Man sentenced to death for killing
Bay City News
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
OAKLAND, CA -- An
Oakland man has been sentenced to death for murdering five young women
and girls in the East Bay over a four-month span in 1985.
Prosecutor Jim Meehan said Tuesday that Anthony
McKnight, 54, is "a sociopath" and said McKnight laughed when Alameda
County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner sentenced him at the
conclusion of a daylong hearing on Monday.
Jurors on Sept. 17 convicted McKnight, a former Navy-enlisted
man who was assigned to the Alameda Naval Air Station, of five counts of
first-degree murder and found him guilty of five special circumstances.
Three of the special circumstances were for
committing murder during the course of a rape, one was for committing
murder during sodomy and one was for committing multiple murders.
On Oct. 20, at the end of the penalty phase of
McKnight's trial, the same jurors recommended the death penalty.
McKnight testified during his trial that he never met
any of the women who were killed.
Horner spent nearly an hour listing the reasons why
he thinks there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's finding
that the aggravating evidence outweighed the mitigating evidence and
that the death penalty is the appropriate punishment for McKnight,
Before being convicted of murdering the five women,
McKnight was already serving a 63-year term in state prison for his 1987
conviction on 11 felony counts, including attempted murder, mayhem,
kidnapping and forced oral copulation, for attacks on six prostitutes
between 1984 and his arrest in January 1986.
After he began serving his prison sentence,
authorities used new DNA analysis techniques to connect McKnight to the
murders in his current case, which occurred in secluded locations in
Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley and Richmond between September and
The women McKnight was convicted of killing are Diane
Stone, 17; Talita Dixon, 13; Monique Franchone Davis, 18; Beverly Ann
Bryant, 24; and Betty Lynn Stuart, 22.
Meehan said nine of the women's family members and
friends spoke at McKnight's sentencing and said they believe he deserves
the death penalty.
Before Horner sentenced McKnight, he denied two
motions for a new trial that were filed and argued by McKnight's lawyers.
All death penalty sentencings are automatically
reviewed by the California Supreme Court.
Justice Delayed In Oakland Serial Murder Case
By Anna Werner - CBS5.com
Oct 12, 2007
Sometimes the wheels of justice move so slowly they
seem to have stopped. CBS 5 Investigates found a multiple murder case in
the Bay Area that's dragged on for over two decades.
Marsha Dixon remembers her 13-year-old daughter
Talita as "a funny, funny child. She used to make jokes and play games
and stuff and just make you laugh," Dixon recalled.
On October 5, 1985, Talita left her home to walk to
school by herself for the first time. Her mother says, even then, an
unexplainable feeling of sadness overtook her as she waved goodbye to
"I guess that was me knowing that was the last time I
would see her alive," Dixon said.
Three days later, a jogger found Talita's body near a
walking path in the Oakland Hills.
Her killer had raped her, stabbed her repeatedly,
broken her neck and ripped an arm from her body.
Police soon found that Talita wasn't the only victim.
A serial killer terrorized the community in late 1985, raping and
murdering five girls and young women.
But Oakland police were stumped as to the killer's
identity until police in nearby Emeryville began investigating a series
of rapes against prostitutes.
Those attacks were "vicious", said Emeryville Chief
of Police Ken James, who was a sergeant during the time of the
The killer "was playing a cat and mouse game," James
said. "He would give them the opportunity to think they were getting
away, and then come back and stab them."
Fortunately for Emeryville police, those prostitutes
survived and gave descriptions of their attacker that led police to
their suspect, 32-year-old Anthony McKnight. He was an enlisted man at
Alameda Naval Air Station.
But James, the Emeryville police sergeant at the
time, had a hunch that McKnight might also be Oakland's serial killer.
He says he told his lead detective, "Go down to Oakland, sit down in the
captain's office, let him know what you have, and don't leave until they
recognize that this may be a connection."
Police arrested McKnight. And the killings stopped.
But police say they did not have enough evidence to charge him with
murder. Instead, he was convicted for the attacks against prostitutes in
Emeryville and sentenced to 63 years in prison.
For Marsha Dixon, it seemed there would be no justice
No justice, until June 1999. DNA technology, which
was new at the time, gave police evidence that they announced tied
McKnight to the murders of Talita Dixon and the four other victims.
After 14 years, prosecutors charged him with five
counts of murder.
Marsha Dixon said she felt relieved. "When they had
the DNA testing to prove that it was him, then I thought we were gonna
move forward with the case" she said.
It seemed everybody was ready to go. Prosecutors
filed the case and McKnight entered a plea of not guilty.
But that was eight years ago. And still, Anthony
McKnight has yet to stand trial for those 1985 killings.
CBS 5 Investigates wanted to find out why.
Officials now involved with the case would not talk
to CBS 5 on camera, but court records show delay after delay.
In fact, CBS 5 Investigates counted 46 court
appearances over the past 8 years.
Those records show attorneys assigned to the case
often getting replaced with new attorneys who asked for more time. And
judges seemed in no apparent hurry to push things along; they readily
Meanwhile families of the victims say they're left in
"Emotionally you gear yourself up, thinking, at last
we're going to move forward with this, at last you're going to do
something, at last justice is done," said Dixon. "And then you're
slapped in the face with, 'Well Marsha, we have to put the case back,
I'm sorry, we have another case that has to come before this one.'"
Ken Bryant says he wants justice for his older sister
Beverly Ann Bryant, the last of the five victims. "He's still alive,
she's not," Bryant said.
The Oakland resident says until McKnight faces a jury,
there can be no decision as to whether he deserves the death penalty.
And Bryant believes the victims and their families
deserve better than to wait.
"All those people he killed, whatever, was--you
know--was just nothing," he said. "Their lives were worth nothing."
Dixon says she's had to endure seeing McKnight in
court more than once, including one occasion that particularly disturbs
her. "He looked at me and laughed in my face," recalls Dixon.
Anthony McKnight will appear in court on Friday and
prosecutors promise to bring him to trial next year. But 22 years after
her daughter's death, Marsha Dixon says the promises sound empty.
"I will feel a sense of justice when this case is
resolved and I see that he is sent to the electric chair for what he has
done," Dixon said.
June 28, 1999
OAKLAND, Calif. (APBnews.com) -- A convicted serial
rapist who is already serving a 63-year prison sentence may now face the
death penalty after police used DNA evidence to link him to a 14-year-old
series of murders.
Anthony McNight, who in 1985 had been one of the top
suspects in the slayings of five Bay-area women, was charged with the
crimes last week after DNA samples taken from the sexually assaulted
victims proved McNight committed the crimes, said Lt. Paul Berlin of the
The five women -- who ranged in age from 13 to 24 --
were all raped and killed in secluded areas in Oakland and several
surrounding towns. Police suspected McNight was behind the killings,
Berlin said, but because DNA testing was not commonly used then, the
crimes went unsolved.
Sought closure for the families
In the meantime, McNight was convicted of committing a
series of rapes in the area and sent to prison for 63 years.
Nevertheless, police continued to pursue the 1985 murders, and after two
years of scientific investigation they were able to file charges last
"We pursued this so there could be closure for
the families," Berlin said, describing their reaction to the news
The victims were: 22-year-old Betty Lynn
Stuart of Oakland, a mother of one who was killed in Berkley; 17-year-old
Diane Stone, who was found dead in Oakland; 13-year-old Talita Dixon,
who was found on a secluded jogging trail in East Bay Regional Park;
Monique Franchone Davis, 18, who was found dead behind a warehouse in
Richmond; and Beverly Ann Bryant, 24, who was found in an Oakland
McNight, who is still lodged in Salinas Valley State
Prison, was charged with five counts of murder with special
circumstances Friday. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
June 28, 1999
Oakland, California, officials announced that a convicted
serial rapist who is already serving a 63-year prison sentence was
linked through DNA evidence to a 14-year-old series of murders. Anthony McNight, who in 1985 had been one of the top suspects in the slayings of
five Bay-area women, was charged with the crimes after DNA samples taken
from the sexually assaulted victims linked him to the killings.
The five women -- who ranged
in age from 13 to 24 -- were all raped and killed in secluded areas in
Oakland and surrounding areas. Police suspected McNight was behind the
killings, but because DNA testing was not commonly used then, the crimes
In the meantime, McNight was
convicted of committing a series of rapes in the area and sent to prison
for 63 years. Nevertheless, police continued to pursue the 1985 murders,
and after two years of scientific investigation they were able to file
The victims were: 22-year-old
Betty Lynn Stuart of Oakland, a mother of one who was killed in Berkley;
17-year-old Diane Stone, who was found dead in Oakland; 13-year-old
Talita Dixon, who was found on a secluded jogging trail in East Bay
Regional Park; Monique Franchone Davis, 18, who was found dead behind a
warehouse in Richmond; and Beverly Ann Bryant, 24, who was found in an
Born in 1954, McKnight was a career navy man stationed at Northern California's Alameda Naval Air Station since 1982. He lived off-base with wife and child, making friends easily among his neighbors.
Tenants of McKnight's apartment complex knew him as "one of the most outgoing people" in the building. To a man, they would be stunned by evidence connecting him with seven counts of homicide in 1985.
McKnight's small world collapsed on January 24, 1986, when he was picked up by police at home, booked on two counts of rape and four counts of attempted murder in a series of attacks dating from the previous September.
In custody, he was identified by five victims, including three prostitutes, who had been variously beaten, raped, and stabbed in attacks committed on September 16, October 31, December 27 (two assaults), and January 21, 1986.
Two days after his arrest, McKnight was named by lawmen as a suspect in seven "identical" rape slayings around the Oakland area, with evidence conforming to the pattern of attacks where victims had survived.
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia
of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans
RACE: B TYPE: T MOTIVE: Sex.
Rape slayer of women, including several prostitutes
Never charged with murder; 63 years for rape and attempted murder of
six women who survived attacks, 1987.