The Scorecard Killer: Randy Kraft | Serial Killer

(Randy Kraft during his trial. Picture credit: ocregister)

When it comes to sick and twisted, this guy definitely takes the cake, you may or may not recognise him from the picture above but maybe his name might ring a bell? Randy Kraft. Well, the harmless looking man in the suit who's all smiles just happens to be one of the most sadistic serial killers in America and perhaps the world. 

I knew briefly of the story of Randy Kraft (aka The Scorecard Killer, The Freeway Killer and The Southern California Strangler) and his crimes but the case has been brought to my attention again due to a request from one of my Patrons. As I delved into the details of his crimes I was both shocked and horrified and I realise in posting this story here that I will have to try my best to be as sensitive with the details as much as possible without leaving out the facts. 

So please take that into consideration that some of the details shared will be quite disturbing.

Looking back over Randy Kraft's childhood and his teen years, anyone would think that this guy was destined for great things. A very intelligent individual who seemed to be able to charm people everywhere he went. Former colleagues, friends and former fellow students would have plenty of positive things to say about him, There was no abusive childhood, he came from a good home and seemed quite popular at school and very sociable. Even into university Randy was highly involved in social activities and one of his passions was politics. He was a strong supporter of Robert F Kennedy in the 1960s and was delighted to receive a letter from the man himself to thank him for his support. When the news came of Robert's assassination in 1968, Randy was devastated. 

During his time at university Randy was exploring other aspects of his personality and learning more and more about himself. He'd discovered quite early on in his teenage years that he was homosexual. This was something that he felt that he had to keep private especially being from such a conservative family and that era being quite closed minded to certain things. His relationship with his mother was quite close but his father was never that approachable to him. Randy had three older sisters and despite being the only son and the youngest, he was still praised and got a lot of attention from his mother. Randy knew that if he ever did tell his parents that he was gay, his mother would be more open minded about it but his father would be an absolute nightmare so he kept this side of his life private. 

As I mentioned earlier, he was doing what all students do at university and that is not only to learn about their chosen subjects but to explore who they are as people. Randy felt that he could really be himself and hit the gay clubs. He could also be quite private about this too, with friends later reporting that he would vanish for hours at a time during the evening but wouldn't talk much about what he was up to. After graduating he joined the U.S Air Force and like a lot of things that he put his mind to, he excelled and quickly rose up to Airman First Class. Feeling confident and ready to live his life as he saw fit, he plucked up the courage to tell his parents that he was gay. As predicted, his mother was quite laid back about it but his father wasn't too happy.   

For some reason he also decided to tell the Air Force about his sexuality (remember this was back in the days when there was a lot of backward thinking in regards to homosexuality) and one wonders if this was done because he wanted out of the Air Force? Well, they took a negative view and decided to release him under 'medical grounds' which is outrageous but that's what it was like in those days. 

On release from the Air Force, Randy continued to cruise and fully enjoy his life as a gay man. He took a job as a barman in a gay club, had liaisons. At this point he was living with his parents but had his own life and was quite independent. 

So here was Randy, an intelligent young man, quite a bit of experience behind him, a decent childhood with a doting mother. The only negative thing Randy would say about his childhood was that he was very accident prone. But underneath the surface something was bubbling deep within Randy Kraft, a dark evil side to him that was just bursting to get out and eventually it did. Randy met a 13 year old boy by the name of Joey Francher who was running away from home. Randy convinced the young boy that he could move into his parent's house and once he had Joey in his home, he drugged and raped him. 

Joey managed to get away when Randy left for work and went straight to the police claiming that Randy had beaten and robbed him, he didn't mention the sexual assault. Joey mentioned that he'd left some items at Randy's house so the police searched the place, got the items but found some explicit photographs of Randy with numerous other boys/men. Due to the fact that the police didn't have a warrant to search the house and Joey not reporting the rape, nothing was done, no arrest was made. 

From what we know, Randy's first murder victim was a 30 year old bartender by the name of Wayne Dukette, however when Wayne's body was found it was so badly decomposed that investigators just ruled his death as alcohol poisoning. As if the senseless murder of this young man and the horrific rape of the young boy was not enough, Randy Kraft would go on to inflict more pain and terror on his unsuspecting victims. Randy had a penchant for marines and he didn't care if they were gay or straight, he would hunt them down. His victims were all said to have been aged between 13 and 35 years old. 

From the 20th of September 1971 right through to the 13th of May 1983, Randy Kraft would torture various young men. He would drug them, ply them with alcohol and then he would torture them. His methods of torture were the stuff of nightmares, the victims would be burned with a cigarette lighter, some had their genitals cut off, socks or other objects would be stuffed into the victim's anus. In one case Randy inserted a cocktail stick into a victim's penis with such force that it pierced the man's bladder. In another case a victim had their genitals cut off and stuffed into their mouth. All of the victims had died due to strangulation, Investigators later found the remains of these young men along the highways across America which led a lot of people to believe that they could have been victims of another serial killer, William Bonin (who was also known as The Freeway Killer and had been responsible for the rape, torture and deaths of over 20 young boys). 

In 1975, Randy had a close shave with the law when the skull of one of his victims was found and some witnesses had come forward to the police to report a car fitting the one that Randy had owned being at the scene months prior. Randy managed to get away yet again because there was not enough evidence and the death of the young man who was identified as Keith Crotwell was ruled as an 'accidental drowning' 

To think that if Randy had been taken into custody in 1975 and found guilty of Keith's murder, the number of deaths that could have been prevented. Randy's reign of terror would soon run out when on the 14th of May 1983 he was pulled over on a highway in Orange County, California due to driving erratically. When Randy stepped out of the vehicle looking the worse for wear with his trouser zipper undone, it was clear that he'd had quite a bit to drink.  

As Randy stumbled about smiling and trying to cooperate with the police officers. One of the officers decided to have a quick look into his car and it was there in the passenger seat that the deceased body of a young marine (25) by the name of Terry Gambrel was found slumped over. There were obvious signs that Terry had been sexually assaulted and had been strangled. Randy was arrested and his car was thoroughly searched. 

47 explicit photographs were found in the car of various young men, investigators couldn't work out if the men were unconscious when the pictures were taken or if they were indeed deceased. The seats appeared to have blood stains on them and various pills were found along with a knife and belt. A briefcase which was found in the trunk contained a notebook with what looked like a list of over 60 codes. This list would be later termed 'The Scorecard' and was said to be a secret coded list of all of Randy Kraft's victims. 

(Randy Kraft's 'Score-card' which was a list of codes supposedly describing each of his victims. Investigators were able to unravel some of the codes. This is a photocopy so some of the codes are unintelligible)

Investigators also searched Randy's house and found more damning evidence including fibers from a rug in his garage that matched those found at one of the crime scenes. Three victims were identified on some of the photographs as being those of unsolved cases so the police were able to determine that Randy was responsible for those deaths and were able to inform the families. As serial killers often do, Randy kept a stash of personal items that had belonged to each of his victims as if he was keeping trophies and little souvenirs of what he had done along with the photographs. 

The police had enough evidence to charge Randy with 16 murders but they were well aware that he was responsible for so many more especially as his scorecard had over 60 possible victims listed. 

Randy Kraft did his best to delay his trial and like a lot of psychopaths he tried to outsmart the system. He was able to do this for 5 years until he had no choice but to go through with it. The trial was the most expensive trial on record for Orange County and still remains so to this day. The duration of the trial was 13 months but he was finally convicted on all counts in 1989 and sentenced to death.

He has been carrying out his sentence at San Quentin State Prison in California and claims to this day that he is innocent of all of the crimes he has been convicted of and suspected of being responsible for. In another sick and strange twist to this story, Randy became friends with fellow monsters, Douglas Clark (who I recently wrote about and who is still currently on death row), Lawrence Bittaker (who is now deceased as a result of natural causes) and William Bonin (who was executed by lethal injection on the 23rd of February 1996). 

In 1993, Randy tried to bring a case against an author and their publisher because of a book which was based on his case. According to Randy, he was painted very unfairly in the book and didn't take to kindly to being described as sick and twisted. Being his delusional self, he claimed that the book would damage any future career prospects he may have. The case was thrown out much to Randy's disappointment.

Unfortunately, Randy Kraft is still alive and well on Death Row. He is now 76 years of age and is managing to keep the grim reaper at bay for as long as he possibly can. 

(A recent photo of Randy Kraft behind bars. Picture credit: dailynews)

I think of all of the lives he destroyed, not just the victims but the families too. He caused so much pain and suffering and one can only wonder where all of this anger and evil behaviour came from? With serial killers it is often to their childhood's that we look to for answers, we try to see a pattern along the way but here was a man who had a good childhood and seemed to be quite a talented and intelligent individual before he carried out his sickening acts.

There's a lot of theories on this case too, some believe he didn't act alone and some believe that he wasn't responsible for all of the murders he was convicted of or suspected of. A man was later questioned by the police who claimed to have been involved with some of the murders with Randy but the police could find no evidence to link the two and due to the man's mental state they had him referred to a psychiatric hospital.

This was a difficult case to cover but I hope I managed to be as gentle as I could with some of the details and that you gained some information about the case from this post. 

RIP to all of the victims of Randy Kraft 

Further Reading & Sources: 

The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers by Michael Newton

Talking With Serial Killers - Christopher Berry Dee

Randy Kraft | Wikipedia

Randy Kraft | Murderpedia

Randy Kraft | Orange Coast Magazine

Randy Kraft Comment Thread | Reddit

Thank you as always for checking out my latest case and I hope to see you in my next post x


  1. Horrifying...
    Bone Chilling...
    Blood Curdling...

    These are only some of the words that can barely begin to scratch the surface of what this story really tells.

    This is one of the rare cases where a decent childhood and life is the catalyst for an unspeakably evil monster.

    I've often heard of this guy in the world of serial killers but didn't realize the depth of his cruelty, sickness and depravity.

    A true monster that once again the justice system really needs to be revamped and looked at. This monster is 78 years old and still living on death row since 1989.

    Brilliantly written and incredibly informative a truly frightening true crime story.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and for checking out the post/commenting. Much appreciated x

    2. An absolute pleasure! And I stand corrected I wrote that he's 78 years old when he's actually 76. This post was truly frightening and brilliantly written. 🙏🏼❤

  2. How do I start with this monster ???
    Another crazy evil piece of garbage. It’s tough to rightfully find any words to describe this kind of individual. They are no explanation for his evilness. He was just bad to the bones.
    The details of his crimes are so horrendous that I couldn’t read your true crime case without taking some break. I had to catch my breath. I was sick to my stomach !
    You did a fantastic work to describe this difficult case. I don’t know how you’ve been able to do it. You are the most gifted and talented writer Jo !!!
    We can only hope that one of these days, Robert Kraft will finally be executed ! I can’t believe how long it takes. Being 76 years old and still on death row is unacceptable. He must pay for his horrendous crimes. Only then, maybe they will be some sort of closure for all the family of the victims. My thoughts are with them. RIP to all the victims.
    Thank you Jo for your unbelievable work.

    1. Thank you so much, I really appreciate this x