Serial killer Phillip Jablonski dies on California death row
His five victims included two wives
By Don Thompson
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A serial killer whose five victims included two wives has died on California's death row, authorities said Monday.
Phillip Carl Jablonski, 73, was found unresponsive in his San Quentin State Prison cell on Friday and pronounced dead within minutes. His cause of death is awaiting an autopsy, but he had been assigned a single cell, said corrections department spokeswoman Terri Hardy.
A San Mateo County jury sentenced him to death in 1994 for the first-degree murders of his wife, Carol Spadoni, 46, and her mother, Eva Petersen, 72.
Spadoni had married him while he was in prison for murdering a previous wife in 1978.
It was the latest in what court records say was a long history of violence against multiple women, dating to his trying to kill his first wife in the 1960s. At the time he was an Army sergeant who had served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War before he was discharged in 1969 for a “schizophrenic illness.”
He pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder, assault and attempted rape of his second wife, Melinda Kimball, in 1978.
He was paroled for good behavior in 1990, despite having tried to strangle his mother with a shoelace during a prison visit in 1985.
Authorities said they recovered a cassette tape in which he then described fatally shooting, stabbing and mutilating Spadoni and her mother, and raping her mother after she was dead.
He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but a jury found he was sane at the time.
Jablonski was also implicated in the deaths of two other women that same year, Fathyma Vann of Indio, California, and Margie Rogers of Thompson Springs, Utah.
Vann was attending the same community college as Jablonski at the time. Rogers and her husband co-owned a store along Interstate 70 where she was found dead.