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Man Initially Sentenced To Death For Murdering Wife, Stepdaughters Found Dead In Prison Shower

Dayva Cross pleaded guilty in the 1999 murders of his wife and two teen stepdaughters and was sent to death row before his sentence was converted to life in prison after Washington outlawed the state's death penalty.

By Chambolion Fairley
Davya M Cross Pd

An inmate was once on death row for the murders of his wife and two stepdaughters was found dead in a shower at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla Sunday, according to the Washington Department of Corrections. 

Staff attempted life-saving measures on Dayva Cross, 62, when he was discovered in one of the close custody units, according to the department’s press release.

Corrections said that the facility is under restricted access and the death is currently under investigation by police.  

The Walla Walla County Coroner’s office confirmed Sunday that the death was a homicide, according to The Seattle Times.

According to state Supreme Court documents obtained by Law&Crime, Cross had an argument with his wife, Anouchka Baldwin, when he stabbed her — along with her 18-year-old daughter — to death in 1999.

Cross then made his way to the bedroom of Baldwin’s two other daughters who attempted to keep him out. Cross was able to force the door off its hinges and enter, killing the 15-year-old girl. He kept the youngest daughter, 13, at knife-point for several hours while he watched TV and drank wine, according to the court documents. Cross was arrested after Baldwin’s daughter escaped and called the police.

Cross initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but against his counsels' advice, he withdrew this plea and entered an Alford plea in which he specifically denied that the three murders had been premeditated. 

A jury sentenced Cross to death in 2001, but that sentence was converted to life in prison after Washington State outlawed the death penalty in 2018.