Jury recommends death penalty for killer


Anthony McKnight was convicted on Sept. 17 of five counts of first-degree murder, along with five special circumstance murder clauses, for the killings of Diane Stone, 17, Talita Dixon, 13, Monique Franchone Davis, 18, Beverly Ann Bryant, 24, and Betty Lynn Stuart, 22.

Three of the special circumstances are for committing murder during the course of a rape; one is for committing murder during sodomy; and one is for committing multiple murders.

The murders occurred over a three- to four-month span in Oakland, Berkeley and Richmond, prosecutor Jim Meehan said. In each case, the victims were sexually assaulted and then stabbed or beaten to death, he said.

Meehan said the jury deliberated for nearly three days before issuing its verdict in favor of the death penalty this morning.

Judge Jeffrey Horner will independently weigh the evidence on the death penalty verdict before McKnight's sentencing date, which has not yet been set, Meehan said.

McKnight, a 55-year-old former Navy-enlisted man who lived in Oakland and was assigned to the Alameda Naval Air Station, is already serving a 63-year term in state prison because he was convicted in August 1987 of 11 felony counts, including attempted murder, mayhem, kidnapping and forced oral copulation.

The counts stem from attacks on six prostitutes between 1984 and his arrest in January 1986.

After he began serving his prison sentence, authorities used new DNA analysis techniques to connect McKnight to the murders in this case, which occurred in secluded locations of the East Bay between September and December of 1985.

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