Most people can name a number of infamous white serial killers, but how many can name even a couple of black serial killers? It’s time for someone to explode the myth that most serial killers are 20-something white males — and Winter Watch is here to do just that. We are tired of the white male demonization lies and agitation propaganda. It’s time to weigh in.
Less than 13 percent of U.S. serial killers fit the profile of a 20-something white male, according to the Serial Killer Information Center, a project at Radford University that studied more than 4,700 mass murderers. In tracking serial killers during the last three decades, the project revealed that 37 percent were white and 60 percent were black. Keep in mind that blacks make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population.
In September, yet another black serial killer, one Robert Hayes, was charged in Daytona Beach for four murders, using the same method of operation (M.O.) we will soon describe. He was busted through DNA forensics and is now a suspect in other slayings.
South Los Angeles Murder Rampage Thought to be the Work of Just 1 Serial Killer
Starting in the 1970s, at least seven black serial killers — and possibly more — were active in the Los Angeles County area, and in particular South Los Angeles. These killers targeted mostly young African American women, dumping their bodies in alleys, vacant buildings, side streets or parks.
The rampage then flared up during the ’80s crack epidemic. Collectively, the primary killers are responsible for about 100 known killings of mostly black women, over a couple decades. The toll is likely much higher.
Authorities at the time elected to keep the murders quiet, not wishing to cause too much publicity. Police initially believed them all to be the work of one man, who they called the “Southside Slayer.” The M.O. was similar for all the murders. This was a similar approach to the unsolved Atlanta child killings, which was also falsely dumped on one man, Wayne Williams.
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The passage of time and new DNA technology has shown the one-man theory to be false. We suggest this false theory is politically driven, as it skirts around inconvenient social and racial truths and pins it on only one outlier killer.
We have theorized that killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy had henchmen; but in L.A., there is little to suggest these killers knew each other.
Nick Bloomfield’s Tales of the Grim Sleeper (HBO) on Lonnie Franklin showed interviews with associates that illustrate these men in South L.A. knew who was involved, were indifferent, sympathetic, looked the other way or blamed the victims. Franklin was sharing snuff photography with these associates.
Many of these sexual-sadism cold cases have gradually been solved using a DNA database established in California in 2003. This, combined with a prevalence of surveillance cameras and other technologies, has made it much more difficult for perps to kidnap, rape, murder and dump bodies in public.
With DNA more in play, the current killers of Los Angeles have shifted to a more general-mayhem method. The Los Angeles Times has a section called “Homicide Report” that details the new rampage. A quick perusal reveals just how random and senseless such murders are. These represent the true hate and hostility crimes of our age. There is much more going on than drive-by shootings. The serial criminals have re-adapted their M.O.
According to “Homicide Report” data and reporting since 2007, blacks, who make up just 8 percent of Los Angeles County residents, have accounted for committing 32 percent of all homicides. In 2013, blacks as the victims were killed at a rate that was more than seven times higher than other racial and ethnic groups combined.
In our recent rundown on serial killers, we noted that America’s most deadly serial killer, one Samuel Little, committed at least 15 murders between 1987 and 1996 in these same South L.A. neighborhoods. He committed 78 additional slayings elsewhere in the U.S. over 30 years. Little is the template for this genre of sadistic serial killer. We covered him thoroughly in the post “Samuel Little: The Most Deadly Serial Killer Known in American History.”
One Louis Craine was convicted of the first-degree murder of four women and was acquitted in a fifth, although he was a strong suspect. He was sentenced to death but died in a prison hospital within months of his conviction.
In custody, Craine named his brother, Roger, as a flying-monkey participant in the Perry and Collins murders, but no further homicide charges were filed.
Roger Craine was charged with assaulting prostitute Cheryl Williams, a case in which Louis faced additional counts of oral copulation and forced sodomy. Louis was further charged in the beating of a family friend, Yolanda Parker, and detectives named him as a suspect in the death of a black “John Doe” discovered behind his apartment complex in 1986.
Things went from bad to worse for Craine in January 1988, with the addition of two more homicide counts to his growing rap sheet. Sheila Burton and Gail Ficklin were slain in November 1984 and August 1985, respectively. The two were initially listed as victims of the elusive “Southside Slayer” until Craine’s arrest brought new evidence to light. Two of the four killings he was convicted of had earlier been attributed to the Slayer. Authorities later said the others were the victims of at least two killers.
Michael Hughes, now 63, was convicted in 1998 of murdering four women and sentenced to life in prison. He was later tied through DNA to four more homicides. His body count is likely higher, as he lived in other locations.
It wasn’t until 2008 that Hughes was charged with sexually assaulting and strangling two women and two teenage girls in the Los Angeles area between 1986 and 1993. Once again, DNA samples linked him years later using new forensic technologies.
A decade after his conviction, prosecutors accused Hughes of strangling four additional victims, ages 15 to 36. Hughes was identified through a cold-hit DNA link.
One victim Verna Williams, 36, was discovered on May 26, 1986, and was considered at the time to be a victim of the prolific, then-unidentified single serial killer known as the Southside Slayer.
Chester DeWayne Turner, now 53, was sentenced to death in 2007 for the murder of 10 women in South L.A. and is suspected in at least seven others. This was during the same nebulous Southside Slayer time frame of 1987 to 1998. The M.O. was the same: sadistic rape, murder and public body dump.
Turner was jailed seven times from 1995 to 2002: six times for nonviolent offenses, and once for an assault charge on an officer and cruelty to an animal on April 9, 1997. In March 2002, Turner sexually assaulted a 47-year-old woman for approximately two hours and threatened to kill her, if she told the police. He was convicted and sentenced to serve eight years at a California state prison.
As a felon, Turner was then required to give a DNA sample to California’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). In September 2003, based on that sample, Turner was identified as a match for DNA recovered from Vance and Beasley. Detectives then began a careful examination of Turner’s background. Nine of 11 unsolved murders in which he was suspect were matched to Turner using DNA evidence.
On June 19, 2014, Turner was convicted of four additional murders. Authorities said that DNA linked Turner to the slayings. Authorities now believe he was tied to another nine killings. DNA samples of semen and other bodily fluids taken from each victim matched Turner’s genetic profile.
Most of the killings took place in a 30-block stretch of motels and apartments that span south from Slauson Avenue along Figueroa Street — an area notorious for prostitution, drug crime and violence.
During the period in which the murders occurred, Turner moved often, bouncing between prison, skid-row missions, girlfriends’ apartments and the home of his mother and grandfather, a few blocks from Figueroa in South L.A.
Ivan Hill (aka the “60 Freeway Slayer”) killed six prostitutes whose bodies were found in cities along a freeway route East of Los Angeles. Hill, a 45-year-old former forklift operator, was convicted of six counts of first-degree murder for killings committed in 1993 and ’94. He was also charged in 2003 after DNA evidence linked him to the killings while he was serving time in state prison for unrelated crimes.
Hill pleaded guilty to two additional murders: the 1986 and ’87 strangulations of Lorna Patricia Reed and Rhonda Rene Jackson. The convictions bring Hill’s known body count to nine. He had a 1979 murder conviction for his role in the shooting death of a Glendale liquor store clerk during a robbery. He embarked on his murder rampage soon after his prison release for the robbery and murder crime.
Lonnie Franklin, Jr. (aka the “Grim Sleeper”) was charged with the murders of 10 women. Once again, the bust came years later through DNA evidence that linked all 10 victims. Police have since linked him to six more cases, according to the Los Angeles Times.
This documentary gives good background on the Grim Sleeper cases.
John Floyd Thomas, now 83, raped and strangled as many as 30 older white women starting in 1972. Once again, the murders were solved from the DNA database of convicted sex offenders in the state of California. Similar to Samuel Little, Thomas, then 72, was arrested in 2009 and convicted of seven murders.
Thomas was the lead suspect in a wave of killings in Los Angeles in the mid-1970s. A man police nicknamed the “Westside Rapist” entered the homes of white elderly women who lived alone, raped them and choked them until they passed out or died. At least 17 were killed and were typically found with pillows or blankets over their faces. A decade later, and 40 miles to the East, five elderly women in Claremont were found raped and killed, also with blankets or pillows over their faces.