News Releases

February 22, 2021: Man Pleads No Contest to Killing Two Young Boys in the 1980s

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Convicted sex offender Kenneth Rasmuson pleaded no contest today in connection with the sexual assault and murder of two children in the 1980s. The defendant’s plea took place in the Pomona Courthouse in consultation with family members who welcomed the resolution.

“This was a heinous offense and this individual will not share the sidewalk with the rest of us,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. “The defendant was always facing life in prison, making the rhetoric from tough-on-crime voices incredibly dangerous and entirely removed from reality. Splitting this case up or seeking the death penalty in a state with a moratorium would have dragged the victims through decades of legal proceedings for an execution that is exceedingly unlikely to be imposed. Spending exorbitant amounts on a death penalty prosecution that is ultimately just for show would force the families of these victims to relive their trauma through decades of litigation. That’s not in the interests of the victims, nor is it in the interests of the public.”

The defendant pleaded no contest to two counts of murder and also admitted the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders.

Due to a recent court ruling, the special circumstance allegations in this case had not been dismissed. The defendant faces life in prison without the possibility of parole when he is scheduled to be sentenced on April 27.

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer attended the court hearing today to request jurisdiction because one of the victims was from Anaheim Hills. In a motion to the court last week, District Attorney Spitzer signaled his intent to seek the death penalty in spite of the state’s moratorium if he was granted jurisdiction.

District Attorney Gascón does not seek the death penalty because of its disparate application, absent deterrence effect, extraordinary cost to taxpayers, and because it subjects victims to decades of appeals–forcing them to relive their trauma.

Rasmuson (dob 12/16/61) murdered 6-year-old Jeffrey Vargo who disappeared on July 2, 1981. The boy left his house in Anaheim Hills to go look at a fireworks stand. The following day, two construction workers found the boy’s body in Pomona.

The murder remained unsolved for decades until a DNA hit connected Rasmuson to the crime and he was arrested in Idaho.

Investigators also linked Rasmuson to another boy’s unsolved death in 1986.

The second victim, Miguel Antero, went missing from his home on April 8, 1986. The day of his disappearance, 6-year-old’s body was found in a wash located in Agoura Hills.

DNA evidence also connected Rasmuson to the second slaying.

Case KA109311 was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Pomona Police Department.