Murder of the Goldmark family

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On Christmas Eve 1985, David Lewis Rice (born 1958), a follower of a right-wing extremist magazine and group the Duck Club, gained entry to the Seattle home of civil litigation[1][2] attorney Charles Goldmark using a toy gun and pretending to be a deliveryman.[3] He tied the family up; Charles, wife Annie, and their two children, 12-year-old Derek and 10-year-old Colin and chloroformed them into unconsciousness, beat them with a steam iron, and stabbed them.[3] Rice mistakenly believed the family to be Jewish and Communist.[4] At trial, Rice argued he was not responsible for the crime because he was insane at the time.[5]

Rice was convicted in 1986 of aggravated murder for the four deaths and was sentenced to death.[3] The conviction was later overturned on the grounds of an incompetent defense.[2][6] Rice repeatedly displayed psychotic symptoms throughout his trial, but his attorney failed to emphasize them in his defense.[citation needed] In 1998, he pleaded guilty to the crimes[7] in exchange for avoiding the death penalty. He remains in prison serving out a life sentence.

The Goldmark Murders remain one of the most notorious anti-Semitic hate crimes as well as politically motivated killings in recent memory in the United States, even though the victims were not actually Jewish and Communist as the killer mistakenly believed. It also remains a cause célèbre of capital punishment proponents, since Rice avoided death based only on the ineptitude of his attorney's work at trial. Rice is currently incarcerated in Washington State Penitentiary.

Charles Goldmark's brother is former Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands and head of the Washington Department of Natural Resources Peter J. Goldmark.

Rice was interviewed for the 1987 PBS documentary, Faces of the Enemy.[8]


  1. ^ Rule, Ann (1994). You Belong To Me. New York, NY: POCKET BOOKS division of Simon and Schuster Inc. p. 296. ISBN 0-671-79354-3.
  2. ^ a b c "Rice sentenced to death". Ellensburg Daily Record. July 21, 1986. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  3. ^ "Death Sentence in 4 Killings". The New York Times. UPI. July 22, 1986. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  4. ^ "Rice v. Wood, 44 F.3d 1396, US Court of Appeals". Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  5. ^ "Death sentence reversed in Goldmark murders". The Spokesman-Review. January 5, 1995. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  6. ^ "Killer gets life in 1985 tragedy". Ellensburg Daily Record. May 27, 1998. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  7. ^ Goodman, Walter (May 27, 1987). "TV REVIEWS; 'FACES OF THE ENEMY,' A DOCUMENTARY". New York Times. Retrieved 5 December 2014.

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