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March 5, 2010 (San Diego) – John Albert Gardner III has pleaded not guilty to the murder and rape of Chelsea King. View a video of his arraignment:


A preliminary hearing is set for March 18. Sheriff Bill Gore has ordered the County Medical Examiner’s report including sealed until the hearing, including identification of a body found at Lake Hodges and believed to be King’s.


San Diego News Network reports that a man fitting Gardner’s description in a black sedan similar to a vehicle parked at his mother’s home was reported stalking a 13-year-old walking to Bernardo Heights Middle School on the day before Chelsea King went missing. In addition, Gardner bears a “striking description” to a man wanted for the attempted abduction of a girl in Lake Elsinore last October, according to SDNN.


He is also under investigation in the case of missing teen Amber Dubois, who disappeared while walking to school in Escondido within two miles of where Gardner was living at the time. In addition, his DNA has been linked to a woman jogger who was attacked in December in the same park where King, a Poway High School honor student, vanished while running.


A public memorial service for King will be held at Poway High School stadium on March 13 at 2 p.m.


Chelsea’s parents are asking for new assistance from the thousands of volunteers who assisted in the search for their daughter, the Union-Tribune reported.


“Now we ask they help us keep what she would want us to do now — which is doing everything and anything we can to keep this from happening again,” vowed Chelsea’s mother, Kelly King. “We hope the energy that was devoted to her search can be redirected toward helping to fix this thing. That’s what Chelsea would want and we’re just her vessel for spreading her words.”


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The Franklin Scandal

I am actually working on a book review that is tangentially related to the Chelsea King and Amber Dubois murder cases, and the 1989 abduction of 7-year old Leticia Hernandez, whose body was found in the same general Pala Indian Reservation area as the remains of Amber Dubois. The book, The Franklin Scandal, by Nick Bryant, is a story of powerbrokers, child abuse and betrayal. A tragic tale that tears at your heart and rips your soul, The Franklin Scandal is the true story of a child-pandering network and the masking of its very existence through a massive cover-up orchestrated from the utmost pinnacle of power -- using the CIA, FBI, Secret Service and a corrupt judicial process. This book shows how a major part of that cover-up was accomplished, how officers of the court suborned their duties ... and afterwards were given promotions (one is a sitting federal judge). The alleged front man for the group was a rising star in the Republican party, Lawrence E. King. He opened the 1984 GOP national convention with a rousing rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner" and threw a party for 600 people that included cabinet officials and President Reagan' daughter at Southfork Ranch -- the swanky mansion used for the Dallas TV series.