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One-half of a murderous duo, known as the “Tool Box Killers” because of the tools they used to torture and murder of five teenage girls in Southern California a few decades ago, has died in prison, state corrections officials said Monday.
Lawrence Sigmond Bittaker, 79, who died at San Quentin State Prison on Friday, where he was convicted and sentenced to death row for the 1979 slayings of Lucinda Lynn Schaefer, 16; Andrea Joy Hall, 18; Peter, Doris Gilliam, 15; And Jacqueline Leah Lamp, 13; and Shirley Lynette Ledford, 16.
The bodies of Schaefer and is in the Hall, never to be recovered, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said in a news release.
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In This Aug. 24, 2018, photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, shows Lawrence Bittaker. Bittaker is one of the “Tool Box Killers” who preyed on teenage girls in Southern California, with more than 40 years ago, has died of natural causes, state corrections officials said Monday. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP)
Corrections officials said Bittaker died of natural causes, but a cause of death will be determined by the Marin County coroner.
Bittaker and accomplice Roy Lewis Norris was abducted, gang-raped and tortured the girls before moving on to using a variety of tools — a screwdriver, ice pick, and pilers — in order to kill them. Norris has been involved with the criminal justice system, in exchange for not seeking the death penalty, and testified against Bittaker.
He was convicted and sentenced to 45 years to life and remains in prison.
Bittaker was convicted on five murder counts, along with misdemeanor counts of kidnapping and other charges, including criminal conspiracy, statutory rape, oral copulation, sodomy and ex-felon in possession of a firearm.
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He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1981. California has 729 prisoners on death row, but has not yet done to everyone in years. A Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, declared a moratorium on executions while he is in office.
More than 80 prisoners had been sentenced to death in California have died of natural causes since 1978, when California reinstated the death penalty. 27 have died as a result of suicide and 13 were executed.