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Scott Erskine dies while on death row due to COVID-19

Erskine was sentenced to death in San Diego County on Sept. 1, 2004, for the first-degree murders of the two boys.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Scott Thomas Erskine, 57, who had been on California’s death row since 2004, died on July 3, 2020, at outside hospital from what appear to be complications related to COVID-19, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

On March 27, 1993, 13-year-old Charles (Charlie) Keever and 9-year-old Jonathon Sellers rode their bicycles to the Otay Riverbed area in San Diego.

Their bodies were found two days later. They had been brutally murdered. 

Miliena Sellers-Phillips and Maria Keever both lived through a mother’s worst nightmare. On Friday, both said they were feeling overwhelmed, but a little more at peace.

Sellers-Phillips still beams when she talks about her son Johnathan. It has been 27 years since she last saw him.

“I get this call that the murderer is dead. I didn’t know what to say. It is overwhelming. It’s just so much,” she said.

It’s a sentiment shared by Charlie’s mother.

“At first, I was in shock. I started to cry, but now I feel better. I hope I can rest in peace now,” said Keever.

DNA samples from the victims matched Erskine, who had been in state prison since May 2, 1994, serving a 70-year term from San Diego County for several consecutive and concurrent sentences of oral copulation with force as well as sentences for penetration with a foreign object, rape and possession of a firearm by an ex-felon. 

Erskine was sentenced to death in San Diego County on Sept. 1, 2004, for the first-degree murders of the two boys and was admitted onto death row at San Quentin on Dec. 27, 2004.

San Quentin has seen an explosion of coronavirus cases with hundreds of inmates infected.

Eurskine, who had underlying health issues, had been on death row for more than 20 years.

Both mothers said nothing will bring their sons back, but they are glad they are no longer living in a world with Charlie and Johnathon’s killer.

“Nothing is going to bring me closure, but it is going to help,” said Keever. 

"He is gone. The murderer is gone. No longer walking this earth, and now it's between him and God," said Sellers-Phillips.

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