Crime - Sacto 911

Crime Q&A: What happened to janitor who killed Rio Linda High School student?

Alex Dale Thomas remains on death row at San Quentin State Prison.
Alex Dale Thomas remains on death row at San Quentin State Prison. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

Q: What happened to the janitor who killed a Rio Linda student in the late 1990s?

Sarah, Sacramento

A: Alex Dale Thomas, 54, remains on death row at San Quentin State Prison.

Thomas was sentenced to death for the May 16, 1997, rape and murder of Rio Linda High School senior Michelle Montoya, who was found in the school wood shop. She had been stabbed, bludgeoned and slashed to death.

According to stories in The Sacramento Bee, Thomas was a parolee who became a janitor at the school and had been on the job for three days. He was making the rounds at the school when he heard Montoya on the phone calling for a ride home from school, and he cornered her in the wood shop.

Thomas had eight previous convictions that included a previous killing.

He was tried in Sonoma County after his trial was moved from Sacramento because of extensive publicity. He was sentenced to death Nov. 29, 2000. The California Supreme Court upheld Thomas’ conviction and sentence in February 2011.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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