Saturday, October 10, 2009

Killer of young mother sentenced to 20 years - currently serving life for rape-slaying of another woman

In the space of two hours yesterday, a Dubuque, IA man went from being charged with to being sentenced for the murder of a Rockford, IL mother of three. Gregory Otterbeck, 54, was charged with the murder of Thomasina Dunivant back in December 1980. The prostitute, 23, was last seen alive outside a bar in East Dubuque, IL on December 7, 1980. Her strangled, beaten body was found on the side of a road in Grant County, WI. The case went cold until 2007, when Wisconsin Department Of Justice matched Otterbeck's DNA to samples taken from the victim's vagina.

Grant County Circuit Judge Robert P. VanDeHey said after accepting Otterbeck's no contest plea that the defendant was one of the most dangerous defendants in his courtroom. "It was a violent murder ... her death shouldn't be minimized just because it took 28 years," he said.

The victim's daughter Margaret, four when her mother was killed, said "He's the type of scum no one should feel sorry for."

Otterbeck is currently serving life for being party to the rape and murder of Jodi Bausman. She was gang raped before being killed at a cabin Otterbeck's friend owned back in April 1981.

The complaint said it was "plausible" Otterbeck killed Dunivant at the same cabin because Dunivant's purse was found 500 yards from the building, it was a short drive from the bar where Dunivant was last seen and bedding from the cabin was missing after Dunivant was killed but before Bausman's death.

The complaint also says a woman told investigators that Otterbeck's sister told her he had wandered into his sister's restaurant at 4:30 a.m., looking half-drunk, and told his sister he had killed a woman. He said they were going to have sex, but she decided not to and began to scream. He covered her mouth until she stopped breathing and he dumped the body in a ditch.

Otterbeck's sister, however, told investigators she didn't remember any such conversation.

Oliveto told the judge she explained to Otterbeck that the complaint was laced with circumstantial evidence, hearsay and evidence of other criminal acts, which might not be allowed at a trial in Dunivant's death, and another conviction would erase any chance at parole.

"He understands all these things," Oliveto told the judge. "Mr. Otterbeck wants to proceed in this manner."

Mr. Otterbeck wants Ms. Dunivant to be at peace," Oliveto said.

In accordance with the plea deal, Assistant Attorney General Dave Wambach asked Judge VanDeHey to order Otterbeck to pay for Dunivant's headstone, a request the judge denied. Wambach recommended the perpetrator for transfer from Oshkosh Correctional Institution to WIsconsin's Supermax in Boscobel, the Secure Program Facility in Boscobel. While judges can make a recommendation on placement, only Wisconsin Department of Correction officials can actually transfer inmates.

No comments: