The I-5 Strangler's Death In Prison Explained

On the morning of March 1, 2021, California serial killer Roger Reece Kibbe, 81, also known as the "I-5 Strangler," was found unresponsive in his cell. He was taken to the Mule Creek State Prison health care center and pronounced dead about 45 minutes later. Per SFGATE, the death is being treated as a homicide.

In 1991, Kibbe was convicted of the murder of 17-year-old Darcine Frackenpohl. Her body was found by a jogger near the Echo Summit mountain pass in 1987 with her dress discovered about a thousand feet away. At that time, Kibbe was the suspect in six other murders believed to be the work of one person who had been nicknamed the I-5 Strangler, because the victims' bodies were found around Sacramento and Stockton area, usually with their clothes cut into odd patterns. Prosecutors didn't have enough evidence to file charges against Kibbe for the other six deaths, however, so he was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for Frackenpohl's murder alone.

Kibbe's cell mate is suspected of killing him

In 2009, a San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office investigator used new evidence to connect Kibbe to the murders from the 1970s and 1980s. Kibbe pleaded guilty to the 1977 murder of Lou Ellen Burleigh, 21, and the 1986 murders of Stephanie Brown, 19, Lora Heedrick, 20, Katherine Kelly Quinones, 25, Charmaine Sabrah, 26, and Barbara Ann Scott, 29. As part of a plea agreement, Kibbe gave authorities information that led them to Burleigh's remains; in return, the possibility of Kibbe receiving the death penalty was taken off the table, in part because he "was unlikely to ever realistically face execution," per SFGATE.

Instead, he was serving two life sentences without parole in addition to his earlier sentence.

As reported by the Daily Mail, Kibbe had been a furniture maker, with a brother who was a police detective. Kibbe's cell mate Jason Dubrow, 40, was standing nearby when guards found Kibbe unresponsive and is the suspect in Kibbe's murder. Budrow is serving a life sentence on a second-degree murder charge from 2011. As of March 1, he had not yet been charged.