Death row inmate Brett Pensinger, 56, who murdered 5-month-old Michelle Melander in San Bernardino County in 1981, died of natural causes Thursday, May 2, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced.
Pensinger, who at the time of the crime was a 19-year-old Orange County resident, abducted Michelle and her brother after drinking with their parents in a Parker, Arizona, bar. The brother, Michael, was dropped off and unharmed, but Michelle was found mutilated. Pensinger was sentenced to death in 1982.
Since 1978, when California reinstated capital punishment, 80 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 26 have committed suicide, 15 have been executed and 11 have died from other causes, the CDCR said.
Brett Pensinger, 56, murdered 5-month-old Michelle Melander in San Bernardino County in 1981,