“Passive, non-violent and hard working”
Another serial killer whose reign of terror lasted a long time was Randy Kraft who was born on 19 March 1955. In 1969 Kraft disclosed that he was gay and was thrown out of the air force, officially on “medical” grounds.
Kraft, who lived with a male lover in Long Beach, was a computer specialist, earned a good salary and had a wide and varied social life, particularly enjoying a hand of bridge. But at night he prowled the motorways of California looking for young men. He chose hitchhikers, often military personnel, whom he picked up and offered beer and drugs. When his victims were incapacitated, Kraft sodomized them, tortured and castrated them before dumping their corpses by the side of the road.
He claimed his first victim, a 20-year-old marine named Edward Daniel Moore, in December 1972. Marine Moore had been raped, strangled and had traces of drugs in his system. There is speculation that the first victim was actually more than a year earlier on 20 September 1971, when 30-year-old gay barman Wayne Joseph Dukette was murdered. The police were at their wits’ end because more than one serial killer was stalking the motorways.
At just after 1am on 14 May 1983 Kraft was arrested on the San Diego Freeway when the police stopped him, thinking he was driving while drunk. In his passenger seat was Terry Lee Gambrel, a 25-year-old marine stationed at the nearby El Toro Marine Air Base, who appeared to be insensible but, on closer inspection, was revealed to be dead. The police searched Kraft’s Long Beach home and found items belonging to his victims. They also discovered a coded list referring to his victims’ names — the list had 67 names on it.
Southern California, USA
December 1972-14 May 1983
Randy Kraft was held in custody for five years before he came to trial. At a hearing, Kraft’s lawyer called him “passive, non-violent and hard working”. On 12 May 1989 he was found guilty of 16 murders and nine charges of sexual mutilation and three of sodomy and, on 29 November, sentenced to death in the gas chamber at San Quentin. The California Supreme Court upheld the death sentence on 11 August 2000.