Are Psychiatric Drugs Helping to Create Serial Killers?

John Albert Gardner

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John Albert Gardner III
John Albert Gardner III.jpg
Born April 9, 1979 (age 39)
Culver CityCaliforniaU.S.
Nationality American
Criminal charge 2 counts of first-degree murderassault with the intent to rape
Criminal penalty Two life sentences without possibility of parole, one term of 25 years to life, and an additional 24 years’ imprisonment
Criminal status Sentenced May 14, 2010

John Albert Gardner III (born April 9, 1979) is an American convicted double murderer and sex offender.[1] He confessed to the February 2009 rape and murder of 14-year-old Amber Dubois from Escondido, California,[2][3][4] and the February 2010 rape and murder of 17-year-old Chelsea King from Poway, California, after he entered a plea agreement that spared him from the death penalty. Additionally, Gardner attempted to rape Candice Moncayo of San Diego County, and had been previously incarcerated for the molestation of a 13-year-old girl.[5]

Early life[edit]

Gardner was born in Culver City, California. His parents divorced and Gardner frequently relocated around Southern California as a child (including Palmdale, California) and lived in Running Springs, California as a teenager.[6]

His mother Cathy Osborn was a psychiatric nurse and Gardner was put on psychiatric medication starting at age 6. He was held in a psychiatric hospital for 60 days at age 10 (in 1989).[7]

As a student, Gardner was labeled “seriously emotionally disturbed.”[8]

He graduated from Rim of the World High School in Lake Arrowhead, California in 1997 with a 3.2 grade point average and IQ of 113.[9][10] He was also diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.[9]

He later said that his father was an alcoholic who beat him.[9]

While in high school, Gardner worked odd jobs including as a lifeguard at a resort in Lake Arrowhead. As a teenager, he was convicted of trespassing at a high school. After graduating from high school, Gardner moved to San Diego and worked at a Big 5 Sporting Goods store.[9]

Prior conviction[edit]

Gardner had been convicted in 2000 of molesting a 13-year-old female neighbor. He spent five years in prison and completed his parole in 2008,[11] although it was determined that he had violated the terms of his parole seven times,[12] including living too close to a school in 2007. Gardner was also investigated by his parole officer for possession of marijuana, though this incident was later dismissed.[13] Gardner was also being tracked by a GPSanklet up until four months before the murder of Amber Dubois. Gardner totalled 168 parole violations while wearing the anklet. According to GPS data, Gardner spent time in close proximity to several schools, in front of a daycare center, on prison grounds (where he was suspected of delivering contraband to a prisoner), and in remote locations where the remains of Amber Dubois would later be discovered.[14]


Gardner’s first murder victim was 14-year-old Amber Dubois, who disappeared in February 2009. Her skeletal remains were later recovered by police in March 2010, after the police had questioned Gardner about her murder. Gardner had been arrested on February 28, 2010, in the Del Dios district of Escondido, California, when his DNAmatched a DNA sample taken from the discarded clothing of Chelsea King, a senior from nearby Poway High School.[15] King had disappeared on February 25, 2010, while she was jogging in the early evening at the Rancho Bernardo Community Park, near Lake HodgesFBI divers found her body five days later (on March 2, 2010) buried in a shallow grave on the southeast corner of the lake’s inlet, where some of her clothes had been found.[16]

DNA evidence from King’s clothing, along with a December 2009 attempted attack on a female jogger who managed to fight him off, led Escondido and San Diego police to patrol the area for a man fitting Gardner’s description. He was arrested on February 28 at a bar and restaurant in Del Dios, at the western shore of Lake Hodges in Escondido. A witness has indicated that Gardner returned to the park subsequent to King’s disappearance.[17]

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