Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Danny Rolling, the Gainesville Ripper

Love at Last

In May 1992, Rolling was sent to Florida State Prison and placed in the psycho ward because of his many suicide attempts and a number of episodes of violent behavior.  Here, apart from his prison duties, he spent his time exercising, drawing, writing songs and writing letters.  In June he began to correspond with Sondra London, the self-proclaimed "media-queen" of inmate literature.  She earned her living by publishing the art and writings of killers, especially those on death row.  Although London and Rolling's relationship began as a business deal, they were soon publicly proclaiming their mutual love.  The prosecution confiscated their letters and excerpts soon appeared in the Gainesville Sun, revealing London's attempts to get Rolling to write explicit details of the murders.  Despite her many denials that profit was her motivation, she had copyrighted all of the drawings and letters Rolling had sent her and Rolling had signed an exclusive contract with her.  London also made many media appearances including the "Geraldo" show in which she shared the London-Rolling love story.

When Rolling's parents, and many others, expressed their concern that London was using Rolling to her own advantage, Rolling was the first to come to her defense.  In a letter he wrote on February 23, he wrote "I love her and it cuts me deeply to know there are people out there who have caused her pain because she finds something in Danny Rolling to love."  He even went so far as to declare his love for London at one of his pre-trial hearings, and then suddenly began to sing a song he had written for her.


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