat was cut somewhat higher.

Geiberger said Strang and Santiago showed evidence of having been choked before their throats were slashed. He said Swanke's body was found with a chain around the throat below the cut.

He described Santiago's major injury as a "very deep cut" that "went all the way to the back of the throat."

Geiberger said the attacker missed key arteries and veins in Santiago's neck but came within millimeters of her spinal column.

Earlier, Santiago testified that she has been under psychiatric care because of the attack.

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