Tool Box Killer Roy Lewis Norris who tortured, raped and killed teenagers as young as 13 in California has died

Tool Box Killer Roy Lewis Norris who tortured, raped and killed teenagers as young as 13 in California has died
Roy Lewis Norris (AP)


American serial killer Roy Lewis Norris, one of the infamous Tool Box Killers from the late 1970s has died. Norris was half of the Toolbox killer duo, who preyed on teens, raped them before torturing and killing them in Southern California more than 40 years ago. Lawrence Sigmond Bittaker and Norris are known to have killed five teens.

The duo got the nickname because of their method of torture and killing. They used objects like screwdrivers, sledgehammers, pliers, and ice picks during their killing spree, which lasted about five months in 1979. 

Norris died on Monday due to natural causes at the age of 72 at the California Medical Facility, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement. He was convicted of four first degree murder counts and one count of second-degree murder, two counts of rape, and one count of robbery. On May 7, 1980, Norris was sentenced to 45 years to life imprisonment. 


Childhood abuse 

Norris was born in Greenley, Colorado on February 5, 1948. Born out of wedlock, Norris's childhood was riddled with drug abuse. His father worked in a scrapyard and his mother was a drug addict. He was placed in foster care on and off throughout his childhood and teenage years. He suffered neglect on many occasions, not given enough food or clothing. He was also sexually abused by a Hispanic family he lived with -- and it is said to be the root of the prejudice he had for them. At one time when he was 16, he also attempted to kill himself after his father threatened to beat him because of his inappropriate sexual behavior with a female relative.

Norris also served in the Navy, and was stationed in San Diego in 1965 and was deployed to Vietnam in 1969. He did not see active combat at the time and was honorably discharged after one tour. 

Begining a life of crime 

Norris was described by FBI profiler Special Agent John E. Douglas one of the most disturbing individuals, his baby steps into crime started with, unsurprisingly, sexual offenses. He was first arrested in 1969 and charged with rape and assault. Thus began a string of offenses. 


In another incident, he tried to force his way into a woman's car. In 1970, he tried to trick a woman into letting him into her home. When she didn't, he tried to get in forcibly and was arrested and charged by the police. He was later diagnosed with severe schizoid personality.

While on bail for the offense, he attacked another woman who he had been stalking at San Diego University. He is said to have hit the woman on the head with a rock and beat her until she was on the ground. Norris was charged again with assault with a deadly weapon and was committed to a total of five years imprisonment at the Atascadero State Hospital, where he was classified as a 'mentally disordered sex offender'.

He was released in 1975 after he was declared not to be a danger to others. Just three months into his probation, he raped a woman. Norris was arrested for the rape and was convicted and sent to California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo. This is where he and Bittaker met. He would also eventually rat out Bittaker after their spree, which saw Bittaker locked away for life. 


Toolbox killings

The two caught up with each other after being set free in 1979 and met at a motel to execute their plan to kidnap and rape women. They even got a van especially for this purpose and called it "Murder Mac". The van also had a bed, clothes and a cooler filled with beer and soft drink. 

This Aug. 24, 2018 photo provided by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Lawrence Bittaker. Bittaker, one of the "Tool Box Killers" who preyed on teenage girls in Southern California 40 years ago, has died of natural causes, state corrections officials said Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP)


They even did practice runs the same year, picking up to 20 hitchhikers. They didn't hurt them and it was just practice to figure out how to get their victims into the van on their own. 

The first victim was Lucinda Lynn Schaefer, 16, who was killed on June 24, 1979. She was forced in the van and raped following which Norris attempted to manually strangle her. After approximately 45 seconds, he couldn't continue and Bittaker finished the job. She was wrapped in plastic and thrown over the canyon. 


Andrea Joy Hall was 18 years old and was hitchhiking along the Pacific Coast Highway when the duo found her. They kidnapped her, bound her and raped her before forcing Hall to walk uphill naked alongside the road and perform oral sex on Bittaker, before ordering Hall to pose for several Polaroid pictures. Bittaker thrust an ice pick through her ear into her brain and then turned her body over and did it to her other ear until the handle broke -- then strangled her and threw her over a cliff.

Jackie Doris Gilliam and Jacqueline Leah Lamp were taken to the van by the duo after Hall's murder. They smoked pot together. Lamp was 13 and Gilliam, 15. After the girls saw that the van was heading off into an unwanted location, the girls tried to flee -- Norris hit Lamp on the back of the head with a bag filled with lead and overpowered Gilliam. When they regained consciousness, they tried to flee, following which they were assaulted further. Lamp was struck on the head with a sledgehammer and strangled while Gilliam was struck in each ear with an ice pick, then strangled to death.


Shirley Ledford, 16 was also killed by the two after being kidnapped, beaten, brutally raped and eventually strangled to death. Norris hit Ledford 25 consecutive times with a sledgehammer, before asking her, "What are you sniveling about?" as Ledford continuously screamed and wept. Her genitalia and rectum had been torn, caused in part by Bittaker having inserted pliers inside her body. 

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 Tool Box Killer Roy Lewis Norris has died California