Courts & Crime

Serial killer's home now for sale in California

SACRAMENTO — The Mansion Flats home where police unearthed the bodies of seven people who were under the care of convicted serial killer Dorothea Puente is on the market.

A "for sale" sign went up Wednesday in front of the vacant 1930 two-story tan Victorian with navy and white trim at 1426 F St. Realtor Andrew Chechourka is waiting for Bank of America to determine a price and give him the go-ahead to officially list the property.

"It's a duplex, so it's good for an investor," Chechourka said. "It's ready for move-in."

The 1,834-square-foot house with detailed woodwork and a carpet of clover taking over the small patch of front lawn offers little clue to the property's sordid past.

Puente first rented the top floor in 1980, but left in 1982 to serve time for drugging, then stealing checks and valuables from the elderly. She returned to the home in 1985, renting both floors, and took in disabled tenants. Bodies were first discovered in 1988.

Puente was charged with nine murders, convicted of three, and is living her life in the Central California Women's Facility near Chowchilla. She maintains the victims all died of natural causes.

The home was sold by then-owners Ricardo and Veronica Ordorica in 2002 for $155,000, according to property records. The buyer, Richard Vasquez, updated the home, painting the interior and exterior, refinishing the wood floors, and paving the side yard where the bodies had been discovered.

Vasquez sold the home in 2005 for $500,000 to John Burdette III; and Burdette sold the home to Tom and Lissette Decarli for $560,000 six months later, records show.

The house went through foreclosure in June 2009, with the last reported price being $335,750.

Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens would only say the bank owns the property and that it is listed for sale. She did not respond to a request for the listing price.

The top floor is a three-bedroom, one-bath unit; the bottom floor has two bedrooms and a bathroom, Chechourka said. The kitchens both have granite countertops and there are laundry hook-ups, he said.

Chechourka, who works for Kraft Real Estate in Fair Oaks, didn't realize the property's ignominious past until he Googled the address for a map, he said.

"It's a basic disclosure item – we'll have to tell people that it has a notorious history," he said.

Scott Humphrey, 42, who lives on the same block, admired the home Thursday and wouldn't think twice about living there, he said.

"I believe in karma, not ghosts," he said.