5 of Orange County’s Most Notorious Murders

Living in Orange County is living in the land of sunshine, paradise beaches, and opportunities, and once in a while, savage murders.

Some of America’s most brutal killers have lurked our streets. We have fallen prey to the Night Stalker, the Freeway Killer, and the Folsom Wolf.

Here are 5 of the Orange County’s most notorious cases.

The Campus Gunman

On July 12th, 1976, shortly before 7 a.m., Allaway, a Cal State Fullerton janitor who served in the Marines, brought a .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle into the campus library basement.

Edward Charles Allaway, 37-year-old with a history of mental disease methodically walked room by room, firing at co-workers starting their workday.

At the time, it was the bloodiest turmoil in Orange County history. Although, it was over in five minutes.

In total, he shot nine people, reloading as he went, and killed seven. Two victims vacillated outside before they fell dead. The rest lay dispersed on the basement floor. He then called the police and surrendered.

The retired Sunday school teacher claimed that delusions sparked the attack. A judge later found Allaway not guilty because of insanity, and he prevails in a state mental hospital.

The Freeway Killer

William Bonin raped, hurt and murdered 21 boys along Southern California freeways over a 10-month period between 1979 and 1980. Most were hitchhikers whom he attracted into his green van and strangled.

His youngest victim was Jimmy Macabe, 12, of Garden Grove, abducted when waiting for a bus to Disneyland. One of his oldest victims was grocery clerk Darin Lee Kendrick, 19, of Stanton, abducted when retrieving shopping carts in the supermarket parking lot.

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Bonin, a truck driver from Downey, raped his victims, then dumped their bodies along the road. For this, he won the nickname Freeway Killer.

Bonin, a Vietnam veteran, convicted of four murders in Orange County and 10 in Los Angeles County. On Feb. 23, 1996, executed by a lethal shot at San Quentin State Prison.

The ‘Dating Game’ Contestant

Rodney James Alcala already was a child rapist when he appeared on “The Dating Game” show in 1978 – and won.

There was no suspicion that in the preceding year, he had murdered three women.

The former photographer used his camera to approximate women, and once he obtained their trust, he raped, punched and strangled them.

A year after the TV show, Alcala killed a fourth woman, in Burbank, then cruised Huntington Beach, looking for a younger victim. That day, June 20, 1979, he kidnapped young Robin Samsoe near her Huntington Beach home. Twelve days later, her skeletal remains turned up in a ravine in the Angeles National Forest.

Alcala was sentenced of all five murders and sentenced to death. He awaits execution.

Computer Consultant and Serial Killer

On May 13, 1983, California Highway Patrol officers pulled over a Toyota Celica slowly snaking along the freeway in Mission Viejo.

The driver, Randy Kraft, emerged and approached officers. They escorted him back to his car where they found a choked Marine in the passenger seat and a “death list” in the trunk.

Kraft’s arrest ended an 11-year stretch in which he drugged, sexually tortured and strangled up to 65 young men.

Kraft, a 38-year-old Long Beach computer specialist, targeted young travelers and Marines he found hitchhiking.

In 1989, Kraft was convicted of 16 murders after an 11-month trial, at the time the longest and costliest criminal procedure in Orange County history.

He remains on death row at San Quentin Prison.

Night Stalker

For more than a year, 1984-1985, Richard Ramirez, a 25-year-old wanderer from Texas, terrorized Southern California in a turmoil of murder, mutilation, rape, and sodomy.

The newspapers nicknamed him the Night Stalker because he sneaked into homes at night through unlocked doors and windows. He murdered his victims with handguns, knives, a machete, a tire iron and a hammer.

In 1989, Ramirez sentenced to death for killing 13 people, got married while in a row at San Quentin.

In 2013, Ramirez passed away of complications from B-cell lymphoma while expecting execution.

Folsom Wolf and the cocktail waitress

On Nov. 12, 1986, Lynell Murray missed a dinner date with her boyfriend. He drove to her workplace, found it ransacked and called the police to report her disappearance.

James Marlow and Cynthia Coffman paid with Murray’s credit card to check in at Huntington Beach Inn. They raped and choked Murray, 19, and left her body in the bathtub.

Marlow was an ex-convict from Kentucky known as the Folsom Wolf. Coffman was a former cocktail waitress. Two days after Murray’s death, police followed Marlow and Coffman to a Big Bear lodge and arrested them.

Both of them sentenced to death for Novis’ murder. Marlow sentenced to death, and Coffman sentenced to life in prison without parole for Murray’s murder. Both remain incarcerated.

Watch a video about the Nightstalker


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