Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

LA Forensics: Mysterious Confession

A Little

In 1993, the Los Angeles Times published a feature article about Lancaster. The story wasn't about murder; it was about sticks, hand-carved walking sticks.

Lancaster had been carving elaborate walking sticks for years. He had started back in Kentucky, where he either gave them to friends or sold them for a pittance. After returning to Los Angeles following his second failed marriage, Lancaster found a new market for his custom-made canes.

"You can lean on it, take the weight off for a little while," Lancaster was quoted as saying. "And a lot of people, when they walk they have dogs botherin' 'em, and they can use a stick to wave 'em off. And if somebody tries to rob you, you got protection. I love makin' 'em, and I love seein' 'em in people's hands, so I sell 'em cheap."

A photo that ran with the Times article showed Lancaster wearing a straw hat and red suspenders. He sported a seashell necklace and a single earring. His clothing and jewelry, combined with his mop of white hair and long white beard, gave him the look of a Southern California Santa Claus, one who maybe rides a surfboard instead of driving a sleigh.

He looked nothing like the coldblooded killer he really was.

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