Jury finds minivan murder defendants guilty on all counts | TahoeDailyTribune.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Jury finds minivan murder defendants guilty on all counts

The Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. — James Daveggio and Michelle Michaud were convicted Monday of kidnap, rape and murder in the death of Vanessa Lei Samson, who was tied up in a minivan and repeatedly raped and sodomized with curling irons while the couple drove to South Lake Tahoe.

The first-degree murder convictions returned by the Alameda County jury came with special circumstances, which means Daveggio, 41, and Michaud, 43, could face the death penalty. Sentencing is set for May 13.

Samson, 22, was abducted while walking to her job as a clerk in a Pleasanton insurance office. Authorities said she was tied up in a van rigged with hooks and ropes. Her body was discovered two days later, on Dec. 4, 1997, in Hope Valley.

During the three-month trial, other women testified the couple sexually assaulted them. A Reno woman recounted being kidnapped and raped in 1997 prior to Samson’s death.

Michaud pleaded guilty in that case and is serving a 15-year prison sentence. Daveggio received a 25-year sentence in that case.

According to prosecutors, Daveggio and Michaud were obsessed with modeling their crimes after Gerald and Charlene Gallego, the 1970s couple who made headlines with their so-called “sex-slave murders.”


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User