Prosecutor Links Suspect Kraft to 8 More Murders
Eight more killings, all in Los Angeles County, have been linked to Randy Steven Kraft, according to prosecution documents made public as Kraft’s serial murder trial began Monday in Santa Ana. Kraft is accused of more serial killings than anyone in California history.
Orange County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Kraft, 43. The former Long Beach computer consultant has been formally charged with 16 murders, but prosecutors have informed the court that they plan to use evidence of another 21 killings--not including the eight Los Angeles County slayings disclosed Monday--during the penalty phase of Kraft’s trial.
The documents concerning the eight Los Angeles County killings were released by Orange County Superior Court Judge Donald A. McCartin after opening statements at Kraft’s trial.
Accused of 45 Murders
Orange County prosecutors now have accused Kraft of a total of 45 murders--six in Oregon, two in Michigan and the rest in Southern California. Most of the victims were young men, and many of them had been emasculated, sexually assaulted or burned with a cigarette lighter.
The eight killings revealed Monday occurred between Feb. 6, 1973, and July 29, 1982, less than a year before Kraft’s May 14, 1983, arrest on the San Diego Freeway in South Orange County. Kraft was stopped for a traffic violation, and a body was found in his car.
Two of the eight victims were teen-age boys found dead in Echo Park, next to the Hollywood Freeway, on July 29, 1982, according to Orange County prosecutors. Raymond Davis, 13, of Pittsburg, Calif., and Robert Avila, 16, of Los Angeles had been strangled.
Investigators said the boys had been killed at different times, as much as a month apart.
The others are Craig Victor Jonaites, 24, whose body was found near Long Beach in 1975; Mark Alan Marsh, 20, a Marine stationed at the El Toro Air Station, whose body was found near Castaic in 1980; Thomas Paxton Lee, 25, found in Long Beach in 1974, and three unidentified bodies, found in 1973 and 1979, two in Wilmington, the other in Long Beach.
Charges of Bid to ‘Inflame’
During opening statements Monday, an attorney representing Kraft told jurors that the prosecutor in the case, Bryan F. Brown, had deliberately tried to “inflame” them and “have you arrive at a preconceived decision” through a litany of lurid sexual detail.
Kraft attorney C. Thomas McDonald heatedly argued that the case against his client was based on “suspicion, innuendo and prosecutorial rhetoric.”
The killings that were disclosed Monday have been linked to Kraft through a list of what prosecutors say are coded entries referring to the defendant’s victims. The handwritten list, which has 61 entries in all, was found in Kraft’s car after he was arrested.
Prosecutors said Monday they would not rule out the possibility of bringing up the eight new killings in the penalty phase of Kraft’s trial.