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Rapist’s ‘confessions’ could reopen a case

Citizen Staff Writer



San Diego prosecutors are being asked to reopen the Danielle Van Dam murder case in part because of a confession allegedly written by serial rapist James Allen Selby.

David Alan Westerfield was sentenced to death in 2002 for kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing Van Dam, 7, in a case that made national headlines.

Selby, 38, hanged himself in the Pima County Jail on Nov. 22 after being convicted of 27 counts including sexual assault and attempted murder. He was previously convicted of a Colorado rape and faced charges in San Diego unrelated to Van Dam, and in Oklahoma and Nevada.

A group called the David Westerfield Review sent the alleged Van Dam confession to the Innocence Project of the San Diego District Attorney’s Office along with other claims that Westerfield is innocent.

Deputy County Attorney Bradley Roach, who prosecuted Selby here, said the idea that Selby raped and murdered Van Dam isn’t “implausible” but unlikely.

“To me, that confession is virtually meaningless, considering what a media hound Selby was,” Roach said. “It doesn’t mean he did it. It doesn’t mean he didn’t do it.

“It was an aspect of his personality to confess to something to see what other people would say,” said Roach.

The letter was sent in August 2003 from the El Paso County jail in Colorado Springs, Colo., where Selby was held after being convicted.

It reads: “David Westerfield was not responsible for Danelle Van Dam’s murder. I was… (James Selby) You have other cases against me and are waiting for me to be sent to you.”

The writing matches letters Selby sent to the Tucson Citizen.

Selby wrote what he called a “hollow confession” to the Tucson cases, and said he admitted to many crimes while in Colorado, including the unsolved JonBenet Ramsey slaying.

“You want me to clean up some cases? We’ll clean ‘em up,” Selby told the Tucson Citizen. “Danielle Van Dam, yep, that’s me, too… . I was being facetious.”

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