The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida on February 16, 1992 · Page 292
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The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida · Page 292

Orlando, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, February 16, 1992
Page 292
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t w upmian in , - I'rrflTrrilPMT I hi nr tit an mi i - FIOHIDA The Orlando Sentinel, Sunday, February 16, 1992 A-19 Family's grim story: Members dead at 15, 24, 27, 30, 33 ASSOCIATED PRESS FREMONT, Calif. A winter wind picked up loose dirt from the fresh grave of 15-year-old Franklin "Sonny" Santos. The soil swirled, then scattered on the nearby plots of his father, two uncles and an aunt. Each of their hearts had stopped, leaving broken ones behind and leaving a medical mystery as well. Like the family patriarch, buried in his Guam homeland, all died young and suddenly without warning and without a clear cause. Surviving family members fear they could soon lie here. They have mourned at Cedar Lawn Memorial Park too many times. "I know the grieving process well," said Annette Soares, who lost her son in November and her first husband, Franklin Santos Sr., in 1985. "I try not to be afraid. But the whole family is thinking, 'Who's next?' " Dr. L. Bing Liem, associate director of the cardiac arrhythmia unit at Stanford University Medical Center, tested one family member in 1985 and researched records of the dead relatives. But he has no clue to what is steadily killing the Santos family. "We found some enlarged cells and scarring around the heart in some of the au topsies but nothing really conclusive," he said. "And we can't find anything before they die. I've never seen anything like it." For now, family matriarch Donatila Santos Leonardo, who has lost a husband, four of seven children and a grandson to sudden death, looks toward God for hope and medical science for a miracle. "My daughter Nina says nobody can help us now," Leonardo said. "I say we have to have faith in God. Who am I to go against God's will? Maybe, one day, the doctors can help us. "But there are nights I can't sleep thinking about what causes this in people that are so full of life. You question yourself. Sometimes, when the phone rings, I just jump." The last time the telephone rang with bad news was Nov. 15, when Leonardo learned her grandson Sonny had died at his homecoming dance at Wilcox High School in Santa Clara. He collapsed while dancing. His grandfather, 34-year-old Francisco Martinez Santos, died in 1960, four days after a physical examination showed him in good health. Leonardo, who moved to America with her family more than two decades ago, said four of her first husband's brothers died of heart failure, two while in their 30s. Sonny's funeral was the family's fifth in 10 years: Doris Santos, 27, died while napping in 1981. Ronald Santos, 24, collapsed and died while playing softball in Sunnyvale in 1984. Franklin Santos, 33, died while watching television in his Sunnyvale home in 1985. Ralph Santos, 30, died at his San Jose home in 1987. "With all the deaths, we have been really drained financially and emotionally," said Nina Garrido, one of three surviving siblings. "At this point, we expect death, but it's still hard. "After my brother Frank died, I went in for tests. The doctor says I'm fine now, but he can't guarantee what's going to happen five minutes from now. It makes you live your life different. I appreciate every day I'm here." During two days of extensive testing at Stanford University, doctors tried to determine what might cause Garrido's heart to fail suddenly but were not successful. Garrido's children, Ann Marie and Brandon, do not plan to undergo similar extensive tests unless doctors find some leads. Soares' surviving son, 11-year-old Roque, has agreed to the tests, but he does not like to talk about the possibility of dying like his father and brother. "I try to talk to him about it. Sometimes he listens, but usually he wants to look away," Soares said. J iril 111!! I 1! V CS : :r f : m ...-rv:,! fr-trfh Ai Wa'AiaiMi.ii.ri it.i.-ii.i, i. Ik,, -11111 .I il'ii. i.i r . i in ill I imii-tJ ASSOCIATED PRESS Franklin 'Sonny' Santos' relatives view his body before a religious service. He was the fifth member of the Santos family to die at a young age in the last 1 0 years. 7, srr -w tvfm m -v? ri ' , - c ASSOCIATED PRESS Dahmer (center) prepares to leave the Milwaukee County courtroom after hearing the jury's decision in his insanity trial. Dahmer's defense lawyer: This was not an evil man' DAHMER from A-1 his life as he knows it's going to be," Boyle said. After the verdicts were read, Boyle was granted a 10-minute meeting with Dahmer and Dahmer's parents. The jury deliberated for nearly 10 hours. The unusual trial required that only 10 of the 12 jurors agree. The law also put the burden of proof on the defense to prove that Dahmer who admitted to boiling skulls, eating body parts and having sex with corpses was insane. To be found insane in Wisconsin, defendants must prove that they suffered from a mental disease and that the disease kept them from knowing right from wrong or made them unable to stop themselves from committing the crimes. Boyle insisted that Dahmer's craving for sex with the dead and his fear of loneliness drove him out of control and made him kill again and again. "This was not an evil man. This was a sick man whose sickness rose to the level of mental illness," Boyle said. McCann said just the opposite, claiming that Dahmer was in the grip of evil, not insanity, when he picked up young men for sex and then drugged and strangled them, in some cases first performing crude brain surgeries in the vain hope of creating zombies who would serve as his sexual slaves. "Mr. Dahmer knew at all times that what he was doing was wrong. This is not the case of a psychotic man," McCann said. Dahmer, 31, a former chocolate-factory worker, has admitted killing 17 people. He said the slayings began in June 1978, when he strangled a teen-age hitchhiker with a barbell. The slayings stopped on July 22, 1991, when a handcuffed man escaped from Dahmer's Milwaukee apartment and led police there. Dahmer still faces a murder charge in Ohio, where his first killing took place. Authorities said there was insufficient evidence to charge him with the second, which occurred at a Milwaukee hotel in September 1987. Dahmer preyed mostly on young gay men. Ten of his victims were black, and the discovery of his crimes created an uproar in Milwaukee's black community, whose leaders criticized police for failing to apprehend Dahmer earlier July 22, 1991: Dahmer is arrested after a man escapes from his apartment and flags down a police car. July 25: Dahmer is charged with four counts of first-degree intentional homicide after admitting he killed 17 young males. July 26: Three police officers are suspended after revelations that they were at Dahmer's apartment on May 27 and allowed a naked, drugged and intoxicated boy to remain with Dahmer. The boy later died. Aug. 1: The police chief releases police recordings showing the suspended officers joked about needing to be "deloused" after leaving the boy at Dahmer's apartment. ; .' : , Aug. 6: Eight more murder charges are filed against Dahmer. The mayor announces a commission to examine the Police Department. Aug. 22: Three more murder charges are filed, bringing the total to 15 in Wisconsin. Sept 6: The police chief fires Patrol Officers Joseph T. Ga-brish and John A. Balcerzak and effectively places the third suspended officer, Richard T. Por-ubcan, on a year's probation. Sept. 10: Dahmer pleads not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental . disease or defect to 15 murder counts, saying that if found guilty, he'll claim insanity. Sept. 24: Prosecutors in Ohio charge Dahmer in a 1978 killing after police find bone fragments at Dahmer's boyhood home. Jan. 13, 1992: Dahmer changes his plea to guilty but insane in the 1 5 Milwaukee County killings. Jan. 27: Jury selection begins for the insanity trial. Jan. 30: Opening arguments are made in the trial. Feb. 14: Closing arguments are made. The case goes to a jury. Feb. 15: Dahmer is found sane on all 15 counts, meaning he will receive a mandatory life sentence for each count. The choice of only one black juror for the trial drew further criticism. Dahmer likely will be confined at the Columbia Correctional Institution in south-central Wisconsin, where he will be housed alone in one of the prison's six high-observation cells. NOW THROUGH MARCH 14 Jockey 5 ALE. Save 25 on our entire stock Jockey tees, briefsand boxers. P. m fto S ;? 1 -. -- - jb-w: - i ) -. , . & ' i irnf nT"-HtnWirii-ri irfl'i -fJ--rYi'i,-'ftiT,fi' W7. 313.50 5.25 Reg. 3$18. 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