Roy Norris at trial.
February 4, 1981 - Superior Court Judge Thomas Fredericks (R, top)
reversed his earlier ruling and let cameras and microphones into the
Lawrence Bittaker (L, top) torture-murder trial.
It was apparently
the first time California broadcasters and photographers have been
allowed to record a felony trial without consent of the defendant.
Judge Fredericks last week denied a request by NBC to film the
proceedings following a Jan. 25 decision by the US Supreme Court
saying states have the right to permit television camera in the
Fredericks said it was
up to the California Judicial Council to make the change permitting
cameras and tape recorders in court. The Council amended the rules
2/3 as part of an ongoing "cameras in the courtroom experiment,"
saying the consent of both prosecution and defense attorneys was no
February 6, 1981 - Los Angeles, California: Lawrence Bittaker,
40, accused in the rape and torture deaths of five teenage girls,
wears a grin on his face during testimony in court. Earlier in the
day Bittaker broke down and began crying as he denied under
questioning that he had killed any of the girls.
During the second
day of testimony in his own defense, Bittaker again attempted to
discredit the testimony of his confessed alleged accomplice, Ray
Norris, 32, who pleaded guilty to the killings in a deal with
prosecutors to avoid the death penalty.
Bittaker bought a 1977 GMC cargo van,
which they came to call "Murder Mack", because it had no side
windows in the back and a large passenger side sliding door.
Shirley Ledford, 16, Andrea Joy Hall, 18, and Jacqueline Leah
Jackie Doris Gilliam, 15 and Lucinda Schaefer, 16.