Lawyer Says Salcido Can’t Recall What ‘Set Him Off’

<i> From the Associated Press</i>

The lawyer for Ramon Salcido says the former winery worker doesn’t remember what “set him off” the night he allegedly killed seven people, including his wife and two daughters.

“He would give his life to have them back,” Sonoma County Public Defender Marteen Miller said shortly after a judge Thursday abruptly lifted a gag order in the case.

Miller virtually conceded Salcido killed the seven in the April 14 rampage but said a confession obtained by Mexican authorities most likely would not stand up in court.

Miller said a Mexican source “who should be in a position to know” claimed that Mexican authorities gave Salcido alcohol and drugs to induce him to confess.


Reports Called False

The attorney also called false news stories quoting Salcido as saying he felt “no remorse.”

“He didn’t understand what the word was,” Miller said.

Salcido has changed since he was arrested in his native Mexico and returned to Sonoma County on April 20, Miller said. His client is now devoted to Catholicism, he added.


“He’s not the same person,” Miller said.

In a surprise move, Municipal Judge Knoel Owen, saying news interest in the case had apparently waned in recent weeks, lifted the gag order after Miller joined efforts by two newspapers to dissolve it.

Sonoma County Dist. Atty. Gene Tunney had no comment.

Used Drugs


Miller confirmed earlier reports that Salcido used cocaine and alcohol in the hours before he returned to his Boyes Hot Springs home and began an alleged murder rampage by slashing the throats of his three daughters, Sofia, 4, Carmina, 3, and Teresa, 2. Carmina survived.

Salcido wants to see Carmina but “knows that is highly unlikely,” Miller said.

The public defender denied reports that Salcido’s rage was triggered when he found his daughters home alone and suspected his 24-year-old wife, Angela, of having an extramarital affair.

“He doesn’t remember what set him off that night,” Miller said. “Obviously, Mr. Salcido either doesn’t remember what happened that night or he suffered some sort of mental breakdown.”


Salcido also is charged with killing his wife’s mother, Marion Louise Richards; his wife’s sisters, Ruth Richards, 12, and Marie Richards, 8; and a co-worker at Grand Cru Vineyards, Tracy Toovey. He also is accused of shooting and wounding another co-worker, Kenneth Butti.

Miller said Salcido has undergone preliminary psychological testing but has yet to undergo medical testing for mental disorders, which should be completed by Sept. 11 when a preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin.

He said, however, he does not anticipate that Salcido can successfully use insanity as a defense because of current attitudes toward that type of plea.