Santa Barbara- S County

Friends still mourning Santa Barbara dance instructor upset by plea agreement made by niece

Wendy Di Rodio was fatally stabbed in June 2009

Stabbing victim Wendy Di Rodios niece pleaded guilty to lesser charges

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Friends of Wendy Di Rodio said they have been waiting almost 9 years for justice in the fatal stabbing that shocked Ventura and Santa Barbara.

The 61-year-old swing dance instructor, therapist and author was stabbed to death in her parent's Ventura Key's home almost two weeks after the stabbing deaths of Davina and Brock Husted in their Faria Beach home. Davina Husted was pregnant with a third child at the time.

Some residents thought a serial killer on the loose.

The Faria beach murders led to three life sentences for the 25 year old killer as the Di Rodio case dragged on.

Di Rodio's niece Gina Drake, who was married to a Ventura police office at the time, became a prime suspect.

The officer helped investigators before her arrest and before their divorce.

On Tuesday, Drake, 51, changed her plea in a plea agreement that spares the family a murder trial.

Gina Drake pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.

Di Rodio's friend Jonathon Bixby said, "I'm disappointed that there is a plea deal! But with 60 stab wounds there must have been a lot of anger and deep mental issues. Wendy is still missed and in our hearts."

Drake is scheduled to be sentenced to on March 29.

She faces 11 years in state prison.

 


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