Anthony Darnell Wade, the 28-year-old drifter who tried to plead insanity for raping, torturing and killing beloved Anaheim widow Elizabeth “Bessie” Mae Whyman, should receive the death penalty, a jury in Santa Ana recommended this afternoon.
The same jury that convicted Wade on Sept. 6 had heard in the penalty phase that his bipolar disorder should spare him the state's ultimate punishment. The other option was life in state prison without the possibility of parole.
Wade had a family history of schizophrenia and was passed around by relatives throughout his childhood, his attorney had also told jurors, who'd found him guilty of first-degree murder, elder abuse, first-degree robbery, torture forcible rape and car theft. The jury also found true sentencing enhancements for using a deadly weapon and causing great bodily injury to someone older than 70, and special circumstance allegations of committing murder during the commission of rape, torture, robbery and burglary.
noon midnight on Jan. 10, 2010, Wade, who was living in Los Angeles, walked through Anaheim Paradise Road neighborhood and looked in windows before breaking into Whyman's home through a broken window as she slept in a bedroom. Wade raped her, tied up her hands and feet and punched and kicked her.
He then tortured and murdered her by repeatedly stabbing her with a kitchen knife. He covered her body with a blanket before ransacking the home, stealing her purse and fleeing in her car, which he drove to San Bernardino.
Once in Berdoo, Wade tried to use Whyman's stolen credit cards at a Food 4 Less store, but that led to a fight with an employee who would not accept a card from him with Whyman's name on it. Staff pepper-sprayed Wade and called the police.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, noticing the car Wade had been in was registered to Whyman, asked Anaheim Police to check her home. After finding an open door, officers went inside and discovered Whyman's corpse. Anaheim Police Sgt. Rick Martinez called the attack on the elderly woman “brutal.”