Friday, April 17, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

‘Sweethearts’ murder case timeline

By
From page A6 | December 07, 2012 |

Here are some significant dates in the UC Davis “sweethearts” murder case:

Dec. 20, 1980: John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves, both 18-year-old UC Davis freshmen, vanish from Davis after ushering a performance of the “Davis Children’s Nutcracker,” and as they prepare to attend a surprise party for Gonsalves’ sister Andrea.

Dec. 22, 1980: Authorities discover Riggins’ van abandoned off Highway 50 and Hazel Avenue. The inside is trashed; gifts intended for Andrea — including a blue-and-red bundle-up blanket — have been unwrapped. The couple’s bodies — throats slashed, heads wrapped in duct tape — are found several hours later in a wooded ravine near Folsom Boulevard and Aerojet Road.

Nov. 14, 1989: Davis police arrest the so-called “Hunt group” — David Hunt, Suellen Hunt and Richard Thompson (Doug Lainer is charged six months later) — in connection with the Riggins-Gonsalves murders. Their theory: that David Hunt orchestrated the killings as a “copycat” crime to cast suspicion away from his half-brother, serial killer Gerald Gallego, who in December 1980 had been jailed for a similar crime.

June 1992: California Department of Justice criminalist Faye Springer, conducting a routine review of evidence in the case, discovers four semen stains on the blanket from Riggins’ van, which investigators previously believed held little evidentiary value.

January 1993: On the eve of trial, Yolo County prosecutors are forced to dismiss charges against the Hunt group after testing shows DNA extracted from semen stains matches neither Riggins nor any of the three male defendants. The case goes cold once again.

Summer 2002: Former Davis Enterprise staff writer Joel Davis’ work on a book about the “sweethearts” case generates interest among Sacramento County authorities, who run the previously unidentified DNA profile through a national database. They get a hit: Richard Joseph Hirschfield, until then an unheard-of suspect serving time for child molestation in Washington state.

Nov. 20, 2002: Joseph Hirschfield, Richard’s younger brother, commits suicide a day after being questioned about his brother’s whereabouts around the time of the Riggins-Gonsalves murders. He leaves behind a note that says, in part: “I have been living with this horror for 20 years. I was there. My DNA is there.”

September 2004: Hirschfield is extradited to California, where he’s charged with two counts of first-degree murder with four special circumstances alleging multiple murders and murder in the commission of kidnapping, rape and oral copulation. Prosecutors eventually decide to seek the death penalty.

Sept. 4, 2012: Hirschfield’s trial begins, more than eight years after his arrest.

Nov. 5: Jury deliberates just over three hours before convicting Hirschfield of both counts of murder and all but one special circumstance, sending the trial into a penalty phase.

Nov. 26: Penalty phase begins.

Dec. 6: Jury recommends that Hirschfield be sentenced to death.

Comments

comments

.

News

Psychedelic rock posters recall 1960s concerts

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
UCD study: Crickets not enough to feed the world just yet

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A1

It’ll be a perfect day for a picnic — and lots more

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Turning a mess into olive oil success

By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

UCD expands emergency notification service

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A2

 
California vaccine bill stalls; will come back next week

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Cities: California water reduction order unrealistic, unfair

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Bob Dunning: Chasing criminals and water-wasters

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Enjoy a chemistry bang on Picnic Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Start your Picnic Day with pancakes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Local students to perform at fundraising concert

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
CA House hosts crepe breakfast

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Doxie Derby crowns the winning wiener

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Fundraiser benefits Ugandan women

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

See pups at Picnic Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Davis poet will read his work at library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Free blood pressure screenings offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

 
Rotary Club hosts whisky tasting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Ribs and Rotary benefits local charities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Dodd plans fundraising barbecue in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Soroptimists set date for golf tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Socks collected for homeless veterans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Council will present environmental awards Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Invention and upcycling to be honored at Square Tomatoes Fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Take a peek at Putah Creek on daylong tour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Pence Gallery Garden Tour tickets on sale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
UC Davis Circle K Club wins awards at district convention

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Davis authors featured at writing conference in Stockton

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Sign up soon for Davis history tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Campus firearms bill passes Senate committee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Emerson featured at photography program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Portuguese influence in Yolo County detailed

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Concert and dance party celebrate KDRT’s 10 years on the air

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Survival skills to be taught at preserve

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

.

Forum

The new one puts her foot down

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

It’s time to fight for California’s jobs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Future leaders give back

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Know where your gift is going

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Pipeline veto a good move

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Artists offer heartfelt thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Sports

DHS boys drop another Delta League match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie women ready to host (win?) Big West golf tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

New strength coach hopes to stem UCD football injury tide

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Herd has too much for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Les, AD Gould talk about the Aggie coach’s future

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Quintet of Aggie gymnasts honored for academics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
River Cats fall to Las Vegas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12

 
Diamondbacks defeat Giants in 12 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

DSF kicks off 10th anniversary celebration at the carousel

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
Many summer enrichment opportunities available for students

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
What’s happening

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

.

Arts

‘True Story:’ In their dreams

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
‘Once’ an unforgetable celebration of music, relationships

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Honda shows off new Civic at New York show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Obituaries

Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Robert Leigh Cordrey

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, April 17, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B10