Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Lawrence Bittaker & Roy Norris


Bittaker and Norris made their third foray on Labor Day, September 3. Cruising through Hermosa Beach, they spotted two girls seated on the bench at a bus stop, where Pier Avenue met Pacific Coast Highway. Fifteen-year-old Jackie Gilliam and 13-year-old Leah Lamp weren't waiting for the bus, but they seemed happy to accept a ride with no special destination in mind. Bittaker and Norris later told police the girls were also glad to accept Larry's offer to smoke a joint.

Leah Lamp, victim
Leah Lamp, victim

Lighting up, he passed the joint around and told his passengers that he was heading for the beach. Jackie and Leah challenged him moments later, as Bittaker turned away from the ocean and started driving northward, but he stalled them with excuses, claiming he merely wanted to find a safe place to park while they got high. The girls protested when Bittaker parked near a suburban tennis court. Leah started to open the door, but Norris was faster, swinging a sawed-off baseball bat against her skull.

A fierce struggle ensued. Bittaker waded in to help Norris, finally subduing the teenagers and trussing them with duct tape. Only when they were secured and silenced did he notice several tennis players watching from the nearby courts. Worried that someone might call the police, Bittaker gunned the van and sped away toward his hideout in the San Gabriel Mountains. But no one called the police. The witnesses returned to their tennis games, dismissing the strange incident.

Jackie Gilliam, victim
Jackie Gilliam, victim

Bittaker and Norris kept their latest hostages alive for nearly two days. They kept an audiotape of their rape and torture. Among other things, the tape captured Norris raping Jackie Gilliam, demanding that she play the role of a cousin who was the object of some of his sexual fantasies.

Tired of the game and running dangerously late for work, Bittaker repeated his trick with the ice pick, stabbing Gilliam in both ears. As with Andrea Hall, it made her scream but failed to kill her, so the rapists took turns strangling Jackie to death. Afterward, they turned on Lamp, Bittaker squeezing her throat while Norris pounded her head seven times with a sledgehammer. They pitched their victims off a cliff, with the ice pick still imbedded in Jackie Gilliam's skull.

On Sunday, September 30, they selected Shirley Sanders, an Oregon resident visiting her father in Manhattan Beach. When she declined a lift in Murder Mack, they sprayed Sanders with chemical mace and dragged her kicking from the sidewalk. Both men raped her in the van, but they were careless and she escaped. Sanders reported the assault, but she could not identify her assailants. She did not remember the license plate. Unable to pursue the matter further, she returned to Oregon.


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