James Dwight Canaday

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Banned
James Dwight Canaday



Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: 1968 - 1969
Date of arrest: February 1969
Date of birth: 1945
Perfil víctimas: Sandra Bowman, 16 (pregnant newlywed) / Mary Annabelle Bjornson, 21 / Lynne Carol Tuski, 20
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife 57 times / Strangulation
Location: King County, Washington, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in 1969. Commuted to life in prison without possibility of parole in 1972. Sentenced to another life term on October 14, 2004





Suspect named in 1968 killing

Charges expected today in knife slaying of pregnant newlywed

By Tracy Johnson - Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Thursday, September 2, 2004

James Dwight Canaday, a man King County prosecutors call a cruel serial killer, looked at the photograph of a young woman who was stabbed to death back in 1968.

The two Seattle police detectives who showed it to him were investigating the long-unsolved slaying. The prisoner apparently hesitated, so they told him he had left part of himself -- his DNA -- at the crime scene.

Canaday sighed on that day in June, according to first-degree murder charges to be filed today, then held up his hands and said, "Yes, I killed her."

With today's charges, the death of 16-year-old Sandra Bowman is believed to be the oldest slaying ever to be prosecuted in Washington. It's also among the oldest such cases in the nation.

Bowman, a pregnant newlywed, was stabbed at least 57 times in the Ballard apartment she shared with her husband. He found her body when he came home from work Dec. 17, 1968.

Canaday was working for the city's water department at the time. In June, he told Detectives Gregg Mixsell and Mike Ciesynski that he "randomly knocked on her door" and began attacking and stabbing her, according to the charging documents.

Canaday, now 59, blamed a bitter divorce, "a lot of anger at myself and immaturity," Mixsell wrote.

In the documents, Deputy Prosecutor Tim Bradshaw contends Canaday was "evidently emboldened" after killing Bowman -- so much that he went on to attack at least six other women in Seattle, killing two within a matter of weeks.

Canaday knocked on the door of Mary Bjornson, 21, on Jan. 4, 1969, and convinced her that he had car trouble. He pulled a knife, tied her wrists with a rope and drove her to the Seward Park area, where he strangled her, Bradshaw wrote.

Three weeks later, he raped and killed Lynn Tuski, 20, whom he found walking to her car outside a North Seattle Sears store.

In 1969, Canaday was sentenced to die for killing those two women. The verdict was a surprise because prosecutors hadn't pressed for the death penalty, and Canaday had led police to the place he had dumped the women's bodies near Stevens Pass.

But he won a reprieve in 1972 when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling effectively struck down the death penalty in more than 30 states, including Washington. He was given two consecutive life sentences.

Bowman's slaying would be considered aggravated murder, the state's most serious crime, under today's state law, according to prosecutors.

Canaday showed "deliberate cruelty" by repeatedly stabbing Bowman, who was wearing a green maternity dress, in the abdomen, Bradshaw wrote.

Canaday went before the state parole board in 1992. Board members reported being left with "the impression that he has no remorse, no concern for the victims and their lives" and that he believed he'd already done enough time, according to Bradshaw.

On the last day of her life, Bowman and her husband listened to records together, ate waffles and made out their Christmas lists, according to police. Thomas Bowman later left for his night-shift factory job.

The young bride left him a note saying she had felt ill, that she was going to bed early and that she loved him very much, Mixsell wrote.

Thomas Bowman came home to find her dead.

The young woman's death touched many. King County commissioners even offered a reward for the killer, and Thomas Bowman chipped in some of his own money. But police exhausted all leads, and the slaying remained a mystery for more than three decades.

Two years ago, Mixsell -- who works with Ciesynski and Bradshaw to solve Seattle's unsolved slayings in a "Cold Case Squad" formed in 2002 -- submitted evidence from the 1968 crime scene to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab. Forensic scientist Amy Jagmin found a DNA profile from semen, and investigators say it matched Canaday's.

Prosecutors will now ask that Canaday be brought to King County from the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla to face the murder charge.

Washington State Solves Oldest Cold Case

By Elizabeth M. Gillespie - Associated Press

September 03, 2004

SEATTLE (AP) - A man already serving two life sentences for murder has been charged with committing what prosecutors say is Washington state's oldest unsolved crime, the 1968 fatal stabbing of a pregnant teenager.

John Dwight Canaday, 59, admitted recently during questioning by Seattle police detectives that he killed Sandra Bowman, according to charging papers filed Thursday.

Canaday sighed, held up his hands and declared, "Yes, I killed her," when told he had left DNA at the scene, the documents said.

A prisoner at the Walla Walla penitentiary, Canaday faces another possible life sentence for the Bowman slaying. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.

Earlier this year, a state forensic scientist matched Canaday's DNA to sperm found on Bowman's body. His genetic profile was in the database because of two 1969 murder convictions.

Bowman, who was in her second trimester of pregnancy, was stabbed at least 57 times. The 16-year-old was found by her husband when he came home from work - face down on their bed, her hands tied behind her back.

Canaday was working as a pipeman's helper for the city water department when Bowman was killed.

In a June interview, according to the documents, Canaday told the detectives that he "randomly knocked on her door" and "attacked her ... I stabbed her."

The charging papers said Canaday blamed the December attack on a bitter divorce, "a lot of anger at myself and immaturity."

In court documents, Deputy Prosecutor Timothy Bradshaw said killing Bowman "evidently emboldened" Canaday to attack other women, killing two of them.

In January 1969, Canaday kidnapped and strangled 21-year-old Mary Bjornson. Three weeks later, he raped and killed Lynne Tuski, 20.

Canaday was sentenced to die for those murders but won a reprieve in 1972 when the Supreme Court struck down the death penalty in more than 30 states, including Washington.

Killer gets life for 1968 murder

October 15, 2004

Associated Press

A King County judged sentenced John Dwight Canaday, a man prosecutors call "the first known serial killer in Washington," to life in prison after DNA evidence tied him to a 36-year-old crime.

The 1968 slaying of Sandra Bowman is the oldest "cold case" ever solved in Washington state, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County prosecutor's office.

Three decades ago, the pregnant 16-year-old's husband came home to find her body riddled with stab wounds.

In charging papers, a Seattle police detective who recently questioned Canaday said the Walla Walla penitentiary prisoner sighed, held up his hands and declared, "Yes, I killed her," when told he had left DNA at the scene.

On Thursday, Canaday, 59, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. His sentence will run consecutively with his current two life terms at Walla Walla for two other murders.

Earlier this year, a forensic scientist at the state crime lab matched Canaday's DNA to sperm found on Bowman's body. His genetic profile was in the state's DNA database because of two 1969 murder convictions.

According to court documents, Bowman was stabbed at least 57 times on Dec. 17, 1968. When her husband came home from work, he found her bloodied body face down on their bed, her hands tied behind her back.

At Thursday's sentencing, details of the crime still held the power to shock the judge and prosecutor in the case.

"The horror of your crimes are beyond words," Judge Richard Jones told Canaday as he sentenced him.

Bowman's husband, Thomas Bowman, said at the sentencing that he was still haunted by the crime.

"You basically destroyed my life, too," Bowman told Canaday. "I was the one who found her and I will never forget what I saw."

Deputy Prosecutor Tim Bradshaw called the Bowman case the "most repugnant" he had seen. For Canaday to spend the rest of his life in prison, he said, "is legally, philosophically and morally mandated in this case."

Bradshaw said that although more-notorious serial killers have followed, Canaday was the first known example in state history. The Bowman case is also the oldest killing ever to be prosecuted in Washington, he said.

Canaday was 24 and working as a pipeman's helper for the city water department when Bowman was killed.

In a June interview, Canaday told Detectives Gregg Mixsell and Mike Ciesynski that he "randomly knocked on her door" and "attacked her ... I stabbed her," Mixsell wrote in charging papers.

Canaday blamed the attack on a bitter divorce, "a lot of anger at myself and immaturity," Mixsell wrote.

In court documents, Bradshaw said killing Bowman "evidently emboldened" Canaday to attack other women, killing two of them.

On Jan. 4, 1969, Canaday knocked on 21-year-old Mary Bjornson's door. He said he had car trouble, then pulled out a knife, tied her wrists with a rope, drove her to a park and strangled her.

Three weeks later, he raped and killed Lynne Tuski, 20, after finding her walking to her car outside a north Seattle department store. He dumped her body and burned her clothes in his parents' fireplace, just as he'd done with Bjornson's clothes.

Later that year, Canaday was sentenced to die for those two murders. He won a reprieve in 1972, when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling effectively struck down the death penalty in more than 30 states, including Washington.

Man Pleads Guilty In Cold Case Murder From 1968

DNA Solves Murder Of Young Seattle Bride

October 15, 2004

SEATTLE -- A 60-year-old man already serving life in prison pleaded guilty Thursday in a Seattle murder case from 35 years ago.

James Canaday, 60, was sentenced to another life term for stabbing and raping 16-year-old Sandra Bowman in a case solved by DNA.

Bowman was pregnant and had been married for five months when Canaday knocked on the door of her Ballard apartment on Dec. 17, 1968.

"My only hope is the defendant spends the rest of his life in prison, looking over his shoulder, wondering if there's another inmate out that wants to take him out for what he's done," Tom Bowman said.

Tom Bowman is now a deputy sheriff, and a suicide counselor.

Canaday was already serving life for murdering two other women.

DNA Solves Cold Case Murder

A husband suffered for three decades not knowing who killed his wife; new DNA tests pinpointed a killer.

By Leslie Knopp

October 15, 2004

SEATTLE - Every day for the last 35 years Thomas Bowman has thought about his dead wife Sandra.

"I have to go back through and remember what it was like finding her, what it was like going through all of the grilling that I went through," he said. "You see those images over and over again -- what it was like when you thought of killing yourself."

Thursday Bowman faced the man responsible for all that torture.

John Canaday pleaded guilty to murdering Sandra Bowman in 1968. She was four-months pregnant at the time of her death.

"I was the one who found her and I'll never forget what I saw," Bowman said with a shaky voice at Canady's sentencing hearing Thursday. He was working the nightshift when his wife was killed on December 17, 1968.

Canaday admits he was randomly knocking on apartment doors, looking for a victim. When Sandra answered the door Canaday raped her and stabbed her 57 times.

Scientists saved DNA samples from the crime scene. Last spring they had the technology to test them. The DNA pinpointed Canaday who was already in prison.

Prosecutors say with this conviction Canaday is now the state's first serial killer.

In 1969 detectives arrested Canaday for the rape and murder of two other young women. He has been in prison ever since then.

Bowman was devastated by his wife's murder and "seriously contemplated committing suicide." But he managed to pull himself through it, and even got married again and went on to become a sheriff's deputy.

"The only positive thing that I've brought out of this whole thing is that I deal with people that want to commit suicide, and I can tell them what I've been through. I've saved people by doing that," he said.

It's a small comfort considering what he lost...a young wife...and an unborn son who would now be 35-years-old.

Bowman would still like to know why Canaday committed his crimes. In court documents, Canaday told detectives he was very angry because he was going through a divorce in 1968.

The judge gave Canaday to a third life sentence for Sandra's murder.

DNA solves '68 slaying; killer gets third life term

By Christine Clarridge - Seattle Times

Friday, October 15, 2004

John Dwight Canaday is sentenced to life yesterday in King County Superior Court for the 1968 slaying of Sandra Darleen Bowman.

The man who may be the state's earliest known serial killer was given a third life sentence yesterday in the killing of a pregnant Ballard newlywed nearly 36 years ago.

John Dwight Canaday, already serving two life sentences at the state prison in Walla Walla for killing two other Seattle women, pleaded guilty yesterday in King County Superior Court to killing 16-year-old Sandra Darlene Bowman in 1968.

The cold case was solved earlier this year when Seattle police detectives submitted evidence preserved from Bowman's body to the state crime lab, which then matched DNA taken from Canaday.

The victim's husband, Thomas Bowman, spoke at yesterday's plea and sentencing hearing, saying he was relieved by the resolution of the case, but that it doesn't undo the nightmare he's lived since finding his wife's body in their apartment nearly 36 years ago.

"You basically destroyed my life, too," Bowman said in court. "I was the one that found her and I will never forget what I saw."

Before the hearing, he said it was years before he could eat or sleep well. He was plagued by questions about how someone had gotten into his home and why his wife had been killed. He couldn't enter his home without first walking through it with a gun in his hand, and he couldn't shake thoughts of suicide.

"The only reason I didn't kill myself," he said, "is because then people would think I had something to do with it."

Thomas and Sandra Bowman had been married about five months. She was three months' pregnant when on Dec. 17, 1968, she opened the door to her Ballard apartment and apparently let her killer in.

She was later found in her bedroom, tied up, raped and stabbed repeatedly, court documents say.

Thomas Bowman, now a deputy with the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Department, had worked overtime at a canning factory that night. He was cleared by police after they checked his alibi and he passed a polygraph.

Nevertheless, he said, he remained a suspect in the minds of some. "I was the husband and the natural suspect," he said.

That cloud of suspicion was lifted earlier this year when Canaday, confronted with the DNA evidence, confessed to the slaying.

King County Deputy Prosecutor Tim Bradshaw said the fatal stabbing of Bowman "evidently emboldened" Canaday, who went on to kill, rape, assault, kidnap or attempt to rape six other women within weeks.

Canaday, now 59, was a Vietnam veteran and a recently divorced father of two when he was convicted and sentenced to hang for killing Mary Annabelle Bjornson, a 21-year-old stewardess, and Lynne Carol Tuski, a 20-year-old junior at the University of Washington, in January 1969.

He confessed to their murders, saying he had lured the victims to his car, strangled them and left their bodies near Index in Snohomish County.

He confessed to those killings after he was arrested and charged with kidnapping and assaulting another woman in February 1969. That woman, an acquaintance from Leavenworth High School, was found with rope burns and bruises at Canaday's parents' house after a witness said he'd seen her with Canaday shortly before she disappeared.

Canaday's sentence for those crimes was commuted to life in prison after the U.S. Supreme Court declared death-penalty laws unconstitutional in 1972.

In court yesterday, Bradshaw posted a picture of a smiling Sandra Bowman.

"The layers of repugnancy in this crime are tenfold," he said, reciting a list of 10 aggravating factors in the case, including the facts that Bowman was 16 and pregnant when she was killed.

Defense attorney Pat Valerio said Canaday had owned up to his crimes and had served his time as a model prisoner. She asked that he be given a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

Judge Richard Jones, however, described Canaday's crimes as "torture" and sentenced Canaday to an additional life term to be served upon the completion of his current life sentences. "The horror of your crimes are beyond words," Jones said. "Trust me, the mother and the husband of your victim have also been sentenced to life by what you have done."
 
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