Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Riverside Prostitute Killer

Epilogue

Bill Suff, escorted in chains
Bill Suff, escorted in chains
 

William Suffs trial began on March 25, 1995, before Judge W. Charles Morgan in the Riverside Hall of Justice.  A jury, consisting of seven men and five women, sat in the pews awaiting opening statements.  Kelly wrote that prosecutor Paul E. Zellerbach chose to go first and explained to the jury that detectives had enough evidence to connect Suff to the murders of 13 prostitutes.  He went on to describe Suff as a violent sexual sadist, who enjoyed torturing and murdering women. 

Suff's two lawyers, Randolph K. Driggs, a former prosecutor who had worked with Zellerbach, and Frank S. Peasly, described Suff as an easygoing man who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.   This is largely a circumstantial case, Driggs told jurors.

Bill Suff in court
Bill Suff in court
   

Over the next several months, over thirty witnesses were called to the stand, the most damming of all being Faye Springer the state Department of Justice's foremost criminologist on hair and fiber analysis.   According to Keers, Springer testified that microscopic samples of hair found at two murder scenes matched Suffs own hairs and that fibers from a pillow, blanket and sleeping bag found inside Suff's van were similar to those discovered near the bodies of Kim Lyttle and Christina Leal.  In addition, Springer said a towel that covered Lyttle's naked body contained two fibers similar to the floor carpeting in Suff's vehicle.   Other fibers, which were found on Suff's car seat, matched that of a T-shirt and sock found on Leal's body.

After 54 days of testimony and four days of deliberations, the jury found Suff guilty on 12 of the 13 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.   The jury also found Suff guilty of multiple murder, use of a deadly weapon and lying in wait.   The following day, August 17, 1995, Suff was given the death sentence.

As of this writing William Suff resides on death row at San Quentin Prison, where he is awaiting execution.   He continues to maintain his innocence and claims that police used him as a scapegoat.  It has been rumored that Suff used two of his victims breasts in chilies he prepared for the Riverside County employees annual picnic, but that information has never been confirmed.

Bill Suff, prison ID, recent
Bill Suff, prison ID, recent

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