WALLA WALLA, Wash. - Gary Ridgway, the man known as the Green River Killer, will return to a Washington prison, the Department of Corrections announced in a news release on Friday afternoon.
- Ridgway confessed to killing 49 women
- He was sent to a prison in Colorado
- He will now be sent back to a prison Walla Walla
- Victims' families expressed anger over initial move from Washington
- Murder case dates back to at least the early 1980s
"The Department of Corrections on Friday told the Federal Bureau of Prisons that it wants serial killer Gary Ridgway returned to the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla," a spokesman wrote. " After consultation with Gov. Jay Inslee, Corrections Secretary Bernie Warner informed the Federal Bureau of Prisons that Washington state would be flying Ridgway back from the U.S. Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado."
In the news release, the corrections department said part of the reason Ridgway will return to Walla Walla is so that investigators will have easier access to him.
Ridgway avoided the death penalty because he provided detailed information that helped many families learn what happened to their loved ones.
He confessed to murdering 49 women. But he didn't admit to killing Becky Marrero until children found her remains.
Sister Mary Marrero called him, “a heartless psychopath who took pleasure in strangling women until their very last breath was drawn. He is a monster to say the least.”
Beck y Marrero was reported missing by her mother in 1984.
She and other families were infuriated by Ridgway's move to Colorado in May, which was reportedly for his health and safety.
Washington DOC says the decision to transfer Ridgway to Colorado was made because of the high level of security and personnel needed to house him at the state penitentiary. Critics were upset he could have contact with the general population at the federal prison and maybe even qualified for a job.
DOC asked the federal government to imprison Ridgway in what is known as the ADX prison at Florence; it's a facility is designed to manage high-risk inmates, including the Unabomber, the mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing, and one of the Oklahoma City bombers.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons agreed to consider Ridgway for placement. Their procedures require offenders to first be placed into an adjacent high security facility, which is where Ridgway has been since May.
Ridgway, a truck painter from Auburn, Washington pleaded guilty in 2003. He has more convictions than any other serial killer in U.S. history.
Ridgway was charged with seven homicides in 2001 and subsequently agreed to confess to every murder he committed in King County and lead investigators to sites where some of his victims' remains were located in exchange for being spared the death penalty. Ridgway led investigators to the remains of four missing women.
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