the tool box killers
Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris
Lawrence Sigmund Bittaker was born inPittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 27, 1940, the unwanted child of a couple who had chosen not to have children.:84 Upon his birth, Bittaker was placed in an orphanage by his natural mother, but was adopted by a Mr. and Mrs. George Bittaker as an infant. Bittaker's adoptive father worked in aircraft factories, which required the family to frequently move around the United States throughout Bittaker's childhood.
At the age of 12, Bittaker first came to the attention of police when he was arrested for shoplifting. Over the following four years, he was arrested on several occasions for shoplifting and petty theft; obtaining a minor criminal record and being brought to the attention of juvenile authorities.:250
Despite possessing an IQ of 138, Bittaker considered his schooling to be a tedious experience;:257 he dropped out of high school in 1957. By this stage in his adolescence, he and his adoptive parents were living in California. Within a year of leaving school, he had been arrested for auto theft, hit and run, and evading arrest.:250 For these offenses, Bittaker was imprisoned at the California Youth Authority, where he remained until the age of 18.:250 Upon his release, Bittaker discovered his adoptive parents had disowned him and relocated to another state.:84 Bittaker never saw his adoptive parents again.
Roy Lewis Norris was born in Greeley, Colorado on February 2, 1948. Norris was conceived outside of wedlock; his parents had married to avoid the social stigmasurrounding illegitimate birth at the time.:74-77
All of Norris's family lived within a short distance of his parents' home (his grandfather had invested in real estate).:74His father worked in a scrapyard, whereas his mother was a housewife who is known to have suffered from a drug addiction. Although he occasionally lived with his parents throughout his childhood and adolescence, Norris was repeatedly placed in the care of foster families,:136 although these placements were always within the state of Colorado.
Norris's recollections of his childhood are interspersed with memories of wrongful accusation when he lived with his biological parents, and of neglect by many of the foster families with whom he was placed, with frequent references to his being denied sufficient food or clothing. He also states he was the victim of sexual abuse when in the care of a Hispanic family, later stating theracism he holds towards Hispanic people originates from the neglect and abuse he endured as a child when placed in their care.:136
At the age of 16, Norris—at the time living with his birth parents—visited the home of a female relative in her early twenties and began talking in sexually suggestive terms to her. In response, this relative ordered him to leave her house. Norris's father was informed of this incident, and threatened to beat his son. In response, Norris stole his father's car and drove into the Rocky Mountains, where he attempted to commit suicide by injecting pure air into an artery in his arm.:76 He was later apprehended as a runaway, and returned to live with his parents. When he returned home, his parents informed Norris that he and his younger sister were both unwanted children, and his parents had intended to divorce when they both reached adolescence.
One year later, Norris dropped out of school and joined the United States Navy. Norris was stationed in San Diego between 1965 and 1969 when, at age 21, he was deployed to serve in Vietnam,:253 although he did not see active combat during the four months of his deployment. He returned to the United States later the same year.
Throughout his service in Vietnam, Norris experimented with both heroin andmarijuana. Although he did not become addicted to heroin, he became a regular user of marijuana.