Cross formally sentenced to die for murders

SEATTLE - Dayva Cross had nothing to say about killing his wife and her two daughters when he was resentenced to death last Friday.

Given the opportunity to offer some explanation for his crimes, Cross simply said, "I think I would like to fire my attorneys right now," then made a circular motion with his finger, indicating he would like the proceedings wrapped up.

Moments earlier, Russell Seung, father and grandfather of Cross' victims, addressed Cross in King County Superior Court.

"You have committed the most hideous crimes imaginable," Seung said. "You have taken the lives of three beautiful and defenseless girls. You have ruined the lives of everyone involved.

"Your punishment will not be equal to the crimes you have committed," he said. "I pray daily that your soul never rests in peace."

Seung left the courtroom immediately after making his statement, looking directly at Cross as he walked past. Seung earlier wrote to Judge Joan DuBuque, asking that Cross be executed after two years of incarceration.

Cross appeared at times not to be concentrating on the hearing, as he leaned back in his wheelchair, closing his eyes, rolling his head and squirming.

Earlier this year, Cross, 41, pleaded guilty to using kitchen knives to murder his then-new wife, Anouchka Baldwin, 37, and two of her daughters, Amanda Baldwin, 15, and Salome Holly, 18, in their Snoqualmie home in March 1999. He maintained that his history of depression and other mental disorders caused him to snap and lose control.

A jury unanimously ruled in May that Cross should be executed for his crimes. But doubts regarding the sentencing arose after a juror admitted mistakenly seeing a television newscast showing Cross's unruly behavior in the courtroom. Two weeks ago, DuBuque ruled that the juror had learned nothing about the case that she hadn't already seen and heard from the jury box.

Defense attorney Mark Larranaga said he could not explain why Cross decided to remain silent about the murders last Friday. Senior Deputy Prosecutor Tim Bradshaw said the disturbing case had "elements of misogyny, bigotry, child killing and mass murder," and that Cross perhaps had decided against commenting because "there is not a lot you can say."

Cross was scheduled to be transported to the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. There, he will join about a dozen inmates now on death row. Cross will be placed in the highly secure Intensive Management Unit for one year. Depending on his behavior, he might be allowed to move to a less-restrictive unit while his appeals process runs its course. An appeal to the state Supreme Court is automatic in all capital cases.

Since the death penalty was reinstated in this state in 1977, three inmates have been executed, the most recent in 1998. Death-row inmates now face execution by lethal injection unless they choose the state's previous method of capital punishment, hanging.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 19
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.