The arraignment of a Vallejo man charged with killing his mother at his home Wednesday was postponed until next week, but not before he told a Solano County Superior Court judge today that he wanted to plead guilty, prosecutors said.
Dennis Stanworth, 70, who avoided the death penalty for kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing two Pinole teenage girls in 1966 and eventually was paroled in 1990, told Judge Donna Stashyn, "I want to plead guilty to all charges, I admit everything and this is the third time," according to Deputy District Attorney Karen Jensen.
Stanworth's attorney, Chief Deputy Public Defender Oscar Bobrow, then advised Stanworth to remain silent and asked Stashyn to continue the arraignment until next Friday, Jensen said.
The judge complied. Stanworth is charged with killing his mother, Nellie Turner Stanworth, 89, of American Canyon, in his Marshfield Road home on Wednesday. Vallejo police said he admitted the murder to a police dispatcher during a phone call around noon Wednesday.
Police and prosecutors have not said how the woman died, and the coroner's office has not released the results of an autopsy that was done today. Jensen said Stanworth also is charged in the criminal complaint with the special circumstance of having committed two previous murders and is eligible for the death penalty.
Jensen said Stanworth's admission of guilt this afternoon is not a valid plea because he was not advised of his right to a preliminary hearing and a trial and did not subsequently waive those rights.
The prosecution, however, could use the courtroom confession against Stanworth, Jensen said. Stanworth seemed to be recovering from a cold and was shackled and in a wheelchair today, Jensen said. "He was emotional but he said he was able to stand and walk," she said.