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On Halloween night, 1979, at approximately 10:30 p.m. Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris abducted their final victim, 16-year-old Shirley Lynette Ledford as she hitchhiked home from a Halloween party in Los Angeles. Upon accepting the offer of a lift home and entering the van, Ledford was offered marijuana by Norris, which she refused. Bittaker drove the van to a secluded street, where Norris drew a knife, then bound and gagged Ledford with construction tape. The men audio tape-recorded the torture, rape, and murder of the young woman.

Fig.1 16-year-old Shirley Lynette Ledford.

Fig.2 Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris.

Fig.3 Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris.

Part of the graphic transcript the two men recorded:

Bittaker: (Slapping Shirley) Say something girl, huh? Huh?

Ledford: What do you want me to say?

Bittaker: Huh, huh? Say something, girl! Don’t you hit me? Huh, huh?

Bittaker: Say something girl. Huh?

Ledford: Ouch! (Shirley begins to scream)

Bittaker: Say something! C’mon! You can scream louder than that, can’t you? Huh? What’s the matter, don’t you like to scream? (Slapping sounds can be heard).

Ledford: (Screams) Oh no!

Bittaker: What’s the matter, huh? You want to try again?

Ledford: (Screams) Oh no! Don’t touch me! No!

Bittaker: Huh? You want to try again?

Ledford: On no, don’t touch me! No don’t touch me. No! No! No! No! No!

Bittaker: Want to try again?

Ledford: No, no, no, no, no, no, no!

Fig.4 The van Bittaker and Norris drove.

Fig.5 Inside the van.

At this point, Shirley begins to cry profusely. She begs Bittaker to stop hitting her, saying again, “No, don’t touch me!” Given what Bittaker next says, it is likely Shirley curls into a ball and turns away from him as she weeps.

Bittaker: Roll over girl.

Ledford: No don’t touch me!

Bittaker: Roll over!

Ledford: (Pleading tone in voice) Don’t touch me.

Bittaker: (Slapping Shirley) Start getting to work, girl!

Ledford: Don’t touch me!

Bittaker: Start getting to work girl!

Ledford: (Crying) Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me!

Bittaker: Get to work, girl!

Ledford: Don’t touch me.

Bittaker: Roll over. I’m not asking you; I’m telling you!

Bittaker: Roll over!

Ledford: (Crying sounds can be heard).

Bittaker: C’mon, C’mon, C’mon!

Bittaker: What are you dong? What are you doing?

Ledford: Huh?

Bittaker: What are you doing?

Ledford: I’m not doing anything; I’m trying to do what you wanted me to do.

Bittaker: What did I want you to do?

Ledford: Suck on it.

Bittaker: Suck on what?

Ledford: This.

Bittaker: What’s this?

Ledford: Your dick.

Bittaker: Yeah? Say it.

Ledford: Your dick.

Bittaker: You’re sucking on my dick?

Ledford: That’s what you wanted me to do?

Bittaker: Is that what you’re doing?

Ledford: Yes, I was.

Bittaker: Tell me.

Ledford: Yes.

Bittaker: Tell me what are you doing?

Ledford: I’m sucking on your dick.

Bittaker: Do you want to do it?

Ledford: You want me to?

Bittaker: You want to, girl? Do you want to suck my dick baby? Huh, huh, hey? Start answering me! (Beating sounds can be heard).

Ledford: Yes.

Bittaker: Tell me.

Ledford: Yes.

Bittaker: Beg me.

Ledford: Yes.

Bittaker: What, hey what do you want girl?

Ledford: I want to suck on your dick.

Bittaker: You don’t sound like you really mean it. (Slapping sounds)

Ledford: I do.

Bittaker: (Laughing) Suck on it then! C’mon start sucking on it. No matter what you can do, squeeze hard you understand, and if it hurts any time you want to scream, go ahead and scream.

Ledford: Oh no! (Screams)

Bittaker: Scream, baby! Go ahead and scream! Scream, baby!

Fig.6 The tape with the recordings, and a hammer used in the torture.

Fig.7 The pliers used in the torture.

Fig.8 The toolbox.

At this point, after Bittaker had forced Shirley to fellate him, repeated sounds of an administered beating, interspersed with loud screams can be heard as Bittaker savagely beat Shirley about the breasts and, to a lesser degree, head. Bittaker then extracted his pliers from the tool box. Shirley then emits several high-pitched, prolonged screams and cries of agony as Bittaker alternately squeezes and twists her labia, clitoris, nipples and breasts with the pliers. Bittaker then returns the pliers to the tool box. Banging sounds can also be heard throughout, which are believed to have been made as Shirley came into contact with the walls and inner contents of the van as she writhed and flailed.

Ledford: My God! Please stop it! (Screams)

Bittaker: Is the recorder going?

Norris: Yeah!

Bittaker: Scream baby! Scream some, baby.

Ledford: I can’t!

Bittaker: Scream some more baby. Come baby. Come on. Nobody is going to hurt you. Turn over and talk to me nice. Love me. You want nothing more in the world than to make me cum. Huh?

Ledford: (Still crying, says something unintelligible which ends with her saying “that’s right.”)

Bittaker: Say it again baby. What do you want huh? What do you want?

Ledford: Your cock.

Bittaker: Where do you want it baby, huh?

Ledford: I want to hold it and squeeze it.

Bittaker: Why?

Ledford: It feels good, cause you like it and I like it.

Bittaker: You want me to cum baby.

Ledford: Oh yeah.

Bittaker: You want me to cum, yeah? Want me to come, tell me baby. (Beating and slapping sounds)

Ledford: Yeah.

Bittaker: Tell me!

Ledford: Yeah.

Bittaker: Huh?

Ledford: Oh yeah.

Bittaker: Hey girl, you want me to put a pair of pliers up your cunt?

Ledford: What?

Bittaker: You want to make me cum huh? You want to make me cum huh?

Bittaker: Huh? Want to make me cum girl, huh?

Ledford: Oh yes (Scream)

Bittaker: Yes what?

Ledford: I want you to cum. Cum. (Scream). Come on.

Shirley Ledford then screams in agony as Bittaker inserts the pliers inside her vagina and twists them, tearing her.

Bittaker: Stop screaming at me, come on talk to me!

Ledford: Cum, cum, cum. Please cum, cum, cum, cum.

Bittaker: Where do you want me to cum, baby?

Ledford: I want you to cum.

Bittaker: Where do you want me to cum?

Ledford: I want you to cum.

Bittaker: Where do you want me to cum?

Ledford: Your cock. I want you to cum.

Bittaker: Cum where?

Ledford: Cum.

Bittaker: Cum where? Where do you want me to cum?

Ledford: In me.

Bittaker: Where?

Ledford: Cum.

Bittaker: Where?

Ledford: All over. All over.

Ledford: (Scream). No, no, no, no, no, no. (Scream)

Bittaker: Is the recorder going?

Norris: What?

Bittaker: Is the recorder going?

Norris: (Emphasis) Yeah!

Ledford: Oh no, no, no! Oh no! (Sobbing sounds)

Fig.9 Injuries on the victim.

Fig.10 From the scene where the body was discovered.

A sharp, shrill scream, followed by wailing sounds follow. It is believed to be at this point when Bittaker, having already sodomized Shirley, inserted the pliers into her rectum and twisted them, tearing her and splitting the lining inside her rectum. Banging sounds can again be heard as Shirley came into contact with the walls and inner contents of the van as she again writhed and flailed.Ledford: (Screaming). No! No! No! Oh, oh! (Screaming)

At this point, Norris traded places with Bittaker as Shirley lay crying and moaning in the back of the van. Three of the four victims previously killed had all been vaginally raped by Norris, but as Bittaker had viciously torn Shirley’s genitals and rectum with his pliers, causing her to bleed, Norris did not vaginally or anally rape her. Instead, Norris forced the already agonized girl to fellate him, then switched on the tape recorder himself.

Norris: Make noise there, girl. Go ahead and scream or I’ll make you scream!

Ledford: (Loud, pleading tone) I’ll scream if you stop hitting me!

Norris: (Enthusiastic tone in voice) Oh yeah?

Ledford: (Screaming)

Norris: Keep it up girl!

Ledford: (Sreaming)

Norris: More!

Ledford: (Screaming)

Norris: ‘Till I say stop!

Ledford: (Screaming)

Fig.11 From the scene where the body was discovered.

Fig.12 Injuries from the torture.

Unintelligible sounds are heard, interspersed with sounds of Shirley Ledford crying and moaning.Sounds of Norris extracting the sledgehammer from the tool box can then be heard as Shirley, seeing him do this, again begins crying and shouts, “Oh no! No! Oh!” She then screams in fear, again shouts “Oh, no, no!” before again screaming.

Norris strikes Shirley on the elbow.

Ledford: You broke it!

Norris: I barely hit it.

Ledford: (Pleading and sobbing) Don’t hit me again!

Norris: Oh yeah?

Norris can be heard lifting the sledgehammer from either the floor of the van or, possibly, the wooden frame of the bed the two had constructed in the rear of the van.

Ledford: (Screaming) No! No! No! No! No! (Bludgeoning sounds can be heard, interspersed with repeated high-pitched screams)

Ledford: No! No! No! No! No! (Scream) Oh no! No! No! No!

Shirley is struck 25 times in succession on the left elbow by Norris, who repeatedly fractures her left elbow. Each time the hammer strikes her, a piercing scream can be heard. At one point, she may have tried to say something, but her voice had become an unintelligible mass of pain.

Fig.13 Injuries from the torture.

Fig.14 Metal coat hanger used to strangle the victim.

Norris: How’s that?

Bittaker: (Driving) What’s going on?

Norris: I was just beating on her elbows with the hammer.

Bittaker: Ah!

Ledford: Oh! (Screams as Norris again repeatedly strikes her elbow with the hammer).

Norris: What are you sniveling about?

Ledford: (Scream). No! Oh. Owww! I, (Repeated screams).

Ledford: (Screams).

The tape recorder is then switched off before Norris strangles Shirley by tristing a wire coat hanger around her neck. The last words Shirley Lynette Ledford spoke at the end of her short life were, “Do it. Just kill me!”Bittaker and Norris then drove to dispose of Shirley Lynette Ledford’s horrifically ravaged, battered, broken and torn body. Her body also bore deep welt marks to the wrists and ankles, indicating just how much Shirley Lynette had writhed and struggled against her restraints.

In one final act of degradation, Norris splayed Shirley Lynette’s naked body face upwards, with arms outstretched and legs apart. It should be noted that the detective who was assigned to this case and had to transcribe the content of the recording had to retire on a medical due to a nervous breakdown he suffered as a direct result of this outrage.

Fig.15 Shirley Lynette Ledford was only 16-years-old.

Paul Bynum, the chief investigator of the murders committed by Bittaker and Norris, committed suicide in December 1987. He was 39 years old. In a ten-page suicide note, Bynum specifically referred to the murders committed by Bittaker and Norris as haunting him, and of his fear they may be released from prison.

Lawrence Bittaker died of natural causes while incarcerated on death row at San Quentin State Prison in December 2019 aged 79-years-old. Roy Norris died of natural causes at the California Medical Facility in February 2020 aged 72-years-old.

The trial where you can hear the screams from Shirley as the jurors run out is on youtube

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