Serial killer Lawrence Bittaker dead; people using social media to express grief, requesting respect for sadistic murderer

Lawrence S. Bittaker was half of the serial killer duo known as “The Toolbox Killers” along with Roy L. Norris. Bittaker died from cancer on Friday, December 13, 2019, while incarcerated on San Quentin’s death row. His death is causing a social media frenzy, to include many people expressing grief over the death of this kidnapper,
rapist, torturer, and murderer.

Bittaker and Norris were dubbed the “Tool Box Killers” as they utilized a toolbox filled with hammers, ice picks, and pliers to torture and kill their victims. The serial killers murdered at least five innocent girls in a 1979 crime spree.
Bittaker and Norris, both career criminals, became friends while incarcerated at California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo. They shared their fantasies of kidnapping, torturing, and murdering girls. Upon release, they outfitted a van with sliding doors; naming it “Murder Mac” and set about making the sadistic fantasies come true.
Bittaker and Norris jabbed ice picks into the ears of their victims. They beat them severely. They raped and sodomized, used pliers to rip and tear sexual organs, and strangled them, to include using a pair of pliers to tighten a wire clothes hanger around one girl’s throat until it was the circumference of a quarter. The duo forced their victims into posing nude for Polaroid photos. And in the case of 18-year-old Andrea Hall, Bittaker taunted her about killing her before he shoved an ice pick through her ear into her brain. He flipped her body over to thrust the ice pick into her other ear, stomping on it until the handle broke. And each victim was pitched out of the van to rot like trash.
Shirley Ledford was only sixteen when Bittaker and Norris abducted her. Bittaker had audio recorded Shirley as he beat and tortured her. When it was played during Bittaker’s trial, people wept openly, including the prosecutor; some listeners had to rush out of the courtroom to escape the girl’s screams of agony
and terror. Even Roy Norris said, “If you ever heard that tape, there is just no possible way that you’d not begin crying and trembling. I doubt you could listen to more than a full sixty seconds of it.” But Bittaker smiled in court as Shirley’s sobs filled the courtroom. 
Lawrence Bittaker’s death may help some people, including surviving victims, rest easier. The majority of those on social media remember Lawrence Bittaker as part of a ruthless, cold-blooded duo who committed evil acts. But many people are using social media to express grief: “Rest In Peace Larry” is a popular epitaph along with a photo of Bittaker. One Facebook page requests, “Take a moment to pay your respects (to Bittaker).” There remains a population who mourns his death and is saddened by his passing. Some people are posting notes for this savage, frightening killer to rest in peace.
One Facebook user reports they “know (Bittaker) expressed remorse in the end.” This is not so, says true crime author Laura Brand, an expert on serial killers who has kept in constant touch with Lawrence Bittaker for the last six years. “Bittaker had no remorse for anything he did. Ever.” She has been working with Bittaker on locating the bodies of two missing victims, bodies that have never been recovered, hoping to bring closure to families. “There was no emotion when he talked about what he had done.”
Perhaps those mourning Lawrence Bittaker have forgotten about the five innocent murdered girls and the girl’s loved ones. Maybe the mourners have never been victims of crime. The hell that Bittaker unleashed during his life deserves not one moment of respect. I hope no one ever has to go through what these young victims endured. I hope no one ever has to be a family member or friend of someone who met a Bittaker or a Norris. And I sure as hell hope those who think Bittaker deserves any respect, even in death, will take a long look in the mirror and ask themselves, “What if it were my child on that audiotape in that courtroom?”

Rest in peace Lucinda Lynn Schaefer, Andrea Hall, Jacqueline Gilliam, Jacqueline Leah Lamp, Shirley Lynette Ledford, and the unknown victims who we hope will be identified and laid to rest soon.

Resources include:

Furio, J. (1998). The Serial Killer Letters: A Penetrating Look Inside the Minds of Murderers. Jennifer Furio, publisher.

Rowley, M. (December 10, 2019) Would You Pick Up The Phone if a Serial Killer Called?

Vronsky, P. (2004). Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. Berkley Books.


  1. When Scott Glenn, who played Jack Crawford in the movie Silence of the Lambs, was preparing for the part he went to Quantico to meet the real profilers and he was lucky enough to be paired up with John Douglas who is literally one of the founding fathers of modern day criminal profiling. During the course of their day together Glenn made it clear to Douglas that he was very liberal and very much opposed to the death penalty on the grounds that it was too cruel. Douglas took him into his private office and played the actual torture/murder tapes that Bitaker and Norris had made of their victims last horrific moments. Glenn broke down and wept. He said he had no idea that such monsters existed.

    1. These two were certainly beyond comprehension. I am torn between letting them live to learn from them- exactly what creates such behavior-and letting them slowly fry.

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  3. In theory I would like to say I am against the death penalty too - but my main objection is the known certainty that every state in this country has convicted dozens of not hundreds of innocent or not guilty people and sentenced them to the death penalty or to life in prison. But I have read enough stories about monsters like this Bittaker and Norris and heard about their disgusting tapes that I see no reason for keeping monsters like them alive. So long as we as a society or 100.00% positive the convicted person did the crime and he/she wasn’t convicted for political reasons.
    By the way, so many older men have been released from prison after spending a heartbreaking number of decades locked up in a prison when it was proved lately that they’ were innocent all along AND the prosecutors knew this or purposely withheld evidence. Why aren’t the prosecutors or his or her team ever held accountable for doing such a torturous crime??? I think it is time we hold them accountable. Damn narcissists.

    1. It is heart-wrenching to think of the families having to hear the tape and having to hear what their loved ones went through. When I wrote the book on serial killer Paul Reid ("When Nashville Bled") I had to walk away from it often - and crying jags and nightmares were common. Many true crime authors report this. The strength of these families is beyond.

  4. bittaker is now on the verge of facing real judgement unlike what he did on this earth. He was nothing but and inadequate piece of garbage that took out his low self esteem, anger and sexual frustrations on innocent young women. Maybe these people who mourn his passing should look at some crime scene photos of what this anti social, sexually inadequate piece of s*** did to these girls. What he deserved on this earth along with his dim witted partner, would be to go for a ride in their van along with some of the fathers of their innocent victims. I guarantee that neither one of these inadequate dimwits would be smiling when the fathers got ahold of these cowards. I hope that he suffered before he died.
    He will soon be suffering for all eternity, he earned that fate. Good riddance to a worthless piece of garbage that did nothing but pass on misery and suffering to others. Dog feces at least fertilizes the grass. bittaker took out his lifetime of frustration, failure on others. He was nothing but a first rate coward and lifelong failure. I will not capitalize his name as he does not deserve any respect. He was a detestable sub human parasite. Enjoy the heat bittaker!


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