Re: Santa Cruz Serial killer Herbert William Mullin wants to go home and find a wife
March 22, 2006
Serial killer asks for parole
By Donna Jones
Santa Cruz Sentinel Staff Writer

By the time Herbert William Mullin gunned down 72-year-old Fred Perez
in the front yard of his Westside Santa Cruz home on Feb. 13, 1973, the
1965 San Lorenzo Valley High School graduate had killed a dozen others
in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.

Mullin's five-month killing spree baffled police and created a climate
of fear in a community already traumatized by a mass murder in the
Soquel hills two years earlier.

Mullin, who testified telepathic voices told him to sacrifice his
victims to prevent earthquakes, is now 58 and serving life sentences in
Mule Creek State Prison in Ione for 11 of the murders. A parole board
will review his case there today.

"He'll never be let out of prison as long as we have people who are
using their common sense in making these decisions," said Chris Cottle,
a retired judge who as an assistant district attorney prosecuted the

Mullin was an honor student in high school and later studied
engineering at Cabrillo College. But in his early 20s, his life went
off track. Some said he blew his mind on drugs, others that he was
devastated by the death of his best friend, Dean Richardson, in an auto
accident in 1965. Others said he was just plain crazy.

Witnesses at his 1973 trial testified to his use of hallucinogens and
marijuana. He was in and out of mental institutions. A defense
psychiatrist said he was a paranoid schizophrenic.

Mullin testified that he was the victim of "killjoy sadism," a
conspiracy to rob him of pleasure that started during his childhood. He
criticized his father, blaming him for encouraging him to enroll at San
Jose State University, a campus "full of anti-war demonstrators." He
said he sang the "die song" to his victims.

"I'm telling you to die, you know," he explained to the court. "I'm
telling you to kill yourself, or be killed, so that my continent will
not fall off into the ocean."

Lawrence White was Mullin's first victim. The 55-year-old's body was
found in mid-October in the Rincon area just off Highway 9 between
Santa Cruz and Felton. Mullin, pretending to be a motorist with engine
trouble, lured White close and then bludgeoned him to death with a
baseball bat.

A week later, he picked up Mary Guilfoyle, a 24-year-old Cabrillo
College student hitchhiking to an appointment in Santa Cruz. He stabbed
her to death and dumped her body in bushes near Smith Grade Road in
Bonny Doon.

On Nov. 10, Mullin walked into a Catholic church in Los Gatos where the
Rev. Henri Tomei was hearing confessions. Mullin stabbed him in the
confessional booth.

In mid-December he purchased a .22-caliber handgun for $24 at the
Western Auto store in Felton. At the trial, store owner Anthony Black
said Mullin, whom he described as "clean cut, clean shaven and cleanly
dressed," told him the gun was for target practice.

He used it to kill his next victims. James Gianera, 24, an acquaintance
of Mullin, and his wife, Joan, 23, were shot multiple times at their
home on Western Drive in Santa Cruz in late January.

Mullin then went to a cabin near the Mystery Spot, where he had earlier
asked 30-year-old Kathy Francis about Gianera's whereabouts. He shot
Francis, and her two sons, David Hughes, 9, and Daemon Francis, 4.

On Feb. 10, 1973, Mullin confronted Robert Spector, 18, David Olicker,
18, Brian Scott Card, 19, and Mark Dreibelbis, 19, at Henry Cowell
Redwoods State Park, where the four young men were camping. After they
refused to leave, he shot them too, and took a rifle and $20.

Responding to a tip from a witness, Santa Cruz police stopped Mullin
minutes after he shot Perez. Mullin surrendered without a fight. Inside
his Chevy station wagon, police discovered the rifle and shell casings.

It was the first break in a "huge puzzle" of a case, said Watsonville
police Chief Terry Medina, a detective with the Santa Cruz County
Sheriff's Office at the time.

"Until then we had no clue," he said.

Only the Gianera and Francis murders appeared linked. The other victims
had nothing in common, and Mullin dispatched his victims by bat, knife
and gun.

Complicating the investigation was the fact that a second serial
killer, Aptos resident Edward Emil Kemper, was operating in the county
at the same time, Medina said. In a period that spanned less than year,
more than two dozen bodies and assorted body parts turned up in the

"I didn't realize it at the time, but looking back now, I realize it
was a very strange time," Medina said.

Kemper, who turned himself in a few weeks after Mullin's arrest, was
convicted of killing and mutilating eight women, including his mother,
whose head he placed on the mantle at her Seacliff home, between May
1972 and April 1973. He and Mullin were housed in adjoining cells while
awaiting trial.

When Mullin was tried, defense lawyer James Jackson tried to prove he
was not guilty by reason of insanity.

Even Cottle, the prosecutor, conceded Mullin was "crazy, in the lay,
common sense way of thinking."

But Cottle said he wasn't legally insane, and argued Mullin's efforts
to hide his crimes proved his point.

The jury found Mullin guilty of first-degree murder for the killings of
James Gianera and Kathy Francis. He was convicted of second-degree
murder in eight other killings because the jury found his "diminished
capacity" limited his ability to premeditate.

He was never charged with the murder of Guilfoyle and White, though he
admitted to them.

A Santa Clara County jury convicted him of Tomei's murder.

Jackson said the two first-degree convictions didn't make sense because
Mullin was either capable of deliberative action or not. It's not a
temporary condition.

Jackson believes the jury found Mullin guilty because they wanted to
make sure he was put away for good.

"Jurors live in a real world in a real community with real murderers
and real victims," he said.

If Mullin was tried today he would most likely have faced the death
penalty, but that wasn't available to the District Attorney's Office at
the time, Cottle said.

The U.S. Supreme Court suspended capital punishment in 1972, and
reinstated it in 1976.

So Mullin was sentenced to life in prison, which at the time allowed
for parole after seven years, according to prosecutor Ariadne Symons,
who plans to attend the hearing today on behalf of the county. He's
been denied parole several times.

Prison officials have called him a model prisoner. He has studied
cooking, woodworking and landscaping during his incarceration. In 1987
he ran a personal ad in the Scotts Valley Banner with the aim of
finding an "Irish wife."

"I am 40 years old. I am 14 years in prison. I desire to sire children
now," the ad said.

Symons said she can't imagine anyone in their "right mind" releasing

Neither can Medina. But he's still bothered each time Mullin comes up
for review.

"I've mellowed on the death penalty over the years," Medina said. "But
I do believe there's a place for it. It's for the Kempers and the
Mullins and some of these extraordinary cases."