William Richard "Bill" Bradford
(1948–2008) was an American murderer who was incarcerated in San Quentin
State Prison for the 1984 murders of his 15-year-old neighbor Tracey
Campbell and barmaid Shari Miller.
In July 2006, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's
Department released a compilation of photos found in Bradford's
apartment in the 1980s, depicting 54 different women in modelling poses.
As Bradford had used the promise of a modelling career to lure his
victims, and taken pictures of Miller before murdering her, police
believe that Bradford was in fact a serial killer and that the photos
depict Bradford's other victims in the moments before their deaths.
Bradford died at the Vacaville prison medical facility on March 10,
2008, of cancer.
In July 1984, while out on bail and awaiting trial
for rape, Bradford met Shari Miller, a barmaid at a Los Angeles
establishment called "The Meet Market". Bradford told her that he was a
professional photographer and offered to help her build a modelling
portfolio. He took her to a remote campsite in the deserts north of Los
Angeles (which was the site of the alleged rape for which Bradford was
awaiting trial), photographed her in a variety of modelling poses, and
then strangled her. After killing her, Bradford sliced off her tattoos
and removed her blouse; he then transported her body to a Hollywood
parking lot, where he dumped the corpse in an adjoining alley. When the
body was found, there was no identification on it, leading Miller to be
labeled "Jane Doe #60".
Shortly thereafter, Bradford convinced his 15-year-old
neighbor Tracey Campbell that she could be a model and took her out to
the desert campsite, where he likewise photographed and strangled her.
Bradford left the body there, covering the face with Shari Miller's
Bradford came under suspicion when
investigators learned that he had been the last person to see Tracey
Campbell alive. This, coupled with his pending rape trial, compelled
police to obtain a search warrant for Bradford's apartment; inside, they
found the photos of Miller and Campbell, along with an assortment of 54
other photos of unidentified women. Police recognized the photos of
Miller as "Jane Doe #60" and arrested Bradford on suspicion of murder;
using a rock formation visible in one of the photos of Miller, police
were able to locate the camp site in the desert where the murders had
occurred. Upon searching the site, police found Campbell's decomposed
body behind the rock formation. Shortly thereafter, Bradford pleaded no
contest to the rape charge he was awaiting trial for and was sentenced
to eight years in prison.
Trial and conviction
Bradford was put on trial in 1988, during which he
fired his lawyer, opting to act as his own counsel. During the phase of
the trial in which Bradford acted as his own attorney, he offered no
evidence or arguments as to his innocence. The prosecution identified
Bradford as a serial killer during the course of the trial, but offered
no information on murders aside from those of Miller and Campbell. In
his closing statement, Bradford implied that he had murdered several
other women in addition to Campbell and Miller: "Think of how many you
don't even know about. You are so right. That's it."
The jury found Bradford guilty of both murders and
sentenced him to death.
Time on death row
In 1998, Bradford dropped all of his appeals,
claiming that life in San Quentin had become unbearable. Having had no
legal representation for the past 10 years, Bradford hired a lawyer to
help speed the process of his execution, and began writing poems about
life in San Quentin. His poetry attracted attention from the press, who
dubbed him "Death Row Poet".
Five days before his scheduled execution, Bradford
said that he had changed his mind, professing his innocence and
declaring that he wanted the execution process to be halted.
In 2006, Los Angeles police suddenly
voiced new interest in the Bradford case, releasing a data sheet
depicting headshots taken from the photos in Bradford's apartment.
Detectives claimed that they believed the women could all be Bradford's
victims; since the photos release, at least one woman, "#28", has been
identified, as Donnalee Campbell Duhamel, a woman whose decapitated
corpse was found in a canyon in Malibu in 1978. It has been determined
that Duhamel met Bradford in a Culver City bar, "The Frigate", a few
days before her body was found.
Investigators have also revealed that several of the
women have since been identified as Bradford's ex-wives, though no
indication has been given that they are dead, or that Bradford is
suspected of murdering them.
Another identified photograph is that of the sister
of CSI: Miami actress Eva LaRue. She is number three in the
picture. The CSI: Miami' episode "Darkroom" is based on this
case. They both talked with the Sheriff's Department and were able to
give additional information.
The "vast majority" of the women in the photos remain
unidentified, and are all viewed as possible rape and/or murder victims.
Police are encouraging that the photos be distributed nationwide, as
Bradford spent time in Michigan, Florida, Texas, Oregon, Illinois,
Kansas and Louisiana, and faced criminal charges in several of those
states. In 1978 he faced criminal charges for sexually assaulting his
wife in Michigan, and in 1980 was accused of sexual assault in
Murderer on Death Row dies of
Friday, March 14, 2008
Los Angeles -- Condemned killer
William Bradford, a double murderer who implied to his jury he had other
victims, has died of natural causes while awaiting execution in a
California prison. He was 61.
Bradford died Monday of natural causes at a prison
medical facility in Vacaville, the California Department of Corrections
and Rehabilitation said in a statement Wednesday. It did not elaborate
on the cause of death.
Bradford was sentenced to death in 1988 for the
murders four years earlier of Shari Miller, 21, who he met in a bar, and
Tracey Campbell, 15, a neighbor.
He was an amateur photographer who lured the young
women by promising them jobs as models.
Miller's body was found in a West Los Angeles parking
lot in July 1984, and Tracey's body was found the next month at a
campsite in a high desert area north of Los Angeles.
In the penalty phase of his trial, Bradford agreed
with prosecutors that he should be executed, saying, "Think of how many
you don't even know about."
In 2006, Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators
reopened Bradford's file and made public dozens of pictures of women and
girls photographed decades earlier by Bradford. The pictures had been
languishing in an evidence room since being seized from his home in 1984
when he was arrested in the two murders.
Sheriff's investigators were able to identify many of
the women in the pictures. Authorities suspect at least one of those
identified was a homicide victim linked to Bradford, sheriff's spokesman
Steve Whitmore said Wednesday.
The investigation into Bradford's possible
involvement in other disappearances will continue, Whitmore said.
Bradford had been on Death Row since May 1988.
Killer’s death hampers
investigation of other possible murders
Los Angeles Times
March 14, 2008
For two years, Los
Angeles County sheriff’s homicide
investigators have worked to identify 47
women whose pictures were taken three
decades ago by a Westside photographer
later convicted of killing two models.
It has been a search
that crossed the country and, at its
height, consumed half the sheriff’s
Homicide Bureau. Officials eventually
eliminated all but 14 women as potential
victims. Of those there are half a dozen
who they believe most strongly may have
been murdered, including four whose
bodies were found in remote canyon areas.
believed that the man who held the key
to the case was the photographer himself.
William Bradford was convicted in 1987
of murdering two of his models and was
suspected in other cases of women who vanished.
On San Quentin State
Prison’s death row, Bradford finally
agreed to sit down with detectives over
two days several months ago and conceded
knowing some of the half-dozen women.
But he refused to provide detailed
answers to key questions. He also denied
Now the case has
again gone cold, because Bradford died
of cancer last week at age 61 at the
state prison medical facility in
Sheriff’s Lt. Pat
Nelson said his detectives were hoping
for another interview, convinced that
Bradford was not telling all he knew and
that he might want a final chance to
clear his conscience.
slipped away as his health deteriorated
faster than anticipated.
reaction is one of frustration,” Nelson
said. “We really wanted to have a
definite resolution to these six victims,
and we may never reach that.”
Capt. Ray Peavy recalled that one of his
detectives visited the parents of a
potential victim in Florida. The mother
had left the front porch light on every
night for 20 years, hoping her daughter
of these families are never going to let
go of their hope that their daughter is
alive,” he said.
Bradford was a
photographer from the mid-1960s to the
mid-’80s and frequented popular Westside
bars, where he offered to take photos of
female models and actresses.
Police found hundreds
of those images when they arrested him
in the early ’80s in the deaths of two
Shari Miller, a 21-year-old
barmaid, had Bradford snap her photos
for her portfolio. After gaining her
trust, he drove her to the Mojave Desert
for a photo shoot and strangled her.
Days later, on July
12, 1984, Tracey Campbell disappeared.
Authorities alleged that Bradford killed
the 15-year-old in the same vicinity
after another fashion shoot.
He was convicted in
the murders, and in the penalty phase of
his trial, Bradford asked the jury to
sentence him to death, saying, “Think of
how many you don’t even know about.”
The case might have
ended there had it not been for
cold-case homicide detectives who were
looking at Bradford in connection with
another case and stumbled across his
photos in the case file.
at sentencing lent credence to the
theory that the two slayings were “the
tip of the iceberg,” Peavy said. So
investigators took the rare step of
releasing the images of the 47 women publicly.
In two weeks,
sheriff’s officials fielded more than
2,000 calls from as far away as England.
Most of the women, or their families,
confirmed that they were alive. The
women contacted were shaken by their
encounters with a possible serial killer.
received 700 clues and eventually
identified all but 14 of the missing
It was unclear,
however, whether some of those who
remained on the list were victims or
just didn’t want to come forward.
But detectives have
linked at least four of the women to
bodies found dumped in various parts of
northern Los Angeles County. Authorities
still have not identified them. But they
said the manner in which the bodies were
dumped is similar to the method used in
the murders Bradford was convicted of.
In addition, he
continues to be a suspect in the
killings of other women in the Los
Angeles area. Patricia Dulong, 34, was
found dead in Santa Monicain September
1975; Donnalee Duhamel, 31, was killed
in August 1978, her body found on Old
Topanga Road in Malibu.
Peavy said that
although it was disappointing that
Bradford took many answers to the grave,
sheriff’s investigators achieved part of
what they set out to do: help some of
the families find out what happened to
my heart, the guy was already dead,”
Peavy said of Bradford. “He wasn’t going
anywhere, and he wasn’t going to hurt anyone.”
Offers To Help Identify Missing Women
his attorney Friday, death row inmate
William Richard Bradford offered to help
investigators trying to locate 50 girls
and women they say he photographed
decades ago -- including three they
believe were murdered.
me if law enforcement wants to come to
San Quentin ... he would be happy to
look at those photos," said his lawyer,
Darlene Ricker, who got a phone call
from her client.
"At this time we're
not interested because all he's going to
(provide are) self-serving statements,
trying to get himself out of it ...
muddy the water while we're coming up
with evidence," Los Angeles County
sheriff's homicide Sgt. Alfred Castro
dismissed efforts to implicate him in
the possible deaths or disappearances of
the women in the photos as "a waste of
investigators have no intention of
talking to him while they try to build a
potential serial-killing case against
"He's going to die
anyway," Castro added. "So why not
convicted in 1987 of first-degree murder
in the stranglings of Shari Miller, 21,
who he met in a bar, and Tracey Campbell,
15, a neighbor. He has denied committing
any murders and is appealing his
conviction and death sentence.
investigators went public with 54
photographs that were seized from
Bradford's home in 1984 and stored as
evidence until a cold-case detective
unearthed them. NBC4's Patrick Healy
said 34 women had been tentatively
identified, including two homicide
victims and one young woman who ran away
from her Iowa home and was never seen
investigators have received more than
2,000 telephone calls and e-mails from
as far away as Germany, and with their
help have tentatively identified 34 of
the 50 women portrayed, Los Angeles
County sheriff's homicide Capt. Ray
Peavy said Friday.
Three of the women
could be victims of unsolved murders,
Peavy said. One may be a 41-year-old
mother whose headless body was found in
a remote county area around 1980, and
another may be a 14-year-old girl who
vanished and was found in a "desolate"
area in 1979. Both apparently were raped
and strangled, Peavy said.
A third photograph
appears to be that of a 14-year-old girl
who vanished in 1975 after running away
from her home in the Midwest and telling
friends she was going to California.
Peavy declined to provide other details
but news reports say she may have been
"Family (members) of
this young lady contacted us and said 'this
one picture looks a lot like our
daughter,"' Peavy said. "It's very, very
close. We believe it's likely going to
turn out to be her."
Bradford, now 60, posed as a freelance
photographer and took pictures of women
he met at bars and elsewhere, luring
them with promises to help their
Bradford has denied
killing anyone. Even though he was a
freelance photographer and the pictures
were seized while in his possession, he
may not have taken them, his attorney
They could have been
stock photos, she said.
"He hasn't seen these
photos, because you see they've been
locked up in evidence for 20 years," she
However, a relative
of the 15-year-old he was convicted of
strangling said Friday that he recalled
seeing some of them.
"He showed me all of
them," said Todd Heidrick, 41, the
cousin of the 15-year-old girl who
Bradford was convicted of strangling.
In a telephone
interview from his home in Missoula,
Mont., Heidrick said he was a 19-year-old
living with Tracey Campbell and other
relatives in a Los Angeles apartment
next to Bradford's and, as an aspiring
model, even had Bradford photograph him.
During a night of
drinking, Bradford drove him around town
and pointed out locations where he said
he had photographed women, Heidrick said.
Heidrick said he was
at work the next day when Bradford
apparently went to the apartment,
looking for him. Tracey was home alone
and when he and other family members
returned, she was gone.
Tracey took care of
the household work but the beds were
"Her purse was there
and her cigarettes were there," Heidrick
He and Tracey's
brother combed the neighborhood for her.
They also stopped at Bradford's unit,
which he shared with an older woman and
It was closed but the
woman had left a note on the door that
said "the girl next door is missing and
I hope to God you had nothing to do with
it," Heidrick recalled.
described Bradford as threatening and
"It was a marriage of
pure hell," Cindy Horton told KNBC-TV on
Horton was 18 when
she married him in 1977 and they had a
son before the 7-month-old marriage
dissolved. She is one of the women in
"He used to tell me
about hurting people and that he was
killing people," Horton said. "Nobody
would believe me. They just said I was
from Michigan but now living in Florida,
told The Grand Rapids Press in Michigan
on Wednesday that Bradford hit and
tortured her and that she still is
frightened of him.
"There's not a day
that goes by that I don't look in my
rearview mirror in my car or my bathroom
mirror and expect to see him there to
kill me," said Horton, 48. "Bill
Bradford follows through on everything
he says, and he'll find a way to get