Karl Francis Warner
(born 1950) is an American serial killer. He was active in Santa Clara
County, at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area, in Northern
California. He was convicted of the murder of three teenaged girls
during his period of activity from 1969-1971.
On August 3, 1969, the bodies of Deborah Gay Furlong,
14, and Kathy Snoozy, 15, were found on a hillside in San Jose's
southern Almaden Valley. According to Santa Clara County Medical
Examiner Dr. John E. Hauser, the girls died in a "frenzied flurry of
knife wounds," totaling nearly 300.
On Sunday, April 11, 1971, Kathy Bilek, 18, visited
Villa Montalvo, in Saratoga, with the intent to read and engage in
birdwatching in the seclusion of a remote, wooded portion of the park,
near a small stream. Her body was found the next day by her father,
Charles, while Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputies searched nearby.
She'd been stabbed 49 times.
Bilek was murdered in the Villa Montalvo park in
Saratoga. A park maintenance man who had seen him there and who knew him
to be "a little odd" was able to give police the name of Oak Grove High
School graduate and San Jose City College student Karl F. Warner of San
Jose. Warner was a student and classmate of the first two victims.
According to a girl who dated him he was "accomplished in mathematics"
and not a "weird, skulking guy that we picture as a serial killer".
Warner had previously been a suspect in an unsolved
knife assault on another woman. A search warrant was obtained, and the
knife used in the Bilek murder was located on the premises of the Warner
residence. The local authorities had already drawn a connection between
the 1969 Furlong/Snoozy slayings and the Bilek murder, calling the
latter "a carbon-copy killing". In September, Karl F. Warner confessed
to the murders of Furlong, Snoozy, and Bilek, and received a life
Initially, San Francisco police Inspector Dave Toschi
suspected the Zodiac Killer may have perpetrated the Furlong/Snoozy
murders. At the time of his arrest, there was consideration given to the
possibility that Karl F. Warner was the infamous Zodiac; however, it was
subsequently determined that Warner had been residing in Marlborough,
Massachusetts at the time of some of the earlier Zodiac slayings. Warner
is currently incarcerated at California Medical Facility, in Vacaville.
Karl F. Wagner
On August 3, 1969, schoolmates Deborah
Furlong, 14, and Kathy Snoozy, 15, rode their bikes to a wooded knoll
overlooking their homes in the rugged Alameda Valley section of South
San Jose, California.
They brought a picnic lunch and meant
to spend a quiet afternoon alone, unconscious of the fact that they had
trespassed on a killer's private hunting ground. When neither girl came
home for supper, Debby Furlong's father started scouring the woods. He
found a crowd of gawkers and police around the mutilated bodies of his
daughter and her friend, laid out within a grove of trees from which
their homes were visible.
The medical examiner stopped counting
at 300 stab wounds, all above the waist; in statements to the press, he
would declare that "The Nazi sex mutilations during World War II were
nothing compared to what was done to these young girls." Infuriated
parents launched patrols in San Jose, without result, while homicide
investigators searched for clues.
One theory linked the murders with an
offshoot of the Manson "family"; another speculated on connections with
the "Zodiac," an unidentified serial slayer whose latest mocking letter,
on November 8, claimed seven victims rather than the five accounted for
by solid evidence. It all came down to nothing in the end; the killer
would remain at large for nearly two more years. before a new attack
produced the necessary leads.
On April 11, 1971, 18-year-old Kathy
Bilek chose the San Jose murder site as a prime spot for birdwatching.
The killer found her there, using his favorite knife to stab her
seventeen times in the back, thirty-two times in the chest and stomach,
carefully avoiding contact with her breasts. Discovered early next
morning, Bilek's wounds connected her murder with the previous killings,
and police redoubled their efforts.
Two weeks later, armed with fresh
descriptions of a suspicious man seen prowling the area, detectives
focused their attention on Karl Warner, a former classmate of victims
Furlong and Snoozy at Oak Grove High School. Warner lived with his
parents, three blocks from the homes of the earliest victims, and he was
also suspected in the stabbing of a woman who survived her wounds.
Police secured a warrant and
surprised their suspect in the midst of-preparation for a college
physics test. Their search turned up the murder knife, and Warner pled
guilty on all counts in September 1971, receiving a sentence of life
A background check eliminated him as
a potential "Zodiac," since he had moved to California from Marlborough,
Massachusetts, in early 1969, two and a half years after the first
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia
of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans
SEX: M RACE: W
TYPE: T MOTIVE: Sex./Sad.
Mutilation-slayer of girls age 14-18.
sentence, Sept. 1971.