Anthony Darnell Wade to Face Death Penalty in Brutal Rape, Torture, Murder of 84-Year-Old Widow

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Anthony Darnell Wade is accused of breaking into a sleeping Bessie Whyman's Paradise Road home in Anaheim on Jan. 10, 2010, and binding the 84-year-old widow's hands and feet, repeatedly punching and kicking her, brutally raping her, torturing her, and stabbing her numerous times with a kitchen knife to murder her. He is accused of then wrapping her body in a blanket, ransacking her home, taking her purse and stealing her car.

Today, the Orange County district attorney's office announced it will seek the death penalty against the 26-year-old Los Angeles man.

The Weekly first covered the horrific crime and Wade's capture here:


Wade, who was apprehended shortly after the gruesome crime scene was discovered, was indicted on April 22, 2010, on one felony count of special-circumstances murder. The special circumstances include murder in the commission of rape, robbery, burglary and murder with torture. He was also indicted on one felony count each of elder abuse, first-degree robbery, first-degree residential burglary, torture, forcible rape, the unlawful taking of a vehicle, and sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon and causing great bodily injury to an elder.

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Bessie Mae Whyman
While Wade was being held without bail, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas convened a special-circumstances committee to consider whether to impose the death penalty. Besides the DA, the panel consisted of the office's senior assistant, the assistant district attorney in charge of the Homicide Unit and other prosecutors experienced in capital cases.

They discussed, according to the OCDA, "the nature of the crime, the vulnerability of the victim, the defendant's criminal record and other factors. The committee also considers mitigating circumstances presented by the defense attorney." Though the panel considers all this, the final decision on whether to seek the ultimate penalty rests with the DA.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case, which has a motion hearing scheduled for April 1 in Santa Ana.
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