A Northern California jury found the career criminal that authorities believe is the Gypsy Hill Killer, Rodney Halbower, guilty in the slaying of two teens. San Mateo County jurors started deliberating late Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, after eight days of testimony in Redwood City, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of San Francisco. Photo: San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office
The man prosecutors have called the Gypsy Hill Killer angered victims’ family members Wednesday when he demanded a mistrial, but there was no swaying the San Mateo County judge who sentenced him to two life sentences for the rape and murder of two teenage Peninsula women in 1976.
Rodney Halbower, 70, was convicted last month after DNA entered into a national database four years ago matched with semen found on the bodies of both Veronica “Ronnie” Cascio, 18, and Paula Baxter, 17. Halbower was charged in 2015 with murdering the two teens.
Sarah Ravani of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper reported that on Wednesday, Judge Mark Forcum denied Halbower’s request to address the Redwood City court, causing an outburst from the gallery.
Ronnie’s mother, Mary Ann Cascio, told Halbower to “shut your damn mouth” and the victim’s brother advised the killer to take his punishment “like a man,” said Sean Gallagher, a San Mateo County prosecutor.
The drama in court Wednesday wasn’t unusual for the convicted killer. On his first day of trial in September, Halbower interrupted Gallagher’s opening statements and said, “I am not guilty of all these charges.”
Despite demands from the judge to stay quiet, Halbower peppered the day’s proceedings with laughter, indignation and denial. He refrained from interrupting after Forcum threatened to remove him from the courtroom.
Rodney Halbower, seen in this 1976 booking shot, has been linked to a string of killings in the Bay Area in that year. Halbower, 66, is currently an inmate at the Oregon State Penitentiary.