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Secret Lives presents The Green River Killer

Aired January 10, 2014 - 19:00   ET



GARY RIDGWAY, GREEN RIVER KILLER: I used my hand, my arm. I pulled it back. I was choking her.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST (voice-over): America`s deadliest serial killer speaks.

RIDGWAY: All the rage. I took the towel and wrapped it around her neck and pulled them and killed them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A rare and disturbing look into the secret world of a sexual psychopath.

RIDGWAY: Kill, kill, kill, kill.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gary Ridgway, the infamous green river killer. For nearly two decades, he killed with impunity. Terrorizing the Seattle, Washington, area.

RIDGWAY: I killed because I wanted to kill.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He escaped the death penalty. Ridgway agreed to months of interrogations, all of it recorded, all of it chilling. These interrogations reveal a man so good at hiding his horrific secrets, that he operated right in plain sight.

RIDGWAY: It was always the sex first, then sometimes killing them after the sex.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Throughout his 19-year killing spree, Ridgway dumped the bodies of as many as 70 women throughout the Seattle area. At the end of a runway, in the woods, and of course, in the green river.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the green river, the site of where the first five of Ridgway`s victims were found.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sometimes Gary Ridgway killed as many as four women -- four of them in a single week. Yet this man was a below-average IQ, was never caught dumping a single body.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s not that bright of a person. But it doesn`t take that bright of a person to murder people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ridgway might not have been the sharpest tool in the box, but he was street smart enough to hide his dark, deadly secret desires, by honing a dull, unassuming, every-man facade that fooled authorities, and more tragically, fooled his victims.

RIDGWAY: Here`s a guy who`s not really muscle-bound. Just an ordinary John. And yet, that was their downfall. My appearance was different from what I really was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Non-threatening, totally unimpressive, even meek. The green river killer spun a web of lies that helped him escape capture, kill, and secretly gloat. But how did he pull it off?

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These were women whose lifestyles were such that they did not regularly check in with their families or their loved ones. It gave him a lot of flexibility and a lot of latitude. It could be months before they would go report them missing, if at all.




VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): This was the green river killer`s hunting grounds. It was what the locals called the strip in suburban Seattle, Washington. It`s a collection of bars and dive motels, frequented by prostitutes. Gary Ridgway`s victims of choice.

RIDGWAY: I could kill a prostitute, and have a lot less chance of getting caught. You don`t know them, they don`t know you. The police won`t look as hard as they would if it was a senator`s daughter or something, you know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But all of Gary Ridgway`s victims were somebody`s daughters. Victims like Janie Rule, her mom Linda still holds on to the postcard sent to her by her daughter just days before she went missing.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mommy, sorry I didn`t call back. Very sorry. Love you always. And Janie there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: For Janie, growing up was difficult. Her parents, Linda and Robert, divorced when she was just three. But they remarried 20 years later.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Janie would rather go to her mom`s. Because mom was softer on her. And I was too hard. And I shouldn`t have been, I guess.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Given her parents` rocky relationship at home, Janie began to wander, at just 14 she ran away from home and into the arms of a man she was living with on the streets.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was somebody that our daughter thought that she was in love with. He was her boyfriend. He put her out on the streets.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That man turned her into a working girl and sent her right into the arms of Gary Ridgway. And Janie Rule became another one of the green river killer`s victims. She was vulnerable. She was young. She was a prostitute, the kind of victim as were so many of his killers, who no one would miss until long after the green river killer had killed again.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These were women whose lifestyles were such that they did not regularly check in with their families or loved ones. It gave him a lot of flexibility and a lot of latitude. It could be months before they would be reported missing, if at all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Janie Rule was missing for four months before her body was found. The police didn`t immediately identify her, but her mom, Linda, knew what she was watching on TV. And it was her worst nightmare come true.

LINDA RULE, JANIE`S MOTHER: All I saw was them bringing up a body bag. And I knew that was her. Because this body was found out by northwest hospital. So I knew that had to have been her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Janie was just 15-years-old when she was killed, not that it mattered to Gary Ridgway.

RIDGWAY: Just because I hated them. They`re just pieces of trash to me.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once he assaulted his first prostitute and got away with it, it gave him sort of a power over women. And he`d always been somewhat powerless, or been on the fringe. You know, not a good student, not a good athlete. When he assaulted his first victim and got away with it, and assaulted another one, she didn`t report him to the police, and he got away with it. And then, you know, progressed to killing a prostitute, and getting away with it. It just built in his mind as something that he was, you know, finally successful at. And had power and control over those that previously had power and control over him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: According to the prosecutor`s summary of Gary Ridgway, he seemed to prefer preying on younger women, because they were not adults. They were innocent, and less likely to con him than the older prostitutes. On the other hand, the serial killer seemed to suggest teens may have turned him on more, because they really pleaded hard for their lives.

RIDGWAY: They would be, you know, why are you doing this, why are you doing this, I`m too young to die, don`t kill me. I talked to them before I had sex with them. And I`d done this a few times before. She`s 13, 14 years old. You figured that is true. You kill one, 20, 25, I`d already done this a few times. I thought I had best record in life. But the young ones, you got more when they talked, when they were dying.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A secret psycho, who would lie to even the youngest victims to feed his insatiable appetite for sex and murder. Gary Ridgway didn`t seem to discriminate.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It didn`t matter to you whether they were white or black?

RIDGWAY: I would much rather have white, but black was fine. It was just garbage. Just some girl, kill her, and dump her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Welcome to the secret lab. I am here with psychiatrist Gail Saltz as well as famed private investigator Vinnie Parco.

Dr. Gail, this serial killer when he was serving in the U.S. military had his first encounter with prostitutes. He was married at the time, and his wife back in the states, cheated on him. He called her a whore. Does that connect with his ultimate killing of prostitutes?

DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: It seems likely. I think we have a man who felt really betrayed by his wife. And that anger was displaced onto prostitutes. He felt she was a prostitute. And he took it out on the prostitutes that he could get to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Vinnie Parco, the way this guy went after these prostitutes, luring them, being the perfect John, assuring them, some of these women even said, are you the green river killer? And he was like, of course not. He`s a diminutive man. He was very gentle until he got them in a quiet place where he would kill them.

VINNIE PARCO, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: He was inadequate. He was jaded. That`s why he went to prostitutes. And he`s a failure in bed. And he`s a killer, he`s a coward.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. So the use of prostitutes, this opened the door for him when he was in the military, the Navy, I believe, so he`s buying sex.

SALTZ: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: His wife is at home, in the states, cheating on him. So there`s that two dynamics.

SALTZ: Exactly that, the two dynamics. And sometimes you do see this in killers who have sexual killings. They have a combination of, their libido, their sexual drive, getting sort of mashed together if you will with aggression. Normal humans have libido and aggression, but they`re supposed to stay somewhat separate. If they get combined, then someone might take their aggressive impulses out in a sexual way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This serial killer, the perfect John. That`s what he was. And that`s why these prostitutes let their guard down.

Unmasking the true Gary Leon Ridgway would take years, lots of mistakes, and a little bit of luck, coming up.


UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was frustrating. And for a while, I believe that it wasn`t ever going to be solved.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: It began in 1982, women just began to disappear in the Seattle, Washington, area. Murdered, discarded, tossed in remote areas, including the green river. And yet, police could not piece it together, not at first.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s terribly frustrating not being able to resolve, or answer who indeed was the killer. I used to go back to the Carolina Christians case, because I thought the resolution was in that case. And I re-read it, and re-read it, and, you know, I believed fully that she knew who her killer was. It was frustrating. And for a while, I believed that it wasn`t ever going to be solved.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: When the green river killer task force was finally formed, more than a year after the first grisly discovery, valuable time had been lost. But once it was formed, there was a name that kept coming up time and time again, Gary Ridgway.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The killings first started in 1982. During the time that the task force was formed, we already had 12 victims and we went from there up to 46 victims. And we were basically just finding skeletons. And simply identifying the victims was a huge task. We had numerous suspects that we looked at. But we had some people on the task force, even back as early as 1984, `85, that believed that Ridgway was in fact the killer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: At one point Ridgway even agreed to and passed a polygraph test.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you look at polygraphs, this is why they are not admissible in court, because these serial killers, these sociopaths, psychopaths, can actually believe their lies. A lie that they`re telling is the truth to them.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re talking about the green river serial killer, in the secrets lab.

Dr. Gail, how is it possible, this man, Gary Ridgway, said, yes, give me a polygraph, and sat there and passed it?

SALTZ: I think it`s important to know that people who are pathological liars, and therefore, don`t feel stressed when they`re lying, have no problem with really passing a polygraph. Because it is the stress and the anxiety that actually causes a release of non-adrenaline, the chemical saying I`m doing something wrong, and that`s what sends off the signals, the increased pulse and so on, that would trip off the polygraph. So I think, actually, somebody like this really can slip past the polygraph.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to think cops bungled this case from the beginning. He lived right down the block, essentially, in the same area. They came upon him very quickly. They interviewed him. Basically about a year after he started killing. And he continued to kill for decades. And they knew about him. He would even tell the prostitutes, yes, they know me. Yes, the green river serial killer committee that`s investigating the case, they`re aware of me. But I have nothing to worry about.

PARCO: He wasn`t worried, because the police didn`t have the experience dealing with someone like that. They should have brought somebody in. He was very manipulative. And when he gave the polygraph, took the polygraph, he had power over the people that were trying to get over him. That`s why he passed it. And he had control. But he, because of the non-adrenaline, because of his psychopath, and at the end, he had an achievement that he beat the polygraph.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And he said, I just relaxed. That`s all I did, I just relaxed and took it. Because he had no conscience, because he had no remorse, because he really didn`t even consider the question of right and wrong. He never considered these women human beings. He really was very relaxed through the polygraph as if, well, big whoop.

PARCO: Well, in my business, we`ve done hundreds of polygraphs. I`m not a polygraphist, but I had people worked for me and 90 percent of polygraphs are accurate. There`s about a 10 percent factor. And if someone like him is going to be part of that 10 percent, he`s going to beat the polygraph.

SALTZ: It`s the person who`s missing, basically, their super ego, you know. Their moral compass is another way to put it. That they just, as you said, don`t really sense a right from wrong. It`s all right to them. It`s what they want. So in their mind, they justified it. And it`s right, and they don`t feel sympathy. They don`t feel a guilt. So they don`t feel stressed. And that`s how they elude detection.

PARCO: And to them they`re not lying. That`s why he passed the test.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, that`s true. I`ve studied pathological liars, and anything they say they believe, and that`s one of the reasons they`re so convincing, because they have no connection with the truth. It`s a dead issue. It`s like they`re color-blind to the truth. So anything that comes out of their mouths is their reality.

SALTZ: It`s justified.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s justified, yes, absolutely.

And you know, the idea that this man was able to have wives, to have girlfriends, during the course of his serial killing career, and how were they so clueless? It reminds me of the BTK serial killer`s wife, that she had no idea that her church-going husband was running around torturing people at his own powers.

SALTZ: You know, some of these people, they don`t want to know, right? They have a sense maybe something`s going on, they don`t want to know what it is, because they don`t want to rock the boat of their life. And yet at the same time, you have somebody who`s so good at basically escaping, you know, detection, and they can do that in compartmentalize in their lives as well.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ridgway may have barely graduated high school, but he took meticulous precautions. He did not leave evidence behind. If a victim scratched him, he would cut her fingernails before disposing of the body.

MARK PROTHERO, GARY RIDGWAY`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: By selecting prostitutes as victims, that, you know, enabled him to get away with it. He preyed on vulnerable women. They would get in the car willingly, they looked at Ridgway, he looked like a pretty meek, you know, harmless guy. And they were vulnerable to him. They never used their real names. So it was very difficult for the police to track these missing women. And to, you know, link them to the serial killer.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did the fact that you were so successful at the killings affect your view of yourself, and your self- esteem?

RIDGWAY: Well, I was in a way a little bit proud of not being caught, removing their clothes, not leaving anything that would -- any fingerprints using gloves. Changing tires on my vehicle one time, not bragging about it, not talking about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ridgway was cleverly cautious. He may have beat a polygraph, but a search warrant, a swab of saliva, and advances in DNA technology would be his undoing. If, that is, the cops could make the case in time.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wasn`t holding my breath. It really was our last hope.



RIDGWAY: I acted in a way with the prostitutes to make them feel that more comfortable and got in their comfort zone. Here is a guy`s not muscle- bound, just an ordinary John, and yet that was their downfall. My appearance was different from what I really was.


RIDGWAY: Pretty good.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gary Ridgway`s unassuming appearance and personality allowed the green river killer a 19-year killing spree which took the lives of dozens of girls. 15-year-old Deborah Estes and 15-year-old Shawanda Summers. Plus 15-year-old Colleen Brockman and 16-year-old April Buttram. Plus, 16-year-old Linda Janie Rule.

More than half of Ridgway`s victims were under the age of 18. They were juveniles who just fell through the cracks, many winding up on the streets of Seattle`s worst places. They were young, they were vulnerable, just what Gary Ridgway was looking for.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They could access them at night under the cover of darkness, and he could access a lot of them.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than 45 women, apparently fallen victim --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ridgway had long been a person of interest in the green river killings. He had been questioned back as far back as 1983.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was arrested on what is called a John Patrol, a decoy prostitute placed on the street.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In 1983, Ridgway was questioned concerning the disappearance of a 15-year-old prostitute. Many was grilled again in 1985 about choking a prostitute, one who got away.



JENSEN: In 1984 he was reported as having assaulted another prostitute.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, and again and again there was never enough evidence to charge Ridgway. He was under constant surveillance by the Green River Task Force, but it was a search warrant of his home in 1987 and a saliva swab that would prove the elusive killer`s undoing.


FRANK ADAMSON, FORMER COMMANDER OF THE GREEN RIVER TASK FORCE: In 1983 and 1984 when we were collecting evidence from the various crime scenes, DNA wasn`t something that was possible for police departments. But in 1987, when they finally did a search on Ridgway`s house, they were able to take samples of the saliva which were ultimately used later to connect him to the Carol Ann Christensen case and a couple other victims.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: By 2001, DNA technology had really advanced and the last investigator left on the Green River Task Force took one last shot. He resubmitted Ridgway`s swab test.


JENSEN: I wasn`t holding my breath but it was really our last hope.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The DNA test came back with a positive match for - you guessed it - Gary Leon Ridgway.


Male: Today, at approximately 3 p.m., detectives from the King County Sheriff`s Office arrested a 52-year-old man for investigation of homicide. The man arrested is Gary Leon Ridgway.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: When he was finally captured, Gary Ridgway`s horrific secret life of sex and murder was blown wide open. Investigators found family photos of his picture-perfect facade. The Green River killer was married, he had a 26-year-old son and he had worked at the very same truck painting job for more than 30 years, even getting awards for attendance.


MARK PROTHERO, GARY RIDGWAY ATTORNEY: When I meet him, he`s, friendly, polite, respectful. I don`t ever see the monster that is within him. I`m talking about murder and he`s talking about it like - like I said - like the weather or changing a flat tire. That`s unsettling.

JAMES MCNAMARA, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Everybody wants to see the monster in the neighborhood - the guy with the trench coat hiding behind the tree, and quite often these guys aren`t physically or behaviorally monsters in the workplace or the neighborhood. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When have a scale - say 1 to 5 - with 5 being the worst possible evil person that could have done this kind of thing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you going to fall on the scale?

RIDGWAY: I`d be a 3.


RIDGWAY. Yes. One thing is I killed them, I didn`t torture them, they went fast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did not see himself as a bad person. He did not see himself as an evil person. He saw himself as a very competent serial killer who should stand out in history books.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ridgway actually believed a true crime author would write a book about him. He tailored his own confession in the hopes that mystery author portraying him in the best possible light. But there was only darkness inside his soul, and investigators would soon learn that darkness had been in the Green River killer since his childhood.


KELLY: I`m not sure if he was 11, 12 maybe even 13. But at a very young age, he stabbed a little boy, and when asked why he stabbed that little boy, he said he wanted to see and feel what it was like to kill somebody and see somebody die.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think some people might point to the killing a whole lot of women reflects a problem. Did you ever think this is a - this is suggestive that I might have some mental health issues?

RIDGWAY: Yes. Hatred to women, hatred to prostitutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, did you say to yourself, `Gary, I think you have a mental problem here`?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When did you - when do you recall first being concerned about that general issue?

RIDGWAY: I didn`t know - I never really - never really thought about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gary Ridgway has officially admitted to killing 49 young women. But the reasons why remain vague, apparently even to the Green River killer himself. That said, his own admissions in hundreds of hours of police interviews reveals a deeply troubled past.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Despite those disturbing admissions about the secrets of his childhood, Ridgway never talked about his first murder, other than to say his interests in killing began early. But he did divulge one clue to investigators.


KELLY: I`m not sure if he was 11, 12 maybe even 13, but at a very young age, he stabbed a little boy. And when asked why he stabbed that little boy, he said he wanted to see and feel what it was like to kill somebody and see somebody die.

RIDGWAY: He was playing with a stick like cowboys and Indians or something like that, and he bent down and picked up something or something, and I just took the knife out of my pocket and stabbed him in the side and he grabbed his side and ran away. And I ran up the hill.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The young boy who was stabbed confirmed the attack to investigators decades later, and said he spent weeks in the hospital recovering.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had you been fantasizing about stabbing people before that happened?

RIDGWAY: Nope, other than maybe my mom.

KELLY: His relationship with his mother in the early years definitely started to head him off and motivated him in this horrific direction. I am not exactly sure how abusive she was, I`m not exactly sure on how much he lusted for her. All we have to really go on is what he`s saying and to take that at face value. I have to believe that somewhere early on in his childhood something ignited this volcanic rage that was inside of him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fantasies of killing his mother, stabbing a six-year-old boy and his horrifying evolution into the country`s most prolific serial killer. But if it`s possible, Gary Ridgway`s depravity went even deeper than that.


KELLY: He enjoyed spending time with the dead.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: A deranged serial killer with serious mommy issues. But it wasn`t enough for Gary Ridgway to just kill his victims. One of the last secrets he divulged to investigators after much denial and coaxing, was perhaps his worst secret - that he defiled his victims even after their death.


KELLY: Necrophilia is a very, very strong sexual arousal for this type of person. It fits right in with their possession - complete possession - of the victim and having complete power and control.

PROTHERO: My review with him when we got to that topic - when it was just him and I - he said, oh, no, you know, I didn`t do that. He was deeply ashamed for having done that, but, yes, he did it on a number of occasions. One of the reasons he started taking victims` bodies out further from where he lived was that it would cost more money in gas to go out and have sex with them again if he took their bodies far away, which is kind of odd I guess or ironic or something where you can talk freely about killing 49 people but you`re embarrassed about going back and having sex with one of the dead bodies.

RIDGWAY: That would be - that would be a good day. In the evening, right after I got off work and go have sex with her and that`d last for one or two days like `til the flies came. And then I`d bury them and cover them up. And I did look for another (inaudible) I killed one one day and then killed (inaudible) and then I went back (inaudible) to take another one. Soon I killed one one day and killed one the next day. (Inaudible) no reason for that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: When asked why he took so much pleasure in necrophilia, Ridgway`s answer was simple and chilling. Money.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was it about having sex with a dead body that you preferred over just going out and killing (inaudible)?

RIDGWAY: One thing, you didn`t have to pay for it, she was already - she was already dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you would`ve got the money back from the next one -



RIDGWAY: What`s that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were a very cheap guy -

RIDGWAY: Income, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you weren`t going to be paying for -- if you went out and got another woman killed, I mean you weren`t going to (inaudible).

RIDGWAY: And just wouldn`t spend hours (inaudible) looking or other women to kill. You know gas and everything looking for someone else to kill.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: To say Gary Ridgway felt no remorse for all the young women he killed would be a colossal understatement. But he did show a little bit of regret when it came to killing one woman while his young son slept in his truck nearby.

RIDGWAY: Killing with Matthew nearby was not the right thing to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why was that wrong? Why was that any more wrong than killing her, what (inaudible) -

RIDGWAY: Because Matthew might have saw something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would that be a problem?

RIDGWAY: (Inaudible) memory for his life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe he would be a witness against you.

RIDGWAY: Maybe he would be a witness against me too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you had - if he had observed you kill one of the women, would you have killed him?

RIDGWAY: No, probably not. I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Possible though?

RIDGWAY: It`s possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you think about that at the time?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maybe I might have killed my own son if he saw something? That`s about as zero remorse as you can get. Ultimately, it seems the only thing the Green River killer ever regretted was getting caught.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you killed these women before 1990, why are you crying about it now rather than -

RIDGWAY: Well, because of how I screwed up, how I screwed up on killing them, maybe didn`t too much but mostly on - on -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You saying leaving too much evidence?

RIDGWAY: -- too much evidence at the time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A narcissist to the bitter end. Ridgway felt that investigators never really caught him. Rather, he was the victim of new technology. But he was caught, and after all the police interviews and interrogations, he would face the angry family and friends of those he`d stolen everything from.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know her last visual memory wasn`t of you. May God have no mercy on your soul.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You destroyed the lives of three people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I cannot forgive this man, it is not within my power.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mary was no less a human being than your mother or your son.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In four hours of intense, emotional testimony, the families of Gary Ridgway`s victims poured out their hatred.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of you - you - you made the decision.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Their frustration, their pain at the Green River killer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m angry, I`ll always be angry. I will never have that closure, I will never have my sister back in my life.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: For his two-decade murderous rampage and what he`d taken from them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m glad you did not have the guts to look into my sister`s eyes while you were choking the life out of her. She did not have to see the look of hate and total disregard for life in your eyes.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Throughout most of the testimony, during Ridgway`s sentencing, the serial killer was stoic. He showed little to no emotion until Robert Rule, the father of Janie Rule, one of the Green River killer`s earliest victims, stepped to the lectern.

ROBERT RULE, FATHER OF VICTIM JANIE RULE: Mr. Ridgway, there are people here that hate you. I`m not one of them. I forgive you for what you`ve done. You have made it difficult to live up to what I believe and it is what God says to do, and that`s to forgive. And He doesn`t say to forgive just certain people, He says to forgive all. So, you are forgiven, Mister.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ridgway quickly wiped away those tears, and then it was time for him to go before the judge to account for all that he had done, all the murders, the madness, the destruction, and his apology felt woefully flat.


RIDGWAY: I`m sorry for killing all those young ladies.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A confession that seems hollow, contrived, nobody was buying it - least of all the judge who forced the Green River killer to turn and get a good look at the survivors of his victims.


RICHARD A. JONES, JUDGE, KING COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: Mr. Ridgway, the time has come for the final chapter of your reign of terror in our community. And now, Mr. Ridgway, you have my undivided attention. I read as much as possible about you as this case has progressed. The remarkable thing about you, sir, is your remarkable Teflon-coated emotions and complete absence of genuine compassion for the young women that you murdered. You violated every relationship in your life, including your own son. When he was of a tender age, you even used his existence and presence as a means to gain the confidence of your victims.

There`s nothing in your life that was of significance other than your own demented, calculating lustful passion of being an emissary of death. Mr. Ridgway, I trust that your lawyers have shared with you the letters written by the victim families. I hope you read those letters and I you heard the message of their families as they poured out their emotions then and today, describing the young victims as real persons. Real persons who were loved and lives in front of them. Yes, Mr. Ridgway, remember them as portrayed by their families, and not the faceless bodies that you didn`t have the courage to face when you were busy bringing about their deaths.

Ridgway - Mr. Ridgway - I want you to do one more thing in this courtroom. I want you to turn around and just scan the audience right now. Mr. Ridgway, those are the family and friends of the people that you killed. As you spend the balance of your life in your cell in prison, much of which will probably be in solitary confinement, I truly hope (AUDIO GAP) free world are the faces of the people in this courtroom. As you spend the balance of your life in that tiny cell, surrounded only by your thoughts, please know the women you killed were not throwaways or pieces of candy in a dish placed upon this planet for the sole purpose of satisfying your murderous desires. While you could not face them as you took their lives, if you a drop of emotion anywhere in your existence, you will face those young women in your dreams and private thoughts of your grisly deeds.

And, sir, if you have that drop of emotions, you will be haunted for the balance of your life. For Count I, for the death of Wendy Coffield -


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And with that, Gary Leon Ridgway was sentenced to 48 life terms in prison.


JONES: This brings this matter to a close.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: How many did he kill? We still don`t know. But one thing we are sure of, he won`t kill again. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, thanks for joining me.


JONES: We do need to take a moment of silence in this courtroom in the city of Seattle, and all of King County, for every person across this country that had the chance to hear this broadcast, we need to stop and pause. And I ask this moment of silence in honor of all the young women who were victims in this case and cannot speak for themselves. And that`s for the next 48 seconds that we look in our hearts and souls and see ways to remedy this so it doesn`t happen again in our lifetimes. Thank you. Your silence speaks volumes.