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The one that got away!

You may have been following the story of rapist/murderer John Gardner and how he recently pleaded guilty in order to avoid the death sentence.  He raped and murdered two young girls.  There may be more victims that we will never know about, but there is one woman, Candice Moncayo, who was attacked by Gardner who lived to tell about it.  Her interview on Larry King Live is posted here: and an edited version here:

Did she act in a way that the other two girls didn’t?  We may never know unless Gardner chooses to tell us.  He did plead guilty to attacking, raping and murdering Chelsea King and Amber Dubois.  His statements, which lead to his guilty plea, are below.  He also pleaded guilty to the attack on Candice Moncayo, but whether or not they attempted to fight back as Moncayo did is not known at this time. Keep in mind that this was a big guy 6′ 2″ tall and weighs 230 pounds.  Lets leave that alone for now and focus on what did work for Mancayo.

1) She did notice him prior to the attack because he was not wearing workout clothes.  What happened next is what happens all to often in these cases, she assumed he was a local resident just going for a walk and continued down the path towards him.  Just as she was passing him he tackled her and threw her to the side of the trail.

2) She started screaming at the top of her lungs.  He was using both hands to pin her down so he couldn’t muffle her screams and she did the right thing and started screaming and continued to scream thinking someone would come by and help her.  She had passed a number of people out running that morning and assumed more would be out on the trail.

3) He told her to stop screaming, and again she did the right thing, and said “NO!”  He threatened to kill her but she didn’t stop.

4) When he started to shake her, possibly out of frustration and anger with her not following his orders, she took advantage of the opportunity and threw an elbow at his face striking him in the nose, allowing her to get to her feet and she took off running.

5) She ran to a house for help.  She didn’t know the people, but they were kind enough to help her out.  She called the police immediately and reported what had happened.

6) She believes she wasn’t raped and possibly killed because she fought back.  Being the daughter of a 5-time world kickboxing champion and spending most of her life in martial arts didn’t hurt her any either.  Training in martial arts is no guarantee that you will do what she did, but she felt that there was a level of awareness, which she had developed, that helped her.

Had she not reacted the way she did one would assume she would have ended up like his other victims.  What should we take away from this episode?  Honor that little voice inside you that is telling you something isn’t right and act on it!

If you found yourself in a similar situation which was potentially life threatening, what would you do?  Would you be able to scream as she did even though he threatened her life if she didn’t stop? Would you fight back?  In hindsight we might have suggested that when running alone in this somewhat secluded area that you take a small can of pepper spray along with you.  If not pepper spray, a pen can be a good weapon to use on an attackers soft tissue such as the eyes, face, neck, or groin.

Make sure to check out the links and listen to her interview with Larry King.

John Gardner’s statements:

As to Count One, I admit that on February 25, 2010, I attacked Chelsea King while she was running. I dragged her to a remote area where I raped and strangled her. I then buried her in a shallow grave. I admit that this killing was done with premeditation and deliberation. I further admit that this murder occurred during the course of a rape, within the meaning of Penal Code Section 109.2(a)(17). This murder took place within an hour of my initial contact with Chelsea King.

As to Count Two, I admit that on December 27, 2009, I attacked Candice Moncayo while she was running and unlawfully assaulted her with the intent to rape her.

As to Count Three, I admit that on February 13, 2009, I took Amber Dubois to a remote area of Pala where I raped and stabbed her. I then buried her in a shallow grave. I admit that this killing was done with premeditation and deliberation. I further admit that this murder occurred during the course of a rape, within the meaning of Penal Code section 109.2(a)(17).

This murder took place within an hour and a half of my initial contact with Amber Dubois.

(signed) John Gardner

Ed Kress
For over 40 years Ed Kress has been an instructor and student at the Degerberg Academy of Martial Arts, named "Best Overall Martial Arts School” worldwide by Black Belt Magazine. Master Fred Degerberg awarded Ed his 7th degree Black Belt in 2015. Growing up on Chicago’s Southside, Ed learned early in life to pay attention to his surroundings in order to avoid potentially dangerous people and situations. With the help of local law enforcement officers and directors of campus security, Ed developed a program focused on personal safety on the streets, and as it relates to the high school and college experience. Ed has trained thousands of adult men and women as well as high school and college students to improve their personal and situational awareness and, when necessary, how to physically defend themselves using their brains and a wide variety of martial arts techniques.

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