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Tooele crime spree, Idaho slaying linked

Bullets all came from the same gun, police say

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Police believe they have the evidence to link a Grantsville shooting spree to the killing of an Idaho teen.

Ballistics tests prove the bullets used in three Tooele County shootings match the bullets used to kill 17-year-old Theresa Garcia, according to police in Utah and Idaho.

Idaho authorities believe Richard H. Wilson stopped in Mountain Home in the midst of a multi-state crime spree, Elmore County Sheriff Rick Layher said.

Garcia was resting inside a relative's home, just yards away from I-84. Police believe Wilson walked through an unlocked door and shot Garcia four times — once in the face and three times in the back — with a Colt .45-caliber revolver, Layher said.

"He was very cold-blooded," said Don Van Cleave, captain of the investigative division at the Idaho State Police. "Very cold-blooded."

Police believe Wilson shot two Grantsville women last week in separate robberies before turning the gun on himself after a high-speed police chase, Tooele County Sheriff Frank Park said.

Dee Jensen, 59, was shot in the neck while working at her Delle truck stop. She miraculously escaped any major injuries, and was released from the hospital after a two-day stay. The 45-caliber bullet hit Jensen's neck, just a hairline away from her spine. It then traveled through her neck and just missed the jugular vein on the way out.

Kimberli Lingard, 17, remains in serious condition at University Hospital. Utah police believe Wilson shot Lingard in the head and chest after he robbed the Grantsville Laundromat where she worked.

Wilson, 39, was a longtime criminal who police believe had been wending his way through small towns in Washington and Oregon, allegedly stealing guns and money from residences and a purse from an 81-year old woman and raping a young woman at gunpoint.

The Washington prison system paroled Wilson in February. He had a felony criminal history dating back to 1989, a stretch that includes convictions for drug possession, theft and robbery. In 1995, he was convicted of committing a rape at knifepoint in Vancouver, Wash., and is listed on that state's sex-offender registry, according to a check of Washington State Patrol databases.

In May, Oregon authorities believe Wilson raped a young woman at gunpoint in Biggs Junction, Ore., said Frank Rivera, a detective for Sherman County, Ore.

Park said Wilson's criminal acts evolved as the weeks went by since his release from prison.

"I understand desperate people do desperate things," Park said. "I'm sure that was his problem, but I don't know how he became that way."

Police in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah are teaming together to track Wilson's whereabouts in the weeks prior to the Grantsville and Mountain Home shootings. Park said they have a receipt that places Wilson in Elko, Nev., sometime between the Idaho and Utah shootings.

The motive of Wilson's crimes also evolved. Police in Utah say the shootings were motivated by money, but Idaho officials believe the slaying of 17-year-old Garcia was a random act.

"At the onset, it looks like a random thing that could have happened in any community," Layher said. "We're never going to really know."

Garcia's family is relieved to finally have some closure, said Mike Barclay, a detective with the Elmore County Sheriff's Office.

"I'm just glad it's done," said JoAnn Henrick, one of the girl's aunts.

Meanwhile, Jensen said she can't comprehend why the public wasn't warned that such a dangerous criminal was on a rampage across the West.

"There is no rhyme or reason to what happened," Jensen told the Deseret Morning News. "There is just a strange breed of people on the road now. Everyone is angry."


Contributing: Idaho Statesman.

E-mail: ldethman@desnews.com