Monday, May 28, 2007

Wasted Lives: A Classmate on Death Row

John Famalaro, also known as the “Cold Storage Killer,” was a classmate of mine. We both attended St. Michael’s Prep, a very strict Catholic boarding school in the city of Silverado, Calif. In 1975, we were roommates and got to know each other fairly well. Although he was a strange and sometimes very arrogant guy, I never suspected for a moment that he would go on to commit one of the most heinous crimes in Orange County’s history.

Now he sits on death row in San Quentin, awaiting execution. Living in San Francisco, I drive by the prison often, and every time I do I think of John. I think about how he wasted his life and ruined so many others. I wonder how he must feel sitting in a cell waiting to be put to death.

With the California death penalty enforced the way it is today, Famalaro will most likely die of old age before being executed. I’ve heard from some of my fellow classmates that he has embraced his Catholicism and is trying to counsel other inmates. He has found God a little too late.

I am disgusted, yet also intrigued by John’s story. If I could speak to him, I would ask him so many things. What led him to commit this unspeakable crime? Why did he keep the body in a freezer for so long, taking it with him from Orange County to Arizona? Did he feel remorse after he committed the murder or was he just numb? And how does it feel to be living in a cage, knowing day after day that the State of California wants you dead? Sometimes I feel like I should write him a letter, thinking that I might feel better if I can get some answers. But, I never will and I know it.

Here is John Famalaro’s story:

On June 3, 1991, 23-year-old Denise Huber pulls over on the side of
the Corona Del Mar Freeway in Orange County, Calif. to mend a flat
tire. She disappears without a trace. Lt. Ron Smith with the
help of the Costa Mesa Police Department, along with family and friends, search desperately for the young Californian native as this disappearance is in stark contrast with her character. Yet, like so many missing persons cases, all leads run dry and the investigation into Denise Huber's disappearance goes cold.

In 1994, a local paint shop owner, Elaine Court, makes an
arrangement to purchase paint from Prescott, Arizona local John
Famalaro. Upon this visit, Court notices a Ryder Truck in the
driveway. Finding the truck to be mysterious, she contacts local
police and asks them to investigate. What begins as a routine
follow-up quickly turns into a case of homicide. Police converge
on the Famalaro home only to find that located in the back of the
truck is a freezer. Its contents...a body...later identified as
23-year-old Denise Huber.

Inside the house, detectives find more evidence the home had been
visited by murder. A box marked "X-Mas decorations" contains a
bloody hammer and nail puller. Guns and handcuffs are strewn
about the home. Inside a closet, detectives discover an LA
Sheriff's Patrol Shirt——all signs that Famalaro abducted Denise
by gaining her trust posing as a cop.

Detectives embark on a forensic mission to re-trace the footsteps
of a cold case killer. The first step in this journey is to
determine the manner in which Denise Huber died. Averaging
85-degree temperatures, Maricopa County rarely deals with frozen
bodies. They resort to an old fashion technique. A hairdryer is
used to successfully thaw the frozen corpse, taking special care
not to destroy the fingerprints.

Forensic anthropologist Laura Fulginetti reconstructs Huber's
skull to find that she was bludgeoned to death with both the
hammer and a crowbar found in Famalaro's home. Detectives also use
luminol, a chemical spray that makes body fluids glow, to
determine exactly where the scene of the crime took place.

In 1997, the trial against John Famalaro begins. Famalaro pleads
not guilty...but remains silent in his convictions of innocence.
After deliberating for less than three hours, Famalaro is convicted
of first-degree murder with a death penalty sentence. He
currently sits on death row at San Quentin Prison in California.


Scott Peterson said...

John's in the cell next to me. He is arrogant.

Anonymous said...

Yuck - john killed my friend and scott you are no good either

Anonymous said...

John's mother should be in the cell next to him.

Anonymous said...

John is a piece of shit who killed my friend . Cant wait till he visits hell where he belongs

Anonymous said...

I had a brother that was murdered 37 years ago and now is finally going to trial. It was a brutal murder and very hard to put behind our family. You can hate forever, but it does not good for your soul. We are called to forgive, however it is very hard to do it. I pray that the Huber family will one day have peace, as I also pray that for my own family

Anonymous said...

I have just read the story of Denise Huber and feel deeply saddened and shocked at what happened to such a beautiful young woman. She should have been a wife and Mother herself today enjoying her life. My thoughts and prayers are with her long suffering parents, Dennis and Ione Huber.

Famalaro will die in Prison and will go to hell, which is too good for him.

Buckaroo said...

Nice sentiment coming from you "Christians" who hope he burns in hell. Well, he won't. He has repented and God has forgiven him. Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins. None of us "deserve" to go to heaven. We all need forgiveness through Christ's sacrifice. God forgave Moses and King David and the apostle Paul who were all murderers, and so He has forgiven John Famalaro. I only wish that this would bring Denise back to her family. I feel deep sorrow for them. I certainly agree with the poster who said that his mother belongs in the cell next to him. She set him on the path to destruction from the time he was a tiny boy, and unfortunately Denise Huber paid for that.

Buckaroo said...

And Scott Peterson is not in the cell next to him.

Buckaroo said...

Ed: There were two comments left on this article on a different place on the internet by "T.G." and "sidvicious". They are making untrue statements about Famalaro planning the crime out carefully in advance - and in support of this they state that "he was wearing a police uniform and pulled her over", etc., and one of them even stated that his having the freezer was evidence of premeditation. This is a ridiculous statement, since the freezer wasn't purchased until days AFTER the murder. None of this is true. The DA never alleged that he was wearing a police uniform or posing as a policeman, OR that a freezer was purchased in advance. The DA never presented ANY evidence that this was premeditated, because it wasn't. I wish the yahoos would at least look up the court records before they open their mouths. I wanted to respond on that other site, but it won't let me. (I had posted over there about 2 years ago, BEFORE these two made these comments. I just want YOU to know that the garbage they are spewing
is untrue. Thanks for listening.

Buckaroo said...

I want to add that in the article, you refer to a law enforcement uniform being found in Mr. Famalaro's home. He had been in training to join the LA County Sheriff's department until an injury forced him to drop out. That is where the uniform came from. It is well documented in the court records that on the night in question he was wearing a "Lake Wobegon" sweatshirt. This idea that he posed as a cop to pull her over is a myth floating around, and nothing more. I do not speak for Mr. Famalaro, but I have an exhaustive knowledge of the case. Everything that I have posted can be verified through the public record.

Anonymous said...

He rammed that pussy hard and deep

But that good pussy he wanted to keep

How can I keep her fresh with ease?

I know -- I'll put her in the deep freeze!

Then, when I need some, I'll thaw her out

And stick my ding-dong in her mouth

Ride her pussy and then her asshole

Then back in the freezer she will go.

To come out for another day

With my thawed out pussy I will play

No one can see what I am doing

When this dead girl I am screwing

And when I squirt I scream with joy

I really love my thawed out toy.

She can deep throat like no other hag

Because she can no longer GAG

Anonymous said...

u know that rhyme u just wrote picking on denise aint funny u fucking prick i hope somebody cut your throat and fucks u while u r dead u are son of a bitch i hope u go to hell with john

lauren said...

how the FUCK could anybody ever make up a "poem' like the one above?! that physically made me fucking sick and bawl my eyes out. i feel so sorry and sad for what happened to denise and her family... what if a family member of denises came on this site and read that comment? how do you think that comment would make them feel? how the hell would you feel if a family member of yours was murdered in this way and somebody made a joke about it like you did? SO SICK! Im sorry for the language, but i am beyond disgusted at that sick disturbing 'poem' somebody made as a comment. this is beyond horrible what happened to this poor girl, and the fact that you can come on here and make a joke about her death? you're a sick bastard that deserves to be in the cell along with her killer, you're just as guilty as her real killer is in my mind, if you're that sick and heartless enough to come up with a long thought-out joke about somebodys death like that-what is stopping you from actually doing it then?

rip to denise<3

Anonymous said...

You are a piece of shit beyond belief! How could you post something like this about Denise. And John WILL NOT BE FORGIVEN. AND HE WILL NOT GO TO HEAVEN. And Guess what YOUR NOT GOING TO GO EITHER UGLY BRAINLESS WOTHLESS MEANINGLESS WICKED BUTTHEAD!

Manfred said...

February 2, 2011. Just finished watching the program, "Unusual Suspects" about the murder of Denise Huber . My heart goes out to the Huber family. May you find peice in your hearts some day.
I am not one to judge people, but John Famalaro, You are one sick SOB. The fact that you are on death row is overwelming. But the laws of California that keep you alive in prison feeding on tax payers money while Denise lays dead in her grave, makes me sick.
As for the poet that wrote that sick gut-wrenching poem, that keeps his name anonymous, is probably in a jail somewhere awaiting his day in hell as well. In HELL as WELL...get it!!!
As for the future murderers,,,turn to God now, instead of trying to do so in prison. Everybody has a loved one, a mother, a father, brother and sister. Losing a member of the family is hard on everyone involved. Take action before it's too late.

Anonymous said...

I am Denise Huber's second cousin. I really find it disgusting and horrifying that someone would write something like that about her! What the fuck is wrong with you?! I never got a chance to meet her,but she was an absolutely incredible woman who loved by everyone who knew her.Whoever wrote that and decided this was the proper place to post that is seriously fucked up. I came to this website to leave a comment about how John is appealing his case tomorrow to the California Supreme Court. After reading that, I am physically ill. The author of that hideous poem has no idea the pain and heartache that her family still feels. What a horrid thing to write about anyone, but to leave it on a blog that clearly is meant to share stories from someones life and turning it into an extremely inappropriate outlet of vulgarity, is so disgusting. I can only hope that no one in my family ever reads that shit.

markm said...


Anonymous said...

Well said marc m

Buckaroo said...

I haven't been here in a while, and whoever wrote that poem is obviously sick in the head. Absolutely disgusting and insensitive. I will pray for his soul.