A man convicted of murdering four elderly women and once suspected of killing up to 30 others was sentenced Friday to four consecutive terms of life in prison without parole.
"I've been in the criminal justice system for 40 years and I have not observed more vicious crimes," Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Clarence A. Stromwall said in imposing the sentence on Brandon Tholmer, 29.
Tholmer was convicted in July of four counts of first-degree murder with special circumstance allegations for the slayings of Dorothy Fain, 72, in August, 1983; Mary Pauquette, 72, in September, 1982; Woolloomooloo Woodcock, 66, in August, 1982, and Rose Lederman, 80, in August, 1981. The killings occurred in the East Hollywood and Silver Lake areas.
Tholmer faced two possible punishments--life in prison without parole or death in the San Quentin Prison gas chamber--but jurors at the penalty phase of his trial decided to spare his life and recommended the lengthy prison term.
Tholmer was once considered a suspect in the murders of as many as 34 elderly women, but was charged with only five of the slayings. At his trial, jurors deadlocked on a charge that he murdered a fifth elderly woman, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial on that count.