2 death sentences in Fairfax slayings
Friday, December 17, 2010
It was the holiday season of December 1988, and one of the last things Rachael Raver and Warren Fulton did on the last night of their lives was go to a Christmas party. Three days later, they were found in a vacant lot near Reston, shot to death.
In the Christmas season 22 years later, Alfredo R. Prieto was given two death sentences Thursday by a Fairfax County judge for shooting Fulton, 22, in the back while he was on his knees and then shooting Raver, 22, and raping her as she lay dying.
Prieto, 45, has now been convicted of three murders and is linked by DNA or ballistics to six more slayings, authorities say. He is already on death row in California for the 1990 rape and shooting of 15-year-old Yvette Woodruff.
Prieto did not make a statement when given the opportunity by Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Randy I. Bellows. Bellows then told Prieto: "What you did to those two young people was vile and horrible and beyond the pale. What I do today, in my view, is impose a just sentence."
As Prieto stood to be led out of the courtroom, Raver's mother, Veronica Raver, stood and said, "Hey, Prieto! Does your mother know you rape dying dead girls?"
Her family moved to quiet her, but Raver added disgustedly, "Twenty-two years of this crap."
Prieto did not respond. He also didn't blink when Bellows sentenced him.
Raver said afterward that she had rehearsed her brief comment and that it was not meant to be threatening, only an expression of her frustration and revulsion at the death of her daughter.
"He doesn't care. He's a sociopath," she said. "Have a merry Christmas, Prieto."
Raver, undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, traveled to Fairfax from her home in Yorktown, N.Y., multiple times for Prieto's three trials, beginning in 2007. She said she did not expect to be alive to see Prieto executed, but "I'll be there in spirit."
Prieto's first trial ended in a mistrial after the jury had convicted him but before sentencing. His second trial resulted in the death penalty, but the Virginia Supreme Court ordered a resentencing because of a flawed verdict form. The third trial was held from September to November and was solely to determine whether Prieto should live or die.
Four of the jurors returned to Courtroom 4G on Thursday. Rob Shapiro of Centreville said he came to show "empathy with the family, to show support. To let the [prosecution] team know how well they did. And for me, a little bit of closure, having struggled through such an experience."