Nabbed in Mexico
Luster's decision to flee was not made on the spur of the moment.
He forwarded his mail, withdrew funds from stock accounts, arranged for care of his dog and packed like a man planning an around-the-world trip.
But freedom proved fleeting.
Authorities suspected that he had gone to Mexico, where he once owned a beach house and often spent time on surfing vacations.
Less than six months after he vanished, on June 18, 2003, professional bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman seized Luster in the Mexican resort town of Puerto Vallarta.
He was hustled back to the United States the next day and soon found himself in California's Wasco State Prison.
Chapman was tipped by an American tourist couple that Luster was living in Mexico under the David Carrera.
His life on the lam wasn't so different from the way he lived in California.
He slept near the ocean, staying at cheap hotels. He surfed during the day and spent his nights cruising clubs.
After Luster was apprehended, reporters snooping around Puerto Vallarta discovered that he had left behind in his hotel room a journal with several disturbing entries. Under the bold, underlined heading "PAYBACK," Luster had carefully etched in ink the names of the three victims of his attacks.
The journal indicated Luster was still in a state of deep denial about his fault and culpability in the rapes.
The Ventura County Star reported that Luster wrote this creepy passage — referring to himself in the third person — under the "Payback" rubric, apparently referring to police and prosecutors:
"They were trying to do him in for having sex with two of his past girlfriends, lock him up forever for being with two girls he had slept with over 100 times each. Yes they were in an extreme state of inebriation and a vid(eo). But this, as any actively sexual person (player) knows, is not outside the grounds of ethical play."
Elsewhere, the journal gave graphic evidence that Luster's twisted libido was still raging. He had jotted down pickup lines — in Spanish.