The Toolbox Killer (2021) - full transcript

- One night my phone rang.

- You have a prepaid call
from an inmate

at the California State Prison,

San Quentin, California.

- Bittaker had a series
of heart attacks.

- Teenagers brutally attacked.

Roy Norris
and Lawrence Bittaker...

- Raping and murdering
five teenage girls.

- The evil
that these guys caused...

it really captured the fear
of the city of Los Angeles.

- Just a lot more careful
about where I go.

- I'm afraid to be walking
down the street.

- Lawrence Bittaker
and his partner, Roy Norris,

were known
as the Toolbox Killers.

- Bittaker was the most evil man

because of that toolbox.

- Pliers, vise grips,

ice picks.

- I thought Roy Norris
was very strange.

- I think he hated women.

- He creeped me out.

- I interviewed
Lawrence Bittaker,

the most sadistic serial killer

on San Quentin's death row,
for over five years.

He used to say to me, "If
I just had one good parent,

I wouldn't
have become this monster."

- The police followed Norris,
and, boy, did they find a lot.

- Hundreds of pictures
of young girls

were found in their possession.

- Everyone one of these

represents a potential victim.

- I thought, "He's gonna
kill me in the courtroom."

- Oh, I thought about killing
Lawrence Bittaker at the trial.

I would dream that I had a gun.

- He was sexually aroused by
their screams and their cries.

- Bittaker finds out
that she is a virgin.

He wants to audio-record
the rape of a virgin.

- They begin to play the tape.

The courtroom was stunned.

- I first came

across Lawrence Bittaker
and Roy Norris,

the Toolbox Killers...

it was
in a criminology textbook.

I remember it like
it was yesterday.

And I read about what they did
with the van...

with the girls,

with the ice pick
through the ears,

and the torture for days.

And I just remember,
I dropped the book

'cause I was so floored
by the level of sadism.

I always wondered what it took
to get to that level of sadism,

how their progression
from their childhood

to committing such violent,
heinous acts transpired.

That was something
I really wanted to explore.

I majored
in forensic psychology.

I had this incredible professor.

He said, "If you start doing
your own study,

"this will give you a leg up

when you go
for higher education."

I developed this questionnaire
that I sent out to...

I think it was, like,
80 different serial killers.

My only goal was to create
a set of questions

that they can't manipulate
so we can catch

these violent patterns
and behaviors early on,

before these other offenders
go on to do a life of crime,

like Lawrence Bittaker.

I didn't even think I was gonna
get a response back.

And I was like, "They're not
gonna help me with a study,"

you know.

I ended up getting
a crazy amount of responses,

and I was shocked.

But when I first
reached out to Bittaker,

he wrote me back saying
he didn't want to talk to me,

he didn't want to do the survey.

He's in his late 70s
at this point,

and he didn't want to talk
about the crimes.

So many journalists tried
to get him to do interviews

over the years,
but he just denied everybody.

I had already collected
so much data

from the other inmates.

Why am I bothering with one

that is so challenging
to deal with?

But he was the most
sadistic serial killer

in American history,
the worst of the worst,

and I wanted to try to find out

if he was hiding something
for all these years.

I didn't take no for an answer,

and I just kept writing
and writing

for years and years and years.

One day, he finally agreed
to talk to me.

- This call is being recorded.

If you do not wish
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please disconnect at this time.

- Bittaker was really tricky
to warm up to

and build the trust and rapport.

It really took a lot of time.

Early on in our relationship,

we used to try to have just,
like, normal conversations,

and it was like
he just couldn't do it.

- As an FBI agent,
I worked in the FBI's BAU,

commonly known
as the Behavior Analysis Unit,

and in that unit, I was involved

in working a number
of very violent crimes,

most specifically
serial murder cases.

When I first met Larry,
he was clearly playing

a cat-and-mouse game with me.

Didn't admit to anything.

Said he hadn't done
anything wrong.

He didn't give up very much.

- Bittaker, he doesn't
see people as individuals.

He sees them as objects
to be used and to toss away.

I was a special trial deputy

handling some of the most
gruesome murder cases

in L.A. County,

including Charles Manson
and his family members.

I always felt
that Lawrence Bittaker

was the worst,

even worse than Manson,
because of the torture.

- He always said he wanted to be

bigger than Charlie Manson.

My name is Dennis McCarthy.

I was a reporter
at the South Bay "Daily Breeze"

in 1981,

and I covered the murder trial
of Lawrence Bittaker,

the Toolbox Killer.

Larry was such a fascinating
study in evil.

Basically, Bittaker's defense
was, "I didn't do it.

It was the other guy."
Right? "It was Norris."

- Bittaker and Norris
met and spoke in prison.

Their sharing
of violent sexual fantasies

really cemented
their relationship.

- You had violent Bittaker

and rapist Norris
getting together.

Bittaker was the lead.

Norris was the follower.

- Lawrence Bittaker
was a near-genius.

He has a 138 IQ.

When you're working
with a psychopath,

if you go in
and you're pretending

to be something you're not,
they can tell.

These guys are smart.

And if you're gonna
play games with them,

they're gonna
play games with you.

So I go in nonjudgmental.

I build a real, actual,

authentic relationship
with them,

and I definitely open up
about myself

and my own personal life.

Anytime you're working
with offenders

who have antisocial personality,

there's always gonna be a risk.

But once Lawrence Bittaker
and I finally felt that trust

and that rapport,
he started to reveal stuff

that he had never told
anybody else about this case.

- I guess it was a Sunday.

- Bittaker and Norris had been
driving all day for 15 hours

just smoking weed

and photographing
unsuspecting girls,

when they spotted
Cindy Schaefer.

She was dropped off
at a church meeting

in Redondo Beach,

and she had left early,

and she was walking back
to her grandparents' place,

where she was staying,
and they start to trail her.

- The police had no leads.

They had a big, bloody fight.

- She is punching him
and just fighting for her life.

- Cindy Schaefer was
a very bright young woman.

She was 16 years old.

- Cindy was, from all accounts
of everybody who knew her,

just the sweetest
and nicest girl

you could have ever imagined.

- She tutored in Spanish,

and geometry in high school

and just had so many friends.

- She wanted to go to college.

She wanted to study language
and teach foreign language,

just like her mother.

- When Bittaker would talk

about how the girl more
or less went along with it

once she was inside the van,

as effort on his part
to minimize his involvement,

to minimize how serious
these crimes were,

he's trying to manage
the impression

that you have of him.

- Bittaker,
when he was a teenager,

had been placed in a camp
in the San Gabriel Mountains,

and he thought that
that would be a good place

for them to take their victims,

because nobody
would hear them scream.

- Cindy asked
if they were gonna kill her.

She said, "I just want you
to let me pray

if you're gonna kill me."

- Bittaker and Norris
laughed at her,

and Bittaker turned to her,
and he said,

"God isn't here, only devils."

- Norris saw that Cindy
was crying,

and he just couldn't do it
anymore, so he let go,

and he went over to the side
of the road and threw up.

Bittaker went to the back
of his van

and sectioned
a wire coat hanger,

and told Norris to wrap it
around her neck and choke her.

And Norris tried
to do that manually,

but he couldn't get it
tight enough.

So Bittaker
got a pair of vise grips

from the back of the van

and tightened it enough
so that it finally killed her.

- There were no leads

to explain
Cindy's disappearance.

They even found a girl
in Tijuana

that they thought might be her,

so they went all the way down
to Tijuana and saw the girl,

and, of course, it wasn't Cindy.

Nobody had really any idea.

They, of course, didn't realize

that she was the first victim

of the infamous Toolbox Killers.

- We know that Larry Bittaker
was a criminal sexual sadist.

He's an individual
who is sexually aroused

by the infliction
of physical or emotional pain

on his non-consenting partners.

He wants the victim
to scream, to cry.

He wants to see the fear
in their eyes.

We know this behavior
would have started

at a very, very early age.

- Lawrence Sigmund Bittaker

was born
to a teen mother in 1940.

Bittaker's father was violent,
and his mother was a drinker.

She would go and leave him and
his little brother home alone

while she went out and partied.

Soon, the family convinced her
to give up the two boys.

They were adopted
by different aunts and uncles

within the family.

- At some point,
something happened to him

when he was a little boy.

Sexually sadistic behaviors
are learned

when their sexual identity
is being formed.

So, whether Larry
had been himself the victim

of some kind of sexual abuse,

that more than likely shaped
his development

as a sexual sadist.

- Bittaker was raised
by an aunt and uncle.

They provided what would
have been a good life

for a normal person,

but Bittaker was not
a normal person.

- Even in his 70s,

he would talk about the mother
who gave him up.

That was a big part
of where his rage came from.

He actually had a plan
to go find her and kill her.

He always felt like,
if she had kept him,

he would have never become
a monster.

He had amazing grades.
He was very smart.

He was tested early
with a 138 IQ.

But he was unmotivated
and unchallenged.

He loved to play with fire,

and he did burn down
a couple sheds.

He was doing it to try to get

his adoptive parents',
you know, attention.

- And she took a cigarette

and just put it
all over his body,

in a way that seemed
like torture.

- Larry began to manifest his
interest in torturing things

by the time he was adolescent.

One time he told me
that he was upset.

They had rabbits, and he went
outside with a pair of pliers,

and he removed the teeth of one
of the rabbits with the pliers.

- As a teenager, he would
wander around the streets

at night.

But then it started to escalate,

when he would move
furniture around

so people knew that someone
had been in their house,

just so people feel unsafe
in their own homes.

So you're seeing
the early signs of sadism.

- A serial sexual killer...
they're born predators.

They hunt human beings.

And so his practice...

following people,
watching people,

walking around his
neighborhood late at night...

is a result of his psychopathy,

which has a genetic link to it.

When sexuality and violence
becomes intertwined,

now you have these compulsion
and these urges to go out

and kidnap people
and torture them,

that's a very,
very deadly combination.

- Lawrence Bittaker
was very society awkward.

He reports that he didn't have
any friends growing up,

but he was able to get
a girlfriend in high school.

Mary Anne was
a Catholic school girl...

Blonde hair, big blue eyes.

If you look at the victims,
they look very similar.

She also wore a cross,

and he actually made
some of the victims

actually put on a cross
during his crimes.

Bittaker told me
that he had recorded

a make-out session
with this girlfriend.

I was really blown away,

'cause I think this is where
the paraphilic urges started.

What's chilling
is she does remember

him taking her
up to San Gabriel Mountains,

and they would go
and hang out and hike.

I've always wondered
if that's why he took

the victims there... is because
of this first girlfriend,

his first rejection.

- Bittaker had what's known

as a polymorphous
perverse personality.

That means that he was able

to commit any crime on the books

just for his own pleasure.

- His psychopathy was not
something that he worried about

or he fretted about
or he was concerned about.

- When Lawrence Bittaker
was in juvie,

they did a ton of evaluations,

and they're seeing
that he is violent

with anger issues
and deeply disturbed.

There were warning signs
from the beginning.

- In 1974, Bittaker was living
in the Hollywood area.

He went into a Ralph's market,

and he stole a couple of steaks.

- It was a miracle
this guy survived.

By him stabbing this clerk,

it really changed the lives
of everybody...

this fateful moment
that sent him

to California Men's Colony,
CMC East.

This is where Lawrence Bittaker

meets Roy Norris.

- Roy Norris was a rapist.

He was a serial rapist.

Who was worse?

I don't think I could even say,

'cause when they partnered up,
they were both horrible.

- I think he hated women.

- He was the one who typically
grabbed the grabs

and subdued them.

He was a much bigger guy.
He was over 200 pounds.

- He was a big oaf.

His IQ... I have no idea
what it was,

but it couldn't be anywhere
near Bittaker's IQ.

- He wasn't a liar and an actor
like Larry was.

Like, Larry pulled it off.

you felt uncomfortable.

- So he was definitely
the muscle of the two,

and Bittaker was the brains.

- I prosecuted Roy Norris

for rape in 1975.

He was sentenced
from three years to life

in the California Men's Colony,

East Facility,
in San Luis Obispo,

where he met Lawrence Bittaker,
who was already there.

- How they met, actually,

is they would
make jewelry together.

And they did tell an inmate
named Richard Shoopman,

who was in there for killing
a young college girl.

- Shoopman would write up
their fantasies

and sell them
to other prisoners.

- They talked about getting
a cabin in the woods.

They talked
about getting a trailer.

They even talked about a cave.

- And they would fantasize

about what they were gonna do
when they got out.

- It was Roy who also told me
that part of their fantasies,

as they plotted out
what they were gonna do,

was that they were going
to kidnap a girl

for every teen year.

Once they got out,
they would kidnap 13-year-old,

14-year-old, 15-year-old...

It was the perfect storm
when they hooked up.

- Back in the '70s,

rape wasn't treated
as seriously as it is nowadays.

Another factor... both of them
have antisocial personality,

so they are conning

the, you know, psychologist

and telling him, you know,
they're fine,

they're rehabilitated, they
can go back out into society.

So Bittaker got
out of jail first,

and he went to Los Angeles.

And then he got a job as
a skilled machinist in Burbank.

Roy Norris gets out a couple
months right after Bittaker.

He actually wanted Norris
to quit his job

to build a compound,

and he was gonna financially
take care of him.

There was a very, like,
teacher-student vibe to them.

And I noticed, even with
my relationship with Bittaker,

it was a very student-teacher.

It was like, he's Hannibal,
I'm Clarice.

He loved, like, that role
and that dynamic,

and loved that he was
teaching me

about, you know,
the psychopathy.

And I think that was the same
dynamic with him and Norris.

- They talked about Bittaker
wanting a van

and specifically a van
with a sliding door,

'cause that way they could
get victims in the van quicker.

- Bittaker buys, you know,
the infamous silver van,

which they named Murder Mack.

They start personalizing
this van.

- They had police scanners.

He put a fold-down bed
in the back.

- They put flooring down.

They put a shag
green carpet down.

They put the makeshift bed
with the toolbox...

the infamous toolbox...
underneath the bed

to use for their torture.

They also had
the walkie-talkies,

which they used to communicate
back and forth.

- And then they started
going to The Strand

in the South Bay area,

taking photographs
of young teenage girls

in their skimpy bikinis
and roller skating.

- They did a trip up
to San Gabriel Mountains.

Bittaker had wanted
to show Norris

all these, like,
remote fire roads

that they could use.

- He thought that
that would be a good place

for them to take their victims,

because nobody
would hear them scream,

and they could dump the bodies

down the very steep ravines.

- There's a picture of Bittaker
bending down,

breaking off the lock
onto this fire road

so they would have
complete access to this road.

- Bittaker took a photograph
of Norris...

On the fire road,
pointing to the steep ravine.

- Now, these look like
innocent pictures,

but when they were sent
to Shoopman,

they were a message to Shoopman

that, "We are actually going
through with this plan.

We're doing it.
We're bringing victims here."

They have this tricked-out
murder van,

and then they have
the mountains and the woods.

I mean, it's very clear
everything was planned.

And that was Bittaker.

He was a planner.
He was a thinker.

He thought
every scenario through.

- Beach towns
down in the South Bay

were considered very safe.

You know, they were a place
where airline pilots

and stews hung out,

because it was close to LAX

and only a couple of feet

from some of the most
beautiful beach area

in all of California.

A lot of young girls,
a lot of muscle builders.

It was a happening place, man.

Everybody was going
down to The Strand,

because that's where
the action was.

there was so much action,

that's where Bittaker and Norris

went to find their victims.

- Hitchhiking was part
of the culture.

I myself had tried it
a couple times.

My girlfriends wanted
to always, you know,

in the summer,
hitchhike to the park

that wasn't very far away.

But I didn't know
my sister was hitchhiking

until right before
she was abducted.

- Andrea Hall was
an 18-year-old girl from Ohio.

She was spotted

by Lawrence Bittaker
and Roy Norris

only two weeks
after they had killed Cindy.

Andrea had been at the beach
with her sister and her kids.

She had a boyfriend
who lived out in Torrance.

She wasn't too far
from the boyfriend's place.

So, to get there,
she hitchhiked.

- She was hitchhiking down
Pacific Coast Highway.

She got in the car
with somebody else first,

and followed that car,

thinking that that person
may not want to take her

as far as she wanted to go.

- They followed this car
for miles

until he had let her out.

And then she started
hitchhiking again,

'cause she wasn't at
the location she needed to be.

And that's when Norris went
and hid under the bed,

the makeshift bed,
and Bittaker came up,

rolled down the window
and said, "Hey, want a ride?"

- She made it easy
for these two perpetrators.

All they had to do
was pick her up, and they did.

My sister looked in.
She got in.

Lawrence told her
that there was a cooler

in the back with cold drinks.

So she got up
and went back there.

And Roy Norris came up

and started accosting her.

- She starts fighting,
and she fought like a bull.

And, I mean, she is punching him

and just fighting for her life.

He saw that she
was overpowering Norris,

so he slammed on the brakes,

and they both tumbled backwards.

- They had a big bloody fight,

and Norris finally
got control of her.

They went to the mountain area

to a place we now know
it's called

the Upper Monroe Truck Trail.

They're fire roads.

Bittaker had a sleeping bag,
a blanket, walkie-talkie,

so he could stay in contact
with Norris,

and a camera.

It was like a Polaroid camera.

It would shoot the picture out,

so you didn't have to take it
in to a nosy film developer

who would see pictures
of girls in great distress.

- Bittaker had told me in some
of my interviews with him,

he had used, you know,
the pliers on her.

When he took her up
on that hill,

he had her bound,
and he took a camera.

- He took one...

just gut-wrenching photograph
of her.

- He had said,
"I'm going to kill you,"

and snapped a picture
of her face...

the look on her face
when he said that.

That is true sadism.

- She was his first attempt
with an ice pick in the ear,

and that idea came
from a movie we saw in prison.

- When you puncture an eardrum,

it's one of the most severe,
severe types of pain.

You would almost, like,
go deaf instantly

and just hear blood
through your brain.

But it wouldn't kill you

It would be
a very slow, painful death.

- But then he manually
strangled her

until she was dead.

- Andrea Hall's body
was never found.

- A small piece of myself
died every day

for 13 1/2 years.

It was tough.

- When Andrea went missing,
the police had no leads.

Her mother in Ohio
was beside herself

because she had talked
to Andrea at least once a week.

- So, when I did start digging
into the case

and I saw that Cindy and Andrea
have never been found

in all these years,

something told me
to keep working.

You know,
could this be something

that I could get from him,
some information

to try to get the locations
of the two girls?

When I talked to Andrea's
sister for the first time...

Julie... she just said to me...

She was bawling,
and I was bawling,

and she's like,
"We've never given up hope."

And just hearing her say,

you know,
"We've never given up hope"...

yeah, it was a really
emotional conversation...

To have.

- You know, my mother said
to my sister Pamela,

whose son drowned
in the ocean one day...

she said, "At least you had
his body, Pammy,"

because we never had a body.

We never found her.

We've still been looking
for her.

It's almost 43 years.

- When Bittaker was about 78,

he starts telling me, you know,

he's starting to have emotions
he never had before.

He'll watch a commercial
and start crying.

He once said to me...

he goes, "Do you understand
what it feels like

"to actually put an ice pick
through someone's ear

and not feel anything?"

Before, he felt like a void,

and now he's feeling, like,

a flood of emotion
for the first time ever.

He calls it a dam breaking.

He's having a new experience,
a new emotion,

and what he called
and wrote about...

he described
as becoming fully human.

- I find it very hard
to believe that any one

of those psychological
professionals at San Quentin

would have given him
that diagnosis,

that, "Once you were,
but now you're not."

I talked with him
about his lack of empathy,

and I recall one time
he said he would find himself

crying during soap operas.

And I remember it was...
I couldn't control it.

I started laughing and saying,

"You have got to be kidding me.
It's absurd.

You know it's absurd,
and I know it's absurd."

And he starting laughing, too.

When he engages in behavior
with people

where he's coming across
as caring and concerned

or seems to show
a soft side of him,

it's the FBI training in me
that says,

"Be very careful that this
is not just another way

to try to manipulate
the situation."

- My name's Tracee Whitney,
and in 1979,

I lived at the Scott's Motel
next to Lawrence Bittaker.

I saw him daily
when I was at the hotel.

The Scott's Motel
was a very dingy,

cheap hotel.

Burbank Police knew
that people that lived there

were basically homeless.

I was 18.

A lot of younger people
my age would party

in each other's rooms.

Larry would give us money.

He would give us weed.
He would give us beer.

I think Larry wanted
to be liked.

It was as if Larry loved

having a gang of girls
around him, you know?

Like, it made him somebody.

- Larry chose to live
in a rundown place

over a much more expensive
place that he could afford

because it did give him access
to young girls.

It gave him access to people

that he could manipulate
and dominate and impress.

- I found out I was pregnant.

I attempted to make
a phone call to my family

to beg them
to allow me to come home

and live there while I figured
out what I was gonna do,

and they refused to do it,
and they hung up.

When I turned around,
Larry was standing behind me

and had heard the conversation,

and I was extremely upset.

And he said,
"If you need something...

"if you need maternity clothes
or a place to sleep,

I'll pay for it."

- Larry had a soft spot
for young pregnant girls,

because he was always
the predator.

- He was very nice to me,
you know,

and I get pretty upset
when I say that...

knowing what I know.

But it's the truth.
He was very kind to me.

- You have to look at it
through the lens

of this was a very, very,
very dangerous sexual predator

who preyed
upon young teenage girls,

who dominated them,
took advantage of them.

And so, while he
may be extending a kindness,

there would have been
ulterior motives.

What was he getting back
in return?

I think it's very possible
that Larry was grooming them.

- He would drive me
to the beach.

He would drive me any place
I wanted to go.

So, we spent a lot of time
in his...

A lot of time alone in his van.

I had no clue, no idea
the things that he was doing.

The last time I was with Larry,

I was in the van with him alone,

and we got in an argument
about something,

and I don't remember
what it was.

He pulled a gun out,
and he said to me...

"The only reason you're alive
is 'cause you're pregnant."


I remember jumping
out of that van so fast.

I don't even know how...

I don't know
how he didn't shoot me,

knowing what I know
that he did to other girls.

I don't... I'm really lucky
to be alive.

And part of me feels guilty

that I'm alive
and those girts aren't.

- In 2018,
I had gotten pregnant.

One week later,

the place I was working
went into bankruptcy,

and now I was homeless,

jobless, and pregnant and alone.

It was a really,
really dark time in my life.

But Bittaker was
the one calling me,

"How did the doctor's go?"

For the first time ever,

he actually agreed
to be interviewed in person,

so I started making plans
to go meet him.

My doctor almost had
a heart attack

when I told her
I was gonna go to San Quentin

to interview serial killers,
7 1/2 months pregnant.

She literally just drops
the pen, and she goes,

"I don't even know
how to put this in my notes."

The guys on death row
actually really networked

and helped me make it possible
to actually come out there.

They really came to my rescue,
in a sense.

They found me a place to stay.

One of the wives
of the death row inmates

actually, like, took me in.

The goal with any interview
is to get unknown information.

So, of course,
with having two girls

that have never been found,

you want to find their location
for their families.

- Detectives at Hermosa Beach

wanted to have a rolling
surveillance of Norris.

- She was paid
to make certain responses.

She was having difficulty
following those directions.

- There was gasps
in the courtroom.

- He was dying.

He was a ball of emotions
and anxious and upset.

- When I first interviewed
Lawrence Bittaker in person

at San Quentin's death row,

I was 7 1/2 months pregnant.

I was, like, wobbling
on death row.

It was wild... even
the correctional officers

are looking at me,
like, "What are you doing?"

- When you're walking
into death row at San Quentin,

you're walking
across the yard...

people out there milling around.

Prisons are not
safe environments

for the other inmates,

for the correctional officers,
and once you're inside,

you don't have any control
over what happens to you.

- You're signing waivers
that say if there's a riot,

no one's gonna come for you
or fight for you.

It's not like a phone call
like you see in the movies.

It's a dog kennel-style cage,

and they padlock you in.

Two chairs and a little table,

and you're sitting there
just face-to-face.

The correction officers
brought Lawrence Bittaker down.

And I remember,
when he first saw me

and, like, how big I was,

like, his eyes bugged
out of his head.

He was so taken back.

He was kind of, like,
socially awkward, I remember.

We sat in the cage,

and he wouldn't even look at me
in the eye

for a good 2 1/2 hours.

He was that shy
when we first met.

But something inside of me
kept saying,

"Keep going back to this guy."

It was almost like an intuition.

There was something more
to be gained with him.

A couple months later,
I went to the hospital.

Bittaker was even on the phone
with me when I was in labor.

Bittaker had this love
for my son.

I think he almost sees himself

as, like, a surrogate father
for Romeo or grandfather.

It was Romeo's
first birthday party.

I had sent him a picture.

He would bring that picture
of him with all the balloons

and show it off
to everybody on the row.

I think he looked at Romeo and I

as, like, his only family.

He even put me down as
his next of kin in the will.

So, yeah, I would say

I definitely did the deepest
dive into Lawrence Bittaker.

- My experience with psychopaths

is that they don't bond
with other people.

The risks of thinking
you're getting really close

to someone who's like that

and giving up a lot
of personal information

to someone that's incarcerated
could be problematic.

You can't be 100% sure

that that information
won't compromise you.

- It is a tightrope
you're walking.

But, you know, the more and more

you're building that trust
and that relationship,

the more and more
you can push that envelope.

And you kind of see that develop

with my interviews
with Bittaker.

He had made me say
a couple promises to him,

and one of the promises
I made to him

was I would always be
a good mother.

He used to say to me, "If
I just had one good parent...

"if I had one good parent,

I wouldn't have become
this monster."

The third and fourth victims
of the Toolbox Killers

were Leah Lamp
and Jackie Gilliam.

- In 1979, I was 14 years old.

I met Jackie when she moved
into the apartment complex

next door to ours,

and we became fast friends.

Jackie was beautiful.
She was amazing.

This smile is so genuine.

Jackie stayed at my house a lot,

and we used to spend
a lot of time

taking the bus
to the Santa Monica Beach,

pretty much every day
in the summer.

One day she told me
that she was gonna go

to Redondo Beach
to stay with her stepsister,

and I never heard
from her again.

- Leah Lamp was 13.

She was very bright.

Had just finished
junior high school,

and she was ready to start
high school in the fall.

Her mother had
a new wardrobe for her,

and she was really looking
forward to it.

Jackie met Leah Lamp,
and they had become friends.

One day, Leah and Jackie
decided to go to the beach.

- Bittaker and Norris saw them

and came up and asked them
if they needed a ride.

- When they got into the van,

Norris and Bittaker
offered them a joint,

and they were sitting
in the back of the van

with Norris, smoking this joint.

That is when Norris
took a homemade sap.

- It was full of BBs,
really heavy.

And he hit Leah in the head
with it and knocked her out.

- While Leah was down,
he tried to grab Jackie.

- At some point,
Leah regained consciousness

and tried to get out of the van.

- It was on front
of tennis courts,

so people were playing tennis

and actually stopped,
looked over.

Leah Lamp jumped
out of the van, screaming.

- Bittaker stopped the van,
came around,

and slugged Leah in the face
as hard as he could,

knocking her back.

He turned to everybody and said,

"She's having a bad LSD trip."

- Leah Lamp was 13 years old,

and Jackie Gilliam
was 15 years old.

When they got into the van,
Norris took a homemade sap,

hit Leah Lamp over the back
of the head with it.

While Leah was down,
he then tried to grab Jackie.

- At some point,
Leah regained consciousness

and tried to get out of the van.

- Leah Lamp actually jumped
out of the van, screaming.

It was in front
of tennis courts.

So people were playing tennis

and actually stopped,
looked over.

- Bittaker stopped the van,
came around,

and slugged Leah in the face
as hard as he could,

knocking her back.

- He turned to everybody
and said,

"She's having a bad LSD trip.
I'm just taking her home."

They took the girls
up to San Gabriel Mountain.

- Bittaker told Jackie
that he was gonna rape her

and she better pretend
that she was enjoying it.

- Bittaker finds out
that she is a virgin,

and he wants to audio-record
the rape of a virgin.

So he took the audio recorder,

and when he was raping Jackie,
she was screaming.

That is not what he admitted
later in person.

You know, these girls
were scared out of their mind.

Sadists are getting off
on that fear.

That's what they love.
That's what they want to see.

- When Bittaker would talk

about the girls
went willingly with him,

he's trying to minimize
any responsibility

he has for these murders.

- There was a ton
of photographs taken

of Jackie Gilliam...
sexual acts with Bittaker.

What's really haunting
about the pictures

with Jackie Gilliam is,

you know, it's very clear

she has a black eye
in the pictures.

Her ankles are bound.
Her wrists are bound.

She's naked
in the back of a van.

And she has a smile on her face.

Bittaker forced her to smile

during these pictures
that he took of her.

- He showed some of these
photographs to other people,

so he had no sense
of what's appropriate

and what's not appropriate.

So he used it to masturbate,

and then he used it thinking
he was impressing people.

- Bittaker decides,
"Well, we don't have

"to go to work tomorrow,

so let's sleep
with the girls overnight."

- They slept in the van,
and they took shifts sleeping

and watching the girls.

- Bittaker was in the van.
Norris stood guard.

- Bittaker and Roy Norris
kept them the longest.

It was somewhere
around 48 hours.

- Eventually Bittaker decided

that he had had enough,
and so...

he cradled Jackie's head
in one hand,

took the ice pick
with the other hand,

and drove it into her ear canal,

into the brain.

Went to take it out,
but the handle came off.

- When Jackie's skull was found,

the ice pick was embedded
into the skull.

- And then they got
the girls' bodies

much the way they did
with Cindy,

and they tossed them
as far as they could

down this really steep ravine.

- Jackie Gilliam and Leah Lamp
were the only two victims

that were found
up on San Gabriel Mountain.

It was just partial remains
of their bones were recovered.

They told me she was tortured.

They told me there was
an ice pick stuck in her ear.

It wasn't a pretty picture,
the things they said.

- It's just devastating.

I remember one day,

Leah Lamp's mother
was in my office.

Her name was Myrna Carlisle.

And I said, "Myrna,
you don't look so good.

Have you been sleeping
all right?"

She said, "I don't sleep.

"I have two eight-hour jobs,

"one in the daytime
and one at night,

"because I can't go to sleep,
because if I sleep,

I have nightmares about
how my daughter was murdered."

And, oh, my gosh.

- I don't think at that age
I understood

really what was going on

until the detectives
started coming to my house.

It was horrible hearing
things like that

about one of my best friends.

Jackie didn't deserve that.

- Both Bittaker and Norris

knew that the police
had nothing on them

and that they were
not being looked for.

They started to feel invincible,

and they started
getting bolder and bolder.

- October 31, 1979...

Bittaker and Norris
were out looking for victims.

It was kind of late at night.

- They were away
from The Strand.

They were out in the Valley,

which was a deviation
from their normal pattern.

Shirley Lynette Ledford...

just a young girl

in the wrong place
at the wrong time.

- She was a 16-year-old girl
who lived in Burbank.

- She had a boyfriend.
Had a lot of friends.

- She was a wonderful person.

She just thought only
the best of people.

- Lynette had been
at a Halloween party.

- All the friends I've talked to

said they had
a great time at the party.

She was happy.

- She was hitchhiking home.

- Bittaker and Norris
spotted her.

- We picked her up
north of Burbank,

and she jumped right in.

I mean,
she wanted a ride somewhere.

Bittaker grabbed her
and threw her in the back.

He and I both
struggled with her.

You know, he pulled out a knife.

- She grabbed the knife blade

and cut her finger
pretty seriously.

- If you look
at Lynette Ledford...

It's showing
this progression of sadism

and how much worse
they are getting

with each and every murder.

- Shirley Lynette Ledford...

just a young girl in the wrong
place and the wrong time.

- Bittaker grabbed Lynette

and threw her
into the back of the van.

Bittaker had a knife.

She grabbed the knife blade

and cut her finger
pretty seriously.

- They were able to get her
bound in the back of the van.

They didn't bring her
to the mountains.

They brought her
to, like, a gravel dirt path,

somewhere isolated
but still in Burbank.

That's where they proceeded
to torture and rape her.

During the time of these rape
and torture,

Bittaker and Norris
are making her play along

that she likes it.

- Bittaker wasn't after
loving porn,

and I'm not even sure
what that phrase means.

This tape was gonna be used

for his own sexual gratification

after the attack had ended.

Bittaker would want
to listen to it again

as he thought about what
he had done to his victims.

- She was beaten
around the chest,

around the face.

- Bittaker raped her
and tortured her

with pliers and screwdriver.

He and Norris then traded spots.

Norris, to get her to scream,

hit her on the elbow
with a sledgehammer.

- They wanted to capture
the girl's scream,

and the girls' screams
is what got them off.

So, you know,
if she wasn't screaming

as loud enough as they wanted,

the torture kept getting
worse and worse.

- When Larry talks
about it being spontaneous,

it's an effort to take away
the criminality from it.

And yet, they have a van that
they purposely soundproofed.

They engaged
in predatory behavior.

- Roy Norris took a coat hanger

and wrapped it around her neck
and used pliers to twist it.

When they found her body

and took this metal
coat hanger off of her neck,

it was the size
of a silver dollar.

That's how much he had
twisted it around her neck.

- It was, like, getting late,

real late in the early morning.

I had to be back
to work at 7:30.

I had a long way to drive.

We finally just decided
that we'd just dump her off,

you know, probably
on somebody's lawn,

more than anything else,

to see what reaction
we would get in the papers,

'cause he wanted to know
how society would react to it,

I guess.

- The next day, the woman's
property who it was on,

she actually thought it was
a mannequin from Halloween.

Lynette was discarded there
for the purpose

of messing
with the cops and the press.

They wanted to get a reaction
from everybody.

There was a lot more girls
they were already stalking

and planning to attack
at this point.

One was an airline stewardess,

and one was a 13-year-old girl
in a residential neighborhood.

- I believe that Roy and Larry
would have continued

to kidnap, assault,
and torture young girls

until they got caught.

They would not have stopped.

- When Roy was in jail,

he became friends
with a guy named Joe Jackson.

One day, Roy tells Jackson
that he has been kidnapping,

raping, and murdering girls

all over the South Bay
with Lawrence Bittaker.

- Told me that he killed them

because this way
he could sleep at night

and not have to worry
about being identified.

- It disturbed, you know,
Jackson so much, so deeply

that even a serial rapist
himself went to the cops.

- Detectives at Hermosa Beach,

Paul Bynum and his partner,
Tom Cray,

got really interested
in these guys.

Bynum started thinking
more about it

and said, "You know,
this guy isn't smart enough

to cook up these facts."

And they wanted to have
a rolling surveillance

of Norris.

They followed Norris.

Norris stopped at a drugstore,

and he left a shopping bag
in the front seat, open.

Bynum looked in

and saw that the shopping bag
was full of marijuana.

So the police came up
and stuck a gun in his ear,

said, "I'm putting you under
arrest for parole violation,"

and that meant that they could
search Norris' residence.

And, boy, did they find a lot
in Norris' residence.

They found about
500 photographs of young women

taken in supermarket
parking lots,

women's gyms, girls walking
home from high school.

- Every one of these photographs

represents a potential victim.

- They also found the photograph

of the girl who was nude
from the waist up,

with her hands folded
behind her head,

who we now know
is Jackie Gilliam.

While they were there,
Bittaker called and said,

"Well, where's Norris?"

And somebody said,

"Oh, well, he's up on the roof
fixing his antenna."

Well, Bittaker thought
that there was something fishy,

so he hurriedly cleaned out
his van.

- The photographs, the tapes...

he does an entire sweep
of this van.

He got rid of everything.

When they were doing a search
at Norris' duplex,

they found a little card
that said "the Scott's Motel,"

with Bittaker's name on it.

So they sent over
the Burbank PD that night.

They kicked in his door
and his window.

He was in the shower
when they arrested him.

- The Sheriff's Department

identified Roy Norris
and Lawrence Bittaker...

- Raping and murdering
five teenage girls.

- The evil
that these guys caused,

it really captured the fear
of the city of Los Angeles.

- Teenagers brutally attacked.

- Just a lot more careful
about where I go.

- I'm afraid to be
walking down the street.

- I got a call
that Bynum and Cray had a case

that they wanted me to review,

and I saw the name Roy Norris,
and I thought,

"Wait, but he got sent
to prison,

"three years to life.

That can't be the same one."

- One of the suspects,
32-year-old Roy Lewis Norris,

has implicated
Lawrence Simon Bittaker.

- It was kind of
like pulling teeth,

but Norris eventually
signed an agreement

that he could plead guilty
to all of the murders,

and he would get a sentence
of 45 years to life,

and he would have to lead us
to the bodies of the victims.

Norris, of course, was the one
leading the searches,

because he knew, supposedly,
where the bodies were.

Searches in January
didn't find anything.

Went searching
on the 8th of February.

Didn't find anything.

And then on the 9th,
with the help

of the Sierra Madre
Search and Rescue Team,

we climbed down
this incredibly steep ravine,

about 300 feet down.

That's where the remains
of Jackie and Leah were found.

- It was
partial skeletal remains,

only, you know, a few months
after they had been killed.

Jackie Gilliam had the ice pick

embedded in the skull.

- Bittaker was not
that cooperative.

He said he wanted to talk.
He waived his rights.

And he just said,
"You ain't got sh..."

- Bittaker stripped
this entire van clean,

but he had missed one thing...

the Ledford tape
in the cassette player.

- It was like something
that none of us

had ever heard before.

I mean,
it was the tape recording

of an actual murder.

- The Sheriff's Department

identified Roy Norris
and Lawrence Bittaker

as the main suspects
in five local rape-murders.

- The jury of seven women
and five men

is expected to get the case
on Wednesday.

- The Bittaker trial
was the first case

in California history

that they allowed cameras
in the courtroom,

over the objection
of the defense.

Bittaker did not want
those cameras in the courtroom.

His attorneys didn't want them
in the courtroom.

But the judge, Fredericks,

said, "No, this is
too important."

Every newspaper,
every television station

had a reporter covering it.

- Norris, you'll recall,
pleaded guilty

to all the charges and agreed
to testify against Bittaker

in order to avoid
the death penalty.

- Bittaker pled not guilty.

Did I think
I was gonna get a conviction?

Well, I hoped I would,

but it was not
a foregone conclusion.

- The trial is expected
to take two months.

Bittaker could get the
death penalty if convicted.

- These were all
wonderful girls.

I had their pictures on a board

when I was giving
my opening statement,

'cause I wanted the jurors
to get to know

what these girls
were like in life.

- It was scary... scary.

I was uncomfortable
in the courtroom

looking at Lawrence Bittaker.

And I hated him
for what he had done.

- Norris said he didn't want
to kill the girl,

but said he was too afraid

of alleged accomplice
Lawrence Bittaker not to.

- Norris was responsible
for his own actions,

and he's lying about all of it.

- Roy's version of the crimes,
a lot of times,

is very, very different
than Bittaker's.

- The defense attorneys
came to me first

because Larry was nice to me

and wanted me to testify
on his behalf.

They subpoenaed me.

I begged them
to not make me say...

In front of the camera

that he was nice to me.

Tracee Lee Peña...


I remember them
asking about the gun

and me talking about the gun.

And he was pissed
because I brought that up.

He was really pissed.

And I thought, "He's gonna
kill me in the courtroom."

Like, you know,
that's what's gonna happen.

- Oh, I thought about killing
Lawrence Bittaker at the trial.

I would dream that I had a gun,

and I snuck it
into the courtroom.

- This afternoon,
in a surprise move,

Bittaker took the stand
in his own defense.

- Basically
Bittaker's defense was,

"I didn't do it.
It was the other guy," right?

"It was Norris."

- Mr. Norris and another party

took turns raping her.

Mr. Norris killed her

with two hammer blows
to the head.

- Bittaker's defense
was that he didn't do it,

that Norris was the killer,

and was trying to blame him.

He said
that he wasn't even there

when Cindy Schaefer
was murdered.

- Have you ever seen
that young lady in person?

- No, sir.

- You ever taken
any photographs of this girl?

- No, sir.

- He said Andrea Hall

agreed to sex for $200.

- If she was bound and gagged,
as Mr. Norris states,

she wouldn't be able to hit me.

- He said Jackie Gilliam
agreed to $600

to pose in the photographs
of her taped up.

- She was paid
to make certain responses.

She was having difficulty
following those directions.

- And that Lynette Ledford
was drug-crazed.

- I cannot explain the actions

of a intoxicated individual
who's on PCP.

- He never said, "God, I wish
Norris hadn't don't that."

You know?

"I wish I had known.
I could've stopped him."

None of that.

- The main thing
I had going for me

was the Lynette Ledford
torture tape.

Nobody has ever had a piece
of evidence like that.

- The most dramatic moments
of the trial

are expected
to come on Wednesday,

when a tape recording
of the torture

of the fifth murder victim
will be played to the jury.

- Stephen warned me.

He says, "You know,
this is gonna be pretty heavy."

They begin to play the tape.

Now, I'm not even gonna try
to explain how bad it was.

But just let
your imagination think...

of the worst thing
you've ever heard,

because this poor girl
is just begging for her life.

- The tape was one of the worst
things I've ever heard

in my entire
professional career.

It should never see
the light of day.

It is very, very,
very upsetting.

And, frankly,
it involves the torture

of an innocent young woman.

And, so, at her expense,

it should never, ever be played
for an audience.

- I looked over to the jurors,
and they were in shock.

- Two of the jurors
openly started to cry.

Maybe half a dozen people
sitting in the audience

just got up and left.

- The courtroom artist
ran out in tears.

- I just never heard
anything like that in my life.

I've never heard screams
like that.

I don't know.
It was bad.

- As the tape is being played,

Larry is basically looking down
at a transcript of the tape.

He's reading along with it.
People are crying.

People are leaving
the courtroom.

Everything around him

is kind of turning
into this chaotic scene,

and these screams
are piercing through the air.

He's dead-focused,
with no emotion on his face.

- I can tell you that
for two years after the trial,

I would have
a recurring nightmare

of hearing the girls scream

and running to try and save them

and always getting there
too late,

seeing the results
of ice picks in the head

and fractured skulls

and nipples ripped off
and everything.


you know, I was very depressed.

I won't lie about it.

I didn't have to take

after the Manson trial,

but I did
after the Bittaker trial.

I'm sorry.

- I think when Bittaker
took the stand...

I think that 138 IQ of his

in the opposite direction.

I think he truly thought
that he could get up there

on the stand and convince
the jurors that it wasn't him.

- She's saying,
"Don't touch me."

She's not screaming.
She's not crying.

She's not sobbing.

- I asked him,
"Would you please describe

"for the ladies and gentlemen
of the jury

what we hear on the tape
of Lynette Ledford?"

And he said,
"Oh, it was just pillow talk."

- Mr. Norris was interested
in having the sounds

of domination or fear.

I wanted some sounds of...

pillow talk or...

kind of dirty talk.

- That this was all a setup,

that it was just pillow talk.

She was playing along
and screaming,

and he had paid her to do that.

- I just told her I liked
hearing that type of thing,


I hadn't... didn't have a tape
at that time of such a thing,

so I asked her
if she would make one for me.

- There was gasps
in the courtroom.

- And you almost felt
like laughing in his face.

And then when he broke down
and started crying,

it was as if we were
watching this farce.

For him to all of a sudden
have crocodile tears

running down his face,

nobody bought it.

Nobody bought it.

He was the murderer.
He was the torturer.

He was the bad guy.

- It took the jury
of seven women and five men

less than 2 1/2 days
of deliberation

to convict Bittaker
of 26 counts,

including kidnapping,
rape, torture, and murder.

- Going for the death penalty
was only partially my decision.

It had to be okayed
by the District Attorney,

who was against
capital punishment,

but this case was so egregious
that he agreed

that we should seek
the death penalty.

If the death penalty
isn't proper in this case,

when would it ever be proper?

- The jury went in the room

and just looked around
and just nodded.

- Lawrence Sigmund Bittaker
should be put to death

by administration of lethal gas.

- They were unanimous
within 60 seconds,

giving him the death penalty.

- In 1978, the voters
had overwhelmingly approved

the death penalty.

But you had a very liberal
Supreme Court at that time.

You had a liberal governor.

It was always thought maybe,
with the appeals process,

it wasn't going to happen.

And it ultimately didn't.

- Bittaker sat on death row,

playing bridge and chess.

I was planning on going
up there at his execution

and holding up the photographs
of the five girls.

But I never got that chance.

It was a terrible case
to live through.

I mean, Paul Bynum,
who was the investigator

who broke the case,

ended up committing suicide,

and he left a suicide note

saying that he felt

that Bittaker and Norris
would get out

and Bittaker
would come after him

and that if he killed himself

that maybe Bittaker would let

his wife and daughter live.

- He called me and said
he had cancer.

It was serious, and it was a ton

of different types of cancer

spreading throughout
his whole body.

- I had pulled out my notes,

and I said, "Let's do, like,
a little round of fact-check."

I was like, "The remains
of Cindy and Andrea

"have not been found
to this day.

He's like, "Yes."

And then I'm, like,
about to go to my next point,

and he just grabs the paper
and the pen,

and he starts drawing a map
of the San Gabriel Mountains

and saying Norris gave
the wrong location for Cindy.

It's about a mile off
from where she actually was.

Then he's like, "Oh, he's
so wrong about Andrea."

So he's drawing this,

and he's, like,
telling me as he's drawing it.

I messaged Andrea Hall's sister,

and I said,
"I know where your sister is."

And she called me.

She's like,
"We've never given up hope."


it was just...

how hard I fought to get
this information from him...

And just
hearing her say, like...

Just hearing her say, you know,
"We've never given up hope,"

it just made it all worth it

to get this information
to the families.

- The area was never searched.

Stephen Kay said
they had searched near there

but not that area.

So my hope is to find
my sister and bring her home.

- Laura's approach to Larry

was certainly different
than my approach.

But it could have been effective

on several different levels.

It sounds like he did
give her information

that he certainly
had not given to me.

But now it becomes important

to be able to verify
what he did say to her.

- One night
Bittaker had a series

of heart attacks
during the night,

and he had his heart medication

he was popping
all through the night.

He was dying.

He was a ball of emotions
and anxious and upset.

- And he was really, you know,

starting to process
what he had done.

I think that's when
it all started to hit him.

- Friday the 13th, 2019,

I had just returned from
California from seeing him.

I got a call
that he passed away.

I was sad.

You know, this is someone I've
talked to every single day.

We had a friendship. We did
have an authentic friendship.

It's been a profound,
profound experience.

2 1/2 months
right after Bittaker,

Roy Norris died
of natural causes.

So many people
called them soul mates,

and you got to wonder.

They died
like an old, married couple,

like they couldn't live
without each other.

- When I heard Bittaker
and Norris had died,

I was shocked but happy...


I'm sorry that it took so long.

- My mother said, in order
for her to heal herself,

that she forgave

Lawrence Bittaker
and Roy Norris.

Personally, I can't do that.
I cannot forgive them.

- It's taken me my whole...

rest of my life
to deal with this...

that somebody...

that was kind to me,

that I trusted...

Was hurting young girls.

- If anybody deserved
the death penalty,

it was Lawrence Bittaker.

I'm glad that he was kept
alive, though,

because we've learned so much,
I believe,

about psychopathy
and sadism from him.

It's a challenge
to try to find that humanity.

But I would definitely say
that I did see some human

in him in our time
and in our interviews together.

I do think
he was developing feelings,

'cause I don't think it was
just to manipulate me

or to tell me
what I wanted to hear.

- I don't believe a man
at that late stage of life

is gonna turn over a new leaf.

I believe that he tried
to convince Laura

that he had empathy because
he liked to have her visit.

It was companionship.

- He was actually proud
of being psychopathic.

He was proud
of not being controlled

by the kinds of emotions

that non-psychopathic
people have.

Do I think he just shredded
his psychopathy

and became a feeling,
loving human being?

Based on my experience,
my background, and training,

I do not.

- A lot of people might be like,

"He doesn't deserve kindness.

He doesn't deserve empathy
from anybody," you know.

And that's fine for people
to have that perception.

I just know that
I'm gonna live my life

with empathy and compassion
for everyone,

and I'm gonna have no regrets
at the end of my life.