Inmate’s Newfound Fatherhood Leads to Confession
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ It wasn’t until Roberto Arguelles learned that he had a child of his own that the terrible impact of what he had done to other children hit home.
Arguelles, already in prison for molesting two children, was overcome by guilt after he got a poignant letter from his girlfriend telling him that her child was his.
In a seven-hour confession, Arguelles _ with his lawyer by his side _ broke down and admitted he killed three young girls and a woman during a two-month period of rage in 1992, authorities said. He was charged Monday in the slayings.
In return for his confession, Arguelles asked for several concessions, a color television, a private cell and one request prosecutors said they plan to honor _ a death sentence.
``I realized that these girls were just little girls. Just like mine,″ prisons investigator Jenny Glover quoted Arguelles as saying. ``He said he started to understand just how bad it would hurt to have someone do what he had done.″
Arguelles, 34, is serving consecutive nine-year-to-life sentences for molesting an 11-year-old boy and the boy’s 8-year-old sister at a school in December 1992. He was arrested three days later while stalking a girl outside a high school.
``He is a predator ... a classic serial killer,″ said Salt Lake County Sheriff Aaron Kennard.
Arguelles’s girlfriend could not be located and the age of his daughter was not clear.
For two years, ever since Arguelles first hinted he might know something about other killings, Glover gently fanned the embers of his conscience hoping for the day they would flare.
Arguelles admitted Friday to kidnapping and killing the three girls and the woman while on parole. He had served 11 years for attempted murder and sexual assault for raping two teen-age girls in three days in 1980.
He led police Friday to the mountain grave of 13-year-old Stephanie Blundell, who was kidnapped on the way to school.
Last July, Arguelles led police to the bodies of two other girls, 15-year-old Tuesday Malisa Roberts and 16-year-old Lisa Martinez, dumped in a reeking canal on a Salt Lake County pig farm. At the time, he said he had only witnessed the killings by two other men.
He also said he killed 42-year-old Margo Bond, a junior high school janitor who disappeared from her job in February 1992. Her body was found four months later in a shallow grave 45 miles west of Salt Lake City.
Glover has spent hours with Arguelles and struggles to reconcile his crimes with an odd sense of admiration she feels for him.
``I’ve maintained all along that there was something different with him,″ Glover said. ``He’s not like a lot of the others on death row.″
But Deputy District Attorney Kent Morgan doubts fatherhood had anything to do with the confession.
``He was evil the day he did this, and he was evil the day he confessed,″ Morgan said. ``He confessed because he was about to be caught and he wanted to beat us to the punch. But whatever it takes to get him over the edge, I’m for.″