Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Addicted to Luxury: The Pampered Killer

Cagey Customer

The Main Street Trading Post
The Main Street Trading Post

Dorinda Hawkins, 57, worked part-time in an antiques and framing shop called The Main Street Trading Post, located in Lake Elsinore, California.  It was the tenth day of March in 1994. Early in the afternoon, a blonde woman in her mid-thirties, who stood about five-foot-two, entered the shop to "look around."  That's what most customers did.  One could barely tell the difference between someone genuinely looking for a vintage item and a person casing the store, but an antiques store was hardly worth the effort of a robber.  Typically, Dorinda felt safe.  She never suspected what was about to occur.

Dorinda watched the potential customer wander about, examining old frames and occasionally glancing at her.  She had no idea that this woman was trying to ensure that no one else was around, so she didn't grow suspicious when the woman asked if she was alone.  In fact, she readily invited the customer deep into the back area where the store's owner made frames. Dorinda showed off a few samples and was in the act of replacing them when she felt something tighten around her throat. To her shock, she realized she was being choked.  She twisted around and saw the "customer" with a piece of yellow nylon rope in her hand.  The rope was knotted; she was tightening it to cut off Dorinda's air supply.  The blonde's eyes were "penetrating, cold-blooded steel."

Dorinda struggled to breathe, pulling at the rope and asking the woman what she was doing.  Apparently, though, the blonde was apparently determined to finish the job as she pulled Dorinda down to her knees and increased the pressure against her neck, getting better leverage so the rope did not slip from her grasp.  She was strong, but Dorinda was fighting for her life; this knowledge gave her a shot of adrenaline that helped her to resist being placed in a more vulnerable position.  She prayed that someone would come into the store to interrupt this awful experience. 

Looking for anything that might help, Dorinda kicked her attacker and tried to ease the pressure of the rope, but this woman apparently knew what she was doing.  In addition, she was strong, despite her size.  She managed to avoid being thrown off, even if she had not anticipated such resistance, and she regained her advantage, never letting go of the rope.  Using her full weight, she pulled on it to make it tighten enough to try to cause Dorinda to lose consciousness.  Dorinda felt herself losing the ability to talk or breathe.


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