Gang life in Sacramento is nothing new, yet we can't help but be captivated by crimes from the past, even as we are appalled by offenses in our present city.
Even if we have a sick fascination with them, we must remember that they were still dangerous criminals, and no one would have wanted to get caught up in their webs of violence, intimidation, fear, and murders.
So, here are 6 notorious criminals that used to prowl the streets of Sacramento:
1) Nikolay Soltys
Nikolay Soltys murdered his entire family.
In August of 2001, in North Highlands, the man who inspired Joseph Ferguson's murders. Murdered his wife, son, aunt, uncle, and two cousins.
Soltys was apprehended hiding in the backyard of his mother's Citrus Heights house after a 10-day search. Soltys was even placed on the FBI's Most Wanted List, with a $120,000 reward for his capture.
He faces seven charges of first-degree murder, including the murder of his wife's unborn child.
Before he could be convicted for the murders, Soltys died in his Sacramento County Jail cell in February 2002.
2) Eric Royce Leonard
The "Thrill Murderer," Eric Royce Leonard. In two robberies in Sacramento in 1991, Leonard murdered six people.
In February 1991, he fatally murdered three workers when robbing a Quik Stop convenience store, then robbed a Round Table Pizza six blocks away, murdering three employees a week later.
Authorities dubbed him the "Thrill Murderer" since the murders appeared to have no clear purpose. Both crime locations were close to Leonard's home.
For the six murders, he was condemned to death and is presently on death row.
3) Dorothea Puente
Dorothea Puente is regarded as one of Sacramento's most notorious serial criminals. She was an ordinary grandmother-like woman convicted in the 1980s of murdering residents at her downtown boarding house.
Puente poisoned the elderly, destitute, and crippled tenants with drugs, stole their money, and buried them on the F Street property. Seven corpses were recovered in her yard by police.
Her former lover was one of two remains discovered in the Sacramento River. Puente has stated that she did not kill the victims.
In 1993, she was found guilty of murder and died in jail in 2011 from natural causes.
4) Gerald Gallego
According to investigators, Gerald Gallego sexually assaulted and killed ten persons in Sacramento between 1978 and 1980; most were teens.
Gerald's wife, Charlene Gallego, was instrumental in luring young ladies into her husband's clutches. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, she took courses at Sacramento State before dating Gerald.
Gerald was given the death penalty, but he died in jail in 2002. Charlene Gallego consented to testify against her husband and plead guilty to murder.
As part of her plea deal, she was freed from jail in 1997. She now goes by the name Charlene Williams and claims that she did not murder any of the victims.
5) Richard Trenton Chase
Sacramento's Vampire, Richard Trenton Chase. According to the New York Daily News, Chase had a genuine hunger for death in the late 1970s.
Later, he murdered many Sacramento citizens, including children. Chase subsequently said that he targeted his victims because their doors were unlocked.
He was convicted of six charges of first-degree murder and condemned to death in 1979. Chase took anti-depressants and died in 1980 while awaiting death.
6) Lynette Fromme
Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme, a Charles Manson follower. In 1975, Fromme was found guilty of attempting to assassinate President Gerald Ford by pointing a handgun at him in Sacramento.
President Ford was on his way to the Capitol from his hotel on L Street, where he was set to meet with Governor Jerry Brown.
The gun never fired, and the would-be assassin was pulled to the ground by Secret Service and detained.
She was charged with the attempted assassination of a president and was sentenced to life imprisonment. She has served a total of 34 years to this day.
What do you think of these criminals? Do you think they deserve their sentence? Let me know in the comments below!