Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Lawrence Bittaker & Roy Norris

No Argument

Bittaker and Norris went hunting again on Sunday, July 8, 1979. In early afternoon they saw a likely prospect, thumbing rides along Pacific Coast Highway. But the driver of a white convertible pulled in ahead of them and plucked her from the roadside. Norris grumbled over their bad luck, but Bittaker counseled patience. They would follow the convertible for a while and see where the hitchhiker was dropped off.

Their patience was soon rewarded. The convertible's driver signaled for an exit ramp ahead, braking first to deposit his passenger on the berm. She stuck a thumb out, waiting for the next ride. Meanwhile, Norris left Murder Mack's passenger seat and threw himself under the raised bed in back. It was a change in strategy, to make the van appear less threatening.

It worked.

Andrea Hall, victim
Andrea Hall, victim

Andrea Hall was 18 and thankful for the ride. She introduced herself to Bittaker as he pulled back into traffic, gratefully accepting his offer of a cold drink. Hall went to fetch it from a cooler in the rear of the van, choosing a soda and turning back toward her seat. Norris lunged from hiding then, and swept her legs out from under her. More grappling on the floor of Murder Mack, more blaring music from the radio as Bittaker drove on. Hall fought for her life, but Norris was too strong. Twisting an arm behind her back until she finally surrendered, the submission enabled Norris to bind her wrists and ankles and cover her mouth with tape.

The fire road was familiar territory now. There was no time for small talk with their second victim. They repeatedly raped her by turns. When both of them were tired, Bittaker loaded his Polaroid camera, dragged Hall from the van, and sent Norris on a beer run, down the mountain to a small roadside convenience store. When Norris returned, he found Bittaker alone, smiling over photos of Andrea Hall, her face contorted by fear.

"He told me that he told her he was going to kill her," Norris later informed police. "He wanted to see what her argument would be for staying alive. He said that she didn't put up much of an argument."

Bittaker told Norris that he had stabbed Hall twice with an ice pick, once in each ear, but he had to strangle her when she refused to die. When the murder was finished, Bittaker said he had pitched her off a cliff.


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