He is expected to be sentenced on April 27 to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the multiple murders.
Rasmuson was arrested in March 2015 in Sandpoint, Idaho, after DNA evidence allegedly linked him to the July 2, 1981, killing of Jeffrey Vargo. The boy’s body was found by construction workers one day after he disappeared from his Anaheim Hills home to visit a fireworks stand, according to authorities. That site was 25 miles away from his home, in the Phillips Ranch neighborhood of Pomona.
Bob and Connie Vargo, parents of Jeffrey, released a statement earlier this month saying that they only wanted the process to speed up and that they hoped that “Rasmuson would receive the punishment he deserves, life without parole or death.”
While Rasmuson was awaiting trial, he was charged with another murder on April 8, 1986, killing another boy identified only as Miguel, according to authorities.
Miguel’s body was found in Agoura Hills’s wash the same day he was discovered missing from his home, prosecutors in Los Angeles said.
Rasmuson was allegedly linked to Miguel’s death by DNA evidence, prosecutors said.
Rasmuson faced special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and that the killings were made during the commission of a lewd or lascivious act on a child.
The allegations made Rasmuson eligible for the death penalty.
Rasmuson was previously convicted in 1981 of sexually assaulting another boy, prosecutors said.
Vargo’s parents were concerned at how the new Los Angeles District Attorney would prosecute the case, with mother Connie Vargo telling the OC Register that “the new district attorney doesn’t want the death penalty and doesn’t want life in prison without parole. She says she knows Rasmuson will likely never be executed within her lifetime, but said: “I would be happy if he went to prison for the rest of his miserable life and rotted there.”
Orange County prosecutors intended to let Los Angeles prosecutors handle the case but filed their own criminal complaint due to OC District Attorney Todd Spitzer’s belief the defendant should at least face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
Spitzer has also been a vocal critic of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s move to suspend the state’s death penalty.
Spitzer’s office argued that Newsom’s office “has an interest in this case because the victim… was a resident of Orange County at the time of his murder. His parents and next of kin have remained residents of Orange County to the present.”
Spitzer’s prosecutors also argued the boy was kidnapped in Orange County. The prosecutors argue that Gascon is not moving to dismiss the special circumstance allegations “because there are proof problems or because it would be fair and just to do so, but because of a series of special directives through which he endeavors to fundamentally change criminal procedure by way of executive fiat. His attempt to do in this case is manifestly contrary to the furtherance of justice.”
Rasmuson is accused of “horrific” crimes, according to the motion filed by Spitzer’s office last week.
“He kidnapped two young, vulnerable 6-year-old boys, sexually assaulted them, and murdered them,” the motion reads. “Defendant’s background, character, and prospects show he is a dangerous serial predator with no likelihood to ever change,” according to the motion.
“He has served two prison terms for molesting an 11-year-old boy he lured into seclusion before sodomizing him, and he abducted a 3-year-old boy from the boy’s front yard before later sodomizing him and leaving him wandering naked on the street the next day.”
Authorities found child pornography on the defendant when he was arrested in 2015, “and his internet history revealed multiple searches for child pornography,” according to the motion.
Two months after Vargo was killed, Rasmuson “lured an 11-year-old boy into seclusion by asking him to help find his handicapped dog,” Orange County prosecutors alleged.
Rasmuson allegedly sexually assaulted the boy, who lied to his attacker that he liked it so he could get away, which worked, according to prosecutors.
Rasmuson was sentenced to prison for the sexual assault in Santa Barbara, and when he completed that prison term, he was deemed a “mentally disordered offender,” Orange County prosecutors said.
Rasmuson was released from prison in 1985 and ordered to undergo sexual disorder treatment, and during this time he allegedly killed Miguel, prosecutors alleged.
A year after he is accused of killing Miguel in Agoura Hills in April 1986, Rasmuson allegedly abducted a 3-year-old boy from the front yard of his Los Angeles home and drove away, prosecutors alleged.
The boy was found naked the next day wandering the side of a road, and Rasmuson was eventually convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison, prosecutors said.
After Rasmuson served his time, he was designated a sexually violent predator and was committed to the Atascadero State Hospital.
Rasmuson has told doctors that he “committed at least 10 child molestations since age 18, a period of time in defendant’s life comprising only four and a half years of freedom from incarceration,” Orange County prosecutors alleged.
However, Rasmuson was released in 2007.
“Defendant grabs unsuspecting children off the streets of their neighborhoods, or even from the front yards of their houses,” according to Orange County prosecutors.
“He is brazen, impulsive, and unconcerned with the suffering of others, all of which make him highly dangerous.”
According to a report in the Orange County Register filed after Rasmuson’s arrest, Jeffrey’s mother hoped that having him behind bars would heal her from his loss.
City News Service, Patch Editor Ashley Ludwig contributed to this report.