Friday, August 29, 2008

About My Friend's Death....

Savannah Leigh Anderson was my very best friend through high school - she was an only child (I was one of five girls born in six years) so we sort of gravitated together since at her house it was always quiet and at mine it was always crazy. We were in Pep Club together (does anybody even still do that? We cheered with pom-poms the size of small horses) and stayed friends even after she moved to California. She wasn't there too long before I visited her, and not much longer after that she was murdered. Darla asked if I knew what state her killer (Robert Lloyd Sellers) died in, and I know it was California. He was dubbed 'The Orange County Slayer" and was caught in 1984, convicted of first degree murder which was overturned on a technicality by the California State Supreme Court, plead guilty to reduced charges right before his new trial began, was convicted on second degree murder in 1989, and then died sometimes in the mid-to-late-nineties. Savannah was beautiful, brilliant, fun, and just an all-around fantastic person. On our ten year high school reunion (Skyline High in Utah) I took a yearbook and had everyone who had a memory of Savannah write it down and then gave those memories to her parents, Al and Maxine Anderson. When I read those entries it reminded me of what we lost when she was so brutally taken. So I catch killers on the pages of my books, and that is how I get through it. The one thing I have learned is that everybody has really hard things in their lives, not just me, and one of the best ways to face it is by writing. It's kept me going - that, and my wonderful family, friends and FANS! Now I'll get back to writing - I've got a killer to catch!

21 comments:

darla ransom said...

Hi Alane,
Sorry if I sound kinda like an investagator but do you know if robert was married? I hate to ask so many questions i know it's probably hard to deal with.

Alane Ferguson said...

No - I totally appreciate your help. That's a weird story about him being married, because at the trial I found out he was at one time married by proxy (meaning he wasn't actually there in person because he was a Marine reserve guy (or something like that) and he and his wife got married over the phone) and then I think he divorced her because at the trial he found out the baby he had with her wasn't actually his. (This is what the defense claimed caused the rage that sent Sellers off to murder women on his killing spree. Whatever.) At the trial I saw a woman with dark hair but I don't know if they were actually married or not. I was told Sellers caught AIDS in prison - that's what killed him. That's pretty much all I can remember because I think I try to block some of it out. But anything you can find out would be amazing - like I said, I got this weird feeling that maybe we got the wrong story and he's still alive. I doubt it, but writers have huge imaginations and I think I'd like to see his death certificate, just to be sure. But don't put too much time in on this - I tried to got through prison records and I didn't get anywhere. It was a long time ago....

darla ransom said...

Hey Alane,
I don't believe that rage thing. I think if someone is a killer they were born with something wrong in they're head. Or just not born with all of their marbles.

Alane Ferguson said...

You're very smart - there is a HUGE difference between someone who is engraged (found their wife/husband in bed with another and flipped out) and a serial killer. Serial killers are a whole other kind of animal. They kill for pleasure. They feel entitled. They have no remorse. How could anyone even SUGGEST the scenario of I-got-mad-at-my-wife-so-I-killed-seven-other-women-so-I-wouldn't-feel-so-sad. It's pure nonsense but the kind of tactic a lawyer might use to get his or her client off. IT DOES NOT WORK FOR ME!

darla ransom said...

Thanks. I never get compliments from people. That means alot to me.

leah said...

Hi!
I read Breaking Dawn, and I thought that the first three were better than it. What'd you think about it?
This is kind of random, but do you already have a cover for Dying Breath?

Alane Ferguson said...

No cover yet, naughty, naughty me. I'm still working on the last bit of TDB (I'm late!) and I'm sure my publisher wants to pelt me with olives!

I thought the other three books, Twilight, New Moon, and Eclispe were slightly tighter than BD, and as I analyzed it I wondered if it was because Bella became the equivalent of a 25-30 year-old woman. Renessmee was something like seven when the book ended. I think it might be hard for a younger reader to imagine the married relationship PLUS a grown child when, in fact, Bella was kissing Jacob just a book ago. I still loved many parts of the book, though. But the lesson is that sequels are tricky!

Probably another reason why I'm trying so hard to get TDB just right!

Amy said...

I was just checking your website to see when the next book would be out and decided to check out your blog. I can understand your need for closure. A quick search of CA vital records shows a Robert Lloyd Sellers who died in Solano, Ca (home of CA State Prison) in 1995. Here is the link... just type in his name info and take a look.
http://vitals.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ca/death/search.cgi

Alane Ferguson said...

Amy...thank you. That was him. I'm sitting here, just crying all over again. It's such a weird feeling, going back and thinking about it - about Sellers and the trial and the cold way he stared at me when I was on the witness stand. So he's dead. Well, at least he won't hurt anyone anymore. I truly appreciate your help, Amy. Not to ask for the moon, but is there a way to find an obituary? (Maybe people who die in prison don't have them, I've never really thought about it before.) Anway, even through my tears I feel better. You're right about the 'closure' thing. I'm really, truly grateful.

Anonymous said...

hello
just wondering how ya doing? and hows the book coming? are u close to the end? when do u think itll be out (like a guess)?i cant wait to read it!! is there anywhere we can get like a little preview??
thanks for being a great author
-nicole

Garet Dupont said...

WATCHED YOUR FRIENDS STORY ON DISCOVERY. IM RELIEVED HE DIED IN PRISON. IM TERRIBLY SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS AND HER FAMILIES. IM SURE DHES LOOKING FORWARD TO THE DAY YOU CAN SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN. ALL OF YOU ARE IN MY PRAYERS. GOD BLESS

Judi said...

Hi Alane, I'm so sorry about Savannah. Such a beautiful young girl with so much to live for. I saw the story on Investigation Discovery as well, and I can't find anything about the age of Sellers. I was living in Orange CA in 1966 and was brutally attacked by a then-Marine, who attended my birthday party. Hard for me to tell his age by his photo, but that was 13 years prior to Savannah, so I doubt it, but I keep watching these shows and the word "Marine" always catches me. Some things you never, ever get over.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I watched the Paula Zahn episode tonight... I caught that sellers was born in 57' and was 22yrs old when he murdered Savannah.

Anonymous said...

Hello my name is Nathan Sellers. I am the son of Robert Lloyd Sellers. I was conceived 5 years after the murder and was 8 months old when he arrested...I finally met him When I was 8,while he was in prison. While staying with my stepmom in California I got to know him, only during visiting hours though. I'm not trying to condone his actions in any way. The person I met truly wasn't still the man that committed this horrible act. lots of things were not told in this tv special.
Not sure if you still look at this blog Alane Ferguson. I also only know a limited amount, seeing as how I only knew him for a bout 4 years between the ages of 8 and 12. but feel free to look me up on facebook or responding on here.

Anonymous said...

NATHAN, What is your life like now? Even though you never knew him...a child of a covicted killer is still a curiosity. From an ID watcher.

Anonymous said...

I saw the program on Investigation ID tonight and just wanted to say how sorry I feel for Savannah's parents. She was an only child. I have an only child and I can't imagine how painful it would be to lose her. I don't know how they could bear the grief. I am sure they did not bear up under it. Just existed from day to day in pain. I'm glad you were there for them.

Anonymous said...

Nathan, why did your dad die in jail. I am sorry you had to go through that. It must be hard for an innocent child.

Anonymous said...

ALANE...I posed a question to Seller's son Nathan 2 blogs above...I also wanted you to know how much I admire your devotion to this story. I Susanne's senseless murder is a reality to all of us who think we are in a protected environment; when in fact it can be a protector who commits such a heinous crime. I have lived my own life of looking around the corner. From an ID watcher.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding (I have followed, studied and written on this subject) that Robert Sellers is not a serial killer and in fact only killed one person and only had one victim but maybe you know something I do not know. Please update...
Jesse Fox

Alane Ferguson said...

You are right, Jesse, I was told for thirty years that Robert Lloyd Sellers was a serial killer, but the facts changed, He is officially guilty of Savannah's murder. Thanks for clearing that up - it's an important point!

Anonymous said...

Robert lloyd Sellers may not have been a convicted" serial" killer; but murdered Savannah during a period where serial killer or killers m.o. was very frightfully similar. It was a time where multiple women were raped & bludgeoned in TX & CA. I think from this Seller's is described as a copycat murderer. I don't know if he even realized this or if they ever did even capture the serial killer (s) of the same time as Savannah's murder??? Lori Bellog