SAN QUENTIN, Calif., Sept. 15 -- Robert Wayne Danielson, convicted of brutally kidnapping and murdering two Arizona tourists, apparently has hanged himself in his cell on San Quentin's death row, prison officials confirmed Friday. Lt. Joy McFarlane, the prison's spokeswoman, said the Marin County Coroner's Office would make the final determination as to whether Danielson committed suicide. If it is determined that Danielson took his own life Sept. 7 with a noose fashioned from a tube sox, it would mark the 11th death row inmate to commit suicide in his cell since 1978.
Danielson was arrested almost two years after Edith and Benjamin Shaffer disappeared from a campground near Manchester in 1986. An accomplice testified she helped Danielson tie up the couple, then watched while he shot them execution-style and stole their camper. He was convicted and sentenced to die in the gas chamber. Danielson, who had served time for manslaughter in an Oregon state prison, later was convicted of robbing and killing a man at an Oregon campground the same year. His mother also gained celebrity when he attempted to pass her son a loaded revolver as he walked through the Mendocino Courthouse during his trial. Mary Ann Bishop was convicted of abetting her son's escape attempt and was sentenced to three years in prison.