Lines on maps. So much in life is determined by lines on maps. In 2003, lines on a map allowed a man who had killed dozens to avoid being executed for his crimes. At the same time, the plea deal Ridgeway's attorneys were able to work out with King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng spared the families of Ridgeway's victims both the pain of an extended trial and the unending distress of not knowing the fate of their loved one with any degree of certainty. The result of the plea deal and the lines of King County on the map have kept Ridgeway alive (though he doesn't look so good).
Because Ridgeway's habit of picking up and frequently murdering prostitutes along the Sea-Tac strip just south of Seattle took place in King County, he has been able to plead guilty and avoid execution.
This week Ridgeway was in King County Court to plead guilty to his forty-ninth murder - that of Becky Marrero in 1982. He received the required life without parole sentence as set out in the plea agreement. As he told the court in his original trial, "I killed so many women, I have a hard time keeping them straight."
I know that it is not a small number of people who feel as I do, hoping that at some point police will be able to make a case against Ridgeway in a jurisdiction across the King County line.