Special message in honor of Chelsea King to be 'skywritten'

By City News Service

A special 5-mile-long message in honor of slain Poway High teenager Chelsea King will appear briefly high in the sky above the Inland Corridor Thursday.

At 3:30 p.m., Worldwide Sky Advertising will write out a message that “celebrates the love the San Diego community has shown for Chelsea, and the King family’s love for the San Diego community,” said family spokeswoman Sara Muller Fraunces.

The message comes the same day Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will be at Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park to sign legislation named for Chelsea. Brent and Kelly King, Chelsea’s parents, will be present for the morning signing event, along with the bill’s author, Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, R-San Diego.

Assembly Bill 1844, also known as Chelsea’s Law, requires a life sentence without the possibility of parole for forcible sex acts against minors. It would also tighten sex offense parole guidelines and require lifelong tracking of certain sex offenders.

Thursday’s skywriting message was arranged by Padres announcer Mark Grant and friends of the King family, and underwritten by an anonymous donor, according to the spokeswoman. It will for sure be visible from Poway High School, where Chelsea would have graduated last June had she not been raped and murdered by sex offender John Albert Gardner III on Feb. 25.

The Kings and their extended family planned to view today’s skywriting privately from a hilltop spot somewhere in Poway.

Pilot Greg Stinis will spend about 10 minutes writing out the message over 5 miles, Fraunces said, adding that each character will be as tall as the Empire State Building.

Gardner, 31, was sentenced in May to two life terms without parole for murdering and sexually assaulting Chelsea and for abducting, raping and fatally stabbing 14-year-old Amber Dubois of Escondido a year earlier.

A package of bills promoted by Amber’s father that are intended to improve law enforcement handling of missing person cases also await the governor’s signature.