In 1979, Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris embarked on a horrific killing spree.
In the space of five months, they kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed five teenage girls: Lucinda 'Cindy' Schaefer, 16; Andrea Hall, 18; Jacqueline Gilliam, 15; Jacqueline Leah Lamp, 13, and Shirley Lynette Ledford, 16.
The pair picked up their victims while driving around California in a van they had kitted out in preparation for their despicable deeds.
In the back of the van was a mattress and a box of tools, which were used to restrain, torture and kill the girls.
This modus operandi saw the murders named 'The Toolbox Killings', and in 1981 Bittaker was sentenced to death, while Norris accepted a plea deal whereby he agreed to testify against Bittaker and was sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 30 years.
While on death row at San Quentin State Prison, Bittaker opened up about his crimes to forensic psychologist Laura Brand over a period of years, and her recordings of their conversations formed the spine of the new documentary, The Toolbox Killer.
The synopsis reads: "In his own words, America's most sadistic serial killer, Lawrence Bittaker, describes his 1979 killing spree in this two-hour documentary.
"Known as 'The Toolbox Killer', Lawrence Bittaker, alongside his partner Roy Norris, committed heinous acts.
"Bittaker remained silent about his crimes for 40 years until he met criminologist Laura Brand.
"Over the course of five years, Brand recorded her many conversations with Bittaker as he spoke from death row about his methods and motives, providing unique insights into the mind of a criminal sadist."
Bittaker died on death row in 2019, and Norris died just a few months later at the California Medical Facility, where he was incarcerated.
Brand has interviewed more than 50 killers in the US, but only Bittaker and Norris have ever caused her to have nightmares.
Speaking to Oxygen, she said: "The only time I've had nightmares is with Bittaker and Norris because I've gone so deep with their case
"It was a dream within a dream and I turned over and Bittaker was laying on the other side of the bed and just staring at me and he was smiling.
"And I said to him, 'You can't be here,' and he said to me, 'Where am I?'"
She added: "I've encountered so many serial killers and there's no level of sadism to the extent that Bittaker actually got to.
"He was using the tools to torture these girls for hours and holding them captive for hours. That's not typical for every serial killer."
You can watch The Toolbox Killer on Hayu in the UK, or on Peacock in the US.
Featured Image Credit: Peacock
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