Denise Redlick denied parole

By Staff

An inmate serving 25 years to life in prison for the murder of his former fiancee in 1985 was denied parole Monday at California State Prison in Solano County, San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Craig Anderson, 51, who was born into a wealthy San Carlos family that owned a San Francisco paint company, was convicted by a jury in 1986 for the murder of Denise Redlick, of San Bruno.

Anderson and Redlick had been engaged, but Redlick reportedly decided to end the relationship after Anderson began displaying angry and threatening behavior toward her, according to Wagstaffe, who helped prosecute the trial along with Carl Holm, now a San Mateo County Superior Court judge.

Redlick disappeared on Nov. 11, 1985, after she had lunch with a female friend in Burlingame. She was never seen alive again.

The trial was conducted based on circumstantial evidence. The prosecution argued that Anderson, angry at Redlick's refusal to marry him, rented a van to follow her unnoticed, then confronted her outside the Burlingame restaurant and dragged her into the van, where she was killed.

Defense attorneys claimed at the time that prosecutors had not even been able to prove that Redlick had died, according to Wagstaffe.

There were no DNA tests at the time, but a criminalist tested blood found in the van and found it was the same blood type as Redlick's, and not Anderson's. Anderson had claimed during the trial that he had cut himself on the hand, Wagstaffe said.

After four weeks, the jury found Anderson guilty of first-degree murder, but not guilty of kidnapping, and a special circumstance allegation of murder during kidnapping was found to be not true.

Redlick's body was not discovered until a hiker came across it about a year later, dumped among some heavy brush in the Santa Clara County hills above Los Altos, according to Wagstaffe.

Because of her body's advanced decomposition, investigators were never able to determine Redlick's exact cause of death, though prosecutors believe she had been either beaten or strangled, Wagstaffe said.

At his first parole hearing in 2001, according to Wagstaffe, Anderson admitted "for the first time ever" that he had killed Redlick, claiming that in his anger that day in Burlingame, he had thrown her up against the van and she became unconscious. When he saw she wasn't breathing, he claimed he panicked and dumped her body, adding that he regretted not taking her to the hospital, Wagstaffe said.

"A complete and utter lie," and inconsistent with the jury's verdict that he planned to kill her, Wagstaffe said.

At an approximately three-hour parole hearing on Monday, Anderson refused to answer questions about the murder or prior incidents of violence against women on his part, according to Wagstaffe. Anderson did answer questions about his rehabilitation in prison and said that if paroled, he planned to live with his parents.

Redlick's parents, brother and sister-in-law also spoke at the hearing and requested Anderson not be paroled, Wagstaffe said.

According to Wagstaffe, Commissioner Linda Shelton in her denial of parole criticized Anderson for, after killing Redlick, causing her family even more suffering by not disclosing the whereabouts of her body.

After Redlick's disappearance, Anderson had helped those searching for Redlick and had comforted people at Redlick's family home, "knowing that he was the one that killed her and dumped her body," Wagstaffe said.

Anderson's next parole hearing is scheduled in four years.

Copyright ©2007 Bay City News. Published 05/01/2007.