A boardinghouse landlady was charged Friday with nine counts of murder in the drugging and killing of former boarders for their disability checks.
Dorothy Montalvo Puente, 60, has been in jail without bail since her arrest in November when seven bodies were found buried in the yard of the boardinghouse. Until Friday she had been charged in only one of the deaths.Prosecutors said they would seek the gas chamber for Puente as they filed the eight additional murder counts against her.
The bizarre case of the white-haired landlady accused of poisoning her boarders and cashing their Social Security and disability checks drew nationwide attention last November when police began unearthing bodies from the small yard of the aging Victorian home six blocks from the state Capitol.
The discoveries touched off a national examination of practices by the Social Security Administration that allow a third party, such as a landlord, to be named payee on benefit checks.