Stabbin', burnin’ man confessed

The Oroville man accused of stabbing to death an acquaintance he thought to be a child molester gave police a full confession within days of the crime’s discovery, an investigator with the Butte County District Attorney’s Office revealed in court Friday.

Responding to questions from the prosecution, investigator Kory Honea said Kelly David Fredericksen gave him a detailed account of how he lured Ronald “Ronnie” Bailey to a remote spot, then stabbed him as many as two dozen times with a 9-inch hunting knife, returning later to the scene of the crime with a can of gasoline in an attempt to cremate the victim’s remains.

Fredericksen’s lawyer, Chico attorney Dennis Forland, had hoped to keep the confession out of the proceedings until his client’s actual trial in order to avoid prejudicing a jury, but Judge Robert Glusman chose to allow the testimony at Fredericksen’s preliminary hearing. Forland said his client has a history of mental illness and may not have been in full control of his faculties the night Bailey was killed.

According to Honea, Fredericksen met Bailey for the first time at his Oroville apartment on the day of the murder, when Bailey and a friend came over to buy some methamphetamine. The group smoked a small amount of meth before Fredericksen left them to answer a telephone call. Before he returned to his bedroom, he checked on his 4-year-old daughter, who was sleeping in another room. There, he told investigators, he found Bailey standing in the room watching her sleep. Bailey reportedly said something to the effect of “you have a beautiful daughter” before Fredericksen ushered him back to his bedroom, where the other men were.

It was at that point that a 15-year-old friend of the family, whose room Fredericksen’s daughter had been sleeping in, took Fredericksen aside and told him she recognized Ronald Bailey.

“She was upset and crying,” Honea said, relaying Fredericksen’s confession. “She recognized Ronald Bailey from the past and indicated that she knew he had raped or molested her sister.”

Fredericksen then asked the men to leave. In subsequent hours, he allegedly told police, Fredericksen ruminated upon several different options for dealing with Bailey, including beating him up, breaking his legs and cuting off his penis. He did not call police, he told Honea, because he didn’t think it would do any good.

On the pretext of making a large speed deal, Fredericksen had his friend arrange a meeting with Bailey at an Oroville convenience store. Once there, Fredericksen and his friend met Bailey and a Colusa man named Ed Gomez, who later told police he witnessed Bailey’s death.

After stabbing Bailey almost 30 times and taking his wallet, Fredericksen told police, he took Bailey’s money and then threw the empty wallet, along with the murder weapon, off the Table Mountain Bridge. Neither item has yet been found. Fredericksen apparently returned to the scene of the crime twice—once on the night of the murder, when he moved the body off the road, then again the next night to set the remains on fire. Bailey was found the morning of March 22 by local residents. He was charred to blackness and had begun to attract neighborhood dogs.

Watching the court proceedings intently was one of Bailey’s alleged victims, who later told reporters that the accused was a “sweetheart” who gave Bailey “what he deserved.” Danielle Comer, 21, said she was raped at least five times by Bailey when she was a teenager living with her step-grandmother, with whom Bailey was romantically involved. Comer said she told her step-grandmother what had happened, but, “She didn’t believe me. Ron had her so strung out. …”

Comer said her sister had told Fredericksen at some point that she had little faith that Bailey would be brought to justice, since she knew Comer had been either raped or molested on at least two other occasions. Both times, Comer said, the offenders were caught but given only “a slap on the wrist.”

With Bailey gone, Comer said she “feels safer walking down the street.” Still, she was surprised to hear what Fredericksen had done, noting that she had never seen him become violent in the past.

“He’s a teddy bear,” she said. “He treated everyone with respect.”

A relative of Bailey’s who was also present in court had a different view of Fredericksen.

"I hope they fry that motherfucker’s ass," he said as he angrily exited the courthouse.