For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR RAPING, TORTURING, STABBING, AND MURDERING 84-YEAR-OLD WIDOW AFTER BREAKING INTO HER HOME
SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced to death today for murdering an 84-year-old woman after breaking into her home and raping, torturing, and stabbing her before stealing her car. Anthony Darnell Wade, 29, Los Angeles, was found guilty by a jury Sept. 6, 2013, of one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of rape, robbery, burglary, and murder with torture, and one felony count each of elder abuse, first degree robbery, first degree residential burglary, torture, forcible rape, and the unlawful taking of a vehicle. The sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon and causing great bodily injury to an elder were found true. The jury recommended the death penalty on Oct. 7, 2013.
Circumstances of the Case
At approximately 12:00 a.m. on Jan. 10, 2010, Wade walked through an Anaheim neighborhood on Paradise Road and looked through windows with the intention of finding a vulnerable victim from whom he could steal a car. The defendant broke into the home of 84-year-old widow Bessie Whyman through a broken window.
Wade raped Whyman, tied her up by her hands and feet, and then punched and kicked the victim. He tortured and murdered her by repeatedly stabbing her with a kitchen knife and a saw. Wade then threw a blanket and other household items on top of the victim’s body and left her in the living room. He ransacked the victim’s home and stole her purse and car before fleeing the scene and driving to San Bernardino. While he drove to San Bernardino in the victim’s car, Wade celebrated by drinking a bottle of Champagne and smoking a cigar.
Once in San Bernardino, the defendant was found to be in possession of Whyman’s stolen credit cards at a Food 4 Less store. Wade got into a physical altercation with an employee and was subsequently detained by staff, who called the police. Police officers in San Bernardino determined that Whyman was from Anaheim and contacted the Anaheim Police Department (APD) for a welfare check of Whyman. At approximately 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2010, APD officers discovered the victim after entering Whyman’s home through an unlocked back door.
At the sentencing today, family members, friends, law enforcement, and neighbors delivered victim impact statements before the court. Michael Flinner, who was a close friend of the victim, spoke before the Court and said in part, “I will never forget her influence and the impact Bess made on my life. I miss her dearly. I loved Bess for all her good qualities and for being my friend.”
The victim’s daughter-in-law, Lori Laucik, said in part, “One of the hardest things for me to accept is that my daughter will never have memories of her grandma BeBe’s smile, watching her dance, hearing her play the piano and sing or feeling the love that BeBe had for her.”
Past and present neighbors of the victim submitted a victim impact statement addressing Wade, which said, “You did these things and no matter how difficult your life was as a young person, you didn’t have the right to take