One of the most prolific serial killers in American history has been denied a possible prison release, petitioned for in defense of his well-being.
Gary Ridgway, dubbed the “The Green River Killer” after his initial victims were found in the Green River, was one of about 12,000 inmates who could have been eligible for release if a motion was passed, MyNorthwest reports. A lawsuit — filed in late March by Columbia Legal Services on behalf of five inmates — pleaded with the state to release the inmates, claiming that the Department of Corrections was unable to provide safe conditions amid the global pandemic.
The motion to release Washington inmates was denied in a tight 5-4 ruling made Thursday. If it was passed, two thirds of the state’s inmates could have been released, KIRO Radio reported before the ruling. Anyone over 50 years old could have been applicable. Ridgway, who is now 71, would have fit into this group.
Additionally, anyone with an underlying health condition or anyone with 18 months or less left on their sentence would have also been applicable.
Ridgway was convicted in 2003 of murdering 49 women in Washington State in the early 1980s. While not proven, he has claimed he killed as many as 80 women. Before the recent confessions of Samuel Little, who has confessed to nearly 100 killings, he was thought to be America’s most prolific murderer
Thursday’s ruling was denied after the Attorney General’s office and victims expressed both outrage and concern over the lawsuit, MyNorthwest reports. In addition to Ridgway’s possible release, there was fear that Isaac Zamora — who killed six people in a 2008 shooting spree — would also have been released.
Petitioners filing the case argued against safety concerns regarding dangerous inmates, claiming that the state would have been able to use its own discretion to avoid releasing threats to the public.
The court ultimately decided that there was no proof that appropriate measures weren’t being taken by state prisons in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the ruling. The state previously released inmates who were due to be released in June.
Let him rot in prison, Pandemic or not.
Stay safe guys.