VACAVILLE – Inmate James Reece, 73, who was formerly on California’s death row, was pronounced dead from natural causes on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, at 11:24 p.m. at a hospital in the community.
Reece was originally sentenced to death by a Solano County jury on May 7, 1976, for first-degree murder with the use of a firearm. On an appeal in July of 1978, Reece was resentenced to 7-years-to-life, serving the majority of his time at California Medical Facility.
On Sept. 16, 1975, Reece abducted Debra Ann Rebiejo in Hayward, where she attended evening classes at Chabot College. Rebiejo, 21, was reported missing by her parents when she did not return home. Her body was found the next morning in a drainage ditch near a tomato field. The autopsy indicated she had been raped and shot five times in the back and head.
Later that day, Reece allegedly entered into a wig shop in Woodland and accosted the saleswoman. At gunpoint, he moved the woman to the back room, where he raped and shot her in the back of the neck before fleeing the scene. The victim, who survived the attack, was able to get help from a nearby auto dealership.
Reece was apprehended that same afternoon while parked on the side of the road in Rebiejo’s car. He had been on parole for less than two months after serving time in state prison for first-degree robbery and escape from a county jail. Since his 1978 resentencing, Reece was denied parole 12 times.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 6, 2017
CONTACT: Lt. Megan Cherinka