Her first two marriages didn’t turn out well. His five didn’t fair any better. But oh my, my! The day they met each other, it was love at first sight. It would appear that the match had been made in heaven. Little did anyone know that it was actually something that had come straight up out of hell.
Gerald Gallego was the son of Albert Gallego, who was the first man to be executed in the brand new gas chamber in Mississippi. His mother, Lorraine was a hooker, who had been raised up in a family of perverts and killers herself. During young Gerald’s early years, she landed them both on Sacramento’s skid row, she turning tricks and her little boy, Gerry, workin’ for the pimps.
Charlene Williams, on the other hand, had quite the opposite scenario. Her father was a successful business man and she had a doting, devoted mother. She was an only child who lived in the upper middle class area in Sacramento and had an IQ of 160. Plus, she was a genius on the violin.
Then high school hit and Charlene began to change. She was slowly, but surely, slipping into alcohol and drugs. Before long she was running whole hog down a dead end street on both. She barely graduated from high school and totally bombed out of college. Her first two marriages were flops.
By 1977, Gerald had been arrested more than twenty-three times and had five ex-wives. Then he met Charlene. It was love at first sight. She felt exactly the same. Inside of a month they were living together and the real Gerald explained how things would be. Charlene would bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan. He would tell her what she could wear, where she could go and what she could do. Disobey and reap the harvest of his sadistic wrath. It was all real simple. And she would say nothing of his sorted affairs. None of which swayed Charlene. She loved him and found him exciting.
Then he mentioned a fantasy he’d like to try and, as it turned out, it was right up Charlene’s alley. She was more than willing to participate in his desire to have ‘disposable sex slaves’ and the sadistic little bitch in her spirit was ignited by the thought.
In September of 1978, Gerald decided it was game on. He was ready to put his plan into action and he explain to his, now pregnant, wife how it would all come down and the role she would be playing.
Driving a van, the two pulled into a plaza parking lot. Gerald instructed Charlene. She was to lure two young girls, suitable to become sex slaves, to the vehicle. He warned her of what would happen to her if she were unsuccessful or took too long. Charlene was a bit reluctant, fearful only of getting caught, but she stepped from the van anyway and headed into the plaza. She soon spotted two young girls, 16 and 17 years old, and decided that they were the ones.
When Charlene approached the two young girls, they did not hesitate to speak with her. She was pretty and looked close to their age. She asked if they’d like to party, maybe smoke a bit of marijuana. The girls quickly accepted her invitation and fearlessly followed Charlene into the parting lot. When the van door was pulled back, so the girls could enter, they were met by a pistol and the man that would ultimately steal the last hours of their short lives, in a most horrific and terrifying way.
Gerald quickly subdued the two young girls. He bound them and instructed Charlene to watch them. He drove the van out of the lot and headed for the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He parked the van in a remote spot and instructed Charlene to wait for him. He took a sleeping bag and, at gun point, ordered the girls to walk.
After a few hours, Gerald returned to the van. He gave specific instructions to Charlene. She was to drive to a friends house and visit for a bit, thus creating an alibi. After that she was to drive home, exchange the van for the Oldsmobile they owned and then return to him.
Charlene obeyed and, when she returned with the car, the girls were ordered into the back seat. Charlene was instructed to drive until he gave the order to stop. Gerald sat in the back seat with the girls and implied repeatedly that their release was near. And indeed he did eventually order the car be stopped and instructed the girls to get out. But as soon as they stepped from the car, he smashed each of them in the head with a tire iron, knocking them both out. He then shot each one of them in the head.
The couple headed to Reno, where they would finally marry.
Then June arrived and Gerald was itching for sex slaves again. And he knew just where they could find a few. The local county fair. Charlene was ordered to find them. And it didn’t take her long.
She watched as two young girls, 13 and 14 years old, headed out of the fairgrounds. She approached them and asked if they’d like to earn a couple of bucks passing out some flyers for her. They agreed and followed Charlene to the van. In almost the same fashion as the other two girls, Gerald had the children and away they all went.
This time however, Gerald would stop at a hardware store just long enough to pick up a few necessities. A hammer and a shovel. After that, the van once again headed for the hills, Charlene driving, Gerald repeatedly raping the girls in the back.
Then the van stopped. Unlike the last time, Gerald took one girl at a time from the van, using the hammer and shovel to kill and bury each of the little girls. Charlene and Gerald then moved back to Sacramento.
In April of 1980, two seventeen year old girls would find themselves in the grip of Gerald and Charlene Gallego. Their fate was the same as the others. The only difference this time was the Charlene tossed the murder weapon, the hammer, out the window on the way back to Sacramento.
Two months later the Gallegos were on vacation in Oregon. Gerald was ready for another go round and his next victim practically walked right up to them. Even though the woman was not Gerald’s flavor, this woman was too old – 21 or there about – had dark features and was obviously pregnant, that didn’t stop him. The woman, who was walking next to the highway, eagerly accepted the ride that Gerald and Charlene offered her.
Once inside the van, it was all over for the young woman. Both Gerald and Charlene knew their perspective roles in their sadistic, murderous game and both fell immediately into them. Charlene driving, Gerald repeatedly raping. When the time came, Gerald ordered Charlene to stop the van. While Charlene waited, Gerald took the woman to an isolated area, bashed her head in with a rock and strangled her to death.
In less than two months, Gerald, who was now growing way too confident in his fantasy life and it’s bounty, was getting that ‘sex slave’ itch again and he was growing impatient. Until one night in July, when he spotted her. She was the bar-maid at a local tavern, that he and Charlene happened to be drinking at. They waited in the parking lot and abducted the woman, at gun point, after she closed up the bar. But this night, Charlene was not instructed to head for the hills. She was ordered to drive straight home.
Charlene watched television inside the house, while Gerald assaulted, raped and tortured the woman in the van. When he was done, he fetched Charlene and ordered her to drive. As Charlene hurried the van away from their home, Gerald strangled the woman in the back. The duo ditched the body and turned the van around. Gerald turned 34 the very next day.
Gerald and Charlene were soon on the prowl again. They borrowed Charlene’s parent’s car and started the hunt. This time even Charlene was surprised at the targets Gerald had selected. They were college age and one was a man. Then came the second shocker. Gerald got out of the car and walked straight up to the couple, pulling a .25 caliber handgun into their view. The couple did as they were told and climbed reluctantly into the car. But not before a friend had seen the brief, unsettling moment and thought it suspicious. He wrote down the license plate number of the vehicle.
Charlene drove until Gerald told her to stop. He ordered the man from the car and shot him three times in the head. The others returned to the apartment. Gerald and the woman disappeared into a bedroom. As before, Charlene watched television and when the time came, she drove the woman and Gerald to a secluded spot in the country, where Gerald shot the woman twice in the head.
When Gerald and Charlene took the car back to her parents house, the cops were there asking about the event that unfolded the night just passed. Charlene lied about their whereabouts and the cops left, unconvinced.
Gerald decided that they should go back to the man’s body and make it disappear. Unfortunately, for them, the body had already been found. They decided it was time to’ get outta Dodge’. They made a run for Salt Lake City.
Back in Sacramento, authorities were putting two and two together. When the friend of the dead man identified Gerald as the man who abducted his friends, it was all over, whether Gerald and Charlene knew it or not. Now the law just had to find them.
And that was going to prove to be easier than they thought. Charlene called her parents and asked if they would wire her some money. They said yes. Then they called the FBI. Federal agents were waiting on them when they went to fetch the money. The gig was up.
Charlene made a deal with the prosecutors for sixteen years and eight months in prison in exchange for full and truthful testimony against her husband.
Gerald, choosing to represent himself in court, lost miserably. On June 21, 1983, Gerald Gallego was sentenced to death in the state of California. When he was tried in Nevada, where the same offer was given Charlene, Gerald failed again. For the second time, he was given the death penalty. He became one of the handful of criminals, in the United States, to be put on death row in two states simultaneously.
Gerald Gallego died of rectal cancer in 2002.
Several books are available if you would like to read more.
pic credit – Murderpedia