Man Who Killed Five Near Santa Cruz Dies

Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009  |  Updated 10:30 AM PDT
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Man Who Killed Five Near Santa Cruz Dies

John Linley Frazier was found dead in his jail cell 39 years after he killed five people in Soquel.

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The death of a convicted murderer who killed five people near Santa Cruz in 1970 is being investigated as a suicide, the state said Tuesday.

John Linley Frazier, 62, was pronounced dead at 1:33 p.m. Thursday after a correctional officer found him unresponsive in his cell, said Michelle Hamilton, public information officer for Mule Creek State Prison in Ione.

Frazier was convicted of five first-degree murder counts for the 1970 slayings of Dr. Victor M. Ohta, 46; his wife Virginia, 43; his two sons, Derek, 12, and Taggart, 11; and his secretary, Dorothy Cadwallader, 38. The killing occurred in the Ohtas' home near Santa Cruz.

Frazier was sentenced to death in San Mateo County in 1971 and was sent to state prison. He was resentenced to life in 1974 after the California Supreme Court found that the death penalty constituted cruel and unusual punishment under the state constitution. The state did not have the life without parole sentence at the time.

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