Assisting in Murder

Assisting in Murder


Grantham University

Assisting in Murder

A husband and wife serial killer team, Gerald and Charlene Gallego were active from 1978 to 1980 in the western United States. Gerald was fantasized with having sex slaves. So, in 1978, he and Charlene went to the mall in Sacramento where she lured two young girls, Ronda Scheffler 17-year-old and Kippi Vaught 16-year-old, into the back of the van with promises of smoking pot. Their bodies were later found badly beaten, sexually abused, and both had been shot in the head. Over the years Charlene began to involve herself in the rape of the girls they abducted. They killed at least nine women, one being pregnant, and one man, Craig Miller (Christensen, et, al.). On June 24, 1979, they kidnapped two more girls in Reno, Nevada from a fairground, Brenda Judd 15-year-old, and Sandra Kaye Colley 14-year-old. Their bodies were not recovered. On April 24, 1980, two girls disappeared from a Sacramento shopping mall, Karen Chipman-Twiggs, and Stacy Ann Redican both 17-year-old. Their bodies were later found in July by some people picnicking in shallow graves. They had been beaten with a blunt metal object and sexually abused. Linda Teresa Aguilar aged 21-year-old who was expecting her first child was abducted on June 6, 1980, while hitchhiking. She was found in a shallow grave, her head had been crushed with a metal object, and she was buried alive. Virginia Mochel a 34-year-old mother of two was abducted from the parking lot of the bar where she worked as a waitress. Her body was found three months later outside of Sacramento. On November 1, 1980, a couple was abducted from a parking lot, Mary Beth Sowers aged 21-year-old and her fiancé, Craig Raymond Miller 22-year-old. Gerald shot Craig in the back of the head three times, then took Mary Beth back to his apartment and raped her. Then, the next morning he took her out and shot her three times in the head. Because of the couple friend, Andy, who witnessed the abduction, memorized the license plate of the vehicle and reported it to law enforcement officers (O`Reilly, 2017).

Charlene and Gerald were arrested at Omaha Western Union office when Charlene’s parents reported to the FBI that she was sending money to her daughter. In 1984, Charlene testified against Gerald in exchange for not to be tried in California. She pleaded guilty to murder and received a sentence a little over 16 years in prison. Gerald represented himself at trial but did not cross-exam certain witnesses, but cross-exam Charlene for six hours trying to punch holes in her testimony. However, he was convicted of murder in both California and Nevada and received the death penalty. But, the death penalty in Nevada was overturned in 1997 and the court ordered a retrial of the penalty phase. In a competency hearing to ensure that Gerald can face a retrial, Dr. David Foster, a psychiatrist for the defense, testified that Gerald had post-traumatic stress disorder from an abusive upbringing and was suffering from brain damage that occurred when he was a child (O`Reilly, 2017).

A person acquiesces and agrees to assist in murdering victims by the influence of others. The FBI concluded that female who takes part in killing did so because of “Straightforward male coercion.” They also concluded that female who took part in the killings was from the result of compliance, fear, or stupidity (Hickey, 2016, p. 286). I believe that coercion and intimidation are the two main reason why some women agree to assist their husband or friends in murdering victims. They fear that if they do not go along with the leader, they will receive the same punishment as their victims. In the case of Charlene, who said that Gerald was abusive toward her and would beat her when she did not do what was asked. Some offenders, both male, and female would not have gotten involved in murder if they had not been exposed to group dynamics and the power of persuasion. For some of the followers, killing first became acceptable and then desirable. Others continued to kill because of their relationship with who holds the reins of leadership. For example, Charles Manson had an eager group, and all he had to do was give direction. Once you win their trust and you have them in your control they will do anything you ask. (Hickey, 2016, p. 290). Therefore, there is a criminological theory that explains this behavior, the Social Learning Theory (Albert Bandura) which posits that learning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur purely through observation or direct instructions (Psychology Today, 2019). This theory explains why Charlene assisted her husband in murdering their victims because she was intimidated and coercive into helping him, if not he would beat her. So, when he gave her direct instructions on what to do she did what he asked which included luring the young girls to the van, driving the van to where he instructed, and even setting in the other room while Gerald raped the girls and then killing them. She also helped to dispose of the objects used to kill the victims.


Christensen, J., Cobb, C., Critz, N., & Miles, C. (n.d.). Gerald Armond Gallego. Retrieved from,

Hickey, E. W. (2016). Serial murderers and their victim, 7th Edition. Cengage Learning: Boston, MA.

O`Reilly, D. (August 27, 2017). Married couple raped and murdered innocent young women for kicks. Retrieved from,

Psychology Today (n.d.). Social Learning Theory: What is Social Learning Theory? Retrieved from,