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Autumn Wallace: The Life Of Poor Girl

June 15, 1990
Anaheim, California
Autumn Wallace (9) is stabbed to death in her house

Wallace was home alone when 18-year-old Maria del Rosio “Rosie” Alfaro knocked on her door and asked to use the restroom. Wallace’s sister had been friends with Alfaro, and while the pair had grown distant, Alfaro was let into the home because Wallace recognized and believed her.

After gaining admittance, Alfaro assaulted Wallace, stabbing her 57 times in her skull, chest, and back. She then looted the Wallace house, stealing items of value including several electronics which she sold for $300.

WALLACE:Autumn Wallace. Photo courtesy of the Wallace family. June 1990 Website: Morbid

Wallace’s sister came home later that evening to discover the home in a state of mess. She called out to her sister but received no answer. Frightened, she stayed at a neighbor’s house for her mum to return from work at which point Wallace’s mum discovered her corpse in a bathroom.

Wallace House

Alfaro was linked to the scene by a fingerprint and was discovered wearing shoes with blood thickness with Wallace’s but not her own. Alfaro admitted to the killing on videotape, though she claimed she was an unwilling participant in the murder.

According to Alfaro, she had visited the Wallace house with two men, one of whom she would not recognize for fear of retaliation against her two sons and the unborn twins she was carrying at the time of the killing. The unknown man, according to Alfaro, urged her to stab Wallace before he murdered Wallace himself.

Alfaro confessed her remembrance of the details of the crime was uncertain due to intoxication. “I was too high; I just recall her looking at me,” Alfaro stated in an interview. Because of her incapability to name the unknown man, Alfaro was convicted in 1992 for Wallace’s killing and punished to death, becoming the first woman to receive such a punishment in Orange County.



Alfaro’s verdict was overturned in 2014 after U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney argued the prolonged waits on death row constituted cruel and extraordinary punishment and condemned the state’s “arbitrary and dysfunctional” capital punishment system.

As the Mercury News reported in 2017, “Since the state’s death punishment system was adopted in 1978, more than 900 people have been penalized to death, but only 13 have been executed.” Her verdict was reinstated in 2017, nonetheless, and Alfaro currently awaits her execution. As the governor of California has placed a moratorium on capital punishment, the date of her death has not been scheduled.

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