A correctional officer doing rounds spotted Roger Reece Kibbe, 81, unresponsive in his cell at Mule Creek State Prison southeast of Sacramento shortly after midnight Sunday, officials said. They said they are investigating his death as a homicide.
His cellmate was standing nearby, officials said. Kibbe was taken to a prison health care facility and pronounced dead less than 45 minutes later. Amador County’s chief coroner said he couldn’t give details on the death, citing the ongoing investigation.
Kibbe, a former suburban Sacramento furniture maker whose brother was a law enforcement officer, was initially convicted in 1991 of strangling 17-year-old Darcine Frackenpohl, who had run away from her home in Seattle.
Investigators at the time said Kibbe was also a suspect in six other killings believed linked to the ″I-5 Strangler,″ whose trademark was cutting his victims’ clothing in odd patterns. Several took place in the Sacramento and Stockton areas along Interstate 5.
Kibbe pleaded guilty to six new counts of murder in Amador, Contra Costa, Napa, Sacramento, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. His victims were Lou Ellen Burleigh, 21, in 1977 and Stephanie Brown, 19; Lora Heedrick, 20; Katherine Kelly Quinones, 25; Charmaine Sabrah, 26; and Barbara Ann Scott, 29, all in 1986.
His cellmate is serving a life sentence with the possibility for parole for a first-degree murder in Riverside County.