‘The Scorecard Killer’: Southern California Man May Have Murdered As Many As 67 Victims

Randy Steven Kraft was caught after police pulled him over with a dead Marine in his front passenger-side seat.

Serial killer Randy Kraft sits at a preliminary proceeding in Santa Ana, CA in 1988. He was eventually convicted of murdering 16 young men, and linked to 29 others during the penalty phase of his trial.

Randy Kraft, a serial killer found guilty of murdering 16 young men in Southern California over the course of over 11 years, may actually have been responsible for as many as nearly 70 deaths.

Photo by: Getty Images

Getty Images

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A serial killer found guilty of murdering 16 young men in Southern California over the course of over 11 years may actually have been responsible for as many as nearly 70 deaths.

Between 1972 and 1983, authorities believe computer expert Randy Steven Kraft preyed on his victims in Orange County as well as in Oregon and Michigan, where he traveled for work.

Around 1 a.m. on May 14, 1983, the California Highway Patrol pulled Kraft over because he was weaving on the freeway near Mission Viejo. They placed Kraft, then 38, under arrest after they found 25-year-old Marine Terry Gambrel dead in the front seat of the vehicle, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A search of the car’s trunk turned up a notebook that contained what prosecutors claimed was a coded “death list” containing over 60 entries.

Among the cryptic names on the list, police believe “EDM” stood for 20-year-old Edward Daniel Moore, who was killed in 1972.

Six entries, authorities said, belonged to six victims found between 1980 and 1982 along an interstate in Portland, Oregon, the Los Angeles Times reported. The entry “Portland Denver” is suspected to be a victim who came from a suburb of the Colorado capital, while “Portland Hawaii” was thought to be a victim who had the state’s name printed on his shirt at the time of his death.

Investigators later found some of the men’s possessions in Kraft’s home.

Prosecutors said “New Year’s Eve” may have referred to 20-year-old Santa Ana resident Mark Howard Hall, who disappeared after a New Year’s Eve party in 1985.

Kraft recently claimed in an interview with The Pride LA that the list actually contained the coded names of guests for a surprise housewarming party for his boyfriend at the time. “One column was the names of people I wanted to invite and the other column were maybes,” he said, adding, “It was in code so [he] wouldn't recognize it.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, most of Kraft’s victims were between 18 and 25 years old. The men, many of whom were Marines or hitchhikers, were often found dead near freeway ramps or dumped in remote areas. They were often sexually mutilated.

Prosecutors believe Kraft, who became known as “The Scorecard Killer” because of the list, would give his victims drugs and alcohol, strangle them to death and sexually disfigure them.

In the case of one victim, 22-year-old Mark Howard Hall, police believed Kraft used a cigarette lighter to burn the man’s eyes and body. Hall was found dumped in Silverado Canyon in January 1976, his mouth filled with dirt and his genitals missing.

In May 1989, a jury found Kraft guilty of 16 counts of murder in Orange County (he was never charged or convicted in connection with the dozens of other killings he’s suspected of committing in Southern California, Oregon or Michigan.)

That November, Santa Ana Superior Court Judge Donald A. McCartin sentenced Kraft to death. “I can’t imagine doing these things in scientific experiments on a dead person, much less someone alive,” the judge said of Kraft’s brutality, according to the Los Angeles Times.

At the sentencing hearing, the publication reported, Kraft denied he had anything to do with the homicides, telling the court, “I have not murdered anyone, and any reasonable review of the record will show that.”

Kraft continues to serve on death row at San Quentin State Prison, and he continues to profess his innocence. Kraft recently discussed the case with The Pride Los Angeles, insisting he was the victim of discrimination at the time of his trial because of his sexual orientation. He also told the outlet he doesn’t expect to ever be released from prison despite his claims of innocence.

“My life is here now. Almost all of the people I care for are here. I don’t have any former life to return to; it is obliterated,” he said. “I don’t pine for release; my life is here. I’ll die here, and that’s OK with me.”

In an interview with Orange Coast, Max Gambrel, a cousin of the Marine found dead in Kraft’s car in 1983, said he is “glad” Kraft is still locked up despite his death sentence.

“He loved his freedom, and the longer he’s in jail … it’s the only justice my family has,” he said.

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