SAN DIEGO — A San Diego-based auction site Wednesday was selling for $275 a copy of a true crime book signed by imprisoned rapist and murderer John Albert Gardner III, sparking outrage from at least one of his young victim’s mother.
The book, “Lost Girls,” was written by former U-T San Diego reporter Caitlin Rother about the February 2009 rape and murder of 14-year-old Escondido High student Amber Dubois and the rape and murder of 17-year-old Poway High student Chelsea King a year later.
Gardner, 34, apparently signed the book while in prison, writing “I’m sorry for all the pain that I have caused.” The inscription is positioned opposite to a page in which the author dedicates the book to the girls.
North Park artist Kelly Hutchinson owns darkvomit.com, which deals in “murderabilia.” He guarantees its authenticity and told U-T San Diego that he traded with another dealer for the book.
State prison officials are investigating how the book got into the prison to be signed and out again.
“I think it’s disgusting,” Amber’s mother, Carrie McGonigle, told U-T San Diego in a reference to the $275.
Rother told the newspaper that the placement of the inscription was “particularly insensitive and disrespectful” to the families.
Gardner, a registered sex offender long before his killed the girls, is serving two consecutive life prison terms without parole for the murders. He also was sentenced to 25 years to life for attacking a 22-year-old jogger two months prior to killing Chelsea, and received an additional 24 years because of various prior convictions.