David Lewis Rice
David Lewis Rice (born 1958), a follower of a right-wing extremist group the Duck Club, who, on Christmas Eve 1985, gained entry to the Seattle home of civil litigation attorney Charles Goldmark using a toy gun and pretending to be a deliveryman. He tied the family up, chloroformed them into unconsciousness, beat them with a steam iron, and stabbed them. Rice mistakenly believed the family to be Jewish and Communist. At trial, Rice argued he was not responsible for the crime because he was insane at the time.
Rice was convicted in 1986 of aggravated murder for the four deaths and was sentenced to death. The conviction was later overturned on the grounds of an incompetent defense. Rice repeatedly displayed psychotic symptoms throughout his trial, but his attorney failed to emphasize them in his defense. In 1998, he pleaded guilty to the crimes 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.
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