EPISODE 3: The Tool Box Killers

EPISODE 3: The Tool Box Killers

Two serial killers team up, committing violent acts against women and earning the nickname ‘The Tool Box Killers’ due to their barbaric methods of torture.

Roy Norris was arrested after telling a friend about the murders. That friend had told police who put the suspect under surveillance. Soon they were able to arrest him on the possession of marijuana. Whilst in custody, they asked him about the crimes he had boasted to his friend about. Roy Norris quickly asked to see the prosecutor. He wanted to make a deal in return for his testimony. He said if he was spared the death penalty he would tell them everything and take police to the bodies of four of the girls. 

The deal was set. 

This is Norris’ confession… 

On June 24, 1979, Lawrence Bittaker and Norris were driving the van they alter dubbed “Murder Mac” along the Pacific Coast Highway in Redondo Beach, when they saw sixteen year old Lucinda (Cindy) Schaefer, walking along the highway towards the home she was staying at, following bible class. The men slowed down as they watched her turn onto a residential street.

Norris confession: “As he was driving around the block, he told me about this young blonde walking on the northbound he had spotted on the pacific coast highway. She looked cute to him, ‘bout the right age and all, 16 or 17 and blonde. I prefer blondes.”

Bittaker drove up to the young woman and offered her a ride, but she refused and kept walking, so the men drove off in the van, stopping further along the street. Norris got out and pretended to be repairing it, busying himself in the back.  

“Well, it was my decision on whether or not to try and grab her and make her a victim. I waited for her to walk past me. She didn’t, of course, didn’t expect anything. She just walked right on by.  

When Cindy walked past the van, 

“I ran behind her and grabbed her. Put my hand over her mouth.”

A charcoal drawing Norris sent of himself to Amanda Howard

He then dragged her into the side door of the van before she could fight.  He slammed the door shut behind him and Bittaker sped away. In the back of the van Norris bound and gagged the victim with duct tape. 

“The moment we were inside the van, Larry drove off in a hurry. Larry turned up the volume of the radio so that any screams would be drowned out by the radio…. “She said her name was Cindy. I asked how old she was, she said she was fifteen. I asked where she lived. She said she lived in Rodondo beach with her grandmother and that her mother was in Mexico City”. 

They drove away from Rodondo beach and onto a fire trail in the mountains. 

“When we initially pulled up to the gate, Larry got out and unlocked the gate. I drove the van through the gate and around the first bend and stopped.  Bittaker came back to the van and told me to get in the back and get the girl ready. .. well undress her and tell her that she was gonna get raped. She said she would do anything as long as we didn’t hurt her. Larry suggested that I rape her first as I was the one who took all the risk [abducting her]. I began my rape of Cindy.”

Norris raped Schaefer while Bittaker stood lookout, ensuring that no other cars came along the rarely used fire trail. Bittaker then raped her before Norris attacked her for a second time. 

At trial, Bittaker claimed Cindy displayed a magnificent state of self-control and composed acceptance of the conditions of which she had no control. She shed no tears, offered no resistance and expressed no great concern for her safety … I guess she knew what was coming.” 

They then made her perform oral sex on each of them whilst they took photos of her in various explicit poses. 

“I tried to tell her I was sorry for what I had done, for what we had done. I told her I would pay her. I wrote down my name on a sheet of paper and my address and phone number. In case she ever needed anything that I could do to pay her back.” 

She asked Norris if the men intended to kill her, 

“I said, ‘No’”

However Cindy knew that she was most likely about to die and asked if she could pray before they killed her.  The men then fought for ninety minutes over the repercussions of killing her. Norris had a fear of the death penalty and Bittaker told him that what they had already done was enough to get them the death penalty and she had to die so that she could not identify them. They told her that she was going to die. 

Cindy got down to pray but Bittaker instantly grabbed her 

Bittaker held Cindy while Norris tried to strangle her, but when he tried to change his grip Cindy and Bittaker fell backwards onto the ground. Bittaker dropped his cigarette, which burnt a hole in his shirt and left a burn on his chest. Bittaker then got on top of the teen and attempted to strangle her, but was unable to squeeze tightly enough. She chocked and gagged but did not die.

Bittaker then took a coathanger, and looped it around her neck. Norris was told to choke her with it but he could not get the hanger tight enough to stop her airways, so Bittaker grabbed a pair of pliers from his tool box and slowly twisted the coathanger until Cindy stopped breathing. They then wrapped the girl’s body in a plastic shower curtain and threw the body over a ravine. 

Her body would never be found. 

Only ten days after the murder of Cindy Schaefer, on Independence Day, July 4, 1979, Bittaker and Norris set out to find their next victim. They spotted hitchhiker eighteen year old Andrea Hall and turned the van around but before they could offer her a ride, another man picked her up. However, not to be deterred Bittaker and Norris followed the car to Redondo Beach, where Hall got out and resumed hitchhiking.  Her plan was to head to her boyfriend’s home. 

“He told me to go and get in the back at that point. I went to the rear of the van, hid underneath the bed in the van and behind the green bedspread that was hanging all the way down to the floor. Larry continued to pull over and ask Andrea if she wanted a ride, she said yes, and got in.” 

Bittaker offered her a ride. After she entered the van Bittaker used their code words of offering the girl a drink from the cooler in the back,  that was Norris’ cue to act. 

“He finally asked her if she wanted something cold to drink.  I was looking through the bedspread – as much as I could see through it – and she opened the cooler and grabbed a drink of some type. I came out from underneath the bedspread and she saw me. She began to scream and made a mad dash for the front of the van. 

Norris, who had been hiding in the back, attacked her and after a fight managed to bind and gag her. When she tried to fight back, Bittaker twisted her arm up her back, almost breaking it. The pain subdued her. 

“She finally quit struggling and she would do anything we wanted as long as we didn’t hurt her.”

They drove into the mountains, passing the place where Schaefer was killed. 

According to Norris, Bittaker said “because you (Norris) were first last time I want to go first this time.”

Norris got out of the van and stood guard on the fire trail while Bittaker raped Andrea before Norris then took his turn.  They then drove to a new location. Bittaker took their victim up a small hill, maintaining communication with Norris by walkie-talkie. 

“He said he wanted to rape her again and take more photos.” 

Bittaker returned two hours later having spent the time alone with his victim, repeatedly raping and torturing her. He showed Norris eight photographs he had taken of Andrea being raped and performing oral sex as well as various nude poses, all choreographed by Bittaker.  

Bittaker then drove to another place after a car had come along the fire trail and said he wanted to rape Andrea again. Again he took her to a hill just off the side of the road to assault her more.

“I told him I wanted to get home earlier that night than I had the night with Cindy. He told me to pull into a spot where he would park, on the right side of the road. He got Andrea out the side of the van and had her holding a lot of items. He opened up his tool box and took out the ice pick. He made a motion for me to look at it but not to say anything. 

So Norris drove to a local store, but kept in contact with Bittaker via walkie talkie.

When he returned, Bittaker was alone. 

“When I picked him up he had already taken care of business. 

He told Norris he had taken more pictures.  Bittaker had taken took 2 specific photos of Andrea before he killed her. He showed Norris and said

“This is where I told her I was going to kill her… she had a look of desperation on her face.”

He had then taken off her gagged and told her to beg him not to kill her and give him a good enough reason to spare her life. Apparently her answers did not sway him.  Bittaker had then killed Andrea by thrusting an ice pick through her ear and into her brain. When she did not die instantly, he turned her over and pushed the pick through the other ear, and stepped on the handle of it until it broke. 

To then make sure she was dead he strangled her until she finally expired. He then threw the body over an embankment.

On September 2, 1979, Jacqueline Gilliam, age 15, and Leah Lamp, 13, were hitchhiking in Redondo Beach.

“We pulled over to the bus stop where these girls were standing I asked them if they wanted a ride and they said yes.” 

 Bittaker and Norris picked them up in their van that was now kitted out as a place to rape and torture their victims.  

“I got out of the van, opened the sliding door on the side and they both jumped in on the floor. I shut the door, Bittaker pulled away from the kerb and started toward the beach on Pier Ave” 

The pair then diverted the van and drove away from the beach with their victims in the back, they had already begun planning their next move.  

“Larry nodded to me that the littlest one which was Jacky, of course, he wanted her as a victim.  I wanted her as a victim also, she looked young and cute. I asked the girls if they wanted anything to drink. So I got outta the passenger seat walked to the rear of the van where the cooler was at”

Then the terror began.

“I picked up a homemade sap and struck Leah on the right side of her head. I swung pretty hard I thought and I expected her to be knocked out for a coupla hours so I didn’t put any real value on her at all as far as causing any problems and I immediately grabbed Jacky.” 

However Leah soon recovered consciousness and attempted to escape

“Leah got up and made a mad dash for the side  door. I yelled to Larry and he hit the brakes on the van and ran around the front. By that time Leah had had the side door open and was getting ready to jump out and he hit her, punch her and she fell back inside.  She was screaming. I mean she was hysterical. … she was saying don’t hurt me I don’t want to be hit again. I taped up Jacky and gagged her and then I taped up Leah and I gagged her. 

Neither Bittaker nor Norris was sexually interested in Leah. 

“Leah was quiet throughout most of the ordeal (she had been drugged) and every time I looked at her she looked like she was pleading or something with me. I didn’t like to look at her.”

Both of the predators were more interested in Jacky who they learned was a virgin, Bittaker got out his tape recorder to record her cries during the rape. 

“He just asked me to get the tape recorder, which I did. He said he wanted to tape the raping of a virgin.” 

For the next two and half hours Bittaker raped Jacky capturing it on the tape recorder whilst Norris took polaroids of the attack. 

According to Bittaker he said: “I can see that you’re in pain while I’m doing this so feel free to express your agony.” 

Jacky’s response: But you told me to act like I am enjoying it. 

Bittaker: that’s ok, scream your head off. 

Bittaker made Jacky pretend to be his cousin whilst he raped her. During the attack she was brutally beaten and had a black eye and swollen face. 

“Larry slapped her, hard enough to leave a red impression on the left side of her face. He told her that was kinda to give her an idea of what would happen if he caught her in a lie. At that point she said that she wasn’t thirteen but fifteen.” 

After Bittaker finished, Norris also raped Jacky several times. 

“At one point in the evening, I suggested that if and when he killed her to do it quickly. Because she had been so helpful during this whole thing. He said he didn’t really see any reason for doing it quickly since they only die once anyway.”  

 Then they decided to tie up both girls again so they could rest. 

“We talked about her, the pain she had gone through, that we would give her a period of time to rest before we raped her again. We would get some sleep and he would sleep next to Jacky.” 

The next morning Bittaker took Leah up a hill on the side of the road, and took some photographs of her in explicit poses and then left her there alone and tied to a tree. 

He then returned to where Norris was and asked him to take more photos of him with Jacky during many more hours of sexual torture.  

Bittaker then retrieved Leah before he headed into town for some food. 

Upon returning, Bittaker took more nude photographs of him raping Jacky. He also tortured her by stabbing her in the breasts with the ice pick.

Bittaker then took Jacky out of the van and killed her, first thrusting an ice pick through her ear into her brain, then choking her. Bittaker returned to the van woke Leah from her drug induced sleep and bashed her head in with sledgehammer. 

They thought the thirteen year old was dead, but then she opened her eyes, so Bittaker then choked her while Norris continued to strike her with the hammer until they were sure she was dead. The men threw both bodies over an embankment into a ravine. 

Late in the evening on October 31, 1979, Bittaker and Norris picked up Shirley Ledford, age 16, who was hitchhiking home from her job after a fun Halloween day. 

“We were on our way back to our hotel when some girl called out “hey” and Larry looked out his window, slowed down real fast and burned a u-turn we went back. I asked if she wanted a ride and she said “yeah”… We continued in the same direction she was going and she told Larry to turn left at one point at an intersection the road turned into a dirt road and almost immediately Larry hit the brakes on the van. 

Bittaker drove to a secluded area, stopped, and drew a knife. Norris then moved into the driver’s seat. 

“I was told to get into the driver’s seat and drive and try to get onto a freeway. I got on the freeway, I turned the radio on and he climbed up in the front and he turned the radio down real low and he got his tape recorder…. 

Bittaker turned on his tape recorder. As Norris drove, he could hear screams coming from the back of the van. 

The transcript of the tape recording shows the horrifying hours the girl was subjected to rape and torture. Bittaker slaps the girl in the face as the recording starts. 

Bittaker: Say something girl, huh? Huh?
Shirley: What do you want me to say?
Bittaker: Huh, huh? Say something, girl! Don’t you hit me? Huh, huh?
Bittaker: Say something girl. Huh?
Shirley: Ouch! 

Shirley screams

Bittaker: Say something! C’mon! You can scream louder than that, can’t you? Huh? What’s the matter, don’t you like to scream? 

Bittaker slaps her repeatedly, Shirley screams

Shirley: Oh no!
Bittaker: What’s the matter, huh? You want to try again?
Shirley: (Screaming) Oh no! Don’t touch me! No!
Bittaker: Huh? You want to try again?
Shirley: On no, don’t touch me! No don’t touch me. No! No! No! No! No!
Bittaker: Want to try again?
Shirley: No, no, no, no, no, no, no! 

Shirley is hysterically crying

Shirley: No, don’t touch me! 

Shirley tries to wrap herself into a ball so he can’t hit her. 

Bittaker: Roll over girl.
Shirley: No don’t touch me!
Bittaker: Roll over!
Shirley: Don’t touch me. 

Bittaker slaps her again

Bittaker: Start getting to work, girl!
Shirley: Don’t touch me!
Bittaker: Start getting to work girl!
Shirley: Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me!
Bittaker: Get to work, girl!
Shirley: Don’t touch me.
Bittaker: Roll over. I’m not asking you; I’m telling you!
Bittaker: Roll over! C’mon, C’mon, C’mon! What are you doing? What are you doing?
Shirley: Huh?
Bittaker: What are you doing?
Shirley: I’m not doing anything; I’m trying to do what you wanted me to do.
Bittaker: What did I want you to do?
Shirley: Suck on it.
Bittaker: Suck on what?
Shirley: This.
Bittaker: What’s this?
Shirley: Your dick.
Bittaker: Yeah? Say it.
Shirley: Your dick.
Bittaker: You’re sucking on my dick?
Shirley: That’s what you wanted me to do?
Bittaker: Is that what you’re doing?
Shirley: Yes, I was.
Bittaker: Tell me.
Shirley: Yes.
Bittaker: Tell me what are you doing?
Shirley: I’m sucking on your dick.
Bittaker: Do you want to do it?
Shirley: You want me to?
Bittaker: You want to, girl? Do you want to suck my dick baby? Huh, huh, hey? Start answering me! 

(Bittaker punches and beats her).

Shirley: Yes.
Bittaker: Tell me.
Shirley: Yes.
Bittaker: Beg me.
Shirley: Yes.
Bittaker: What, hey what do you want girl?
Shirley: I want to suck on your dick.
Bittaker: You don’t sound like you really mean it.  

Bittaker slaps Shirley across the face multiple times

Shirley: I do.
Bittaker: Suck on it then! C’mon start sucking on it. No matter what you can do, squeeze hard you understand, and if it hurts any time you want to scream, go ahead and scream.
Shirley: Oh no! 

She screams hysterically

Bittaker: Scream, baby! Go ahead and scream! Scream, baby!

The abuse continues. Bittaker continues to make Shirley perform oral sex on him whilst he beats her. He punches her in the face, and beats her breasts. 

Not happy with her screaming, Bittaker takes his pliers from the tool kill box and he grabs her labia and begins twisting the flesh whilst Shirley screams in pain which excites Bittaker even more, encouraging him to up the brutality. He clamps the pliers on Shirley’s clitoris, and her nipples.  She continues to scream through the torture. 

Shirley: My God! Please stop it!
Bittaker: Is the recorder going?
Norris: Yeah!
Bittaker: Scream baby! Scream some, baby.
Shirley: I can’t!
Bittaker: Scream some more baby. Come baby. Come on. Nobody is going to hurt you. Turn over and talk to me nice. Love me. You want nothing more in the world than to make me cum. Huh?
Shirley: That’s right
Bittaker: Say it again baby. What do you want huh? What do you want?
Shirley: Your cock.
Bittaker: Where do you want it baby, huh?
Shirley: I want to hold it and squeeze it.
Bittaker: Why?
Shirley: It feels good, cause you like it and I like it.
Bittaker: You want me to cum baby.
Shirley: Oh yeah. 

Bittaker beats her. 

Bittaker: You want me to cum, yeah? Want me to come, tell me baby. 

Shirley: Yeah.
Bittaker: Tell me!
Shirley: Yeah.
Bittaker: Huh?
Shirley: Oh yeah.
Bittaker: Hey girl, you want me to put a pair of pliers up your cunt?
Shirley: What?
Bittaker: You want to make me cum huh? You want to make me cum huh? Want to make me cum girl, huh?

He slaps her again and she screams.

Shirley: Oh yes
Bittaker: Yes what?
Shirley: I want you to cum. Cum. Come on.

Shirley begins screaming hysterically as Bittaker inserts the pliers her had used on her clitoris into her vagina. He opens and closes then, twisting and pulling at her flesh, tearing her inside.

Bittaker: Stop screaming at me, come on talk to me!
Shirley: Cum, cum, cum. Please cum, cum, cum, cum.
Bittaker: Where do you want me to cum, baby?
Shirley: I want you to cum.
Bittaker: Where do you want me to cum?
Shirley: I want you to cum.
Bittaker: Where do you want me to cum?
Shirley: Your cock. I want you to cum.
Bittaker: Cum where?
Shirley: Cum.
Bittaker: Cum where? Where do you want me to cum?
Shirley: In me.
Bittaker: Where?
Shirley: Cum.
Bittaker: Where?
Shirley: All over. All over.

She screams hysterically as he again assaults her with the pliers and then sodomises her. 

Shirley: No, no, no, no, no, no.
Bittaker: Is the recorder going?
Norris: What?
Bittaker: Is the recorder going?
Norris: Yeah!
Shirley: Oh no, no, no! Oh no!

Shirley is now sodomised with the pliers, Bittaker rams them into her anus and again opens and twists them insider her tearing at her insides and causing her incredible pain. 

Shirley: No! No! No! Ow, No! 

After two hours of raping and torturing the young girl, Bittaker turned off the recorder and changed places with Norris. 

Norris forced Shirley to perform oral sex on him after realising that Bittaker has torn apart her vagina and anus with the pliers. He is pissed off but wants to also record his assault of Shirley on tape. He beats her as she fellates him. 

Norris: Make noise there, girl. Go ahead and scream or I’ll make you scream!
Shirley: I’ll scream if you stop hitting me!
Norris: Oh yeah?

Shirley screams and it excites the killer. 

Norris: Keep it up girl! More! ‘Till I say stop!

Norris grabs the sledge hammer from their kill tool box. 

Shirley: Ow no! No! Ow! 

She screams over and over as he hits her in the elbow with the hammer. 

Shirley: You broke it!
Norris: I barely hit it.
Shirley: Don’t hit me again!
Norris: Oh yeah?

He hits her with the hammer repeatedly as she screams and begs him to stop. 

Norris: How’s that?
Bittaker: What’s going on?
Norris: I was just beating on her elbows with the hammer.
Bittaker: Ah!
Shirley: Ow! 

Shirley screams again as Norris continues striking her elbow with the sledgehammer. 

Norris: What are you sniveling about?

She continues screaming and begging him to stop. 

When Norris finished torturing Shirley, Bittaker told him he had to kill her as he had killed the other four. 

Norris strangled the victim with a coat hanger. He had pulled the coat hanger so tight around her throat that the diameter of the metal ring was only about 3 inches. 

Bittaker suggested dumping the body in someone’s front yard so they could see the reaction in the newspaper. They put Ledford’s body in a bed of ivy in a suburban neighbourhood, where it was discovered by an early morning jogger.

Following Norris’ confession, he took a deal and pleaded guilty to four counts of first degree murder and one count of second degree murder and two counts of rape, plus other lesser charges.  In return for his confession and testimony against Bittaker he received a sentence of forty-five years and has been eligible for parole since 2010 but for not applying in 2009, his next date will be in 2019.  He will be 71. 

Bittaker went to trial where he pleaded not guilty, however on March 24, 1981 after 90 minutes deliberation he was found guilty of the five first degree murders and sentenced to death. He remains on death row with no execution date set.  

TRANSCRIPT

The last words Shirley Lynette Ledford spoke at the end of her short life were, “Do it. Just kill me!”

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