JARRATT, Va. — Alfredo Rolando Prieto, convicted of two murders in Fairfax County, one in California and linked by DNA and ballistics to six more, was executed by lethal injection Thursday night at the Greensville Correctional Center here.
Prieto, 49, was pronounced dead at 9:17 p.m. “I would like to say thanks to all my lawyers, all my supporters and all my family members,” Prieto said. “Get this over with.”
The short statement represented just about the only words Prieto has ever said publicly since he was caught 25 years ago. He never spoke to detectives investigating his crimes, did not testify during any of his four trials and never gave an interview. In one hearing in Fairfax in 2010, he told a judge that “I was using a lot of drugs. I was drinking” at the time of his Northern Virginia crimes in 1988.
Prieto’s death was witnessed by Deidre Raver of Yorktown, N.Y., the sister of Rachael A. Raver, who was 22 when she was shot in the back in a vacant lot near Reston. She had watched Prieto fatally shoot her boyfriend, Warren H. Fulton III, in the back while on his knees, law enforcement authorities have said. Investigators believe that Raver ran but that Prieto chased her down, shot her and raped her as she lay dying.
“Today ends a long and painful ordeal for my family,” Deidre Raver said, “that has haunted us for over 26 years. I speak on behalf of my sister, Rachael Angelica, who will have the last word after all. . . . Although we have moved on with our lives, there will always be that gap in our hearts knowing we could not be there to rescue our beloved sister or brother. . . . Today is about the victims having the last word and recognizing that we would never forget them or what happened.”
Fulton’s parents were unable to attend. Raver’s parents died in recent years.
It was the first execution in Virginia since January 2013 and the first by lethal injection since August 2011. Prieto’s attorneys tried a late appeal for a stay by challenging one of the three drugs used to execute him, which Virginia obtained from Texas in August. But earlier Thursday, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson denied the request for a postponement.
Prieto had spent the last quarter-century of his life behind bars. Prior to that, he did a two-year stint as a teenager for a drive-by shooting in California. And in between those two prison stays, police believe, he fatally shot four people — raping two of them — in Virginia, then returned to California and shot and killed five people, also raping two of them.
In seeking to persuade a Fairfax jury to impose a death sentence on him, Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh said in 2010, “Anyone who would commit crimes this dastardly, amoral and inhuman is someone who poses a threat to society.”
Morrogh was a witness to the execution, as was his chief deputy, Casey Lingan, and former Fairfax homicide detective Robert Murphy, who investigated the Raver and Fulton cases.
Prieto was one of six children born to Arnoldo and Teodora Prieto in San Martin, El Salvador. His traumatic upbringing in the war-torn country was the centerpiece of his defense at his three trials in Fairfax: two which argued that the experience left him mentally retarded and one which said the experience mitigated against giving him the death penalty.
Prietoimmigrated legally to California in 1981 at age 15 to live with his mother. After injuring three people in a drive-by shooting in Ontario, Calif., Prieto served two years in prison, then in 1987 moved to Arlington, where his father lived. It was there, in May 1988, that police think he abducted, raped and shot Tina Jefferson. The only evidence in the case was DNA in semen left behind.
Similarly, in December 1988, there was only DNA from semen that connected Prieto to the shooting deaths of Raver and Fulton. His attorneys argued that there was no proof of who fired the fatal shots in any of the cases. Prieto never testified to offer his version.
Police said they believe that Manuel F. Sermeno, 27, may have witnessed Prieto commit another uncertain crime and that Prieto shot him to death in September 1989. Prieto then set Sermeno’s car on fire along Interstate 95 near Triangle, law enforcement authorities said.
Soon after, Prieto moved back to Ontario, Calif., and a trail of tragedy ensued. In May 1990, 19-year-old Stacey Siegrist and 21-year-old Tony Gianuzzi were found shot to death in nearby Rubidoux, Calif, according to law enforcement officials. Again, only semen was left as evidence, according to court testimony.
Less than a month later, Lula and Herbert Farley were assaulted in broad daylight as they rummaged for cans near an Ontario shopping center, according to court papers. Horrified shoppers, including some children, saw a man shoot Lula Farley, 71, and drive away with Herbert Farley, 65, who was later found shot to death, according to police. Only a ballistics match with Prieto’s gun, many years later, solved that crime, although Riverside County, Calif., prosecutors decided not to charge Prieto because he had received death sentences elsewhere.
Finally, back in Ontario, Prieto and two other men abducted three women at gunpoint one night, drove them across the city and then to a vacant lot, where all three women were raped, according to the police. Prieto then shot one of them, 15-year-old Yvette Woodruff. The other women survived and identified their attackers, and Prieto was finally arrested in September 1990, convicted and sentenced to death there in 1992.
Stephanie Jette, a close friend of Woodruff’s, said “this whole community was messed up” by her slaying. “This little 98-pound waif never hurt anybody. She was always very well put together, and her giggle was infectious. The world lost something very special when she was taken away from us.”