December 17, 1996 in Nation/World

Man Gets Life For Killing Model

Compiled From Wire Services
 

A free-lance photographer sat unmoved Monday as a judge sentenced him to life without parole in the sex slaying of a former Los Angeles Raiders cheerleader.

“How can you sit there the way you do every day? Doesn’t this bother you to keep this inside of you?” said Elaine Sobek, crying as she clutched a photograph of her daughter, Linda.

“Linda Sobek experienced a death of unspeakable horror and brutality,” Judge Donald Pitts said. “The physical torture and emotional torture she experienced prior to her death demonstrates the monster within Charles Rathbun.”

Rathbun, 39, was convicted of murdering and sodomizing the 27-year-old model, who vanished in November 1995 after Rathbun hired her to pose in the desert in front of a sport utility vehicle.

Nine days later, he led police to her grave in the Angeles National Forest.

The sentence was mandated by law because Rathbun committed the murder while engaged in a felony - anal rape with a foreign object.

Rathbun claimed they drank tequila and that she became enraged when he clipped her with the car while demonstrating high-speed turns. Rathbun, twice the size of the 107-pound woman, claimed that while trying to subdue her, he accidentally asphyxiated her by sitting on her back in the Lexus’ rear seat.


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