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How Many More Women ...?
What Really
Happened to Kimberly Ramming?
Dale Herring at his arraignment

On Friday July 5th, Kimberly Ramming, 35, came home to her Rohnert Park apartment after a few hours of running errands.

According to police, when she arrived Dale Lee Herring, Kimberly's 44 year-old "boyfriend," was waiting, angry and suspicious about her absence. According to Kimberly's statement to police, Herring then imprisoned her in the apartment, choked and tried to smother her, and brutally sexually assaulted her for some 26 hours before she escaped through a window. Neighbors called 911.

Herring, a pharmacist at Rite Aid drugstore in Rohnert Park, was arrested and charged with domestic violence, assault with a deadly weapon, sodomy, rape, two counts of penetration with a foreign object, forced oral copulation, and terrorist threats.

Less than 24 hours later, Kimberly Ramming was dead. The coroner ruled she drowned in a bathtub full of water; on her body was a prescription skin patch for duragesic/fentanyl, a powerful narcotic. The autopsy showed the hyatal bone in her throat was broken, indicating that in the earlier choking incident she likely had been strangled almost to death.

The Sonoma County D.A. later added attempted murder charges against Herring, who was has been in custody since the day before Ramming's death. Police also confiscated photographs, videotapes and a computer, reportedly under suspicion of child pornography, as well as illegal drugs and prescriptions from Herring's San Rafael home.

The Purple Berets Investigate
In just a couple of days, here's what the Purple Berets' cursory investigation into Kimberly Ramming's death turned up:

  • According to the state attorney general's office, Ramming was terminally ill with cancer and met Herring at the Rite Aid pharmacy where she filled her prescriptions. She was a tiny woman (about 4'8" weighing less than 100 pounds) and was so ill and weak she hardly left her apartment, where she had lived for just 3-4 months.

  • Neighbors say Herring was a frequent visitor at the apartment and called Kimberly "obsessively" – sometimes 8-10 times a day.

  • Kimberly told a neighbor she wanted to get away from Herring and that she often had trouble getting him to leave. In one overheard argument, the neighbor said Kimberly shouted, "The relationship is over. I want you to get out." Herring reportedly left, but sat in his truck watching her apartment until 2 a.m.

  • Neighbors heard a number of heated arguments between the couple, once including "what sounded like someone being pushed or thrown against a wall." Though none of the neighbors we spoke with called police, one reports that at least twice after such arguments Rohnert Park police cruised by the apartment but never got out of their cars.

  • Police confirm a June 5th call from Kimberly Ramming asking that they eject her boyfriend who was refusing to leave. Police responded to the call and dubbed it a "civil matter" in the dispatch log. No police report was written; apparently no action taken against Herring.

  • Kimberly told a neighbor she had been hospitalized some months before and doctors had found drugs in the food she was eating – drugs she said had been put there by Dale Herring. Others report Kimberly had at least once called Rite Aid pharmacy saying that she didn't want to take the drugs Herring was sending her and not to deliver them.

Herring's History of Drugs & Violence
A look into Dale Herring's history raises even more suspicions. A pharmacist since 1981, he was twice put on probation by the state licensing board, once for diverting cocaine and demerol for his personal use. His license was revoked in 1988 but later reinstated; he worked without a valid license at a Marin County Rite Aid in 1999-2001, and was on probation with the state board at the time of Kimberly's death. Rumor has it that narcotic drugs turned up missing from at least one of the pharmacies where he worked.

But the clincher is this: in October 1996, Dale Herring was arrested in San Francisco for an assault with a stun gun on a female prostitute, who gave police the license number of her assailant. When police stopped the car, they found Herring, a stun gun, eight hypodermic needles, six Floxin tablets (used for sexually transmitted diseases), sexual restraints, sex toys and a knife. We're still waiting on records from San Francisco, but it appears Herring was never prosecuted in that attack.

Court records in the Kimberly Ramming case show what appear to be other crimes by Herring. The Sonoma County district attorney's office has requested a number of other court and police records involving Dale Herring, including a Rohnert Park police report involving sexual battery of a former spouse, an Alameda County restrain-ing order, and a San Rafael terrorist threats report.

Questions That Beg for Answers

  1. Did Herring provide the drugs Kimberly Ramming used to end her life? If so, murder or accessory to murder charges might be warranted.

  2. Is Dale Herring a sexual predator who targets terminally ill women he contacts through the pharmacies where he works? Herring's attorney, Robert Stewart says that prior to being hired by Rite Aid, Herring worked at a "hospice pharmacy." In the course of his work there, he delivered narcotics to the homes of terminally ill patients. Has any follow-up been done on those hospice patients to see if there were similar attacks?

  3. The scenario described by San Francisco Police in the assault on a prostitute reeks of a man who's done this before. Why wasn't he prosecuted? Are there other unsolved rapes or attempted rapes of prostitute women by a man using a stun gun and driving a brown Ford Bronco in San Francisco? In Sonoma or Marin?

  4. What's going on with Rite Aid? Is it their regular practice to hire pharmacists whose licenses are on probationary status due to drug use? Or with no valid license at all? And did they not know of the violent felony arrest in San Francisco? If they didn't, they should have.

  5. Same question for the California Board of Pharmacy – how many chances does a drug addicted, sexually violent pharmacist get before they revoke his license once and for all?

  6. And finally, what's up with the child porn and videotapes confiscated by police? Do any of them show Herring committing other sex crimes?

January 2003


© Tanya Brannan, Purple Berets
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Copyright © 2001 Purple Berets

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