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California prisoner confesses to strangling the I-5 Strangler in a five-page letter

A California prisoner has admitted to strangling the serial killer known as the I-5 Strangler in the cell prison cell that they shared.

Jason Budrow, 40, claimed he murdered the notorious killer Roger Kibbe, 81, in a five-page letter he titled ‘Ascension … May Their Souls Go To Heaven’ to the local Bay Area News Group.

Kibbe, who strangled and raped at least seven women in the 1970s and 1980s, was found unresponsive in his cell at the Mule Creek State Prison southeast of Sacramento on February 28 while Budrow was standing nearby. 

An autopsy showed Kibbe had been manually strangled and officials ruled his death a homicide, the Amador County Sheriff’s Office said.

Kibbe, who strangled and raped at least seven women in the 1970s and 1980s, was found unresponsive in his cell on February 28

Jason Budrow, 40, (left) claimed he murdered the notorious killer Roger Kibbe, 81, (right) in a five-page letter he titled ‘Ascension … May Their Souls Go To Heaven’

An aerial view shows the Mule Creek State Prison where Budrow claims he killed the serial killer. Budrow is now in solitary confinement

An aerial view shows the Mule Creek State Prison where Budrow claims he killed the serial killer. Budrow is now in solitary confinement

Budrow has claimed that he killed his cellmate the night before, according to the outlet. He decided on killing Kibbe as early as November 2020 and spent months ‘grooming’ him before they were allowed to share a cell.

No charges have been filed in the death of Kibbe and the prisons’s Investigative Services Unit is investigating this incident.

Budrow, who was also convicted for murdering a woman, told the Bay Area News Group that he strangled Kibbe ‘with a triangle choke hold’ the same day they became cellmates.

He originally wanted his own cell but decided he was on a ‘mission for avenging’ Kibbe’s victims once he learned more about him and ‘orchestrated’ his way into becoming his cellmate.

‘My actions were drafted out with specific intent, cognitive complexity, and were generally more nefarious than a haphazard murder-spat,’ Budrow wrote.

He added: ‘What had started out as my original bare-bones plan of doing a straightforward homicide of a cellmate to obtain my single-cell status evolved into a mission for avenging that youngest girl and all of Roger Kibbe’s other victims.’

Budrow claimed that after killing Kibbe he carved ‘a crude inverted pentagram (without a circle around it)’ into his body. 

‘I consecrated the inception of the waning lunar cycle with his ‘death throws’ during a human sacrificial offering in a ceremonial rite of homage to the ‘God Most High,’ said Budrow, who The Press-Enterprise called a ‘Satanist’ in a 2011 article.

Darcie Frackenpohl- a 17-year-old prostitute killed by Roger Kibbe is pictured before her death in 1987

Lou Ellen Burleigh, Roger Kibbe's first known victim, is pictured before her death in 1977

I-5 STRANGLER’S VICTIMS: Lou Ellen Burleigh (right), Roger Kibbe’s first known victim, and Darcie Frackenpohl-(left) a 17-year-old prostitute killed by Kibbe, pictured before her death in 1987

The convicted "I-5 Strangler" Roger Kibbe was strangled to death inside Mule Street State Prison, according to an autopsy performed by the Sacramento County Coroner's Office

The convicted ‘I-5 Strangler’ Roger Kibbe was strangled to death inside Mule Street State Prison, according to an autopsy performed by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office

Budrow wrote that he believes the souls of Kibbe’s victims ‘have been released from the possession of their killer and I pray that they now rest in peace.’

‘As for me, I now have my single-cell status,’ Budrow wrote.

He was rehoused in the Administrative Segregation Unit, or solitary confinement, pending the investigation, according to a press release from the prison.

Burdrow challenged acting California Attorney General Matthew Rodriquez to seek the death penalty simply to test the theory that no jury would give him the death penalty for allegedly killing his serial killer cellmate.

‘Should Amador County and/or the new Attorney General for the State of California elect to seek death penalty prosecution against me for murder-one with special circumstances (lying in wait, execution style, desecrating a corpse, whatever) they can go ahead and ‘run that’,’ Budrow wrote.

Budrow claimed that after killing Kibbe, pictured, he carved 'a crude inverted pentagram (without a circle around it)' into his body

Budrow claimed that after killing Kibbe, pictured, he carved ‘a crude inverted pentagram (without a circle around it)’ into his body

‘I am down to test my theory that no jury during a penalty phase of my potential death penalty trial will ever vote to see me executed for murdering Roger Kibbe, the I-5 Stranger.’

Kibbe was initially convicted in 1991 of strangling Darcine Frackenpohl, a 17-year-old who had run away from her home in Seattle. Her nearly nude body was found west of South Lake Tahoe below Echo Summit in September 1987.

Investigators said then that they suspected him in other similar slayings.

But it wasn’t until 2009 that a San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office investigator used new developments in evidence to connect him to six additional slayings in multiple Northern California counties.

Several of those victims were found alongside Interstate 5 or other highways in 1986. Kibbe was serving multiple life terms for the slayings when he was killed.

Authorities said they never stopped trying to prove that he was responsible for even more deaths. Investigators secretly took him on multiple field trips from prison with the hope that he would reveal the whereabouts of more victims.

They would buy him an egg McMuffin and a Coke for breakfast, another Coke and a hamburger and fries for lunch, Vito Bertocchini, a retired San Joaquin County sheriff’s detective and district attorney´s investigator, told The Sacramento Bee.

Bertocchini spent nearly two decades pursuing Kibbe and thinks he must have killed others during the 10-year gap between his first and last known slayings.

Investigators have said they found other women who had been killed and dumped with Kibbe’s trademark of cutting his victims´ clothing in odd patterns.

He was finally captured after Sacramento police said a would-be victim escaped and they recovered a garrote made from a pair of dowels and parachute cord along with scissors and other items.

Investigators said they matched the cord to rope found with Frackenpohl´s body and at Kibbe’s house, all with microscopic dots of red paint. 

Inmates at the Mule Creek State Prison interact in a gymnasium that was modified to house prisoners August 28, 2007 in Ione, California

 Inmates at the Mule Creek State Prison interact in a gymnasium that was modified to house prisoners August 28, 2007 in Ione, California

DNA eventually linked him to two other victims, and he agreed to cooperate in exchange for prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table.

Kibbe never admitted to other killings beyond those with which he was charged, but Bertocchini said he never stopped trying to elicit another confession.

Even after he retired in 2012, each year he sent Kibbe birthday and Christmas cards, asking him to speak up if he recalled anything about other victims. 

He and his old partner last visited Kibbe in prison in 2019, but still he wouldn’t admit to any more victims.

Now it’s too late, but Bertocchini called Kibbe’s death by strangulation ‘some fitting justice.’

‘I don’t wish ill on anyone,’ Bertocchini said. ‘But I hope he remembered every one of his victims while he was being killed.’


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