The Toolbox Killers
Starting in late June 1979, two men, Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris, embarked upon a meticulously-planned spree of rape and murder. Due to their predilection for torturing their victims using common household implements, the media dubbed them the ‘Toolbox Killers’. The crimes they committed were so horrific that, although less famous than other notorious serial killers, Bittaker and Norris are now counted among the most savage and cruel in American history.
Although each man’s story is different, they had much in common. Both men endured unloving upbringings; in Bittaker’s case, he was abandoned soon after birth and was adopted by a man named George Bittaker and his wife. George Bittaker worked in the aircraft industry, and, as a result, the family moved around frequently. Young Lawrence received little attention or affection from his parents and began to compensate by turning to petty crime.
He had his first brush with the law at 12 when he was caught shoplifting. From then on, the nature of his crimes became steadily more serious until at 17, soon after dropping out of school, he was sent to the California Youth Authority for auto theft, hit-and-run and evading arrest. He spent the best part of the next 15 years behind bars, compulsively reoffending each time he was released.