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Collection Guide
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Guide to the California Superior Court (Sacramento County) case files for The People v. Dorothea Montalvo Puente (criminal case #18056) CNTY0004
CNTY0004  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection is made up of exhibits and evidence from Sacramento County Superior Court criminal case #18056, The People v. Dorothea Montalvo Puente. Puente stood trial for the murders of her boyfriend and eight of her Sacramento boarding house tenants between 1982 and 1988 in order to collect their government benefit checks. All but two of those she murdered were found buried in the yard of her rented boarding house at 1426 F Street in Sacramento. Preliminary hearings began in 1990, and the trial and sentencing took place in 1993. Material covers the entirety of the trial, including evidence collected during the investigation, trial exhibits, photographs and video footage of the crime scene, video footage and transcripts of suspect and witness interrogations, and appeals records. Puente was sentenced to life in prison without parole and died at age 82 in 2011 at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla.
Background
Sacramento County Superior Court criminal case #18056, The People v. Dorothea Montalvo Puente, is the murder trial of Sacramento, California, serial killer Dorothea Puente. Preliminary hearings began in 1990, and the trial and sentencing took place in 1993. Puente was accused of murdering nine people between 1982 and 1988 and cashing their government support checks. Victims included Puente's boyfriend Everson Gillmouth, 77, and eight tenants who lived at the boarding house she operated at 1426 F Street in Sacramento: Ruth Munroe, 61; Leona Carpenter, 78; Alvaro "Bert/Alberto" Gonzales Montoya, 51; Dorothy Miller, 64; Benjamin Fink, 55; James Gallop, 62; Vera Faye Martin, 64; and Betty Palmer, 78. The first victim, Munroe, died at 1426 F Street in 1982, but her death was deemed a suicide by drug overdose, although her family suspected Puente was behind her death and pressed for further investigation. Gillmouth's body was found in January 1986 in a wooden box on the bank of the Sacramento River near Verona, just north of Sacramento. The rest of the victims were found buried in Puente's backyard in November 1988 during a police investigation.
Extent
17.354 Linear Feet (22 boxes: 8 record cartons, 3 manuscript boxes, 7 poster rolls, 2 newspaper boxes, 1 oversize flat box, 1 video box.
Restrictions
All requests to publish or quote from collections held by the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) must be submitted in writing to csh@cityofsacramento.org. Permission for publication is given on behalf of CSH as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron. No permission is necessary to publish or quote from public records. Photos/videos made by or for the coroner showing dead bodies or body parts are viewable in-house only and cannot be reproduced.
Availability
The collection is open for research. It has a number of access restrictions due to personally identifiable information (this includes address, phone number, driver's license number), social security numbers, financial records, medical records, and graphic photos and video. See below for restrictions: Sealed records: no access, no reproductions Personally identifiable information of deceased persons: no restrictions to access Personally identifiable information of deceased persons: redact PII before access Medical/psychiatric records of deceased or living persons: redact before access Social security numbers of deceased or living persons: redact before access Financial records of deceased or living persons: redact before access Photos/videos made by or for the coroner showing dead bodies or body parts: viewable in-house only, no reproductions Photos/videos not made by or for the coroner showing dead bodies or body parts: no restrictions to access