Man gets death penalty for torturing, killing 84-year-old widow
A 29-year-old man was sentenced to death Tuesday for raping, torturing and fatally stabbing an 84-year-old widow after breaking into her Anaheim home.
Authorities said Anthony Darnell Wade drank champagne and smoked a cigar as he left the crime scene.
Wade, a Los Angeles resident, broke into the home of Bessie Whyman through a broken window on January 2010 and attacked her. He raped Whyman and bound her hands and feet before punching and kicking her, according to Orange County prosecutors.
Prosecutors said Wade tortured the woman and finally killed her by attacking her with a saw and stabbing her repeatedly with a kitchen knife.
Before driving toward San Bernardino with her purse and car, Wade covered Whyman’s body with a blanket and other household items in the living room.
In San Bernardino, he was stopped by grocery store employees after he tried to use Whyman’s credit cards at a Food 4 Less, prosecutors said. A grocery store staffer detained him after a fight with an employee and he was arrested by San Bernardino police.
Officers with the Anaheim Police Department conducted a welfare check at Whyman’s home and discovered her body.
“One of the hardest things for me to accept is that my daughter will never have memories of her grandma BeBe’s smile, watching her dance, hearing her play the piano and sing or feeling the love that BeBe had for her,” said Whyman’s daughter-in-law, Lori Laucik, during Tuesday’s sentencing.
On Sept. 6, a jury found Wade guilty of one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of rape, robbery, burglary and murder with torture. He was also found guilty of elder abuse, first-degree robbery, first-degree residential burglary, torture, forcible rape and the unlawful taking of a vehicle.
They also agreed with sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon and causing great bodily injury to an elder. The jury had recommended the death penalty on Oct. 7.
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