The man who discovered the burned-out car that held the bodies of two Yosemite tourists was in court today in San Jose, California, testifying in the trial of the man who´s admitted to the killings.
James Powers first thought it was an abandoned junker. Powers circled the wreck in the grove of oaks and evergreens, smudged his finger on a car door to determine the color and then picked up a license plate lying in pine needles.
Only after returning to his Jeep, taking out his rifle and firing a few practice shots into the woods did he realize what he had stumbled upon. The red Pontiac was the car that disappeared along with three tourists more than a month earlier, in February 1999.
Today, Powers described calling the California Highway Patrol and confirming it was the same car driven by Carole Sund, her daughter, Juli, and family friend, Silvina Pelosso.
Investigators discovered the burned bodies of Pelosso and Carole Sund in the trunk. Juli Sund´s body was later found near Don Pedro reservoir.
The 43-year-old retired builder and avid hunter earned a $50,000 reward. Powers said it was worth only $35,000 after taxes. Jurors laughed.
Cary Stayner is already in prison for life for killing a Yosemite naturalist. He´s admitted to killing the three tourists. His lawyer says he did it because he´s insane.