'Tool Box Killer' who preyed on teenagers dies in California

Officers are investigating whether two ex-convicts, Lawrence Sigmond Bittaker (L) and Roy Lewis Norris (R), accused in the rape and torture slayings of five teen-age girls had anything to do with the disappearance, of about 40 other girls reported mi

Roy Lewis Norris one of the so-called “Tool Box Killers” who preyed on teenage girls in Southern California more than 40 years ago has died, state corrections officials said Tuesday.

Norris and Lawrence Sigmond Bittaker kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered five girls in 1979. Their nickname came from the tools like a screwdriver, pliers and an ice pick that they used on their victims.

Norris, 72, died Monday at California Medical Facility, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement. He was transferred from the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County to the hospital in Northern California last week and died of natural causes, officials said.

The killings began in June 1979, with the death of Lucinda Lynn Schaefer, 16. She was followed by Andrea Joy Hall, 18; Jacqueline Doris Gilliam, 15; Jacqueline Leah Lamp, 13, and Shirley Lynette Ledford, 16.

Norris testified against Bittaker after pleading guilty to all charges in exchange for prosecutors not seeking the death penalty against him. He was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison.

A Los Angeles jury convicted Bittaker of five counts of murder, five counts of kidnapping as well as other charges including criminal conspiracy, rape and sodomy.

Bittaker, who was sentenced to death in 1981, died Dec. 13 at San Quentin State Prison of natural causes. He was 79.

Because of various legal challenges and court decisions, California has not executed anyone in years, and last year Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on executions for as long as he is in office.