Convicted Killer Awaiting New Sacramento Charges, Dies

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The Sequester’s Impact on Sacramento County Jail

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A convicted serial killer from the 1980s who has been held in the Sacramento County Jail since 2005 facing new murder charges, has died.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department says 73-year-old Wilbur Jennings died at a hospital Tuesday morning following what deputies call a “long medical history.” His death does not appear suspicious.

Deputies would only say Jennings had been in their custody since January 2005 for the charge of murder.

Jennings was convicted of four murders in the early 1980s in Fresno County, but at the time was a suspect in nine deaths. His victims, mostly women in their 20s, were found in a ditch or canal, earning him the name the “ditchbank murderer.”

In 2005, Jennings was moved from San Quentin to Sacramento County to face charges in connection with the 1981 death of a teen girl. Newspaper articles at the time say Jennings’ DNA was found at the crime scene.

In 2008, investigators in Fresno announced Jennings’ DNA was also found at another unsolved murder scene from the 1980s.

Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies will conduct a thorough inmate-death investigation in accordance with their department procedures.

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