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Crime News Breaking News

Portland Serial Killer Dies After 21 Years In Prison

Sebastian Shaw, 53, was convicted for the murders of Donna Ferguson, 18, Todd Rudiger, 29, and Jay Rickbeil, 40, in the 1990s. An autopsy is pending.


By Dorian Geiger
Sebastian Shaw Pd

An Oregon serial killer, who was responsible for a trio of slaying in the 1990s, has died in prison after more than two decades behind bars, according to reports.

Sebastian Shaw, 53, who was suspected to have possibly been involved as many as a dozen other slayings, died at Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem on Oct. 3, corrections officials confirmed with Oxygen.com on Tuesday.

A cause or manner of death hasn’t yet been released. An autopsy is pending, officials said.

"DOC takes all in-custody deaths seriously," the Oregon Department of Corrections said in a statement. "As with all in-custody deaths, the Oregon State Police have been notified, and the State Medical Examiner will determine cause of death."

In 1992, Shaw murdered Donna Ferguson, 18, and Todd Rudiger, 29, however, it took six years for authorities to link him to the crime using DNA evidence.

He was arrested in 1994 on burglary charges after police found him sleeping in a stolen green 1978 Pontiac Bonneville, but was released, despite police finding a “murder kit” and stolen weapons in his vehicle, according to KDRV. The kit contained a ski mask, duct tape, binoculars, handcuffs, and surgical gloves. Police also seized a pistol, two rifles, and a knife, according to the Mercury News.

Shaw was also ultimately convicted in the 1991 slaying of 40-year-old quadriplegic Jay Rickbeil, as well as the attempted murder of 18-year-old Amanda Carpova.

He was handed three separate life sentences. Shaw was incarcerated beginning in February 2000.

During his incarceration, Shaw allegedly admitted to a host of other killings — as many as a dozen — however, there was never enough physical evidence to tie him to those murders.

Shaw reportedly refused to divulge further details regarding the other killings unless prosecutors took the death penalty and additional litigation off the table. 

"He's a cold customer who won't tell you a thing," Larry Findling, a retired Portland police officer, told SFGate in 2006. "I hope the police in California have DNA on him because I don't think Shaw will talk."

He ultimately never revealed the victims’ identities, according to the Oregonian.

"He said he would confess if we guaranteed he wouldn't face the death penalty and we would transfer him to federal prison where he could smoke," Findling added. "There's no smoking in Oregon state prisons."

Authorities also suspect Shaw carried out the fatal 1994 stabbing of 14-year-old California teenager Jenny Lin in Alameda County. Lin was an eighth grade student at Canyon Hills Middle school at the time. The case, however, never proceeded to trial. Her death remains unsolved.

"We did not want to interfere with any prior criminal prosecutions," Alameda County Sheriff's Department Commander Greg Ahern told SFGate. "We would have preferred to wait, but we are ready to confirm that Shaw is the sole focus of the investigation."

A spokesperson for the Oregon State Police declined to comment on the open case when contacted by Oxygen.com on Tuesday.