Kerry Lyn Dalton

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Kerry Lyn Dalton
Born Van Nuys, California, USA
Criminal penalty
Criminal status Incarcerated at the Central California Women's Facility
Conviction(s) Torture, Murder (23 May 1995)

Kerry Lyn Dalton (born 1960) was convicted of first degree murder in March 1995 and sentenced to death by lethal injection the same year.[1] Since her sentencing she has been incarcerated at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, California,[2] awaiting her first appeal.[3]

Dalton, accused of torturing and murdering Irene ("Melanie") Louise May on June 26, 1988 at a mobile home park in Live Oak Springs, California, was arrested on May 14, 1992.[4] She and three others, Mark Lee Tompkins, Sheryl Ann Baker, and another man known only by the name "George", were alleged to have used various weapons to commit a torture-murder: a cast-iron frying pan, a knife, and a syringe filled with battery acid.

The night of the alleged murder, a Sheriff was called to the same mobile home residence on a burglary call, he reported no evidence of a burglary or any criminal activity besides that the resident, Ms. JoAnn Fedor, was high on methamphetamine. He searched inside and outside the residence and noted in his report the resident was a "5150", police code for mentally incapable to comprehend reality. No weapons were ever recovered, nor was any blood evidence; there was no physical evidence of any kind for the jury to consider (trial transcripts: p. 2738–70, CR NO. 135002).[3]

Irene Louise May’s body was never located. On February 14, 1995, on the 6th day of Dalton's trial, the presiding judge, Thomas J. Whelan, made this statement, "I think the record is clear that no body has ever been found in this case. The record is equally clear that there is circumstantial evidence that there was a homicide. There's also conflicting circumstantial evidence that it may not be a homicide; in fact, she may still be alive..." Whelan went on to say, "My reason for making these statements is to establish for the record that in my mind corpus is a legitimate issue in this case. It's not a ruse that - there is a legitimate issue before the jury as to whether or not there's - a corpus of a homicide has been established" (trial transcripts: p. 3507, CR NO. 135002).[3]

The alleged confessions from Ms. Dalton in regards to the murder of Ms. May are solely based on Prosecutor's investigator Richard Cooksey repeating hearsay. There is no record of any confession coming directly from Kerry Dalton.[5]

Dalton accused Prosecutor Jeff Dusek of purposeful misconduct. "The thing that makes me the most mad is that he is lying, and he knows he's lying," she said at the trial. The jury's foreman, John Castleman, said they based the verdict of death on "the type of murder it was," although there was no physical evidence to support the prosecution's story that there even was a murder.[6]

Dalton's case was featured on the Discovery Channel series Deadly Women (Season 5, Episode 14, "Pleasure from Pain"), which first aired December 2, 2011. Her 1995 trial is also documented in a book, Cages, written and published by Dalton's sister in 2012.[3]

See also[edit]


  2. ^ Chiang, Harriet (31 January 1998). "Women On California Death Row". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Thorpe, Victoria Ann (2012). Cages. AnahataJourney. ISBN 061564466X. 
  4. ^ Avila, David A. (16 May 1992). "Arraignments Postponed in Torture Murder". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Krueger, Anne (October 28, 1992). "Hearing Told of Suspect's 'Violence' Boasts". The San Diego Union-Tribune. 
  6. ^ Wolf, Leslie (, March 9, 1995). "Jury Recommends Death Penalty in 1988 Torture-slaying". The San Diego Union-Tribune.