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Serial Killer Index Short List
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Serial Killer Index
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  LOS ANGELES SOUTH SIDE Slayer USA ... ... ... 14+3
1983 1987 LA
Unidentified at this writing, the Southside Slayer of Los Angeles is credited with at least fourteen homicides between September 1983 and May 1987. At least three other victims are considered possible additions to the list, and three more managed to survive encounters with the stalker, offering police descriptions of a black man in his early thirties, sporting a mustache and baseball cap. The killer's chosen victims have been women, mostly black and mainly prostitutes, tortured with superficial cuts before they were strangled or stabbed to death in a grisly "pattern of overkill," their bodies dumped on residential streets, in alleyways and schoolyards. Loletha Prevot was the first to die, discovered in Los Angeles on September 4, 1983. Four months passed before the killer struck again, on New Year's Day, dumping the corpse of Patricia Coleman in Inglewood. Another ten months slipped away before discovery of a third victim, Sheila Burton -- alias Burris -- on November 18, 1984. The elusive slayer adopted a regular schedule in 1985, beginning with the murder of Frankie Bell on January 1. Patricia Dennis was the next to fall, her mutilated body recovered on February 11. The first victim for March was Sheily Wilson, murdered in Inglewood on the twentieth; three days later, the stalker claimed Lillian Stoval in Los Angeles. Number eight was Patsy Webb, murdered on April 15, with Cathy Gustavson joining the list on July 28. Thus far, the killer had missed only once, leaving one victim comatose after a vicious beating. On August 6, his next intended target managed to escape by leaping from his moving car. She offered homicide detectives a description and assisted in the preparation of a widely-published sketch, but officers appeared no closer to their suspect than they were in 1983. Rebounding from his recent failure with another kill, the slayer dumped Gail Ficklin's body in Los Angeles on August 15. A twelve - week lull was broken on November 6, with Gayle Rouselle's murder in Gardena, and the killer returned the next day to slaughter Myrtle Collier in L.A. Nesia McElrath, 23, was found slain on December 19, and Elizabeth Landcraft's mutilated corpse was found on December 22, 1985. The day after Christmas, Gidget Castro's body was discarded in the City of Commerce. The new year was five days old when Tammy Scretchings met her killer in Los Angeles, becoming number fourteen on the Southside Slayer's hit parade. On January 10, a 27-year-old prostitute was beaten and a male acquaintance stabbed when he attempted to restrain her violent customer. Their physical descriptions of the suspect tallied with reports from the survivor who escaped in August 1985. The killer chalked up number sixteen, Lorna Reed, on February 11, 1986, discarding her corpse at San Dimas, twenty-five miles east of his usual hunting ground. Prostitute Verna Williams was found on May 26, her body slumped in the stairwell of a Los Angeles elementary school, and Trina Chaney joined the list November 3, in Watts. In January 1988, police announced that Carolyn Barney -- killed May 29, 1987 -- was being added to the Southside list. Three other victims have been unofficially connected with the Southside Slayer, though detectives hesitate to make a positive I.D. Loretta Jones, a 22-year-old co-ed with no criminal record , was murdered and dumped in a Los Angeles alley on April, 15, 1986. A white "Jane Doe," age 25 to 30, was discovered strangled in a garbage dumpster three weeks later. Finally, Canoscha Griffin, 22, was stabbed to death on the grounds of a local high school, her body discovered July 24. By early 1988, police were backing off their initial body count, noting that defendant Charles Mosley had been convicted in one of the 1986 murders, while five more cases -- involving victims Barney, Burris, Castro, Ficklin, and McElrath -- were considered "closed" with the arrest of two other serial slayers. At the same time, identified suspects were cleared by police in the remaining fifteen cases, leaving at least one vicious stalker still at large.
Copyright 1995-2005 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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