Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
ESTRANGED HUSBAND CONVICTED OF 1983 MURDER OF HIS WIFE AFTER BEING LINKED THROUGH DNA
SANTA ANA – An estranged husband was convicted today of murdering his wife 27 years ago after being linked to the crime through DNA evidence. William Gregory Mordick, 64, Spokane, WA, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of murder. He faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing on Nov. 19, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-44, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On Jan. 22, 1983, Mordick drove to the Anaheim Hills home of his estranged wife, Katherine, with whom he had two daughters, ages 2 and 4 years old. The defendant was concerned that he was going to lose custody of his two daughters at a divorce court proceeding scheduled for six days later.
After arriving at the home, Mordick put the two children in his car and went back inside the house. He murdered 29-year-old Katherine by slashing her throat. He left her body on the dining room floor and fled the scene. The victim was discovered the following day by her brother and boyfriend, who went to check on her after becoming concerned when she didn’t return phone calls.
The murder was investigated and evidence was collected, including a blood sample provided by Mordick. The defendant later moved to Spokane, WA, with his two young daughters.
The case went unsolved for two decades until the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office TracKRS (Task Force Review Aimed at Catching Killers, Rapists, and Sexual Offenders) Unit began re-investigating the murder. Mordick was linked to the crime through DNA from a blood smear at the crime scene using DNA technology that was not available in 1983.
Mordick was arrested 25 years after the murder on Feb. 6, 2008, at his Washington home. He was brought back to Orange County to face charges on Feb. 21, 2008. This was the second jury trial against Mordick, as the first jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict in this case on Nov. 9, 2009.
During the trial, the defendant denied committing the murder but admitted during cross examination by the OCDA that he had five prior physical altercations with the victim.
Assistant District Attorney Dan Wagner is prosecuting this case.