Man convicted of raping, murdering Atascadero couple dies in prison
Condemned inmate Dennis D. Webb dies of unknown causes
— Condemned inmate Dennis Duane Webb, 65, from San Luis Obispo County was pronounced dead on Tues., Dec. 13, 2016, at 6:14 p.m., at a nearby hospital. The cause of death is unknown pending the results of an autopsy. Webb had been on death row since August 1988.
Webb was sentenced to death by a San Luis Obispo County jury for the Feb. 5, 1987, burglary and first-degree murder of John Rainwater, 25, and Lori Rainwater, 22. The couple was managing a 14-unit lodge in Atascadero when Webb, a parolee from the Utah prison system who had been out of prison for two months, broke into their home. The couple were bound and savagely beaten and raped. The Rainwaters tried to escape out of the residence with their two children, but were chased and murdered in the motel parking lot. The two children, ages 15 months and seven days, were found alive under their mother’s body.
“Our hearts and prayers still remain with the children and family of John and Lori Rainwater,” said District Attorney Dan Dow.
“This horrific and evil crime profoundly affected the citizens of our county and justice was delayed for the past 30 years. It is my hope that with the recent passage of Proposition 66, it will no longer take a lifetime for the death penalty to be implemented in cases like this where it is, sadly, a deserved punishment.”
Since 1978, when California reinstated capital punishment, 71 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 25 have committed suicide, 13 have been executed in California, one was executed in Missouri, one was executed in Virginia, eight have died from other causes, and one’s (Webb) cause of death is pending. There are currently 749 offenders on California’s death row.