serial killers by name [r] amazon
  ROLLING Daniel Harold 1954 USA ... ... ... 8+
Gainesville Ripper 1989 1990 FL LA
A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, born May 26, 1954, Danny Rolling was the elder son of a foul-tempered policeman who treated his boys to regular ass-whippings, often supplemented with bond-age and blindfolds as punishment for real or imagined infractions. When not working his beat, James Rolling trapped and killed stray cats in his back yard, enjoying their agonized death throes. Claudia Rolling, meanwhile, was long on excuses for her husbands weird behavior, short on support for her two battered sons. She suffered a nervous breakdown at home, when Danny was nine years old, the fresh trauma contributing to his failure of third grade. School counselors described the youngster as suffering from an inferiority complex, with aggressive tendencies and poor impulse control. By early adolescence , Danny was a heavy drinker. Caught red-handed with a jug at age thirteen, he was arrested by his father, handcuffed, and confined to Shreveports jail for two full weeks. Soon after his release, he ran away from home, but soon returned, establishing a pattern of abortive flight that followed clashes with his father. Failing high school in his sophomore year, Danny dropped out and joined the air force at the age of seventeen. His chronic use of drugs and alcohol resulted in brig time and a premature discharge, in 1973, with a psychiatric diagnosis of an unspecified personality disorder. Back in Shreveport, perpetually drunk or stoned, Danny some-how found religion at a local Pentecostal church. In September 1974, he married 19-year-old OMather Halko, and while she bore him a daughter the following year, their marriage was already on the rocks. Dannys wife left him in 1977, and he resumed his former life of crime, graduating to armed robbery and auto theft. In August 1979, he was sentenced to six years in prison for the robbery of a store in Columbus, Georgia. A bungled escape attempt added a year to his sentence, after which a public defender advised him to confess a second robbery--this one from July 1979, in Alabama. That job earned him a ten-year sentence, and Georgia surrendered Rolling in June 1982, to begin serving his Alabama time. James Rolling had retired from the police force by the time Danny won parole and returned to Shreveport, in 1984. The home front was still a battleground, however, and Danny hit the road again, spending time with relatives scattered from Florida to California. In July 1985, he robbed a store in Clinton, Mississippi, and was nabbed the next day, at the wheel of a stolen car. Sentenced to fifteen years in prison, he was paroled after serving barely three, in July 1988. The homing instinct took him back to Shreveport once again, where Danny found work as an electricians apprentice, but he was too old and too warped to go straight. Unknown to those around him, Dannys dreams and fantasies had grown increasingly bizarre--and violent--over time. On November 6, 1989, police found three members of the Grissom family slaughtered in their Shreveport home. Tom Grissom, his 24-year-old daughter Julie, and eight-year-old grandson Sean, had all been stabbed repeatedly with a long-bladed knife, but Julie Grissom was clearly the killers main target. Patrolmen found the petite brunette slashed and mutilated, covered with bite marks , her body washed with liquid soap to eradicate trace evidence, then posed on her bed in a blatantly sexual attitude, as if to shock investigators. At the time, no one suspected Danny Rolling of the crime, and he had home-grown troubles of his own. On May 17, 1990, Danny got into another violent quarrel with his father. The subject was typically trivial--should car windows be rolled up or left down in the rain?--but James Rolling tried to settle the question by drawing a pistol. Instead of shooting Danny, though, it was the senior Rolling who wound up with bullets in his head and stomach. Danny fled Louisiana, fearing murder charges--though, in fact, his father would survive. As summer waned, he found himself in Gainesville, Florida, where he would make his final, bloody mark on history. The terror came to Gainesville on August 26, 1990, when the decomposing bodies of roommates Sonja Larsen, 18, and Christina Powell, 17, were found in their apartment. Apparently killed two days earlier, both victims had been mutilated, one with her nipples cut off, the other sodomized. At 1:30 A.M. the next day, Christa Hoyt--an 18-year-old student and employee of the local sheriffs office--was found slain at home, decapitated , with her naked body washed and posed across the bed, her severed head displayed on a nearby bookshelf with several mirrors, to project the grisly image through a window. On August 28, platonic room-mates Tracy Paules and Manuel Taboada, both 23, were found dead in their apartment, each stabbed repeatedly, Tracy sodomized, but without the ritualistic mutilations seen in the earlier killings. All the crime scenes had been meticulously cleared of finger-prints, and there was evidence that quantities of blood had been removed for unknown purposes. As Gainesville panicked, many students bailing out before the term was two weeks old, police spoke vaguely of a list including six or seven suspects. In short order, though, the spotlight of suspicion focused on 18-year-old Ed Humphrey, a diagnosed manic-depressive with a history of confinement in mental hospitals. Humphrey sometimes skipped his medication and believed that Satan was pursuing him. Fascinated with ninjas and knives, he often got in fights and twice attempted suicide. His neighbors, one of them a Gainesville cop, called him a goddamned weirdo who was always acting mental. Humphreys odd behavior seemed to worsen around the time of the Gainesville murders, including threats to cut the throats of several bar employees who refused him service on August 24--the same day Sonja Larson and Christina Powell are thought to have died. On August 30, a violent confrontation with his grand-mother landed Humphrey in jail, but the resultant media blitz turned up no hard evidence of any link to the murders. Finally convicted of assaulting his grandmother, on October 10, 1990, Humphrey was sentenced to twenty-two months in the Chattahoochee State Hospital. Danny Rolling, meanwhile, was in trouble as usual: burglarizing homes, narrowly escaping capture by police who thought he was a pusher, boasting to his gutter chums that he had robbed a local bank. Trying to escape the heat, he drove to Tampa in a stolen car and robbed a market there on September 1, 1990. More burglaries followed, before he turned up in Ocala for another daylight robbery on September 7. Pursued by the authorities, Rolling crashed his getaway car and fled on foot, abandoning his $4,700 loot. Patrolmen found him hiding out behind a garbage dumpster and escorted him to jail. Back in Gainesville, police on the trail of an unknown serial killer were examining records of similar crimes around the nation, when their computer spit out details of the Grissom massacre in Shreveport--similar weapons, postmortem mutilations, ritual washing and posing of petite brunette victims. Within days, they knew that Danny Rolling was from Shreveport, wanted there for gunning down his father. Pubic hair and tools recovered from his camp site placed Rolling at the Gainesville murder scenes; his DNA matched semen traces from the victims he had sodomized. Still, other sure-fire cases took priority, while homicide investigators built their case for trial. Between September 25 and October 10, 1991, Rolling was convicted of three Tampa burglaries, sentenced to three life terms plus 170 years in prison. Indictment for the Gainesville murders followed, that November, by which time Rolling had agreed to talk about the #€ï v.ð gNï killings, blaming them on an alternate personality he called Gemini. This alter ego, Rolling said, loved making people suffer. Gemini had told each victim what he planned to do--the mutilations, all of it--while they were still alive. Despite the strange confession, Rolling was still expected to mount a defense at his trial. On February 15, 1994, when jury selection finally began after grueling delays, Rolling surprised the court by changing his plea to guilty on all counts. He evidently hoped for mercy, but received none. On April 20, 1994, Rolling was formally sentenced to die in Floridas electric chair .
Copyright 1995-2005 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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