Bennie Bonifacio Aranda
Bennie Aranda
Background information
Occupation Dishwasher
Born ca. 1911

November 16, 1939(1939-11-16) (aged 28)
United States

Cause of death Pneumonia
Penalty Sentenced to death, later commuted to life imprisonment
Imprisoned at Alameda County Jail
San Quentin State Prison
Attack information
Date December 28, 1937
Location(s) Oakland, California, United States
Killed 3
Injured 9
Weapon(s) Revolver
Billiard cue

Bennie Bonifacio Aranda (also Bonifacio "Benny" Aranda) was a Filipino hospital dishwasher who killed three people and wounded nine others in Oakland, California, United States on December 28, 1937, before being arrested. He was initially sentenced to death, but due to his diminished cognitive abilities his sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. Aranda died in prison of pneumonia on November 16, 1939.[1][2][3][4][5][6]


Aranda, who originated from the Philippines, was a married father, though several months prior to the murders he started a relationship with a Mexican woman named Mary Gonzalez, who worked as a waitress at Terrado's Restaurant at 435 Ninth Street. Apparently because he failed to take the necessary steps for their marriage Gonzalez left him on December 26, 1937.[7][8]

On December 28 Aranda sought out Gonzalez at her workplace to persuade her to return to him. They discussed and argued about the matter for approximately half an hour and when Gonzalez refused to live with him again Aranda drew a revolver and fired a shot at her that missed its target and instead hit Dolores Terrado in the arm. When Mrs. Terrado's husband Phillip tried to intervene Aranda shot him twice and then hit Mary Gonzalez on the head with his revolver, which apparently had jammed.[7][8]

Gonzalez fled out into the street with Aranda in pursuit, but he was stopped by other guests at the restaurant, whereupon he grabbed a billard cue from another man and fought his way through the crowd. Once outside he chased Gonzalez into a nearby barbershop, where he armed himself with a pair of barber shears and critically wounded her by stabbing her in the back. She then managed to escape.[7][8]

Aranda afterwards headed towards 413 Ninths Street, a building which housed a restaurant, two poolrooms, and a cigar stand. He kicked in a glass door and asked the owner of the restuarant, Mary Fernandez, about the whereabouts of his former girlfriend. When she replied that she didn't know where she was he stabbed her with the scissors, causing serious injuries, and then proceded to attack several other people in one of the poolrooms. In the restaurant kitchen he fatally stabbed cook Severo Dulay, and subsequently ran through the building towards Eighth Street, killing on his way Lio Garcia de Guzman.[8]

Out in Eighth Street Aranda headed towards a building of the Philippine Association of California, where a group of men were playing pool billard. There he killed Tony Buenconsijo, but soon found himself surrounded by 100 Filipinos and lost his scissors in the commotion. Arming himself with another billard cue he tried to fend off the crowd, but was eventually subdued by them, as well as two arriving police officers. His rampage had lasted for about half an hour. Having suffered head injuries during the scuffle Aranda was taken in semi-conscious condition to the Alameda County Emergency Hospital, where he had to be chained to the hospital bed. Upon questioning he explained: "I don't know why I did it. I went crazy after my girl left me and I saw her again today downtown."[8][9][10]


  • Tony Buenconsijo
  • Lio Garcia de Guzman, 28
  • Severo Dulay, 65

Those wounded were:

  • Pedro Barbiamo, 40
  • Gregorio de Guzman, 31, cousin of Lio Garcia de Guzman
  • Roque Falamat, 48
  • Mary Fernandez, 31
  • Mary Gonzalez, 27, Aranda's ex-girlfriend
  • Pio Quitilen, 29
  • Dolores Terrado, 27
  • Phillip Terrado, 28, husband of Dolores Terrado
  • Tony Valdeviso


On December 30 Aranda was charged with three counts of murder, after regaining consciousness at the Alameda County Hospital, and when he had sufficiently recovered from his injuries was transferred to the Alameda County Jail. During his trial he initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but changed his plea to guilty on March 28, 1938. Despite the fact that a medical examination had found him to have the mental age of a 9-year-old and that he had no understanding of the enormity of his crime, Aranda was found sane by the Superior Judge on March 31 and consequently sentenced to death by gas on April 5. He thus became the first person from Alameda county, who was sentenced to die in the gas chamber of San Quentin State Prison, where he was transferred to on April 7.[11][12][13][14][15]

Aranda's execution was first scheduled to take place on May 26, 1939, but on April 12 that year he was among six convicts who were given a 60-day reprieve by governor Culbert Olson, because the Pardon Advisory Board did not agree on applications for commutations to life terms. On July 12 his execution was again postponed by Olson from July 28 to September 29, with a third reprieve following on September 27 that delayed his execution to October 27. On October 20 Olson eventually commuted Aranda's death sentence to life imprisonment on the grounds that his "immature mind could not discern the consequences of his act." Less than a month later, on November 16, he died at the San Quentin Prison Hospital of pneumonia.[16][17][18][19][20][21]


  1. 3 Slain, 10 Knifed As Asiatic Runs Amok on Coast, The Washington Post (December 29, 1937)
  2. Filipino slays three in rage over wife, The Milwaukee Journal (December 29, 1937)
  3. Olson Reprieves Two Murderers, Los Angeles Times (July 13, 1939)
  4. Crazed dishwasher kills 3, wounds 10, The Owosso Argus-Press (December 29, 1937)
  5. Three killed with pair of barber shears, The Lima News (December 29, 1937)
  6. Filipino kills three and wounds 10 in brief reign of terror, The Spokesman-Review (December 30, 1937)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 People v. Aranda , 12 Cal.2d 307 (October 31, 1938)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 3 killed, nine injured as man runs amok here, Oakland Tribune (December 29, 1937)
  9. Crazed Filipino killed three, wounds 10 others, The Lewiston Daily Sun (December 29, 1937)
  10. Crazed man wounds nine in melee, Lodi News-Sentinel (December 29, 1937)
  11. 3 murders charged to injured Oaklander, Oakland Tribune (December 30, 1937)
  12. Filipino Slayer Is Adjudged Sane, Oakland Tribune (March 31, 1938)
  13. Oaklander ordered to face gas death, Berkeley Daily Gazette (April 5, 1938)
  14. Oakland slayer must die by gas, Oakland Tribune (April 5, 1938)
  15. Slayer on way towards gas cell, Oakland Tribune (April 8, 1938)
  16. Six granted reprieves, Berkeley Daily Gazette (April 12, 1939)
  17. Olson reprieves six, awaiting board move, Oakland Tribune (April 13, 1939)
  18. Death postponed for slayer of 3, Berkeley Daily Gazette (July 12, 1939)
  19. Given third reprieve, Berkeley Daily Gazette (September 27, 1939)
  20. Filipino who slew 3 here beats gas fate, Oakland Tribune (October 20, 1939)
  21. Oakland slayer of 3 dies of pneumonia, Oakland Tribune (November 17, 1939)
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