PORTLAND – Death row inmate Cesar Barone, who killed four Oregon women in the early 1990s, died Thursday afternoon at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem.
Barone, 49, died of natural causes in the infirmary, where he had been for several weeks, said Jeanine Hohn, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman.
“It was an expected death,” Hohn said.
Barone had been awaiting execution since 1995 for the murder of Martha Bryant, a nurse-midwife who was sexually assaulted and shot to death after her car was run off the road near Hillsboro, Ore.
He received the death penalty twice more, for the slayings of Chantee Woodman and Margaret Schmidt. Woodman was abducted in Portland, sexually assaulted and then shot in December 1992. Her body was found along U.S. 26 near Vernonia, Ore. Schmidt was sexually assaulted and strangled in her Hillsboro home in April 1991.
Barone also received an 89-year sentence for the death of Betty Williams, who died of a heart attack as Barone began sexually assaulting her at her Portland-area apartment in January 1993.
Barone’s criminal history started in the 1970s, in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Barone was sent to prison on juvenile burglary charges at age 17. Two weeks after he was released at age 19, someone raped and strangled a retired schoolteacher who lived across the street from Barone’s boyhood home. Barone was charged with the murder in the 1990s, but prosecutors dropped the charges while he was on death row.
At age 19, Barone also was charged with attacking his 70-year-old grandmother, Mattie Marino. She told investigators that Barone choked her, beat her with a rolling pin and robbed her of $10.
In January 2001, Barone was included with other inmates in an anti-death penalty ad from the Italian clothing maker Benetton. The 100-page supplement titled “We, On Death Row,” accompanied 300,000 copies of that month’s Talk magazine.
Barone, in an Associated Press article about the ad campaign, said he was disappointed with the photograph that appeared in the supplement, which he inspected through the glass at the penitentiary visiting room.
“That’s kind of shady,” he said of the darkened, blurry picture.