I. DISCOVERY OF THE CRIMINAL
On August 15, 1982, Robert Ainsworth stepped into his rubber raft and began his descent south down the Green River toward the outer edge of Seattle's city limits. It was a trip he had made on many occasions. As he drifted slowly downstream, he noticed a middle-aged balding man standing by the riverbank and a second, younger man sitting in a nearby pickup truck. Ainsworth assumed that the men were out for a day's fishing. He asked the older man if he had caught anything. The man replied that he had not. Soon after, the two men left in the old pick-up truck and Ainsworth continued to float down the river.
As he peered into the clear waters his gaze was met by staring eyes. A young black woman's face was floating just beneath the surface of the water, her body swaying beneath her with the current. Accidentally, the raft overturned as he tried to dislodge the figure from a rock and Ainsworth fell into the river. To his horror, he realized that the figure was not a mannequin, but a dead woman. Seconds later he saw another floating corpse of a half nude black woman, partially submerged in the water.
The police arrived at the scene; detectives began a search for evidence. During the search, they found a third body, that of a young girl who was partially clothed. Unlike the other two girls, this one was found in a grassy area less than 30 feet from where the other victims lay in the water. It was obvious that she had died from asphyxiation. The girl had a pair of blue pants knotted around her neck. She also showed signs of a struggle, because she had bruises on her arms and legs. She was later identified as Opal Mills, 16. It was believed that she had been murdered within 24 hours of her discovery. Chief Medical Examiner Donald Reay determined that all three girls died of strangulation. The two girls found in the water, later identified as Marcia Chapman, 31, and Cynthia Hinds, 17,