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Newspaper of the Central Coast








Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Paso boys arrested after making Internet threats

Division of Japanese firm will open plant in SLO

Duke-Duke-Duke, Duke of All! 2001’s NCAA champs

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Layoffs at Arroyo, French hospitals ——————————————————


Guilty on all counts

Close to 24 will lose their jobs in ‘revitalization’ ——————————————————



Special circumstances for death penalty found

Sentencing will be decided starting April 17

By Richard Jackoway At the courtroom in Monterey, defendant Rex Allan Krebs and one of his attorneys, Patricia Ashbaugh, listen Monday afternoon as the court clerk reads off guilty verdicts on all nine counts.

The Tribune

About two dozen employees at French and Arroyo Grande hospitals are being laid off this week as the jointly-owned facilities begin “a revitalization program” in the face of new competition from Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. Ten to 12 administrative and clerical employees at each hospital either received termination notices Monday or will get them today, according to Douglas Wilson Jr., French’s interim chief executive officer. “This is a very, very small percentage of the employees,” Wilson said, stressing that the layoffs will not impact patient care. Arroyo Grande has about 300 employees and French has about 340. No additional layoffs are anticipated, he said. Wilson offered few specifics of the 900-page analysis that forms the basis for the revitalization plan, but said one main initiative will be to increase the profile of French Hospital’s cardiac unit. Meanwhile, of ficials at crosstown rival Sierra Vista plan to open a cardiac unit in January. “It’s the only core medical service that we haven’t provided here at Sierra Vista,” said hospital Please see LAYOFFS, Back Page


What’s next

Bush insists spy plane, crew return

Because Krebs was convicted of murder with special circumstances — which includes multiple murder, rape and kidnapping — the prosecution now can pursue a death sentence. The sentencing phase begins April 17. Before then, attorneys will argue about what evidence can be allowed.


Demand made as diplomats rush to Chinese base ——————————————————

By Steven Mufson and Philip P. Pan The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — President Bush on Monday sternly demanded the “prompt and safe” return of 24 U.S. militar y personnel and their Navy spy plane, which made an emergency landing at a southern Chinese air base after colliding with a Chinese fighter jet Sunday. Three U.S. diplomats rushed to the air base on Hainan Island, but Chinese officials said they would have to wait until about 6 a.m. Tuesday morning Washington time to see the plane’s crew of 21 men and three women, who were in military custody. Bush, speaking on the White House driveway, expressed anger about the 24-hour delay. “I am troubled by the lack of a timely Chinese response to our request

More inside Local reaction to the verdict. Back Page


F a m i ly R e a c t i o n

How the jury ruled

————————— By Patrick S. Pemberton

After more than two days of deliberation the jury convicted Rex Allan Krebs of all charges against him. Six special circumstances tied to the counts also were found to be true.

The Tribune

After a trial highlighted by the defendant’s videotaped confession, a jury convicted Rex Krebs of two counts of first-degree murder Monday, setting the stage for a death penalty trial. Krebs, 35 — who also was convicted of three counts of rape, two counts of kidnapping, one count of sodomy and one count of burglary — will face the jury again during the sentencing phase, beginning April 17. The jury will determine then whether he will receive a sentence of death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. During the trial, jurors watched a videotape of Krebs confessing to killing both Rachel Newhouse and Aundria Crawford, two 20-yearold college students who were kidnapped from San Luis Obispo in November 1998 and March 1999. That confession, backed by incriminating physical evidence found at Krebs’ rented rural Avila home, took most of the suspense from the verdict. “It was not unexpected,” said Krebs attorney Jim Maguire. “We’ve been primarily focused on the next phase.” The decision came more than two years after Krebs was arrested on a parole violation that eventually steered the investigation to-

Newhouse’s uncle: Verdict is ‘fantastic’

COUNT 1 First-degree murder of Rachel Newhouse

By Silas Lyons

COUNT 2 First-degree murder of Aundria Crawford

As the jury’s forewoman read off the list of guilty verdicts Monday, Rachel Newhouse’s uncle whistled softly under his breath. “All right, man,” Peter Morreale said. “That’s fantastic.” But the case against Rex Allan Krebs is far from final, and Morreale — a criminal defense attorney in Riverside — knows that. As the trial’s penalty phase approaches, Morreale said a jury that found Krebs guilty on all counts will be more inclined to sentence him to death. And although he isn’t sure that’s what Newhouse’s parents want, he’s certain about his own feelings. “I think the only time for me that there’s going to be closure is when he is dead,” he said. “In my house, I’d hang him in the back yard. I’d hang him from one of the trees back there.” Neither the Newhouses nor members of Aundria Crawford’s family could be reached directly for comment. The judge in the case has issued a gag order that extends to the parents of both women, who are expected to testify dur-



Please see KREBS, Back Page


COUNT 3 Kidnapping with intent to commit rape, Rachel Newhouse


COUNT 4 Rape by force, Rachel Newhouse


COUNT 5 First-degree burglary, Aundria Crawford


COUNT 6 Kidnapping with intent to commit rape and sodomy, Aundria Crawford


COUNT 7 Rape by force, Aundria Crawford


COUNT 8 Rape by force, Aundria Crawford


COUNT 9 Sodomy by force, Aundria Crawford


The Tribune

Please see FAMILY, Back Page

‘I think the only time for me that there’s going to be closure is when he is dead. In my house, I’d hang him in the back yard. I’d hang him from one of the trees back there.’ — Peter Morreale, Rachel Newhouse’s uncle

Please see CHINA, Back Page



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Partly sunny, breezy and cool today. Highs 56-64. Partly cloudy tonight. Lows 37-47 at the coast, 35-39 inland and 32-36 in the North County.


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Pu blic’s Reaction



From Page A1

ward the convicted rapist. The trial was delayed months by numerous motions and an appeals court ruling that forced the trial outside San Luis Obispo County due to pretrial publicity. “We always thought we’d be able to prove this case if we could ever get to court,” said Deputy District Attorney John Trice. The only suspense was whether the nine-woman, three-man jury would convict Krebs of first- or second-degree murder in the death of Newhouse. During his videotaped confession, Krebs said Newhouse strangled while struggling to free herself from ropes he tied around her body. Both victims had been hog-tied before they were raped. The prosecution told jurors that any act of rape or kidnapping that leads to death is first-degree murder, whether the murder was intended or not. As the court clerk read the verdicts, Krebs stood with his head down, showing no outward signs of emotion as his attorneys stood beside him. Members of the prosecution looked at their notepads, while jurors gazed at Krebs and about the courtroom. For the defense, the guilt phase of the trial more or less ended before it ever began — when Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera ruled during pretrial hearings to allow damaging evidence to be presented in the trial. The defense had sought to suppress evidence related to a parole agent’s search of Krebs’ home — which uncovered items belonging to Crawford — and the confession given to detective Larry Hobson. “His rulings at those pretrial hearings would have made a major difference in what happened during this phase of the trial,” Maguire said. The defense had argued that proper procedural guidelines were not met in obtaining evidence related to those issues. But LaBarbera disagreed, allowing the prosecution to present the damaging evidence. Once the evidence was allowed, said Deputy District Attorney Trice, the defense could not vigorously try to prove Krebs’ innocence knowing it would later ask the jury to spare the defendant’s life despite his crimes. “Once the jury came in and the judge already had made rulings,”

Families From Page A1

ing the trial’s penalty phase. Morreale, who has served as the family’s spokesman since Rachel Newhouse’s disappear-

‘He should suffer a long and tortured death’ ——————————————————

From Page A1

spokeswoman Kris Kington. “So it’s a reasonable extension of what we do.” Kington could not say Monday exactly how many employees will be added to staff the new unit. The fight over cardiac patients could become intense. French’s open-heart surger y unit has been the pride of the hospital and its most profitable program. “The unit surpasses national standards,” Wilson said. “The county is pretty lucky to have the program here.” Tenet Healthcare Corp., owner of Sierra Vista, sold French to Vista Hospital Systems in 1997. Last week, the bond companies who backed the sale sued Tenet for $100 million, saying the hospital had been overvalued.

be defused by China’s immediate release of crew members and return of all U.S. equipment,” said Rep. Henry J. Hyde, R-Ill., chairman of the House International Relations Committee. “Are we to assume that all of these individuals are now considered hostages? I don’t know, and I certainly hope not.”


Above, defense attorneys Patricia Ashbaugh and Jim Maguire answer questions Monday after their client Rex Allan Krebs was found guilty on all counts in Monterey. Deputy District Attorney John Trice, at left, also met the press Monday after his successful prosecution of the case.

Trice said, “they didn’t want to be fighting too much in front of the jury or they’d lose some credibility.” Still, Trice said, both sides presented evidence and arguments they hoped would have an impact during the sentencing phase. The defense said Krebs was abused as a child and harbored sexual fantasies of domination that worsened with alcohol use. The prosecution tried to show that Krebs was a willing repeat offender who failed to learn from a previous 10-year prison term. “If you look at his overall life pattern,” Trice said, “he’s probably only been out on the streets two or three years total (since adulthood) without committing

some felony or victimizing some woman.” Krebs was convicted of raping and sodomizing one woman and attempting to rape another in 1987. During a hearing last week without the jur y present, Trice said Krebs also was arrested for a sexual assault on a 12-year-old girl three years earlier, but that offense was pled down to a minor battery. Jurors will consider a variety of factors in deciding whether Krebs should receive a death sentence. In order for the jury to vote for the death penalty, Maguire said, negative factors of the case must substantially outweigh any factors that work in favor of the defendant. Negative aspects of this case

might include Krebs’ previous criminal history and the impact the crimes had on the victims’ families. But defense attorneys plan to call members of Krebs’ family and a psychiatric expert as witnesses to testify that there was a good and a bad side to the defendant. The prosecution will present members of the victims’ families, along with past victims and a psychiatric expert of its own. If Krebs is sentenced to death, he automatically will be allowed to appeal under state law. During the trial, his attorneys set the groundwork for several appellate issues. “Ever y decision the judge makes is a potential appellate issue,” Maguire said.

ance, said his brother-in-law and sister-in-law have never told him their feelings on a death sentence. Phil and Montel Newhouse have tried to keep some distance between themselves and the case, he said. “Their position has been that

(the deputy district attorneys working on the case) are good prosecutors, that the law is the law, and whatever the law decides that’s OK with them,” he said. “They have faith, I think, in the system.” That’s not to say they aren’t still

tortured by the deaths, Morreale said. “I’m sure Rachel’s mom and dad never wake up a day without thinking about it,” he said. “There’s still a place that somebody’s supposed to be that she’s not there.”

From Page A1


House official. “We wanted to give the Chinese time, to avoid an escalation today.” U.S. of ficials said three U.S. Navy warships in the area also were ordered to resume course for San Diego. Some members of Congress were irate over China’s behavior. “This volatile situation will only



for this access,” he said, adding that China should return the EP3 surveillance plane “without further damaging or tampering.” Administration officials warned that with each passing day, China’s failure to let U.S. diplomats see the crew and retrieve the plane would ratchet up tensions. Officials in Washington said it was unclear whether Chinese specialists had boarded the aircraft and attempted to inspect its sophisticated technology. But a senior Defense Department official said the crew had started destroying classified equipment and documents while the plane was heading toward its emergency landing. “Some (of the destruction) was electronic, some of it was (with) shredders, some of it was (with) hammers and hatchets,” the official said. The dispute over the plane and its crew — as well as the fate of a Chinese pilot whose fighter jet crashed after the collision — risks

About a dozen students and parents — inter viewed Monday evening at the Downtown Centre — were pleased with Rex Allan Krebs’ conviction of murder, rape and kidnapping. And, those who hadn’t learned of his afternoon conviction responded with “Wonderful” and “Good” when told. Several recalled the terror that the disappearance of Krebs’ victims created in the community. Most said they now want the jury to impose the death penalty. “I was hopeful justice would be served,” said Sheri Maki of Templeton, the mother of a teen-age daughter. “It reassures me we still have a system that works pretty well. I’d be open to the death penalty.” Jessica Price, a senior at San Luis High School, said her mom told her about the conviction right after school. “I would have been disappointed if he hadn’t been convicted. I feel safer knowing that he’s not going to get away with this. He should suffer a long and tortured death.” Poly students Jackie Vaquera of Los Angeles and Anya Kuligina of San Francisco weren’t here when the two college students disappeared more than two years ago, but they went to safety classes put on by Cal Poly police the first year they got to campus. Krebs got what he deser ved, they said. They’d have no problem with the death penalty. Christiane Gantman of San Luis Obispo, the mother of two young daughters, said she’s always been against the death penalty. “But I think I would make an exception here.” She hasn’t been watching any of the trial on TV, Gantman said. “I tried to one night and it was sick-

ening.” The whole horrific crime hit too close to home, she said — not only because she lived near one of the victims but because she’s a mother. “My heart went out to those mothers,” she said. “Watching the trial was more than I could bear. I imagine it must have been awful for them, if they did. My skin still crawls thinking about it. I hope his conviction helps bring them some closure.” A widow, Gantman and her daughters moved to San Luis Obispo from Los Angeles a few years ago because she didn’t feel safe there. After the disappearances, she felt unsafe in San Luis Obispo and became extra vigilant, she said. Poly student Thomas Galvin and his friend Megan Rose Bartell, who attends Cuesta College, also think Krebs should get the death penalty. Bartell said her mother “freaked out” over the tragedies. “I wasn’t allowed to walk around downtown by myself at all,” she said. Galvin predicted a string of appeals will prolong Krebs’ final punishment. Bartell said she felt better as soon as Krebs was arrested and confessed. “But this won’t be over until he’s dead.” He deser ves more suf fering than his victims went through, she said. “A lethal injection is too good for him.” She feels Krebs left a stigma on the community. “It made us afraid,” said Bartell, who pulled out a small knife-like weapon she carries on a key chain. “I don’t ever walk alone any more except in areas I know well.” Kevin Blasingame, a third-year Poly student, said he thinks Krebs’ activities were isolated events that won’t happen in the community again. Still, safety should always be a concern. “Parents are probably more strict now and young women more careful,” he said. As for what should happen to Krebs now, he’d rely on the biblical adage. “I believe an eye for an eye.”

Comments in SLO show agreement with jury verdicts


throwing U.S.-Chinese relations into crisis. It follows a string of events that have shaken Beijing and Washington in recent weeks,

including the defection of a senior Chinese military officer and the arrests of several U.S.-based researchers in China.

Vista isn’t a party to the lawsuit, but should Tenet lose, that should help French, which is struggling to make monthly bond payments arising from the purchase. Wilson, who has been on the job for two weeks, said the not-forprofit hospital is a “viable organization” and that finances are headed on the right track. He categorically denied rumors, including statements by county Supervisor Katcho Achadjian, that French might close or be converted into some other type of health-care facility. Those comments came during the ongoing debate about the future of county-owned General Hospital, a block away from French. Wilson wouldn’t comment on the General Hospital situation. “I’m not going there,” he said. He did confirm, though, that French and Arroyo had been full several times since he had gotten to town last month and that the

emergency rooms in the county are increasingly impacted. While patients are plentiful, payment is often scant, Wilson said. As part of the revitalization program, Vista has begun renegotiating its hospitals’ contracts with all HMOs and medical ser vices providers. Its contract for indigent care goes before the county Board of Super visors today. But Wilson added that reimbursement for medical services, particularly for emergency room care, remains “a terribly serious issue.” Wilson, who commutes home to Tennessee on weekends, said he only expects to be at the helm of French for three to four months, but will press the aims of the revitalization plans. “Sometimes, in this situation, there’s a hiatus. People want to wait until the new guy gets here,” Wilson said. “My job is to keep things moving.”

Yet the Hainan incident poses the most serious challenge to Sino-American relations since U.S. warplanes bombed the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia in May 1999 during the war over Kosovo. It could influence a debate in Washington about whether to sell U.S. destroyers and other advanced weaponry to Taiwan. It also could harden the emerging view among many Chinese officials that conflict with the United States is inevitable, and stiffen views among U.S. policy-makers who warn of possible conflict with China. Bush said China’s delay in allowing access to the crew was “inconsistent with standard diplomatic practice and with the expressed desire of both our countries for better relations.” But he chose not to make a telephone call to Chinese President Jiang Zemin. The White House said that decision was made to avoid blowing the incident out of proportion. “The president wanted to be strong and clear in a public way and not overreact,” said a White

————————— By Carol Roberts The Tribune

Guilty on all counts  

Krebs guilty on all counts

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