Randy Kraft: The Southern California Strangler

Oct 10, 2009 - by J. J. Maloney - 0 Comments

Randy Kraft

Randy Kraft

The reporter who coined the phrase "Freeway Killer," sets the record straight about why serial-killer Randy Kraft should not be confused with William Bonin.

by J. J. Maloney

There are those who call Randy Kraft the ''Freeway Killer'' and they are wrong. William Bonin, executed at San Quentin in 1996, was the Freeway Killer.

There are police agencies who say the media were wrong to name Bonin the Freeway Killer – that that 'title' belonged to Kraft, whose murder spree began before Bonin's. They too are wrong.

Dennis McDougal's 1991 book Angel of Darkness touts Kraft's murders as ''...the most heinous murder spree of the century.'' That is wrong. McDougal's book is compelling, shocking, detailed, well written and inaccurate.

You cannot discuss the murders Randy Kraft committed without also discussing the Freeway Killer case.

The story began in 1972 when bodies of young men – often Marines – began to be found in Southern California – specifically from the city of Long Beach, through Orange County and into San Diego County. There were several ''signatures'' to the killings: the victims were frequently burned on their left nipple with an automobile cigarette lighter, some of them had their left testicle cut out while they were alive, some had objects shoved into their rectums (in some cases something on the order of a tree branch, in other cases a single sock). The real link to these cases was the use of drugs, the most common being Valium, ingested with alcohol.

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