San Diego

The district attorney’s office, preparing to seek the death penalty, filed special-circumstances allegations Tuesday against a transient accused of two murders 11 days apart.

Thomas Jon Kemp, 25, pleaded not guilty Tuesday, and San Diego Superior Court Judge Herbert Exarhos set a June 15 trial date.

Kemp is accused of stabbing Geraline (Jane) Bertrand, 34, to death Nov. 28, 1988, in front of her two daughters and mother in her National City home that Kemp also shared with her.

The first murder occurred 11 days earlier, the victim being a Hillcrest man, Chester (Earl) Grandison, 38, who was stabbed 18 times.


Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Madruga said his office will seek the death penalty against Kemp if he is convicted of the two murders on the grounds that there were multiple victims.

“He certainly had time to reflect on the first one, and went ahead and committed the second one in front of the victim’s two daughters,” Madruga said.

Kemp remains in County Jail in lieu of $800,000 bail.