Ginger Lorraine Fleischli (female, age 20)
David William Leitch (male, CDC# D11422, sentenced to 15 years to life)
On Sept. 14, 1981, farm workers in a rural area of Irvine, in Orange County, discovered in a shallow grave the body of Ginger Lorraine Fleischli wrapped in a sleeping bag and a pink blanket, and secured with a rope. Ginger had been raped and stabbed with a knife five times in and around one ear. Her head was wrapped in duct tape, two towels, a sheet and her jacket. She had cuts on her wrists and ankles. Investigators linked offender Thomas Martin Thompson and crime partner David William Leitch to the murder.
On the evening of Sept. 11, 1981, Ginger had gone to a pizza parlor with Tracy Leitch, the offender, known to the party by the alias "Thomas Michael Young," and his crime partner, David Leitch, who was Tracy’s ex-husband. Ginger had lived with the crime partner for a time after he had separated from Tracy, but at the time of her murder she and Tracy had been roommates for two weeks. The offender was living with his crime partner. The two males were planning a money-making scheme together.
When the group left the pizza parlor, Tracy and the crime partner gave the offender and Ginger a ride to a bar. At about 9:30 p.m., a man named Afshin Kashani joined Ginger and the offender at the bar and at about 1 a.m. the trio walked to the one-room apartment that the offender and his crime partner shared. The offender and Afshin smoked hash and Ginger left to get a soda at a nearby liquor store. While she was gone, the offender told Kashani that he wanted to have sex with Ginger that night. Kashani left the apartment before Ginger returned. When Ginger came back, the offender raped her. Then he killed her after she told him she would report the matter to the police.
Three days after her murder, Ginger’s wrapped body was found. A single-edged knife, later determined to belong to the crime partner, had been thrust at least two inches into her ear. It had severed the carotid artery, causing massive bleeding and ultimately her death. Ligature marks on her wrists and ankles indicated that she had been bound or handcuffed during the night of the murder. Ginger’s shirt and bra were cut in the front and pulled down to her elbows, completely exposing her breasts. She was not wearing any shoes, socks, or underwear. Her jeans were fully zipped but unbuttoned. A vaginal swab revealed semen consistent with Thompson’s blood type.
Ginger’s blood was found in the offender and the crime partner’s apartment on the carpeting, padding and concrete underneath the carpeting. Fibers matching the blanket in which Ginger was wrapped were found in the trunk of the crime partner’s car. Additionally, a footprint matching that of the crime partner was found next to where Ginger’s body was dumped.
The investigation suggested that the crime partner also wanted Ginger killed because he felt that she was interfering with his efforts to reconcile with his ex-wife. Tracy later said that on the night of the murder, Ginger asked her, "Do you think David [Leitch] would have Tom [Thompson] kill me?" Tracy also reported that people had told her the offender often carried a gun. She told investigators that "No one really knew Tom but everyone thought he was strange and weird."
After Ginger’s murder, the offender and his crime partner fled to Mexico. The crime partner was arrested when he returned to the United States and Mexican authorities located the offender.
Thomas Martin Thompson was convicted of forcible rape and first degree murder with the special circumstance of murder during the commission of rape. He was sentenced to death by Orange County on Aug. 17, 1984.
Crime partner David Leitch was found guilty of second degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years to life on July 19, 1985.
(Information for this summary was compiled from the probation officer’s report and/or other court documents from the offender’s file.)
At 11:48 p.m. July 13, 1998 – sixteen years and ten months after he raped and murdered Ginger Fleischi, Thomas Thompson was taken into San Quentin’s execution chamber. The catheter to deliver the lethal injection was inserted into his arm, and the chamber door was shut at 11:54 p.m. Media witness entered at 11:58 p.m.; the curtains were opened one minute later. The execution by lethal injection began at 12:01 a.m. July 14. Thompson was pronounced dead at 12:06 a.m.
Thompson’s last meal included: Alaskan king crab with melted butter, spinach salad, pork fried rice, Mandarin-style spare ribs, hot fudge sundae and a six-pack of Coca Cola.
Following the execution Warden Art Calderon read Thompson’s last statement:
"For 17 years the AG has been pursuing the wrong man. In time he will come to know this. I don’t want anyone to avenge my death. Instead I want you to stop killing people. God bless."