Category: Serial Killing
Location: California, United States
Date: 1971 - 1983
Crime: Known as the Freeway Killer, Kraft was convicted of 16 killings, but his own accounts and evidence link him to more than 50 other murders. He was sentenced to death and is currently on Death Row in San Quentin State Prison.
Biography: Kraft was born in California, the only son in a family with three daughters. His school years were described as bright and scholarly. He joined the Air Force in 1968 and because of his very high scores on I.Q. tests, he was given increased security clearances. After his discharge from the military, Kraft was back bartending like he did during his college years. Kraft's first victim was said to have been in September 1971, a gay bartender that was found alongside the highway. During the 1970's and early 80's, dozens of homicides occurred along the freeways of California, with some bodies being discovered in the state of Oregon. The victims were strangled, shot or killed by means of torture and drug overdoses, but all were sadistically abused. Kraft was almost arrested in 1975, when a victims head was found near Long Beach, evidence pointed to the victim having been in Kraft's car at some point, but prosecutors felt they didn't have enough evidence to arrest. His killings continued until 1983 when he was carelessly pulled over on the San Diego Freeway. After failing a field sobriety test, the office checked inside the car and found the dead body of Kraft's final victim. The investigation uncovered a list of apparent victims, but it was written in a form of code that has never been fully understood. It is believed that the list may identify a total of 66 victims in all.