Calif. Suspect Hides Dark Side
Apr. 26, 1999
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) _ Identified as the prime suspect in the deaths of two college students, Rex Allen Krebs says he's a monster and deserves to die.
Yet he certainly kept that dark side from his girlfriend, co-workers and other locals who met him as he went about his business in this close-knit university town on California's central coast.
Jailed late last month on unrelated parole violations, Krebs has been linked by police to the deaths of Aundria Crawford and Rachel Newhouse, both 20-years-old. Their bodies were pulled from his property Friday.
``The two girls are dead. If I'm not a monster, then what am I?'' Krebs said Saturday in an interview with The Fresno Bee at San Luis Obispo County Jail.
He also apologized to the parents of the two women and told the newspaper he hopes to receive the death penalty.
``I hope they give it to me,'' he said.
Ms. Crawford, a Cuesta College sophomore, was kidnapped March 12 from her duplex near downtown. Ms. Newhouse, a junior at California Polytechnic State University, was assaulted near the Amtrak station last Nov. 12 as she walked home from a fraternity party at a local bar. Her blood was found on a nearby bridge.
Police have been tightlipped about the investigation, including what led them to Krebs and how he might have known the victims.
Krebs, a 33-year-old registered sex offender, has not been arrested for any crimes related to the cases of the dead women. Instead, he has been in custody since March 20 on possession of a simulated weapon and alcohol _ both parole violations. Police say murder charges are imminent.
``I don't have to rush out and arrest him. He's already in jail,'' Capt. Bart Topham said Saturday.
Until he was named the ``sole suspect,'' Krebs didn't come across as someone who was hiding a criminal past.
He moved to the community eight months ago, not long after serving 10 years in a state prison for rape, sodomy, assault with intent to commit rape and three burglaries.
Krebs was living in a home in Davis Canyon, a remote area about a mile from a road that snakes nearly 15 miles behind Avila Beach. Neighbors sometimes go months without seeing each other.
He was an employee at a lumber store near downtown and socialized with his co-workers. He shopped at one of the two Lucky grocery stores in town, and had a couple of favorite watering holes.
One of them was Carlin's BBQ & Brew, where he usually joined co-workers for lunch. He often sat on the patio with his pit bull, Buddy. Sometimes his 23-year-old girlfriend _ who Krebs said was pregnant with his child _ came along, too.
Eric Wilkins, a 22-year-old Cal Poly student who lives across the street from Carlin's, said he and his roommates often saw Krebs there alone or with his dog, especially Tuesday nights, when beers are 25 cents.
``He'd be over there many times,'' Wilkins said. ``We talked about his dog a lot. He seemed like a nice guy.''
So nice, Wilkins said, that he and his roommates would invite Krebs over for after-hour bonfires. He can't remember if Krebs ever came, and said he last saw him a few months ago.
Maggie Romweber, a 23-year-old Cal Poly senior, recalls seeing Krebs at a local liquor store. Like many other residents, she finds it disturbing and slightly eerie that such a man could be living in the community without raising much suspicion, and come across as such a regular guy.
``It's scary,'' she said, adding how she and her friends have taken extra safety precautions _ changing daily running routes, getting escorts to their cars at night, not walking around downtown after dark.
Perhaps even more upsetting is that Krebs' girlfriend _ who is four months shy of giving birth _ was apparently not aware of his alleged involvement with the disappearances of Crawford and Newhouse.
``Leave her out of this,'' Krebs told The Bee. ``She doesn't know anything.''