John Laurence Whitaker, a convicted sex offender who under the name John Whitaker Betances flourished as one of the Pasadena Unified School District’s top volunteers, has once again delayed his arraignment on a murder charge.
For the ninth time in more than a year, Whitaker appeared Friday in Orange County Superior Court, but managed to avoid making a plea in relation to the 1983 strangling death of Patricia Ann Carpenter.
Held without bail at the Harbor Justice Center, Whitaker also faces two counts of failing to register as a sex offender in Oregon, where Laguna Beach homicide detectives arrested him in July 2004.
Orange County prosecutors have told the Weekly they want to charge Whitaker with another killing, the 1975 murder of Santa Monica/Malibu Unified School District employee Bodil Rasmussen, to which detectives say he is linked by DNA evidence.
After serving 10 years in prison for rape, Whitaker came to Pasadena in 1998 and soon thereafter became a top community volunteer with the district’s DADS (Dads Are Doing Something) program, which sought to get men more involved in their children’s lives. He also ran for a seat on the Pasadena City College Board of Trustees.
Whitaker is scheduled to appear in court again on April 14.