Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods
Serial Killers Killed in Prison
Thor Nis Christiansen
Thor Nis Christiansen
Thor Nis Christiansen was a California serial killer and necrophile who was convicted of killing 3 white female hitchhikers in Isla Vista, Calif., (map with Isla Vista, Calif. locator shown) and one African-American woman in Los Angeles, all with a .22 caliber shot to the head and sexually violated after death. His fifth victim survived the gunshot wound to the head, and was able to escape. She recognized him in a bar three months after the attack, and summoned police, who quickly figured out that Christiansen was responsible for the Isla Vista murders.

On July 27, 1979, Christiansen, then 21, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder in Santa Barbara, and in June 1980 he pleaded guilty. Christiansen received the maximum sentence allowable at that time in California: life in prison. He was stabbed 17 times and killed on March 30, 1981, in Folsom State Prison. There had been some speculation that Christiansen wouldn't last long in prison, perhaps because he was young and blond, or perhaps because one of his victims was African American, but his killer was never identified, and the actual motive remains a mystery.
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