Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Patrick W. Kearney: The Trash Bag Murderers

The Strange Confession

When the heat was clearly on, Kearney and Hill fled to El Paso, Texas, but knew that life on the lam was not for them. The cops knew who they were, and what they looked like. At the behest of relatives, the pair returned to California, and at 1:30 p.m. on July 1, 1977, walked into Riverside County sheriff's office, pointed at a "Wanted" poster with their pictures on it and said, "We're them."

They were booked on suspicion of two murders and had been wanted for questioning in connection with six other slayings.

They were arraigned on the two murder charges. Bail was set at $500,000 each.

Kearney cooperated fully with the police. He said the murders "excited him and gave him a feeling of dominance." The idea of hurting and killing someone sounded sexually exciting. When officers grilled him about picking up Marines and feeding pills and booze to his victims, they got a blank look from him. They persisted, wanting to know if he had ever put anything but his penis into his victims' rectums.

He used towels to keep the bodies from leaking all over his bathroom before he dismembered them, Kearney told them. The police persisted, hoping to put to rest more of their freeway mysteries. How about torture? Did he ram anything into an anus for the sheer pleasure of it? Recognition crossed Kearney's face and he shook his head. "I am not the Wooden Stake," he said. He knew exactly what the detectives were getting at, but impaling, strangling and torturing his victims wasn't his style. A bullet to the head was clean and simple.

Randy Kraft
Randy Kraft

He seemed offended that he would be confused with Randy Kraft.


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