The Brutal Rape and Murder of Linda Daniels

I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again – I HATE POLICE CORRUPTION.

While researching a couple of New Mexico cases, I discovered a significant amount of corruption and cover-ups in the Albuquerque New Mexico police department. This started at least 30 years ago and is currently going on as I write this. Many victims of homicide have never received justice because their killers were protected. In addition, several people turned up missing during this reign of CRAP and certain officers within the APD are either responsible OR know who is and refused to do their jobs as cops. The latter is partly true for the fact that some of these cops were into the drug trafficking business and protected the perpetrators.

Because of all  I discovered, after this post I am going to write a series of posts about corrupt cases that occurred in New Mexico, starting here with Linda Daniels. There are so many victims who were betrayed by the people who were supposed to serve and protect them that it is just ridiculous.

Linda Daniels
Linda Daniels. Image source

On January 12, 1986, 20-year-old University of New Mexico student Linda Daniels was spending the evening with her fiancé, Richard “Buck” Ingram at his parent’s home on Robert Dale Drive Northeast, a comfortable neighborhood off Tramway Boulevard and Indian School Road.

Linda left to go to the Albertsons on Juan Tabo and Menaul boulevards Northeast to pick up a few items she needed buy for dinner.

When Linda failed to come home, Buck went outside and saw her car sitting in front of his house. The driver door was ajar, and the groceries Linda had just bought were scattered all over the ground from the car to the front steps of the house. The store receipt showed she had paid for groceries at 7:22 pm.

At 8:04 p.m., Daniels’ bank card was used to withdraw $50 from an ATM at Juan Tabo and Lomas boulevards Northeast and again at an ATM near Eubank and Candelaria boulevards Northeast.

By 10 p.m., Linda’s disappearance was all over the local news.

Lead detective Robert Romero feared the media coverage might have scared off the suspects.

Nonetheless, five days after Linda disappeared, a video surveillance image of the user at the ATMs was released to the public. The photo showed a man wearing a baseball cap with the name John Conley, a country singer, stitched across it. Behind him was the hazy image of a station wagon.

It wasn’t long before the tips started rolling in. But it was one tip in particular that really sparked the cops interest.

James Scartaccini, 17, was spotted at the same Albertsons store as Linda by school acquaintance, Tina Portwood. He was in the parking lot with two other men in an old station wagon and appeared pushy and nervous as he approached her.

Scartaccini tried unsuccessfully to get Tina into that car. The two other men with Scartaccini were his cousin Sidney Sliger, 20, and Wallace Randolph Pierce, 24. At the time, Pierce was living with a girlfriend, her mother, and an ex-con named Johnny Zinn.

Once the cops had this information, they arrested the three men, and right off the bat, Pierce refused to speak. Then Scartaccini’s grandfather hired fancy shmancy high-priced lawyer, Leon Taylor to defend Scartaccini and Sliger, and those boys weren’t talking either.

A week after Linda’s disappearance, Taylor called and asked for a meeting. It was held at Taylor’s office and lasted eight hours. Taylor wasn’t going to reveal whether Daniels was dead or alive, but he warned prosecutors that a fourth suspect was still out there destroying evidence.If they wanted Scartaccini and Sliger to cooperate, prosecutors had to offer immunity.

Can you believe this guy?

So, of course, now the boys talk and what a story they told.

Johnny Zinn, 44, in an attempt to make himself look cool to the younger men, bragged about his underworld connections and how profitable the porn business was.

Zinn was willing to pay Scartaccini, Sliger, and Pierce $1500 for getting a woman to make a porn film. When they couldn’t find a willing woman to do it – even prostitutes declined – the trio decided to troll Albertsons for a woman to abduct.

Inside, they spotted  Linda Daniels in the checkout line. They followed her outside and all the way to her  Buck’s house where they grabbed her as she was getting out of her car. Then they shoved her into the station wagon and sped off.

Like puppets being controlled by a puppeteer, the men followed Zinn’s order and drove Linda three miles south to the Canyon Motel on East Central Avenue. Zinn, the scumbag, arrived shortly after.

Once inside, Linda was stripped and sedated to keep her from screaming or escaping. The four men spent the next several hours taking turns raping Linda at knifepoint. It is suspected that the four nimrod losers took photos of their sex acts, although no photos were found.

The following day, the puppeteer Zinn told the other three men to blindfold Linda and take her to a place near Farmington where a film crew was waiting. They stopped at a pay phone in San Ysidro where they were to call Zinn for further instructions.

But the media attention on Linda’s disappearance was far more intense than Zinn was prepared for. He told the three men to get rid of Linda. So the men drove east toward Fenton Lake and the Seven Springs State Fish Hatchery where they stopped at a small bridge across an icy stream. Under the bridge, they forced Linda to lie down on the cold ground. She begged them not to kill her, but the assholes didn’t give a shit and shot her dead with a .22-caliber pistol.

In the end, Zinn was convicted of 19 charges and sentenced to more than 100 years in prison; Pierce was sentenced to 66 years after pleading guilty to charges including murder; Sliger pleaded guilty to rape and was sentenced to three years.

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According to, Scartaccini, one of Linda’s abductors that evidence indicated was her killer, was allowed to plea bargain by testifying against his companions. The police and the DA prosecutor “lost” all evidence against Scartaccini, including his sperm sample, which was later found on the DA prosecutor’s desk. Scartaccini served no time at all.

Four years later and facing several accusations of domestic violence against his wife, James Scartaccini hanged himself.


Oops, did I do that? 😉

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Author: truecrimediva

True crime blogger

  • monty

    Zinn should have been shot… Sorry I can’t spell correct, when I am still pissed about the whole thing.

  • monty

    I was Linda Daniel’s roommate at the time of the life changing event. How the police had to give into Leon Taylor and his demands was a joke.
    I heard the news last week and rejoiced that that piece of shit Johnny Zinn died in prison. For me she should have been shot in the head , just as he ordered Linda killed. I would gladly have accepted the invitation to pull the trigger.
    Next in line..Wallace Randolph Pierce. Hope he is getting it in the ass every night in prison.
    Sidney Sliger, in Silver City… You deserve justice too my friend… Karma bitch…….

    • Monty, thanks for commenting! I bet living through that was a nightmare. I’m so sorry! It was such a horrible crime. I agree with you about Zinn and Pierce completely. The world is a better place with vermin like them not in it.

  • True Crime Diva

    Whoever you are, thanks a bunch! 🙂

  • Anonymous