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Right-wing extremist David Lewis Rice murders Charles Goldmark and his family in Seattle on December 24, 1985. Essay 3577 : Printer-Friendly Format

On December 24, 1985, right-wing extremist David Lewis Rice brutally murders civil rights attorney Charles Goldmark, his wife, Annie Goldmark, and his two sons, Colin, 10, and Derek, 12, in their Madrona home. Rice believes (mistakenly) that Goldmark is Jewish and a Communist. Rice confesses and will be sentenced to death. His conviction will be overturned in 1997 and he will be sentenced to life imprisonment.

Charles Goldmark was a Seattle civil rights attorney. David Rice, a former steel worker from Colorado, joined an extremist group in Washington called the Duck Club. Although the Duck Club was almost defunct, the Seattle chapter still functioned. The group convinced Rice that Charles Goldmark was Jewish and a Communist. (Charles Goldmark's parents, John and Sally Goldmark, had won a highly publicized libel case in 1964, which they brought after being accused of being Communists.)

Rice went to the Goldmark home and handcuffed Charles, his wife Annie, 12-year-old Derek, and 10-year-old Colin. He attacked all four with a knife, killing Annie and Colin. Charles died at the hospital and Derek lingered for 37 days before succumbing.

Rice was quickly apprehended after using Goldmark's credit card and leaving written confessions in public places. He was convicted of aggravated murder at trial, but the conviction was overturned because his defense by attorney Bill Lanning was found to be ineffective. Lanning had allowed the police unlimited access to his client and did not introduce evidence of Rice's psychotic state. In May 1998, Rice agreed to plead guilty in exchange for avoiding the death penalty. Rice was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Mark Pitcavage, "Strange Territory: Ideology and Incompetency in the Courtroom," Anti-Defamation League Website (

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