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Steven Craig HURD





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Leader of a small band of Satan worshippers - Cannibalism - Mutilation
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: June 3-4, 1970
Date of birth: 1950
Victims profile: Jerry Wayne Carlin, 20 (gas station attendant) / Florence Nancy Brown, 31
Method of murder: Beating with a hatchet / Stabbing with knife
Location: Orange County, California, USA
Status: Declared mentally unfit for trial spent five years at Atascadero State Mental Hospital. Tried in May 1975, convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, with parole possible after seven years. Died in prison on May 28, 2005

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O.C. devil-worshipping killer died quietly

By Larry Welborn - The Orange County Register

October 28, 2010

Devil-worshipper Steven Craig Hurd, who was convicted in 1975 of two of Orange County's most notorious murders, died in prison five years ago without any notoriety after spending most of his life in prison, the Register has learned.

Hurd, who was serving two life terms for brutal slayings a day apart in 1970, died at a local hospital outside Mule Creek State Prison in Amador County from a brain hemorrhage on May 28, 2005, said prison spokeswoman Michelle Hamilton.

Orange County prosecutors were not notified of Hurd's death, and the California Department of Corrections did not issue a press release to the media.

At the time of his death, Hurd had been in custody in jails, mental hospitals or prisons for 35 years for the hatchet slaying of Santa Ana gas station attendant Jerry Wayne Carlin, 20, and the stabbing death of Florence Nancy Brown, a 31-year-old mother of five.

The ritualistic killings on June 2 and 3, 1970, touched off a wave of fear throughout Orange County and Southern California as the slayings came in the wake of the Manson family serial murders in Los Angeles County in 1969.

The Orange County Register listed Hurd's crime spree as one of the "50 Most Notorious Cases" in Orange County history during a series in 2009 to mark the 120th anniversary of the county.

Hurd, who was 55 when he died, was the leader of a small band of Satan worshippers who traveled together in the summer of 1970 committing random acts of violence.

The group confronted Carlin during his graveyard shift at a Santa Ana gas station on June 2, 1970. Hurd and follower Arthur ''Moose'' Hulse, now 57, forced the newlywed into the station's restroom, where they hacked him to death with a Boy Scout hatchet. Hulse later licked the blood off the hatchet, Hurd claimed.

The day after Carlin was slaughtered the group of Satanists -- who included two teenagers and a 31-year-old drug-using homeless woman - hijacked a station wagon driven by Brown when she exited the I-5 Freeway at Sand Canyon.

According to the testimony of one of the accomplices, Brown was forced into an orange grove in Irvine, where she begged for her life and asked if she was going to die.

Hurd answered her by stabbing her more than 20 times.

Evidence presented during Hurd's trial revealed that the group buried Brown's body in a shallow grave near El Cariso on that Ortega Highway.

Hurd told state psychiatrists that he returned to the gravesite several days later, dug up the body, ripped out Brown's heart, and ate it. He said it tasted like chicken.

The five Satan worshippers, including Hurd, were arrested on a tip about three weeks after the killings.

Three co-defendants were convicted of lesser crimes and were released within a few years.

Hulse was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and remains in prison. He is now 57.

Hurd spent five years at Atascadero State Mental Hospital after his arrest when he was declared mentally unfit for trial.

But he eventually was tried in Orange County in May 1975, convicted of two counts of first- degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, with parole possible after seven years. There was no death penalty when his crimes were committed.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office successfully opposed Hurd's parole seven times, starting in 1981.

In an April 1, 2002 letter to the state Board of Prison Terms, Deputy District Attorney Doug Woodsmall objected to Hurd's parole bid, offering that Hurd's murders were "carried out in an especially heinous, atrocious, cruel and callous manner.

"Both he and his crimes are indelibly impressed in the public consciousness of Orange County citizens," Woodsmall wrote. "In a matter of days, Hurd involved himself in two of the most brutal and vicious killings in the history of Orange County.

"His total depravity clearly marks Hurd as a subject both unfit and unsuitable for parole now or in the future."

Deputy District Attorney Ted Burnett appeared in person at Mule Creek prison in 2002 to object to Hurd's application for parole. "The man's a monster, and he should stay in prison forever,'' Burnett said at the time.

The infamous notoriety and attention the media gave Hurd during his crime spree, arrest and trial in the 1970s eluded him in death: no one knew that he had died.

Assistant District Attorney David Brent, head of the DA's homicide unit, said he was unaware of Hurd's death until this week.

"I'm not happy anyone dies, but I am glad he did not have a long life, based on what he did to his victims in 1970," Brent said.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Francisco Briseno, who prosecuted the Hurd case as a deputy district attorney in 1975, said he too was unaware that Hurd had died, but he declined further comment.

William Gamble, who was Hurd's lawyer during his headline-making trial in 1975, said he also was unaware that his former client had died.

"He was a very confused young man with a serious mental illness who was easily led astray by this doctrine of Satanism," said Gamble, who now is a criminal defense attorney in Santa Maria.

Jim Carlin, Jerry Wayne Carlin's older brother, was told of Hurd's death earlier this week. Jim Carlin, now 61 and an attorney for the federal government, said he was relieved to learn that his brother's killer was never released from prison because he felt he would still have been a danger to others.

"I sincerely hope he sought mercy from God and would hate to think he maintained his attitude straight into hell," Jim Carlin said. "People are not born evil but sometimes embrace it because they think it gives them power or notoriety. Hopefully he embraced the Truth before his death."


1970s devil cult slayer rejected for parole

The Orange County Register

April 12, 2002

SANTA ANA, Calif. - Convicted devil cult slayer Steven Craig Hurd, one of Orange County's most notorious murderers, was rejected again for parole Thursday by the state Board of Prison Terms, which cited his "heinous and reprehensible" killings of two people in 1970.

In a 90-minute hearing inside Mule Creek Prison in Ione, a two-member panel ruled that Hurd _ described as a good prisoner _ could try again for parole in three years. He could have been denied parole for up to five years.


Steven Craig Hurd

A barbiturate addict and native of Southern California, born in 1950, by the age of 20 Hurd had organized a small Satanic cult in Orange County, recruiting three teenage boys and a 31-year-old woman as his devoted followers.

From time to time, as cash ran short, they lived like trolls, in highway culverts, dropping pills and raiding garbage cans for food. When they grew tired of chanting and dismembering small animals, they looked around for larger game, a greater "kick," and found it in the form of human sacrifice. On two consecutive nights, in June 1970, the cultists murdered a gas station attendant and a teacher, mutilating their victims after death in honor of Lucifer.

Their second victim, 31-year-old Florence Brown, was stopped at the intersection of Interstate 5 and Sand Canyon Boulevard when the killers piled into her station wagon on June 4, abducting her to an orange grove near the campus of U.C. Irvine. There, Brown was stabbed repeatedly with a long knife, her right arm severed, heart and lungs removed as sacrificial offerings.

The pitiful remains were found by hikers on June 17, in a shallow grave near the village of El Cariso, a half-mile east of the Orange County line. So grisly were the mutilations that a sheriff's officer advised the press, "We have some kind of nut on our hands."

Upon arrest, Hurd told authorities that he had planned to use Brown's car to visit San Francisco and meet the presiding "Head Devil." Hurd's attorney rejected any connection to Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, a sentiment LaVey was quick to echo from his base in San Francisco, but it made no difference in the end.

Diagnosed as legally insane, Hurd was confined to Atascadero State Hospital, where he continues to report the periodic visits of "Father Satan." His teenage disciples were referred to the California juvenile system for "rehabilitation."

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers



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