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Cesar Barone was a convicted serial rapist and murderer whose preferred victims who were senior-aged women. Even the hardest of criminals found Barone repulsive and his crimes so inhuman and revolting that there was an exception to the rule among the inmates, that in his case, snitching on him was acceptable.
Cesar Barone was born Adolph James Rode on December 4, 1960, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For the first four years of his life, Barone received loving attention from his parents and his older brother and sister. But soon after turning four, his mother fell in love with another man and left the family.
Rode's father worked as a carpenter and struggled to maintain a balance between working and raising three children on his own. It was not long before he had a girlfriend, Brenda, who would often care for the children when Rode had to work. During that time, she developed a special relationship with Jimmy because he was the youngest and because he was the most difficult of three children to discipline.
In March 1967, Rode and Brenda married and she seemed to naturally glide into the role of step-mother. She had a good relationship with the two older children, but after caring for Barone for two years, she had developed some real concerns about his development. She told Rode senior that the child needed psychiatric care. Although he agreed, he never made the arrangements.
Other than having to deal with disciplinary problems with Barone, life in the Rode home was going along nicely. Rode senior was making more money in his new job as superintendent and the family moved to a new home in an upscale neighborhood. The children enjoyed their own swimming pool and visited Brenda's mother regularly at her ranch where there were ponies for the kids to ride.
However, life began to sour after Barone started going to school. Brenda received regular calls from Barone's teachers in regards to his bad behavior. He was always stealing toys in nursery school. He was expelled from kindergarten because he was such a troublemaker. In the first grade, his behavior grew even worse and he began to threaten the other children, sometimes with knives, other times with lit cigarettes. Barone was so difficult to deal with that that he was banned from coming into the school lunchroom.
Brenda's attempts to discipline Barone failed. Barone's father dealt with his son's problems by making an effort to show him more attention. He would take Barone and his older son Ricky to play golf and attend sporting events.
By the time Barone reached his early teens, he was out of control. He had become a regular drug user, often smoking pot and downing LSD or snorting cocaine. He regularly shoplifted especially for beer, burglarized nearby homes and harassed his elderly neighbors for money. The pressure in the Rode home became intense, as did the family arguments over how to deal with Barone's poor behavior and his obvious lack of respect for Brenda.
Unhappy with the situation, Rode and Brenda separated, and Barone got what he had hoped for - Brenda was out of the picture. Without her constantly monitoring his behavior and reporting it all to his father, Barone's behavior grew even worse as did his obvious disdain for women.
Alice Stock was a 70-year-old retired teacher that lived alone, not far from the neighborhood where the Rode's lived. On the evening of October 5, 1976, Stock called a friend for help. She told her friend that Barone had broken into her home, threatened her with a knife, and demanded that she remove all of her clothing. Frozen in fear, the elderly woman did nothing and Barone left without harming her.
Barone was arrested and sentenced to two months and 11 days in a Florida reform school.
From Shoplifting to Burglary
April 1977 - Barone was questioned and then released after he admitted to burglarizing three homes of elderly women who lived alone.
August 23, 1977 - Barone was arrested on another burglary charge, but released.
August 24, 1977 - Barone's fingerprints were found inside a home that had been burglarized near the Rode's home. Barone ultimately confessed to nine other burglaries and unlawful entry into two other homes, but only because the detective questioning him agreed not to press charges if Barone was honest.
First Prison Sentence
Barone, now 17 years old, never faced charges on the multiple burglaries, but he was arrested and charged with burglarizing the house where his fingerprints were found. On December 5, 1977, Barone was sentenced to three years in the Florida State Penitentiary.
At the time, Florida had a system that allowed young, nonviolent offenders to bypass the hardcore state prisons. Instead, Barone was sent to Indian River, a low-level prison that was more like a reformatory and that had liberal parole policies for inmates that adapted to the environment, did their jobs and behaved.
At first, Barone appeared to be going along with the program. By the middle of January 1979, he was transferred to a low-security institution and permitted to work outside of the prison. If he continued on as he had been doing, he was looking at being paroled by May 1979, seven months short his three-year sentence. However, it wasn't in Barone's design to be good, at least for not long.
After being there for a month, Barone was cited for failing to be at his assigned job and also suspicion of stealing money from the job. He was promptly sent back to Indian River and all parole dates were off the table.
Barone quickly cleaned up his act again, followed the rules and by November 13, 1979, he was released from prison.
A Second Attack on Alice Stock
Two weeks after Barone had returned home, Alice Stock's nude body was found in her bedroom. The autopsy report showed she had been beaten, raped, and sodomized with a foreign object. All evidence, although only circumstantial, pointed to Barone. The case remained officially unsolved.
In January 1980, Barone and the rest of the Rode family, including the ex-stepmother Brenda, were still mourning the tragic death of Barone's older brother Ricky, who had died in a car accident three days after Christmas. Ricky was the proverbial perfect son, a nice young man and a great brother to Barone, despite that they were opposites in every aspect of life.
Most anyone who knew the Rodes probably shared a similar thought that the wrong brother had died. According to Brenda, she said as much directly to Barone during the funeral but instantly regretted it.
In an effort to make amends, she gave Barone a car that she no longer needed, a gift he readily accepted.
A month later, Barone, now 19 years old, showed up at Brenda's home and said he needed to talk and that he was upset about Ricky. She invited him in and although they did talk for awhile, that was not the real intention behind Barone's visit. Just as he was about to leave, he viciously attacked Brenda and raped her, telling her he had thought about doing it for years. After the rape, he began to strangle her, but she fought and managed to escape to the bathroom. Barone left after several failed attempts to open the bathroom door.
As soon as she felt it was safe to leave the bathroom, Brenda contacted her ex-husband and told him about the attack and showed him the bruises on her neck. Brenda and Rode decided not to call the police. Barone's punishment was that he would no longer be part of the Rode family. Their relationship was forever severed.
A Call to Mother
Around mid-March 1980, Barone was arrested for attempted burglary. If found guilty, he was also going to be in trouble for violating his parole. He called his real mother and she posted his bail.
Mattie Marino, age 70, was Barone's grandmother on his mother's side. On the evening of April 12, 1980, Barone stopped by Mattie's apartment and said he needed to borrow thread. Then, according to Marino, Barone attacked her, hitting her with his fists and then beating her with a rolling pin. He then choked her and smiled while he applied more pressure. She begged him not to hit her again and he abruptly stopped, took her checkbook and money and left the apartment.
Barone was found not guilty of the attempted murder of Marino. However, he was not a free man. His parole had been revoked for the March burglary charges and he went from the courtroom to a jail cell to await his trial that was scheduled for the following August.
A Real Prison This Time
In August, Barone was found guilty of burglary and sentenced to five years, but this time in a prison for adult criminals. Despite the judge's sentence, if he followed the rules, he could be out in two years.
Typically, Barone could not follow rules and in July 1981, with just a little over one year left before being paroled, Barone attempted to escape while working on a highway. He continued to violate prison rules over the next month. This earned him an additional year onto his original sentence.
Because of the attempted escape, Barone was moved to another prison. It was decided that the best place for him was the Marion Correctional Institution. Barone was a trouble maker at Marion, just like he was at the other prisons. His infractions included fighting with other inmates, leaving his assigned work areas, and shouting obscenities at prison employees.
He went from being categorized as a medium risk to the next highest level, a close (or high) risk inmate. He was transferred to the Cross City Correctional Institution and his new release date, if he stayed out of trouble, was October 6, 1986.
Gladys Dean was a 59-year-old prison employee that had worked for several years overseeing the prison kitchen. Barone was assigned to cleaning the room where the kitchen garbage was thrown and Dean was his supervisor. On August 23, 1983, Barone physically attacked Dean and tried to remove her clothing, then began to strangle her, but Dean managed to get the upper hand and Barone fled the kitchen.
Barone continued to the test the system and during a search of his cell, pieces of a hacksaw were discovered under his mattress. Prison officials decided he was too high risk and at the end of October 1983, he was moved to the Florida State Prison, which was considered in the world of convicted criminals as being hard time. There he received an additional three-year sentence for the attack on Gladys Dean.
Barone was now looking at being in prison until 1993. Had he behaved he could have been out in 1982. This was possibly a wake-up call for Barone. He managed to stay out of trouble and was given a new parole date of April 1991.
During his time at Florida State Prison, Barone's work assignment gave him the opportunity to meet and talk with serial killer Ted Bundy who was awaiting execution. Barone, who was in awe of Bundy, took pride in their supposed conversations and he liked to brag to the other inmates about it.
In July 1986, Barone and a woman from Seattle, Washington, 32-year-old Kathi Lockhart, began corresponding through letters. Lockhart had placed an ad in the singles section of the newspaper and Barone had answered it. In his first letter to Lockhart, he described himself as being an Italian from Milan and he inflated his educational background, saying he had studied languages in three different countries. He also added that he had been in the Italian Special Forces.
Lockhart found his profile interesting and they continued to write to each other on a regular basis. It was during their correspondence that Barone (who was still going by his birth name, Jimmy Rode) decided to officially change his name to Cesar Barone. He explained to Lockhart that he had always felt that he should have the family name of the people who raised him in Italy.
Lockhart believed all of the lies that Barone fed her and they formed a relationship which was solidified face-to-face in April 1987 when Barone received an early parole date and was released from prison.
With nothing left for him in Florida and with a feeling of liberation of having a new name, Barone headed to Seattle.