Serial Killer Sentenced to Death : Court: Judge follows jury’s recommendation for William L. Suff, convicted of strangling 12 prostitutes in Riverside County from 1989 to 1991.
Calling him “a cruel and indifferent man,” a judge sentenced William L. Suff to death Thursday for strangling 12 prostitutes during a sex-murder rampage that ended in 1991.
Superior Court Judge W. Charles Morgan followed the jury’s recommendation in sentencing Suff, who was paroled to California in 1984 from Texas, where he served 10 years of a 70-year sentence for beating his baby daughter to death.
In a statement before sentencing, the former Riverside County warehouse worker proclaimed his innocence.
“I’m not the person the prosecution and the news media portrayed me to be,” said Suff, 45. In a rambling monologue, he described himself as a “hopeless romantic.”
Suff was convicted in July on 12 of 13 counts of first-degree murder between 1989 and 1991, and one count of attempted murder. Prosecutors said he was suspected of at least 22 murders dating back to 1986, although there was enough evidence to prosecute only the more recent ones.
Most of the victims were drug-addicted prostitutes whose bodies were found along roads and in citrus groves of inland Southern California.
Prosecutors said Suff would pick them up in his van for sex, then strangle them. Besides mutilating victims, the killer sometimes dressed the bodies in his clothes and took theirs.
“This is a cruel and indifferent man with a calm demeanor in court that belies evil within,” Morgan said.
The judge rejected defense motions for a new trial and for a life sentence. He also allowed victims’ relatives to come to a courtroom podium and personally condemn Suff.
“Burn in hell where you belong,” Marcela Zamora said. The body of her sister, Delliah Zamora, was found Oct. 30, 1991, making her Suff’s next to last victim.
Suff was arrested Jan. 9, 1992, after he pulled up next to a woman on a Riverside street, then made an illegal U-turn.