Rolling murdered Christa Hoyt, cut her head off and put it on a nearby bookshelf.
Danny Harold Rolling was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on 26 May 1954, the elder of two sons of James Rolling, a policeman, who often viciously punished the boy. James Rolling was also a sadist who would catch stray cats and then torture them. When Danny was nine his mother had a nervous breakdown. The trauma of that, added to his father’s cruelty, led teachers to describe the boy as “suffering from an inferiority complex, with aggressive tendencies and poor impulse control”. He turned to drink and, aged 13, was arrested by his father and left in jail for a fortnight. Four years later he joined the US Army Air Force but was discharged because of his drinking and drug use. In September 1974 he married 19-year-old O’Mather Halko but she left him in 1977, two years after the birth of their daughter.
Without the stabilizing influence of his wife, Rolling began a series of armed robberies. In the summer of 1979 he was jailed for robbing a convenience store. Paroled in 1984, he returned to Shreveport but soon began travelling. In July 1985 he robbed a shop in Clinton, Mississippi, and was sentenced to 15 years but served just three. On 6 November 1989 Rolling committed his first killings, slaughtering three members of the Grissom family: Tom and his 8-year-old grandson Sean had been stabbed repeatedly. Tom’s 24-year-old daughter Julie, a petite brunette, was slashed and mutilated, her corpse covered in bite marks and then washed and posed sexually on her bed.
On 17 May 1990 Rolling shot his father in the head and stomach in an argument over whether the car window should be open or shut. His father survived the assault but Rolling fled to Gainesville, Florida, thinking he would be arrested. On 24 August Rolling murdered Sonja Larsen, 18, and Christina Powell, 17, in their home. One of the girls was sodomized and the other had her nipples cut off. On 27 August Rolling murdered 18-year-old Christa Hoyt and then cut her head off and put it on a nearby bookshelf. Her naked corpse was washed and posed as Julie Grissom’s had been.
The next day Tracy Paules and Manuel Taboada, both 23, were found dead in their apartment. Tracy had been sodomized and both had been stabbed several times. Rolling continued his burglary career until he was arrested on 1 September. A DNA swab linked him to the Gainesville killings.
Gainesville, Florida, USA
Monday 6 November 1989—Tuesday 28 August 1990
In the autumn of 1991 Rolling was sentenced to three life terms plus 170 years in prison for the Tampa burglaries. On 15 February 1994 he pleaded guilty to all the charges. On April 20 1994, Rolling was sentenced to die. After a last meal of lobster tail, butterfly shrimp, baked potato and strawberry cheesecake, washed down with tea, Rolling was executed at 6.13pm on 25 October 2006.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
1.85-m (6 ft 1-in) tall Rolling blamed his murderous rages on an alternate personality he called Gemini, who apparently loved to make people suffer.