Last Updated on September 23, 2022 by Ben Oakley
On April 16th in true crime, Easter Monday murder, vehicular murder, Ballerina Club death, Randy Kraft, and mystery disappearance.
Serial killer Randy Kraft abducted an 18-year-old Marine named Scott Michael Hughes. Hughes was plied with Valium before Kraft slit open his scrotum and removed one of his testicles.
All before strangling him to death with a ligature and discarding his fully clothed body beside a freeway.
Randy Steven Kraft is sometimes known as the Southern California Strangler or The Freeway Killer. The Freeway Killer is generally considered to be a mistaken moniker.
The name was coined by the media to describe a serial killer from early 1979. His name was William Bonin and he would go on to murder at least 21 young men until his arrest in the Summer of 1980.
The Southern California Strangler was the name that the investigation attributed to Kraft’s murders. The Scorecard Killer attribute is given to Kraft because he kept coded references to his victims.
He was convicted of 16 murders but it is suggested he may have been responsible for 67 killings during his campaign of terror.
In the early hours of the morning in Lincolnshire, England, the body of 60-year-old petrol pump attendant Gordon Snowden was discovered. He had been severely beaten and suffered fatal head injuries.
Snowden, who worked at Sutton Bridge Motors was the victim of a robbery gone wrong. The investigation focused on trying to trace a Citroen 2CV car that witnesses saw on the forecourt around the same time. The murder remains unsolved.
In Denver, Colorado, the body of 37-year-old Victor Trujillo was found in an alley way near the Ballerina Club. Trujillo had been drinking at the club throughout the evening and had left just before closing.
Shortly after he left, Trujillo was shot dead by an unidentified attacker for unknown reasons. To this day, no suspect has ever been caught but the murder is still an active cold case in the State of Colorado.
In Ramsey County, Minnesota, police officer John Joseph O’Brien was killed when a vehicle ran a stop sign and collided with his squad car.
Just after 11pm, police had become involved in a high-speed chase with a car being driven recklessly by a drunk teenager. O’Brien and his squad set up a stop sign but the car crashed through it at approximately 50 miles per hour and smashed into O’Brien’s standing vehicle.
Both vehicles rolled over and crashed into a residence on the northwest corner of the intersection, bringing down the living room wall.
O’Brien’s partner was critically injured but managed to return to work a few months later in an office capacity. The teenage driver of the vehicle, 17-year-old Thomas Lunzer, and a female passenger, 15-year-old Laura Lane were killed instantly.
A third passenger, 15-year-old Shelly Woller survived the crash but was seriously injured. Due to her age and the fact she was only a passenger, she was never charged with a crime.
In Anaheim, California, 27-year-old Scott Murray Campbell disappeared under suspicious circumstances. He was known to have met with his friend, pilot Lawrence Cowell and another man, Donald Dimascio, the day he disappeared.
There were going on a private flight to Fargo, North Dakota. Investigators believed that at some point during the flight, while Cowell was piloting, Dimascio strangled Campbell and dropped his body into the ocean.
Cowell was arrested after he was found with Campbell’s sports car that he was stripping for parts. Cowell confessed that he and Dimascio killed Campbell in self-defence as he pulled a gun on them.
Both men were later convicted of murder, despite no trace of Campbell ever having been found.
Cowell was later sentenced to 25 years to life after it emerged that he hired Dimascio to kill Campbell for him in order to get his drugs and money.
In San Francisco, California, 35-year-old textiles importer John Dolan Phillips vanished without a trace. He had last been seen leaving his family home and was reported missing shortly after.
Two years later, in July 1985, John’s rare 1967 Citroen was sold at an auction after having been found abandoned in an underground parking lot where it had racked up over $4,000 (USD) in unpaid parking charges.
The new owner found John’s wallet in the trunk along with other personal information but there was no sign as to what happened to him. His disappearance remains unsolved and his case remains open.
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I think this was no way an accident or a case of getting lost, this was murder. If they got…
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I'm honoured. Thank you and stay safe.
I really enjoy reading your short clips about the crimes committed. I like the books you write too.
The number of victims is always contentious.
Why not Jack the Ripper? He could have had different MO's.