Convicted pedophile John Albert Gardner III will hear the charges against him in a San Diego courtroom Wednesday, RadarOnline.com has learned, in connection with the murder and rape of 17-year-old honors student Chelsea King, whose remains police believe they found Tuesday.
King was last seen February 25th at Lake Hodges at Rancho Bernardo Community Park in San Diego, where she would often go for a run. Her 1994 BMW, with her phone and iPod in it, was found nearby. Police Tuesday said they found a body in a shallow grave near a lake in the area and they believe the body is that of the missing teen. An autopsy will be conducted to confirm the identity.
Gardner, a 30-year-old sex offender who is listed on the Megan’s Law Web site, was arrested Sunday in connection with King’s disappearance, as police said cited DNA evidence recovered from the crime scene. Gardner has family that live nearby the park, as mother and stepfather live in a townhouse close to the center point of the investigation.
Gardner served five years in prison after he pleaded guilty in May 2000 to molesting a 13-year-old girl. According to court documents, the psychiatrist on the case called for a longer sentence, but prosecutors declined, citing their desire to “spare the victim the trauma of testifying.”
Prosecutors on the case might include special considerations that would make the convicted pedophile eligible for the death penalty.