Maria del Rosio “Rosie” Alfaro (born October 12, 1971) is an American woman convicted of the 1990 murder of nine-year-old Autumn Wallace in Anaheim, California. She is currently on California's death row.
Autumn Wallace, the victim, allowed Alfaro inside the home since she recognized Alfaro as a past guest from previous occasions and an acquaintance of her older sister. Autumn was at home by herself, waiting for her sister and mom to return home from work when Alfaro arrived and asked if she could come inside to use the bathroom. Alfaro, who was 18 years old, pregnant, and high on cocaine and heroin, needed another fix, raided the Wallace home, supposedly to garner cash to purchase drugs. When Alfaro originally planned to approach the Wallace home, she expected the home would be vacant; when she found Autumn at home, she then realized she would have to kill her because she would know who committed the burglary.
Alfaro stabbed Autumn 57 times, and then proceeded to take whatever she could that was of possible value. She later changed her original confession and stated that an unidentified male accomplice forced her to start stabbing the girl, and then he finished the slaying. Alfaro has never identified the male; police and the Orange County Prosecutor said he never existed.
Alfaro was raised in Anaheim, California, near Disneyland. She became a drug addict at 13, a prostitute at 14, a single mother at 15 and mother to 4 children at 18. Eventually, she became a murderer at 18 (while pregnant with twins) and the first woman in Orange County, California to get the death penalty at 20.
Murder of Autumn Wallace
On June 15, 1990, Autumn Wallace (born January 15, 1981), aged 9, was at home by herself in Anaheim, California; she was waiting for her older sister and mother to return home from work. Alfaro was high on cocaine and heroin and needed a fix. She knew the Wallace family very well and was friendly with one of the older daughters. She thought they were out and that she would be able to steal items from the home to sell so she could get her fix.
Autumn opened the door for Alfaro, her sister's friend, who asked to use the bathroom. She took a knife from the kitchen before proceeding to the bathroom, located at the back of the house. She then coaxed Autumn into the bathroom on a ruse, and stabbed her over 50 times. Alfaro then raided the house for something to steal, supposedly to acquire drug money. The stolen property was later sold for less than $300.
Alfaro confessed to the crime during a police-taped interview, stating she was high on heroin and cocaine when she stabbed Autumn. Later she changed her story and alleged an unidentified man "forced" her to stab the little girl. Still later Alfaro told police that two men drove her to the Wallace home, and one of the men entered the house and forced her to kill Autumn. She refused to identify the man. The evidence from the crime scene only indicated that members of the Wallace family and Alfaro (based on her fingerprints and a matched bloodstained shoe print) were present in the home that day.
She was tried and convicted of first-degree murder with special circumstances. At the end of the penalty phase of the trial, the jury deadlocked 10-2 on the sentence of death. The penalty phase of the trial was then declared a mistrial. A second jury returned a verdict of death. The trial judge upheld the jury’s verdict and sentenced Alfaro to death.
Alfaro was the first woman sentenced to death in the gas chamber, and at the time of sentencing was the third woman on death row in California.
In August 2007, the California Supreme Court voted unanimously to uphold Alfaro's death sentence.