Rondon Pleads Not Guilty in Murder Case

Luis Rondon, former King of the Society for Creative Anachronism’s East Kingdom, was back in Orange County (NY) court November 8, where his attorneys entered a not guity plea to charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, felonies; and misdemeanor weapon possession.

Prosecutors believe that Rondon used a framing hammer to beat 32-year-old Deborah Waldinger to death on October 7. He then traveled to California to attend the Great Western War sponsored by the Kingdom of Caid, a regional chapter of the SCA, and was arrested by Taft (CA) police on October 11 at the Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area where the event was in progress. He was extradited to New York.

The Middletown (NY) Times-Herald Record reports that Senior Assistant Dictrict Attorney Michael Milza described physical evidence from the case and the medical examiner’s findings at the hearing:

Waldinger left her job in Middletown about 1 a.m. on Oct. 7, her usual time, and at 2:08 a.m. she texted a friend that she was home, also typical, Milza said.

At 1 a.m. on Oct. 7, Milza said, Rondon is on video at WalMart buying items including a white Tyvek-type coverall suit and several bottles of bleach. Two hours later he returned to the store and bought cleaning and first-aid items, Milza said.

Waldinger was due to work on Oct. 7, but failed to show.

Early on Oct. 8, Milza said, Rondon flew to California, leaving his car at Newark International Airport. Rondon went to a medieval history and reenactment event in Taft, Calif. Detectives who tracked him down in California observed a cut on his forehead, which had been visible in the 3 a.m. WalMart video, and cuts on his hands and chest, Milza said.

Rondon was later extradited back to New York.

Milza said police got warrants for Rondon’s cars and home. In the car at the airport, he said, investigators found a number of distinctive-looking black rubber gloves with white interiors in the backseat, and more of the gloves, along with cloth and other items, in a nearby trash can. Some of the items from the can tested positive for the presence of blood, Milza said.

In a second vehicle, he said, police found receipts showing that Rondon’s credit card was used Oct. 1 to buy a 50-gallon bin and a box of large, industrial-type garbage bags. A box matching that description was found next to Waldinger in her apartment, Milza told the judge.

Milza said the medical examiner found “at least 12 blows, and possibly another one or two” had been inflicted on Waldinger.

The prosecutor asked the judge to deny bail. The judge scheduled a December 6 hearing where the defense attorneys can make formal bail arguments, meantime, Rondon remains in custody awaiting trial.

10 thoughts on “Rondon Pleads Not Guilty in Murder Case

  1. Was anyone a witness to the arrest at Great Western? I hope it was done on the down low so as to not frighten or disturb those who were attending the war.

  2. Her name was Debbie, in the SCA we called her Cat. She is more than a victim, she is more than a stat. She was an amazing person and should be remembered for that and not for what was done to her.

  3. I was at Great Western War, and can confirm that it was kept so quiet and secret that nobody who was not directly involved, knew a thing until after he was long off the premises.

  4. Linda Robinett are you kidding? He’s a murder suspect. Our friend is dead and you are worried about “frightening or disturbing” folks at the event?!?

  5. In New York, first degree murder is reserved for the killing of police and fire fighters. Second degree murder there is generally first degree everywhere else.

  6. I dunno. I would be glad he was arrested no matter how it was done, but I also kind of understand why the question of not ruining an activity for hundreds of innocent bystanders might arise.

  7. My condolences to Ms. Waldinger’s friends and family. No kind of arrest would lessen the pain of this crime, but a quiet, efficient one would reduce the potential for harm to others.

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