Psychiatrist labeled Gardner ‘a danger to community’
Chelsea King’s accused killer appeared to be attracted to young girls and manifested predatory traits that made him a danger to the community, a psychiatrist said in a 2000 probation report released Tuesday.
John Albert Gardner III, who is charged with the rape and murder of the 17-year-old Poway High School senior, pleaded guilty 10 years ago to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.
The attack occurred in his mother’s townhouse, which is located about a mile from Rancho Bernardo Community Park, where Chelsea disappeared Feb. 25 while jogging.
A probation report prepared a decado ago for Gardner’s sentencing in the decade-old case was released Tuesday, after Judge David Danielsen granted a request by the San Diego Union-Tribune and KGTV that it be unsealed and made available for public viewing.
Dr. Matthew Carroll, who interviewed the defendant for the 2000 report, said Gardner “completely denied” any attraction to young females. But after reviewing the original probation report and the District Attorney’s file, the psychiatrist concluded that Gardner was attracted to girls “significantly younger than he.”
Based upon the fact that Gardner beat his 13-year-old neighbor, Carroll concluded the defendant would be a continued danger to underage girls in the community, according to the probation report.
Carroll said the defendant’s “complete denial” of any culpability in the case, including having ever sexually touched any underage females, made it unlikely that he would be amenable to treatment. Carroll said there was no known treatment for a person who sexually assaults girls and does not admit to it.
“The defendant does not suffer from a psychotic disorder,” he wrote. ‘He is simply a bad guy who is inordinately interested in young girls. However, his predilection toward younger girls is a problem. He manifests significant predatory traits and is a danger to the community.”
Gardner told a probation officer that his parents divorced when he was about 5 years old. He said he suffered form Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and was treated with Ritalin and other drugs.
The defendant said his father spanked him with a belt, and he felt the older man went over the line to abusiveness, according to the report.
Gardner said he worked as a lifeguard at a San Bernardino Mountain resort, then as a ride operator at Santa’s Village amusement park near Lake Arrowhead until it closed down.
The defendant told the probation officer he wanted to be a math teacher, but that was out of the question after his convictions. He denied ever receiving treatment for drug or alcohol abuse.
Gardner was sentenced to six years in prison and released in 2005. He was on probation until 2008 and registered as a sex offender using his grandmother’s Lake Elsinore address, but he had reportedly been staying with his mother lately.
Gardner, 30, could face the death penalty if convicted of Chelsea’s murder. A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 4.