Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Patrick W. Kearney: The Trash Bag Murderers

Patrick Kearney and David Hill

Patrick Wayne Kearney was born in Texas in 1940, the youngest of three boys. He was thin, shy, prone to illness, and an easy target for schoolyard bullies.

By the time he was 8 years old, he knew he would kill people. By the time he was a much-ridiculed teen, he was actively fantasizing about murder. His fantasies were very detailed.

And then he tried it. It started in the mid-'60s in Tijuana and San Diego. He picked up guys in bars, bus stops, places where gay men congregated, looking for a quickie in the bushes. They were easy to find, easy to kill, bodies easy to dispose of in the desert.

But in his public life, Kearney appeared normal. He put his time in with the Army as well as into a short marriage. Neither of those situations suited him.

Patrick Kearney
Patrick Kearney

In 1962, Kearney met David Douglas Hill. Hill was married and an Army veteran. A 6'2" high school dropout from Lubbock, Hill joined the Army in 1960, but was quickly discharged on diagnosis of an unspecified personality disorder. Back in Lubbock, he married his high school sweetheart, but like Kearney's trial marriage, Hill's was short-lived. When he met Kearney, Hill divorced his wife and moved to California with Kearney in 1967. Patrick got a good job as an aeronautics engineer with Hughes Aircraft, and David stayed home and kept house.

But though it was love at first sight when they met, their 10-year life together was tumultuous and stormy. Frequently, Hill would stomp out of the house and go spend a few nights with some friends. Or he'd pick up a one-night stand out of frustration and revenge. Occasionally, he went all the way home to Lubbock. But he always returned.

When Hill was gone, Kearney's impotent frustrations reached a boiling point. There was only one thing he knew that would satisfy those feelings of repressed rage.


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