'He Made Me Feel Like a Newlywed,' Says Wife of Green River Killer

Judith Ridgway never thought her husband was a killer.

ByABC News via logo
April 30, 2007, 8:40 AM

April 30, 2007 — -- It seemed like any other day for Judith Mawson Ridgway.

After her husband, Gary, a truck painter, left for work, Judith got up, had a cup of coffee and was cleaning out the garage when she was interrupted by two police detectives. They had staggering news -- her husband of 14 years had been arrested.

News cameras caught Judith's stunned face just moments after she learned that Gary was accused of being the notorious Green River killer, responsible for a killing spree that terrorized Seattle for more than 20 years.

Judith refused to believe the terrible accusations against Gary -- that he picked up prostitutes and teenage runaways on Highway 99, strangled them during sex and dumped their bodies in remote areas near the Green River.

"I was in such denial," she told ABC News' Seattle station KOMO-TV.

Until his confession, Judith stood by her husband, convinced that a mistake had been made. The Gary she knew was loving, gentle and considerate, and their life together was a full and happy one.

Gary gave no clues to his secret life -- there were no bursts of anger toward her or unexplained absences, Judith said.

"He was always happy, he had a smile that would never change. He made me feel like a newlywed everyday," Judith said.

Author Pennie Morehead has written a book called "Green River Serial Killer: Biography of an Unsuspecting Wife" that tells Judith's story.

Morehead said that while writing about Gary, she came to believe that a person can have two completely different lives.

In his everyday life, Gary was very orderly, disciplined and controlled, Morehead said.

He told Morehead that he wanted to stop the killing but couldn't -- killing was like beer to an alcoholic, and he tried to resist but simply couldn't.

"It turns out he was also a terrific husband and friend and lover to his wife for 14 years," Morehead said today on "Good Morning America." "And it just completely amazed me that he was able to move fluidly in and out of his killer life and his husband life without ever being detected."