Chelsea King Update: A Chilling View into Suspect's Past Shows Red Flags Ignored

John Albert Gardner III appears in San Diego Superior Court on Tuesday March 9, 2010 (AP/ John Gibbins)
John Albert Gardner III appears in San Diego Superior Court (AP/ John Gibbins)

ESCONDIDO,Calif. (CBS/AP) Chelsea King's accused killer, John Albert Gardner III, was described by a court-appointed psychiatrist as a "danger to the community," in a probation report filed a decade ago, and released Tuesday by the San Diego County Superior Court.

PICTURES: Chelsea King MissingPICTURES: Chelsea King Vigil

Gardner pleaded guilty in 2000 to committing lewd and lascivious acts on a 13-year-old girl. The girl had skipped school and went to Gardner's mother's house in San Diego's Rancho Bernardo neighborhood to watch a movie.

According to the complaint Gardner heaved the girl onto a couch and pulled down her pants. When she resisted, he choked her and hit her repeatedly in the face and head, leaving her heavily bruised and vomiting before she escaped

During the sentencing phase a probation report quoted Dr. Matthew F. Carroll as saying that Gardner's "predilection toward younger girls is a problem. He manifests significant predatory traits and is a danger to the community."

Carroll recommended that Gardner get the maximum sentence allowed, 10 years, but the prosecutor in the case recommended six. He ultimately served five years before being released on probation.

Gardner later insisted he was innocent, saying he accepted a plea bargain to avoid getting "reamed" at trial. The girl had been beaten by her mother, he said.

"The defendant's cool denial of culpability is cause for the gravest concern," a probation officer wrote in the 2000 report.

He is now accused of attempting to rape a woman in December and of killing Chelsea. Gardner is also being investigated in the suspected slaying of Amber Dubois, a 14-year-old Escondido, Calif. girl whose skeletal remains were found Sunday in a remote area of northern San Diego County.

Gardner, whose mother lives in Rancho Bernardo, was arrested at an Escondido, Calif. restaurant on Feb. 28. A state Justice Department spokeswoman said he was identified by DNA analysis of semen on a piece of King's clothing.

PICTURES: Chelsea King Missing
PICTURES: Chelsea King Vigil

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