Arraignments Postponed in Torture Murder


An arraignment for three people charged in the torture murder of a Lakeside woman was delayed for a week so a hastily assembled defense team can develop a strategy.

Mark Lee Thompkins, 29, of San Diego; Sheryl Ann Baker, 28, of El Cajon; and Kerry Lyn Dalton, 39, of Lakeside, had been arrested Thursday and charged with murder.

Irene Melanie May, a 23-year-old mother from Lakeside, was tortured, beaten and killed in a Live Oak Springs mobile home June 26, 1988.

Investigators on the Metropolitan Homicide Task Force have determined that May was tortured with electric wires and injected with battery acid. The defendants also allegedly beat May with a metal bar and kitchen skillet before stabbing her with a screwdriver and a knife.

The three defendants, who were all in state prison when they were arrested, will be held without bail until their arraignment.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Mark Pettine refused to answer reporters' questions about the investigation. He refused to say whether May's body had been recovered and how investigators had determined that she had been tortured.

He also refused comment on May's relationship with the defendants and why May was taken out to remote Live Oak Springs.

A fourth suspect also is being sought for questioning.

May is survived by her husband, Robert, and three children.

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