Death Sentence for Serial Killing Suspect Convicted in SoCal Man's Death

Charles Hedlund was killed after stopping to give a ride to a man stranded on a mountain pass in Southern California

A jury recommended the death penalty Thursday for a man convicted in the 2006 slaying of a driver who stopped to help him with his disabled vehicle on a mountain pass in Southern California.

Friends and family of victim Charles Hedlund, of Lucerne Valley, were at Thursday's sentencing. The 55-year-old Hedlund picked up John Wayne Thomson -- charged in two other killings -- in the Cajon Pass, about 70 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Thomson was in a stolen vehicle that broke down on the road through the San Bernardino Mountains when Hedlund stopped to give him a ride.

"Here he was, just a good guy who was trying to help somebody out by giving him a ride and this sadly was the person who took his life," said friend Diana Sabat.

Hedlund's body was found in the Cajon Pass Aug. 5, 2006 by search crews.

In the weeks before the Hedlund slaying, prosecutors said Thomson killed a 36-year-old Washington woman after a carjacking. Thomson is charged in the slaying of Lori Hamm, whose parents also attended Thursday's court proceeding.

Thomson also is charged in the 2006 killing of a Washington man.

He was found guilty of first-degree murder in October in the Hedlund case. A judge will make a formal sentencing decision Feb. 7 on the jury's recommendation.

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