Inmate Confesses to Fresno Mass Murder
A convicted killer once described as a model student has confessed to committing the worst mass murder in Fresno County history.
Johnnie Malarkey admitted Tuesday that he fatally shot seven people while robbing a southeast Fresno bar in 1993, as well as committing three unrelated killings that year. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty.
Fresno County Superior Court Judge Gene Gomes sentenced Malarkey to eight consecutive life terms with no possibility of parole, a 37-year term and a term of 40 years to life. Those sentences were added to a 25-year sentence he was serving for a series of 1993 shootings.
David Gottlieb, Malarkey’s lawyer, said his client proposed the plea bargain in an effort to put the killings behind him.
“Johnnie does have a conscience, despite the fact that he’s admitted to 10 murders,” Gottlieb said. “In meetings that I’ve had with him, he’s cried. He does feel remorse.”
Malarkey, 28, had been the leading suspect in the shooting deaths of seven people at Carrillo’s Club on May 16, 1993. Two men entered the bar just after closing and opened fire, killing owner Reyes Carrillo; his mother, Rachel, and half brother, Alfredo; cook Marciano Perez and his wife, Alicia Duenas Perez; customer Mary Ruiz, and bouncer Rudy Sanchez.
The second gunman is believed to have been Allen Heflin, who committed suicide in October.
Burton Francis said fellow prosecutors agreed to the deal with Malarkey because there was no guarantee the Carrillo’s Club case would ever have gone to trial.
“We have saved years in litigation, millions in prosecution costs and achieved a result that is life without possibility of parole eight times over,” he said.
Malarkey also admitted killing Charles Ray Martin, 35, whose burned body was found in the back of his torched pickup two weeks before the Carrillo’s Club massacre. Martin had been shot several times in the head.
Malarkey admitted killing tax examiner Lee Grant, 27, who was shot to death while riding his bicycle in Fresno’s Sunnyside neighborhood in May 1993.
Authorities didn’t disclose the additional slaying.
Malarkey was already serving a 25-year prison term for a series of other shootings in 1993, including the wounding of Fresno Police Officer Jeff Dockweiler and helping his sister kill Carl Worley, 70.
Lanelle Malarkey Denn shot the victim to loot his mobile home, police said. She was sentenced to 34 years to life in prison.
Before his 1993 arrest, Malarkey had worked four years as a custodian for the Fresno Unified School District. A graduate of DeWolf Continuation School, he had impressed several teachers who wrote letters on his behalf before he was originally sent to prison.
One wrote: “He undoubtedly was the best, the most reliable student I have ever worked with in my entire career with Fresno Unified. He was prompt, courteous, quiet and diligent in his duties. He never showed any signs of anger . . . or a rebellious nature so often displayed by our students.”