Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer (2021) s01e01 Episode Script

Devil in the City of Angels

1 Hello, my name is Detective Gil Carrillo, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, assigned to Homicide Bureau.
The Sheriff's Department is conducting an investigation… On a series of homicides and sexual assaults occurred in Los Angeles County.
The suspect, who has traveled highways in what we believe to be stolen vehicles, is always wearing gloves to make his entries.
The suspect has used guns, knives, tire irons, handcuffs and thumbcuffs, as well as his own foot, to inflict serious… Los Angeles City has almost all benefits and no negatives.
Well, there's a girl That lives up the block.
Back in school She could turn all the boys' heads.
This was a decade when the queen visited, the Pope visited.
We had the Olympics.
We were proud of the city, proud of LA.
For the first time in recorded history, our freeways were relatively clear.
- It was a huge decade.
- Crime dropped like a rock.
Glory days.
Our top story, record temperatures and fires scorching the Southland.
Downtown the mercury reached 107 degrees this afternoon.
You have this amazing city, so many parallel universes.
LA was a facade.
From one side, it was glamorous celebrities.
But if you went around to the other side… …LA could be a very dark place.
You could be anybody.
It also attracted very, very dangerous people.
Nobody knows where this individual may strike next.
The same man is suspected in six to eight murders and 25 to 30 attacks.
There's sort of a thin line between being paranoid about it and being aware of it.
…the so-called Night Stalker who has terrorized California.
He struck again.
People wonder when and where he'll strike next.
I'm scared.
Everybody is scared.
I am not leaving my door open for my son, I don't care if he sleeps on the street.
I don't understand why somebody can't identify him.
He has to live somewhere.
Somebody must know.
He's a weird-looking character.
Somebody has to know him.
I don't believe that anybody has a choice.
Your number is there one day.
We're all going to die.
We just don't know when.
You start dying the day you were born.
I was born and raised in the Catholic Church.
I believe in God.
I believe in the Holy Spirit.
I believe there's a devil.
I believe there's an evil force.
I just say prayers, hopefully to help give me the wisdom and the knowledge to bring this case to a solution.
All the people on the block that I lived on, were Mexicans.
There was a gang where I lived.
We all hung out on the corner of Dulin and Holbrook.
They were more important than school was to me, and I didn't realize that until a cop told my mom and dad, "Sign for this young man to get off the street, or he'll end up dead or in prison.
" And, so, at age 17, my parents signed for me to go into the Army.
I was a crew chief with 189th Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam.
I saw heavy, heavy combat.
By the grace of God, I made it out alive, and… As soon as I got out of Armed Forces, I had three goals in life.
One was to start dating my former girlfriend, who had dumped me while I was in Vietnam.
I wanted to see if I could get her back, then break up with her.
I wanted revenge, I wanted to hurt her like she had hurt me.
But it didn't work out that way.
He got out of the service in June, and we were married by December.
December 26, 1970.
That was goal number one.
Goal number two was to go to college.
Nobody in my family had ever gone to college, and I thought college was for rich white people.
So, I enrolled at Rio Hondo College… And started going there.
Two out of three goals I accomplished.
And the third one was I wanted to become a cop.
October 1st, 1971… I became a patrol cop at East LA Sheriff's Station.
When I was 29 years of age, I got an outstanding evaluation.
Those were hard to come by.
When I showed it to my mom and dad, my dad looked up and said… "I'm proud of you, son.
" And he had never said that to me in my life.
He always wanted to make his dad proud.
Proud of him.
After that, I watched guys from homicide work.
They were so meticulous, so good.
When they pulled up on the scene, everybody got out of their way.
"Wow, sheriff's homicide's here.
" I told them, "One of these days, I want to do your job.
" March 23rd, 1981… I get called to go to Homicide Bureau.
I only had nine and a half years experience.
That was my goal, that was my dream, and… I made it.
The Bulldogs.
That was their nickname.
I covered hundreds of crimes and dozens and dozens of murders… In downtown Los Angeles, Tony Valdez… …Channel 11 News.
…and I can tell you there were a lot of murders that ended up being solved 20 years later, because the Bulldogs never let go.
We probably ran 350, 400 murders a year for the sheriff's homicide bureau.
Los Angeles Police Department was probably running 500 or 600.
So, in LA County, there's probably close to 1,000 murders a year.
And it takes a big ego, because you got to have confidence in what you're doing.
You're investigating the ultimate crime.
There's nothing more serious than one human being taking the life of another.
Frank Salerno's the Italian Stallion, he's the goombah, he's… He's everything.
When I got there, he was working on the Hillside Strangler.
This is where the first Hillside Strangler victim was found.
The death of Laura Collins and 12 other young women touched off one of the largest manhunts in Southern California history.
Everybody looked up to him.
He's the man.
If you saw Frank Salerno or heard his name, these were not small-time crimes.
They were bringing heavy guns.
Frank Salerno was a straight shooter.
He's a disciplined guy.
He was always a poker face.
He's very businesslike.
His co-workers call him a cop's detective.
Frank overlooks nothing.
You'd be surprised how thorough he is on an investigation.
Gil Carrillo and Jim Mercer were teamed together as partners.
He sat at a desk that was behind me and to my left.
And he was the youngest detective in the Bureau at the time.
One day, Frank comes over and says, "Want to go down to Little Joe's?" An Italian restaurant in Chinatown.
And I'm sitting there and I've never eaten Italian food.
I grew up in a Mexican home.
That's what I know, is Mexican food.
I look at this menu and I don't recognize anything.
I don't know what it is.
I remember ordering chicken Parmesan.
And I'm eating this food and I'm laughing.
Salerno looked at me, said, "What's so funny, kid?" I said, "Here I am, last week, I'm eating a double-wrapped red chili burrito off the hood of a radio car in east LA.
Tonight, I'm wearing a suit and tie, eating some shit that I don't know what it is, drinking a glass of wine with Frank Salerno and the guys from Homicide.
It don't get any better than that.
" I was working at AT&T, and across the street was a mini-mall.
And in there was a Salvation Army store.
And I would just spend my lunch hour in there.
And once, I was in there, there was a table that was full of junk, and there was this hat.
And I picked it up, 'cause the letters on it said "AC/DC.
" I didn't know what that was, and thought it was kind of weird.
And so, I threw it back down.
And then on my right, here comes this man, and he stood right there and picked up the hat… looked at it… Turned around and looked at me, and kind of smiled a little bit, and he had the devil on his hand.
A picture.
A round circle with the face of the devil.
You know, with the horns? And he got the hat, walked away.
When I went home from work, I was on the freeway with my little car, and here comes somebody speeding way behind me.
Then all of a sudden, he just swerves around my car.
It's like he's right there.
Like a moment, stop.
And he turns and he just… He's looking at me.
I remembered, you know, that was the same guy I saw at the thrift store.
And he has this horrible big grin and he's missing all these teeth.
He just stared at me, like a weird smile.
It was like a killer clown.
The date was March 17th, 1985, Saint Patrick's Day.
I actually got that murder with my partner.
I get there and the garage door is open.
In the garage, I see blood spatterings around the door and on the floor, right by the door that separates the garage from the condo proper.
There was a baseball cap.
It said "AC/DC" on it.
And I go inside the condo… Walk around… And see a bloody phone inside the bedroom.
And I see Dayle Okazaki lying on the kitchen floor… Wearing a Dodger jersey.
She had been shot right in the forehead.
She'd put her hands on the countertop, and lifted her head up because it was quiet in there, wanted to see where the suspect was at.
He was on the other side of the countertop waiting for her, knowing that she was going to pop her head up, 'cause he could see her hands, waiting there, and when she did, he pulled the trigger.
Maria Hernandez had just driven home.
She entered via the garage door that she opened with a garage door opener, a remote.
Maria says she keyed the door when she heard an intentional noise.
She turned around and there was a male suspect with a stargazed look, with a gun stretched out coming towards her face, and she put her hands up and he pulled the trigger.
The bullet deflected off the keys in her hand.
It knocked her to the ground.
He then pushed her body out of the way, entered the condo.
She jumped up and started running down the alleyway when she heard another gunshot.
She became concerned for her roommate, so she went around the front of the condo thinking he'll come back out the garage door.
But he didn't.
He came out the front door.
He sees her.
He's just as startled as she is to see him.
Maria says, "I just threw my hands up and said, 'Hey, you already shot me once, do you really have to shoot me again?'" At which time, the suspect puts the gun down by his side and doesn't even run.
He walks away.
I'm at the Maria Hernandez house.
I'm not thinking about anything else, other than getting accurate documentations of what my observations are.
So, I'm documenting everything from ambiance to smell, using fixed objects to measure where her foot is, where her head is, and… Directing the photographer to take photographs of the crime scene.
And once that's done, then I can start thinking about motives, and thinking about solving this case.
I'm inside the living room and the deputy opens a door and says, "Excuse me, the mother of Maria Hernandez is out here and she'd like to have a word with you.
" While the door is open, he's standing there, I hear somebody say, "Gilbert, is that you?" I'm there saying, "Gilbert? Nobody calls me I'm Gil.
I'm too cool to be Gilbert.
" And I can't see her, I hear her voice.
And she says, "It's me, Pauline.
" And I said, "Pumpkin?" And she said, "Yes.
" And it was the mother of Maria Hernandez.
A neighbor that lived three doors down from me when I was a kid growing up.
This case was already close to home.
We find out the next day that 40 minutes after the murder of Dayle Okazaki, the Monterey Park Police Department got a call.
There was a murder that had occurred probably a mile from where Dayle Okazaki got killed.
They've got a young Asian girl that is driving down the street, and all of a sudden she is stopped, and she's yanked out of her car, and she's shot for no apparent reason.
Tsai-Lian Yu was left sprawled in the street, shot in the chest.
Her last words: "Help me! Help me!" It was the same caliber weapon, but you can't assume that it's the same gun because… …there are thousands upon thousands of .
22s out there.
Maybe it's not.
So now we have Maria Hernandez in the hospital.
We told her we'd like to send the staff artist.
She says, "Sure.
" I can tell you he was… 5'10", something like that.
Dark clothes… When that staff artist brought me the picture, I was showing it to the detectives over at East LA Station, and a friend of mine said, "Gil, hold that thought.
" He goes out to his car and he brings out an identikit drawing.
You put them together, it looks like the same guy.
His drawing came from the physical description of a suspect of an attempted kidnapping out of the city of Pico Rivera.
My mind started working because, before I got to Homicide, I was going to Cal State LA.
There was a professor by the name of Robert Morneau.
Great man, best professor I've ever had.
And I took Advanced Criminal Investigation Pertaining to Sex Crimes from him.
And I remembered that there's a deviancy that says, "I like to see a frightened look on your face.
" "I want to see you scared.
That's what really gets me turned on.
" That's excitement to them.
With Maria Hernandez, he could have walked up behind her in silence and killed her.
He didn't.
He intentionally slapped the top of a car… …so she could turn around and see him.
Dayle Okazaki, she was down on the ground and he waited until he saw the fear in her eyes, then he shot her right here.
Tsai-Lian Yu, why wasn't she killed right there in the car? Whoever the suspect was wanted confrontation.
Wanted to see that fear.
That's what started me thinking about, perhaps, one man doing this.
…with… And… Ten days after Okazaki, Hernandez, and Yu, there is a double murder out in Whittier County area.
The house of Vincent and Maxine Zazzara.
JD Smith and Russ Yuloth went to that case.
It was their murder.
It's a pretty brutal murder.
You could see where he stepped on a five-gallon plastic can and got in the house through an open restroom window.
The place was ransacked.
There was a $40,000 theft that occurred there in jewelry and things.
The male is executed as he's sleeping on the couch… …with a gunshot wound to the temple.
A .
22 was used.
So now you have Dayle Okazaki killed with a .
22, Tsai-Lian Yu killed with a .
22, and the Zazzaras killed with a .
And the woman is found in bed.
She has several stab wounds just above the vagina.
She had been raped, and he actually cut her eyes out.
Why? Why did he do that? Was it because she stared at him or got a hard look at him? He took the eyes with him, and then he's gone.
The biggest thing in that case was… A shoe print left at the point of entry and in flower beds around the house.
That was a full-sized 11 to 12 shoe.
I was six, and my first memory of that night is… The window opening and being woken up.
And then being ushered out the window, and being carried.
It kind of hurts me to say that there was a familiarity, uh… You know, he reminded me of a family member, and, you know, I was half asleep, I didn't know what was going on.
So, I thought, "Well, that's okay.
I know him, so… I guess this is okay that I'm going.
" I don't know how long I was in the car or what it looked like.
But I do remember there was one point where we were driving, and… he looked at me and, he said, you know, "Open up the glove compartment.
" And I did and there was a gun inside.
And he shut it and just kind of like "Just so you know, that's there.
" Things started from there.
You know… Look at him and… Touch him and things like that.
And then we got to where we were going.
I remember there being German Shepherds barking and a chain-link fence.
And he made me get into a zipped-up duffel bag and he told me, "You need to be quiet.
You need to get in here.
" Like, "Don't mess with me.
Do what I say.
" We had to walk through a room with a couch, and everything was dark and kind of dingy.
The windows were covered with drapery or something that made it dark, and… I don't know.
Just slimy.
Food packages and… Take-out stuff around.
Very not my house.
There was just this soundtrack of Madonna going on.
"Holiday" and "Like a Virgin.
" All of those songs… …over and over.
I remember saying, "Stop.
This hurts.
" Or, like, "Why are you doing this?" You know, I'd say, like, "Can I go to the bathroom?" He would stop what he was doing, take me to the sink and sit me on the sink.
And then nothing would happen for a while, then he'd take me back and… Continue.
And I would ask again, "I have to go to the bathroom.
Can you please stop?" And he would keep stopping.
But, each time, it's like, "All right, I know you don't have to go.
" Something in the way that he would look at me that… It was almost like, "I'm sorry that I'm doing this to you.
But I'm not sorry, 'cause I'm not going to stop.
" He put me in the bag again, to leave the place where we were.
And after a while we stopped… On the side of the road, and he said, "There's a gas station over there.
I want you to go in there and I want you to tell them to call 911 and have them get your family to come get you.
" Um, so… He let me go.
At that time there was a series of child abductions, or attempted abductions, of children.
In each case, the child was sexually assaulted.
February 25th, in Montebello, a six-year-old girl was taken from a schoolyard, molested, then abandoned.
March 11th in Monterey Park, a nine-year-old boy was snatched from his bed, molested, then abandoned.
March 20th, in Glassell Park, an eight-year-old girl was taken from her bed, assaulted in a car, then abandoned.
If kids get sexually assaulted, get kidnapped, or anything happens to kids, that's an entirely different unit.
I was assigned to the sheriff's Homicide Bureau.
I'm working one murder… The murder of Dayle Okazaki and the wounding of Maria Hernandez.
And as part of your investigation, you look for broadcast.
Everything else that's going on around in the area, what's happening.
The first description I got was from Maria Hernandez.
When you look at the reports that the children gave… Their descriptions were very similar.
They described him as being tall, thin, light-skinned Hispanic or Caucasian, disheveled hair, all black clothing, Members Only-type jacket, brown-stained gap teeth, and a pungent odor.
In my opinion, we had a serial killer that was responsible for kidnapping children, girls, boys, raping adult women, killing adult women, killing males.
Not many people believed that, because we've never encountered anybody like that… In criminal history.
Gil asked me, "What do you think?" I said, "Is it possible? Absolutely.
Is it probable? Mmm.
It's never been documented before.
" On April 10th, I attended a meeting of local law enforcement from the Los Angeles area to exchange information between agencies on the abduction of children.
I was alleging that the child abductions were related to the homicides.
And they were laughing at me.
This just doesn't occur.
You didn't have a guy going around violently killing people and then also kidnapping and assaulting young people and allowing them to live.
It's unheard of.
And these old-timers, they laughed it off.
I went there openly and honestly.
I didn't realize that they were going to reject… And scoff at my theory.
Gil was very frustrated with the way he was being treated.
I had an inside friend that worked Monterey Park that told me, "Every time you walk out of this office, every time you come in, walk out, they're motherfucking you to death, thinking you're a young punk trying to make a name for myself.
" I thought Gil was right in suggesting that it was one person.
He had a good sense of this killer.
So, I just encouraged him, as his friend, and said, "Go for it.
" I used to use East LA Patrol Station as kind of like my home base.
Deputies there were well aware of what I was working.
A deputy from the station approached me and said, "Some girls called the cops.
They said, "This guy was following us.
Here's his plate number.
'" The guy had long hair, was tall, light-skinned Mexican.
I got a surveillance team and they're following him and he went to a restaurant.
And they said he drove around the parking lot and just kept skulking around, and finally saw a lone female and he started following her.
She realizes she's being followed, so she splits and she gets away from him.
And they're still on him.
They said, "This guy's a freak!" If he sees any female, didn't matter, guy went through all kinds of traffic just to get to 'em.
And so, we take Arturo Robles into custody… And I talked to him.
And I said, "You're making U-turns because you wanna get to a woman?" He said, "Yeah, I like women.
Nothing wrong with that.
" I said, "Lady walks by you, then you ducked down behind the car.
" He says, "Oh, I didn't duck.
My shoes were untied.
" He had an answer for everything.
He was good.
And so I put a six-pack, a mug show folder together.
One of the people I showed it to was Maria Hernandez.
And she said, "That could be him.
" And so, we go back, write a search warrant, go down to his house, we find all kinds of pictures out of magazines, photographs of women.
Wearing a black Members Only jacket, he's got dark clothing.
He's got ladies' underwear, and they're all sliced in the crotch.
So, we had a lineup and nobody could pick him in the lineup.
Not even Maria Hernandez.
My partner looked at me and said, "He's a freak.
But he's not your freak.
He's not the guy.
" In the case of the Dois in Monterey Park, I was called to go to their home.
So, when I arrived at the scene, it was really violent… And destructive.
Authorities say that the man shot 66-year-old William Doi, then raped, beat and robbed his wife.
Detectives say Doi saved his wife's life by calling 911 before he died.
They found his wife badly beaten.
On the thumb of her left hand, she was wearing thumbcuffs… Eighteen years I worked homicide, it's the only case I ever came across where thumbcuffs were used.
A bizarre restraining device, the thumb of her right hand was bleeding profusely, indicating that in her attempt to free herself.
Doi had ripped her thumbs apart.
And that's basically the information we get from the Doi murder.
We had… We had nothing.
We had a whodunit.
A friend from Montebello PD says, "I may have found a link that's gonna help you link these cases.
" And he showed me a picture of a footprint that was taken at a child abduction.
She was eight years old and taken from her house, taken to a construction site and was sexually assaulted, and then set free.
At that construction site, they had poured concrete that day and there was a shoe print in the concrete.
And so I went down there.
He showed them.
I said, "Jesus Christ.
" And I recognized it immediately as the same or similar footprint that was lifted at the Zazzara homicide crime scene.
We knew by Zazzara, we were looking for a pretty good-sized shoe.
Somewhere between 11 and a 12.
So, I called up my lieutenant and I said, "Okay, I found the link.
" And he says, "Gil, I've got the guys from LAPD in here that are handling that case, they're looking for a size ten.
You're looking for a bigger shoe.
" I said, "Put them on the phone.
" And he got on the phone.
I said, "I wanna know how you determine your size, because I'm looking at a shoe that's a one-to-one with a ruler in it.
It's 12 inches long.
How do you get a size 10?" All they did, because the cement was kind of wet, was he put his shoe, he wore wingtips, size 10, and he stood on one foot and put his wingtip down over the shoe print, and he says, "My shoe covers it.
Got to be a size 10.
" Says, "I obviously made a mistake, I got to change it.
I got to make it right.
You're right.
" Now I've got a little bit of circumstantial evidence here.
But that still wasn't enough.
In May, 1985, Gil loses his partner.
My partner goes off, eventually, to retire.
So, we decided to hook up.
Both get a drink at the bar and he says, "Gil, would you be interested in working with me?" "Too Cool Carrillo," you know, so I said, "Yeah, I'll give it some thought.
" I went back and sat next to my wife and said, "Frank Salerno just asked me to be his partner!" He goes, "Frank Salerno! He's the best up there!" Gil was young, enthusiastic, had a good reputation, and spoke Spanish, and I thought we'd make a good team.
Next day he comes up to me and he says, "I was in my cups that night.
" And I figure… Frank's letting me down easy.
He says, "Yeah, but I'm not in my cups now.
I'm asking you, are you still interested?" And I said, "Sure.
" He says, "Good, I went to the captain.
It's gonna happen.
" I said, "Cool.
" Gil and I team up.
We become partners.
I was really surprised, in a way, when I first realized that Frank Salerno, the almost bigger-than-life… Murder cop, and then, here's this guy, Gil Carrillo.
I knew him from the streets.
When he was a patrol deputy, he was known as El Cucuy, the boogeyman.
He was notorious for eating sunflower seeds and spitting the shells out all over the place.
Figuring out how he ends up working with Frank Salerno.
They were an odd couple.
Frank was all business, no smiles.
And Gil was this big guy who was, you know, jovial.
Gil was a welcome relief.
He could've had anybody he wanted as a partner.
And he asked me and I was tickled pink.
I was flying.
…three-quarters of a million people to beaches of Southern California to search for a cool One hundred degrees every day this week, and it's expected to stay that way right on through the 4th of July.
No, it's gonna stay hot.
Very hot.
Even NBC's Johnny Carson was joking on last night's show about… Patty Elaine Higgins was killed in the city of Arcadia.
That's the first case Frank and I had had together.
The killer was very enraged.
He viciously cut her throat, then he stabbed her in that slash.
Like, you know, here's some more.
That's a very violent individual.
Four days go by… …and Arcadia PD calls the bureau again, says, "We've got another murder.
" So, Gil and I roll out to the Cannon case, just a few miles from where Patty Higgins' case was.
She had her throat slit, very similar to the way Patty Elaine Higgins' throat had been slit four days prior.
Then we get to the 5th of July, three days later.
We get a call from Sierra Madre PD, which is not too far from Arcadia right there.
In the front of the house there is a fabric mark and blood… On the windowsill, so we knew that the suspect was wearing, like, a gardener's glove or something like that.
And we never find a single fingerprint in any of our crime scenes.
She was beaten with a tire iron at her parents' home in Sierra Madre.
The room was ransacked.
I mean, just ransacked.
She says she remembers only going to bed.
She woke up bloodied, beaten, her bedroom in a disarray.
She ended up with 42 inches of lacerations and skull fractures.
It's a difficult situation to… Stand there and interview a 16-year-old that had just gone through this.
And you wanna… You really want to get your hands on that individual.
We didn't go in the room where this happened, we didn't want to contaminate it.
We're waiting out in the living room when Gisele Lavigne, who was a criminalist from our crime lab, she walks out, she's wearing a lab coat, her hair's in a bun, glasses on, and she says, "Hey, fellas, found something, may be interesting.
You oughta take a look.
" She's got a pink comforter in her hand, and she walks out to us and she opens it up and there's a shoe print in blood on that comforter.
And that was the same footprint that was at the Zazzara murder, and it is the same footprint found at the northeast abduction of a 10-year-old little girl.
That's a serial There's no doubt in my mind.
It's the same guy.
Gil and I just looked at each other.
It's like, "Wow.
" The only thing I could say was, "Kiss my ass.
" And Frank said, "Yeah, kiss your ass.
" It gave me chills, like it's giving me right now.
Right after we saw the footprint, Frank says, "Okay.
Tell me everything you've got in your head.
" Okazaki, Tsai-Lian Yu, Zazzara, William and Emily Doi.
We have Patty Elaine Higgins, we have Mary Cannon, and now Whitney Bennett.
They weren't all my cases, but I studied them.
I knew all the details, times, addresses, information, and I told him everything.
Now it's in black and white in front of you.
There's no denying it.
Gil was right.
The Bureau didn't think it was one man, but once Frank got on board, said, "Yes, it's one man," everybody listens.
Picked up the phone called the captain right away.
He said, "Okay, let's… let's go at it.
" And things started going fast and furious.
We got a hell of a series going here.
We got us a serial killer.

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