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Episode 165: The Gainsville Ripper Trial

Danny Rolling was convicted of murdering five students in Gainsville, Florida, over four days in late August 1990 (he claimed to have killed eight people in addition to committing numerous rapes). The Gainsville murders were particularly horrible; after raping and stabbing them, Rolling mutilated and posed the women’s bodies. Rolling was tried in 2004 and pled guilty to all charges.  He was executed in 2006.
This episode contains trial testimony from Lillian “Bunnie” Mills, a self-styled country and western music producer, who was Rolling’s girlfriend from 1988 until 1989, and helped him with his prospective career as a country music and gospel singer. She also took him for counseling and tried to help with his anxiety and restlessness.
Lillian’s testimony is followed by that of Paul Schwartz, a longtime friend of Rolling’s third victim Christa Hoyt, 18, a student and dispatcher with the county sheriff’s office. On August 27, 1990, Christa failed to show up for work, and deputies were dispatched to her residence. Her landlord, Elbert Hoover, takes the stand next and describes how he noticed that someone had broken the fence leading to the back of Christa’s apartment. At the end of his testimony, he breaks down in grief.

Listen to the episode here.