Amber's Mom Talks to Gardner in Jail

By Tony Shin
|  Thursday, May 13, 2010  |  Updated 5:33 PM PDT
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Amber's Mom Confronts Gardner's Mom

North County Times

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Amber's Mom Meets John Gardner

For the first time, the mother of murdered teenager Amber Dubois sits down and talks with her daughter's killer in a special jail visit.

Amber's Mom Confronts Gardner's Mom

Amber Dubois' mom, wanting to talk to John Gardner face-to-face, confronts the mother of her daughter's killer outside the central jail.
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John Gardner answered every question posed to him by Amber Dubois' mother, Carrie McGonigle in a special jail visit.

McGonigle said she got a call early Wednesday from a sheriff's deputy at the San Diego County Central Jail. The deputy told McGonigle that Gardner, the man who confessed to killing her 14-year old daughter Amber, wanted to meet with her and that she had to be at the jail by 3 p.m. for a 3:30 visit.

When McGonigle arrived, three deputies escorted her to a visitation room.

Minutes later, Gardner, who has pleaded guilty to both Amber's murder as well as the slaying of Poway teen Chelsea King, walked in and sat down.

They talked by phone through a glass partition that separates visitors from inmates.

McGonigle said Gardner appeared to be very nervous, was shaking, and he rarely made eye contact.

McGonigle said she began asking Gardner questions about how he took Amber, who was last seen on her way to Escondido High School on Feb. 13, 2009. The teenager's mother said he spoke openly and answered every one of her questions during their 30-minute conversation.

On Tuesday, McGonigle got into a confrontation with Gardner's mother outside the jail. She asked Catherine Osborn to give up her visit with Gardner so that McGonigle could talk with him instead. Osborn refused, however, to give up her visitation with her son.

McGonigle isn't sure if that confrontation played a role in Gardner's request for a meeting.

McGonigle has said in the past that the meeting was very important to her because she wanted her questions answered before Gardner's sentencing on Friday in downtown San Diego.

She said she is satisfied with Gardner's answers.

At this point, Amber's father, Maurice Dubois, has chosen not to hear the details of his daughter's death.

In a dramatic turn in two high profile murder cases, Gardner pleaded guilty on April 16 to murdering both Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, ending weeks of speculation.

He pleaded guilty to kidnapping, raping and stabbing Amber one and a half hours after he met her. He also admitted dragging Chelsea to a remote area where he raped, strangled and buried her -- and pleaded guilty to attempting to rape another woman who was jogging in Rancho Bernardo Community Park last year.

In the plea deal, Gardner will avoid the death penalty and get two consecutive life terms without parole and a third life term with a minimum of 33 years. He relinquished his right to appeal.

McGonigle said she is now concentrating on her victim's impact statement for Gardner's sentencing scheduled to take place at 1:30 p.m. Friday.

Amber vanished in February 2009 and the investigation produced few solid leads until Chelsea disappeared Feb. 25 near the site where Amber went missing.

Gardner was arrested three days later and initially pleaded not guilty to murdering Chelsea.

Chelsea's body was discovered March 2 in a shallow lakeside grave after a massive search. Prosecutors say Gardner was linked to the crime by DNA found on Chelsea's clothing.

Amber Dubois' bones were discovered March 6 in a rugged, remote area north of San Diego. She vanished with a $200 check to purchase a lamb she was to raise for Future Farmers of America. The check was never cashed.

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