San Francisco's

Dark Side

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The Assassinations of Harvey Milk
and George Moscone

George Moscone was the Mayor of San Francisco, and Harvey Milk was a member of the Board of Supervisors when they were murdered in City Hall on November 27, 1978. Milk was the first openly gay elected official in the U.S.

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The Assassinations of Harvey Milk

and George Moscone

Dianne Feinstein, as President of the Board of Supervisors, became Mayor upon George Moscone's death and was widely credited with uniting The City through a traumatic time. She has been a U.S. Senator since 1992.

 

White Night Riots

On May 21, 1979, Dan White was found guilty of two degrees of voluntary manslaughter rather than first degree murder. What started as a peaceful march from the Castro District to City Hall grew into a full-fledged riot. The crowd was estimated at 5,000; 140 people were injured, including 60 police officers.

 

Patricia Hearst

The granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, heiress to the Hearst publishing fortune, was kidnapped from her Berkeley apartment on February 4, 1974. She was first held at 1827 Golden Gate Ave., then 1235 Masonic before the SLA left San Francisco for L.A.

'Tania'

Hearst was abducted by the Symbionese Liberation Army, a domestic terrorist organization. Two months after being kidnapped, Hearst declared in a tape-recorded message that her captors had offered to release her but that she had chosen "to stay and fight", and had taken the name Tania as her nom de guerre.

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Hideouts

Hearst was kept by the SLA at homes on Golden Gate Avenue and Masonic Street. She was captured by the FBI and SFPD on Sept. 18, 1975, on Morse Street.

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Patricia Hearst

Hibernia Bank Robbery

On April 15, 1974, the SLA robbed the Hibernia Bank at 22nd and Noriega in San Francisco. Two bank customers were shot. Seen here in the bank are Hearst and SLA leader Donald 'Cinque' DeFreeze. DeFreeze took his name from Joseph Cinqué, the leader of the revolt on the slave ship Amistad. They got away with $10,960.

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Los Angeles Shootout

On May 17, 1974, 500 LAPD and FBI officers surrounded a house in South Central L.A. in which six SLA members were hiding. The ensuing gunfight saw the exchange of over 9,000 rounds and a massive fire caused by teargas containers.

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Patty Hearst

All six SLA members died, including DeFreeze, who shot himself in the head. Hearst was not in the house. The entire battle was broadcast live on television, and Patty's parents were watching. It was not determined until the next day that she was not among those killed. It was the largest police shootout in U.S. history.

 

Manson 'Family'

Mary Brunner

Brunner was the first Manson 'Family' member. She was a librarian at U.C. Berkeley who met Manson immediately after he was paroled from Terminal Island. Together, they moved to 636 Cole St. in San Francisco. Brunner had Manson's son, Valentine Michael Manson, in 1968. He was named for Valentine Michael Smith, the hero of Stranger in a Strange Land. He was raised by Brunner's parents after she went to prison, and now lives in the Midwest. Mary Brunner was convicted of armed robbery in 1971,  paroled in 1977 and has disappeared from the public eye.

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Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme

Manson's second recruit was 19 years old and had recently been kicked out of her parents house. She was sitting on the curb in Venice Beach when Manson approached her. She wasn't involved in any Manson 'Family' murders, but in September 1975 she attempted to shoot President Gerald Ford in Sacramento. Paroled in 2009, she lives in upstate New York with her boyfriend, a convicted killer who is obsessed with Manson.

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Manson 'Family'

Susan Atkins

Atkins grew up in San Jose, then later drifted to the Haight where she met Manson in the summer of 1967. The most prolific killer in the cult, she personally stabbed Sharon Tate to death and was ultimately convicted of participating in eight murders.

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Ruth Ann Moorehouse

Moorehouse was just 15 when her father, Methodist minister Dean Moorehouse, picked up Manson hitchhiking and brought him home to meet his family. Dean and Ruth Ann both became Manson devotees. In 1970 she tried unsuccessfully to murder witness Barbara Hoyt by giving her a hamburger containing 10 hits of acid.

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Westerfeld House

The Westerfeld House was home to Satanist filmmaker Kenneth Anger in 1967. The Church of Satan held some of their "masses" there, sometimes featuring Susan Atkins, who killed Sharon Tate. Charles Manson, Anton LaVey, and Bobby Beausoleil also hung out there. Anger filmed there, including scenes for his film, "Invocation of My Demon Brother"

 

Westerfeld House

The soundtrack was written and performed by Mick Jagger, but he later took his name off it. You can see in the credits that Jagger's name was covered up with the word, 'Massage'. If you're interested in seeing the whole thing, it is onYouTube here. Warning: the film contains bad music, naked dudes, and plenty of general weirdness

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Zebra Murders

A group calling themselves the 'Death Angels' murdered 16 people and wounded another 10 between October of 1973 to April '74.

 

Zodiac Killer

His last confirmed murder, of 29-year old taxi driver Paul Stine, occurred in San Francisco on October 11, 1969, at the intersection of Washington and Cherry.

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The Bizarre, Brutal Mauling of Diane Whipple

Diane Whipple

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Presa Canario

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The Bizarre, Brutal Mauling of Diane Whipple

Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel

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Paul 'Cornfed' Schneider

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The Trailside Killer

David Joseph Carpenter

California's oldest death row inmate

From 1979 to 1981, San Francisco native Carpenter murdered at least six women and one man along hiking trails in Marin, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco. FBI profiler John Douglas came to San Francisco to examine the crime scenes and case photos. He predicted: the killer would be a local man familiar with the area, shy and reclusive, possibly having a speech impediment, unsure of himself in social situations and would be white, intelligent, blue collar, and a past felon. Douglas was right on every point. As a child, Carpenter had also displayed the 'Homicidal Triad': fire-starting, bed-wetting, and cruelty to animals.

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Fortunate escapee

Lois Rinna was Carpenter's first known adult victim. Carpenter drove her to a secluded area of the Presidio and while attacking her was discovered by a Military Policeman. Carpenter shot at the MP, who returned fire, wounding Carpenter then arresting him. Lois, now 90, has steel plates in her head and has no sense of smell due to hammer blows. Her daughter Lisa Rinna is an actress who has appeared in Days of Our Lives, Melrose Place, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and many other shows.

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101 California

Gian Luigi Ferri

San Francisco's worst mass shooting

On July 1, 1993, Ferri entered the offices of law firm Pettit & Martin, which occupied floors 33 through 36. Ferri killed eight people, including attorney John Scully who dived on top of his wife Michelle, who survived. Five others were injured before Ferri killed himself. The firm was devastated and dissolved in 1995.

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101 California St.

Security precautions we take for granted today, such as employee badges to open doors and select elevator floors, were uncommon at the time. The shooting led Senator Feinstein to sponsor the 1994 assault weapons ban.

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'Murder Capital of the World'

Santa Cruz

Ed Kemper

John Linley Frazier murdered a family of five, threw their bodies in the home's swimming pool, then set the house on fire. Herbert William Mullin murdered 13 people, including a priest in St. Mary’s Church in Los Gatos, because he heard voices telling him that human sacrifices were necessary to prevent a massive earthquake from destroying California. Edmund Kemper (pictured) killed his grandparents when he was 15, was paroled upon turning 21, then went on to murder eight women, including his mother. All these crimes happened in and around Santa Cruz between 1970 and 1973, leading District Attorney Peter Chang to call Santa Cruz 'The murder capital of the world.'

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'Mindhunter'

Kemper is a recurring character in the excellent Netflix series Mindhunter. Produced by David Fincher and Charlize Theron, the show is an accurate examination of the origins of criminal profiling. It's based on the book of the same name by John Douglas, who formed the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit.

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Partial bibliography