Advertisement

Kin of Kraft’s Victims Awaiting the Final Act

Times Staff Writer

Bob Loggins was relieved and grateful Friday when Randy Steven Kraft was found guilty of murdering Loggins’ son, but he figures that his final reckoning with the computer consultant is still years away--if he’s that lucky.

“Hopefully, they will return the death penalty. . . . I’d like to see him breathe his last gasp,” Loggins said. “But I don’t think it will ever happen. The way the laws are now, he’s going to die of old age.”

Former Marine Robert Wyatt Loggins was one of 16 young men whose gruesome deaths over an 11-year span became solved murders Friday, opening the door for prosecutors to link Kraft to 29 other murders--for a total of 45--in the penalty phase of his trial, which begins next week.

“There is no penalty great enough for what he’s done, all the lives that he’s affected,” Loggins said.

Advertisement

The Kraft jurors entered the packed, eighth-floor courtroom at about 10:20 a.m., but it took Superior Court Judge Donald A. McCartin another 15 minutes to silently review their verdicts and findings. Kraft sat with his hands folded, tapping his thumbs together, sometimes conferring with one lawyer or another.

Squeaking chairs and clicking cameras were the only sounds until court clerk Gail Carpenter began to read the verdicts aloud at 10:36 a.m.

For the next 20 minutes, rela

tives of Kraft’s victims squeezed hands, cried and cast knowing glances at one another as the guilty verdicts mounted.

Advertisement

Afterward, their reactions were a mixture of relief and anger, of satisfaction and frustration.

“Justice was done today,” said Rodger DeVaul, whose 20-year-old son, Rodger Jr., was found slain in 1983. “But I still feel let down. It was 6 years ago today (it was actually May 14) that he (Kraft) was arrested. There’s no way it should take that long.”

DeVaul, whose wife, Shirley, has attended nearly every day of the 9-month trial, said that he “wouldn’t want my worst enemy to go through the pain and agony and frustration we’ve gone through in the last 6 years.”

For an anxious moment, it seemed that all of the DeVauls’ waiting might go for naught as a court clerk pronounced Kraft not guilty of sodomizing their son--the only not-guilty verdict reached in 19 criminal counts.

“Oh my God,” gasped one woman near the front of the courtroom. The DeVauls clasped hands tighter as they waited. A moment later, the clerk read the next verdict: the jury found Kraft guilty of murdering DeVaul.

“They did find him guilty of murder, and that’s all that matters,” DeVaul said afterward.

Judy Nelson, whose 15-year-old son, Geoffrey, was murdered by Kraft in 1983, wept intermittently while the long list of verdicts were read.

“I know he’s guilty. He knows he’s guilty,” said Nelson, who said she hopes that Kraft gets the death penalty. “Every mother in there had 16 beautiful sons and that guy destroyed them. . . . He should pay something.”

Advertisement

Denver and Arvetta Sayre of Santa Ana called the verdict “fantastic,” even though their own son’s murder was not one of the 16 for which Kraft was convicted. A handsome 15-year-old who disappeared almost 10 years ago, Jeffrey Brian Sayre is believed to be the “Westminster Date” on what prosecutors called Kraft’s coded death list. The murder may be brought up during the penalty phase, even though Sayre’s body has never been found.

“My boy is still out there somewhere,” Arvetta Sayre said. “I have to sit and wait. But this was still some consolation. We at least know what happened.”

Denver Sayre said he hoped that someday Kraft would tell authorities what happened to the bodies that remain unfound.

“Maybe after he’s exhausted all of his appeals,” Sayre said.

In Coventry, Conn., Clayton Church said he and his wife were “very happy to hear” that Kraft had been convicted of killing their son, Eric. They had received phone calls from the county’s Victim/Witness Assistance office and from a prosecution investigator.

“It’s a great relief,” said Church, who testified in the trial last October. “At least this part is over. . . . I expected it (the guilty verdict). But I’m never too confident about anything.”

Staff writer Eric Lichtblau contributed to this story.


Advertisement