The Golden State Killer's crimes escalated from burglary to rape and finally to murder when he moved to southern California in 1979 and became known as the Original Nightstalker. (Prior to his move, he is also suspected of murdering Brian and Katie Maggiore when they came across him, as they were walking their dog, near the site of five East Area Rapist attacks. Presumably he thought they would identify him to the police.)
The Original Nightstalker's attacks began in October 1979 and lasted until 1981 with a single attack in 1986. Only the victims of his first attack survived, were able to alert neighbours through screams, and forced him to flee. The Golden State Killer fled the scene on a bicycle and was pursued by a neighbour, who was an FBI agent, but managed to escape by ditching the bike and fleeing on foot. This was the closest anyone had come to apprehending him.
On December 30, 1979, Robert Offerman and Debra Manning were murdered in their home. Neighbours failed to report the gunshots to the police, not recognizing them as such. This would also be the case in later shooting deaths.
On March 13, 1980, Charlene and Lyman Smith were bludgeoned to death in their home after Charlene was raped.
On August 19, 1980, Keith and Patrice Harrington were murdered in their home in a gated community after Patrice had been raped. They had been married for only three months. Patrice was a nurse and Keith was a medical student.
On February 6, 1981, Manuela Witthuhn was raped and murdered in her home while her husband was in the hospital.
On July 27, 1981, Cheri Domingo and Gregory Sanchez were murdered in her home. Sanchez was shot and then bludgeoned to death, and there is speculation that he tried to tackle the Original Night Stalker because he had not been tied up as had the other victims. Cheri was raped and then bludgeoned to death.
On May 4, 1986, Janelle Cruz was raped and murdered in her home while her family was on vacation in Mexico. She was only eighteen years old.
It would be decades before the three identities that comprised the Golden Sate Killer were definitively linked through DNA analysis, which will be the subject of Part 5 of this series.