A native of Victorville, California, born in 1943, Whitney began smoking at age eight and drinking at ten. By age 12, he was a veteran of several armed robberies, and five years later, in 1960, he launched a crosscountry murder spree, notching the handle of his stolen .22-caliber pistol for each of the seven victims he killed between California and Florida. The first murder, of Victorville gas station attendant Jimmy Ryan, was committed on February 12, 1960. "I did one," Whitney explained, "and I thought I just might as well go on. I planned to kill maybe a dozen or so. I was fed up. I was broke. I thought I'd better get some money somehow." Eight days later, he murdered two homosexuals -- including a skid row derelict and a black chef -- in Phoenix, Arizona, stealing the chef's car for the drive to Tucson, where Whitney reverted to type by killing another gas station attendant. His car ran out of gas in Tombstone, and he started thumbing rides, arriving in Miami, Florida, by February 24. C)n February 29, after five days of job hunting, Whitney murdered Ken Mezzarno at a Miami gas station, striking again the same day at another station, where he murdered 53-year-old Arthur Keeler. Three days later, he pumped four bullets into Jack Beecher in another gas station holdup, but this time his victim survived, treating police to a description of the red-haired bandit and his car. Police traced Whitney to his motel on March 4, but their man was already running. That day, he abducted Virginia Selby, a Hialeah housewife, from the parking lot at Sears. He drove her to a lonely site in northern Palm Beach County, where she grabbed a claw hammer and gashed his forehead before Whitney shot her to death. Arrested by a posse nine hours later, Whitney was tried and convicted of murder. The jury's failure to recommend leniency made a death sentence automatic, and he came within two days of execution before the Supreme Court granted an indefinite stay on July 16, 1963. In 1972, Whitney's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment .