American Serial Killers-
Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris
Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris are two American serial killers who in 1978-1979 raped, tortured, and murdered 5 teenage girls in the state of California. The two met and befriended each other in a California prison and, there, plotted and obsessed over their fantasy of dominating, raping and then killing teenage girls.
Lawrence Bittaker was the older of the two, senior Roy's age by 8 years. Bittaker was a lifelong criminal, always in trouble with the law since he was a teenager. He was arrested for various crimes including auto theft, hit and run, and burglary. Once in a Hollywood convenience store, he was involved in a shoplifting attempt that went wrong, where he ended up stabbing the clerk under the heart. The clerk came within an inch of death. For this, Bittaker was sent to prison.
Roy Norris grew up in a normal family but was a misfit. At the age of 17, he joined the navy and served as an electrician during the Vietnam War, but was medically discharged from the navy after he committed a number of sexual assaults. Once back from his service there, Norris continued his sexual assaults and rapes. He brutally raped a 27-year-old housewife, who later identified him to the police. For this, Norris was sent to California prison.
In 1978, while both men are prison at the California's Men Colony in San Luis, Obispo, then 38-year-old Lawrence Bittaker and 30-year-old Roy Norris meet as cell inmates. Norris may have in fact been Bittaker's first friend in life. The two develop a close relationship and begin to share some common fantasies that they both have. They fantasize dominating, raping, and torturing teenage girls. They plot their plan while in prison and have the twisted idea of abducting and raping teenage girls for each year from ages 13-19. They decide in prison that they will kill all of their victims after the ordeal.
In November of 1978, Bittaker is released from parole. Two months later, in January 1979, Norris is released. He moves in with his mother at a Los Angeles trailer park. He uses his navy training to get a job as an electrician. Also living in LA is his partner in prison, Lawrence Bittaker, who secures a job as a machinist in Burbank, California, for an aircraft manufacturing company.
In February of 1979, the two ex-cons meet at a downtown bar and further talk about their sick plans they want to carry out. They buy a 1977 GMC Cargo van, which is a perfect fit because its sliding doors are perfect for reaching out and snatching unsuspecting victims. The van has no side windows as to keep secretive what is going on in the back. The interior is also very roomy in the back for comfortably fitting people in. Bittaker names the van "Murder Mack." The two installed a bed in the back of the van and put a cooler in there, spare clothes, and a collection of tools.
Now the only next thing to do is hunt for victims. The 20-mile stretch on the Californian coast from Redondo Beach to Santa Monica becomes their hunting ground. The two now are on the lookout for their first prey.
The two men spot 16-year-old Lucinda Cindy Schaeffer. On this day, she is walking home from attending a senior high youth fellowship meeting at the church she attended, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. The men approach her and ask her if she wants a ride, which Cindy declines. The men then ask if she wants to get in to smoke grass with them. Cindy again tells them no and keeps walking. However, Bittaker and Norris don't take no for an answer. The two drive ahead of Cindy and then Norris gets out of the vehicle. As she walks past the van, he grabs and muscles her into the van. Bittaker turns up the radio to drown out her cries. Norris binds and gags her to their hour-long drive to the San Gabriel Mountains. Once there, the two rape and torture Cindy for the rest of the night. Bittaker rapes her first and then Norris next. Cindy knows at this point she's in a lot of trouble and asks Bittaker and Norris if they were going to kill her. Bittaker tells her no, but Cindy doesn't believe it. She requests to pray if they're going to kill her. However, Bittaker and Norris don't grant her request. Norris tries but fails to strangle Cindy before he goes away and throws up. Bittaker takes over, turning to his toolbox for the job. He resections a coat hanger around Cindy's neck and with a pair of vice grips tightens it. He then wraps her body in a shower curtain and throws her off the mountain. The two are very pleased with their job with Cindy but next time decide they'll find a way they can relive the moment over and over.
On July 5, 1979, just two weeks after the death of Cindy Schaeffer, Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris hunt for their next victim. Driving Pacific Coast Highway Manhattan beach, they spot another target, 18-year-old Andrea Hall. Andrea Hall was a girl from a poor family in Ohio. She came to California to try to better herself. However, she was having a tough time making it and actually had to resort to doing things such as selling her blood at a blood bank to make some money. Being so financially challenged, she was happy whenever she could catch a ride for free. She was a regular hitchhiker and was grateful for the rides. On the day when Lawrence Bittaker picked her up, she was again thankful for the ride and hopped in. When she went into the van, Bittaker was alone in the front seat, since he and Norris figured it would be be less threatening if Andrea knew only one man was in the vehicle. While Andrea took the front passenger seat, Roy Norris was in the back of the van, hiding under the bed. Bittaker offers Andrea a drink and she accepts. As she goes to the back of the van to fetch the drink from the cooler, Norris leaps from his hiding position to tackle Andrea to the ground. Andrea, though, a very big and strong girl, fights back, and a fierce struggle ensues between her and Norris. But, in the end, however, Norris gets the better of her and gains control. He ties her up and subdues her into submission. Norris and Bittaker then drive back to their secret spot in the San Gabriel Mountains and take turns raping her. This time, to relive the incident, they take pictures of their victim Andrea Hall so as to keep it as a trophy. Bittaker then asks Andrea to list the reasons why he should spare her life. Andrea does this but Bittaker says the reasons she gave were not good enough. He kills her by jamming an ice pick in her ear and then manually strangles her. Bittaker then throws her body from a cliff not far from where he disposed of Cindy Schaeffer. The two now are emboldened in their killings and now have a vivid, visual way of replaying the incident.
After two months of laying low, Bittaker and Norris resume again. Driving through Redondo Beach, they spot 15-year-old Jackie Gilliam and 13-year-old Leah Lamp trying to get a ride to the beach. Bittaker and Norris stop and offer the girls a ride. They gladly accept and hop into the back of the van. However, as Bittaker drives, concerns soon grow in the girls as they realize Bittaker is driving away from the beach rather than toward it. Bittaker claims he's looking for somewhere to smoke pot, but the girls' protests continue. Norris tries to shut the girls up, but they continue to challenge Bittaker and Norris, exclaiming they want to get out. Bittaker eventually parks at a nearby tennis court, and that's when the men begin their assault on the girls. Norris hits Leah as she tries to escape as hard as he can with a nylon sock full of BBs, knocking her off. Then he startled wrestling with Jackie. Bittaker smashes her in the face as hard as he could as she tries to exit. The two then notice a nearby tennis player staring at them as he could see and hear at least part of the incident. Bittaker says the girls are just having a medical episode and they drive away. To feel safer, they head back to the mountains. This time, Bittaker has a new idea to relive the moment. He tape records the whole incident with the girls. The rape the girls. Norris even forces Jackie to pretend to be a cousin that he's always fancied. The two then decide to kill them. Jackie is first. Bittaker strikes her with an ice pick and then strangles her. Leah tries to get away, but Bittaker gets to her and hits her with a sledgehammer. Then Bittaker manually strangled her, while Norris smashed her in the head with a sledgehammer. Two more teen lives are thrown away.
Two months later, on Halloween night in 1979, Bittaker and Norris again stroll the streets, this time in San Fernando Valley, looking for yet another victim. They spot 16-year-old Lynette Ledford. Lynette worked as a waitress at one of the restaurants that Bittaker frequented and may have recognized Bittaker as a familiar face. She accepts the ride and hops into the back of the van. Bittaker and Norris decide not to waste time driving all the way to the San Gabriel Mountains and decides they should rape and torture Lynette on the move. Within minutes of getting in, Norris tackles Lynette to the ground of the Murder Mack. Bittaker then takes over while Norris drives, raping Lynette. The two tape record the rape of Lynette in which it could be heard Bittaker demanding Lynette scream while he constantly strikes her with a hammer on her elbows. Lynette endures hours of brutality. This time, Norris finishes off Lynette strangling her with a coat hanger around her neck. They then dump her nude body openly on a lawn of a residential house in Hermosa Beach, which a horrified jogger finds and reports to the police.
Norris and Bittaker eventually get caught by their own mouth. Actually, it was Norris who boasted about the crimes to a fellow inmate, who then reported Norris's talking to the police. For their roles in the crime, Lawrence Bittaker is sentenced to death at the San Quentin prison in California. Roy Norris pleads guilty and is given a life sentence.