Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Randy Kraft, the Freeway Killer

The Hedonist

Kraft's erratic behavior continued into the 1970s. One roommate later recalled that "Randy used to go away for a few days, come back and lock himself in his room for a couple more days. He'd go down by the Marine base. He wouldn't talk about it much, just mumble something about going down and looking for Marines." Another termed Kraft "a very anal-retentive kind of guy, very uptight and very strict with himself." Friends said that he had a really volatile temper and that he would "wig out" every so often.

Kraft's first known victim, in March 1970, was a 13-year-old runaway who met Kraft on the boardwalk in Huntington Beach. Kraft took the boy — Joseph Alwyn Fancher — home, plying him with marijuana, pills and wine, showing him photos of men having sex. Fancher was semiconscious when Kraft stripped and sodomized him, resisting just enough to make Kraft threaten his life. Fleeing the apartment after Kraft went to work, Fancher staggered barefoot to a nearby bar, where patrons called an ambulance. Doctors pumped his stomach at the emergency room, and Fancher led police back to Kraft's place in search of his shoes. They found the sneakers, along with various illegal drugs and 76 photos of Kraft enjoying sex with various men. But because the search was done without a warrant, police knew their case was doomed and did not make an arrest.

In 1971 Kraft found work at a bottled water plant in Huntington Beach. He drove a forklift by day and cruised gay bars at night, scoring 129 (considered "highly intelligent") on a job-related IQ test. Kraft enrolled briefly at Long Beach State University, taking education courses with an eye toward a teaching credential, but the urge to party outweighed his scholastic ambition. Classmate Jeff Graves became Kraft's live-in lover, but Randy still lived up to his name, cruising gay bars for strangers, showing a decided preference for Marines.

On Oct. 5, 1971, police found a man's nude, decomposing body beside Ortega Highway, in southern Orange County. The body was identified as that of Wayne Joseph Dukette, a 30-year-old gay bartender from Long Beach who had been missing for two weeks. The coroner pegged his date of death around Sept. 20, but found no obvious signs of foul play. Dukette's clothing and personal effects were never found.

He was the first.

 

 

 

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