Serial Killer Timeline

Herbert Mullin

Information researched and summarized by

Vernetta Watts, Virginia Douglas, Doreen DeWitt, Erin Walker

Kelly Thompson, Adam VanZandbergen. John Stacy, & Benjie Soberano


Department of Psychology

Radford University

Radford, VA  24142-6946







Life Event



Born in Salinas, California.  This date is also the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake as well as Einstein’s death


< 1

Hospitalized for diarrhea epidemic



Moved to a small farming community in San Francisco



Moved to Santa Cruz area and lived in his Aunt and Uncle’s cabin in Boulder Creek until the Mullins found a home in Felton, a small town in Santa Cruz County. He enrolled in San Lorenzo Valley High School where he made lots of friends and was quite popular.  He played football, had a steady girlfriend and was voted most likely to succeed.

June 1965


Friend Dean Richardson was killed in a car accident summer after graduation.  This was thought to be a trigger to his deteriorating sanity.  He built shrines to Dean in his room and became obsessed with reincarnation.

Fall 1965

He attended Cabrillo College studying engineering. 

Spring 1966


He ran into Dean’s friend Jim Gianera who gave him his first marijuana cigarette, which he claimed damaged his brain. 

June 1966


He finished his first year of college, and got a summer job with the country road crew.  He temporarily broke up with Loretta for a period of six months.

October 1966

He had his first experience with LSD.

January 1967

Herb and Loretta got back together.  They soon became engaged. 

Spring 1967


He began experimenting more with marijuana and LSD.  He became interested in Eastern religions.

Summer 1967

Graduated with a two year degree in road engineering.  Enrolled at San Jose State College. 

September 1967

Became active against the war in Vietnam and vowed to register as a conscientious objector. He changed his major to philosophy and took on a hippie lifestyle. 

November 1967

He withdrew from San Jose State College. 


January 1968

He registered as a conscientious objector, and had sexual relations with a man for the first time.

March 1968

He broke the engagement with Loretta.  He started to become violent and said he was bisexual.

April 1968


Arrested for possession of marijuana.  He pleaded to a lesser offense and was sentenced to probation.  He got a job at Goodwill Industries where he managed one of the organization’s many stores in San Luis Obispo.

October 1968

He was granted conscientious objector status after his father wrote a letter to the draft saying how “peaceful minded” Herb was currently.  The selective service board credited his time employed by Goodwill Industries toward his required alternative service.

February 1969

He quit his job and announced that he was going to India to study yoga.  However, he moved to Sebastopol, CA and lived in a trailer on the ranch owned by his sister and her husband, Albert Bocca.

February/March 1969

At a family dinner, he started imitating his brother-in-law’s every move, which is known as echopraxia, an indication of schizophrenia.  He voluntarily committed himself at Mendocino State Hospital where he stayed for six weeks and was diagnosed as having schizophrenia aggravated by drug abuse.   He was treated with antipsychotic medication.

May 9, 1969


He checked himself out of the hospital. He was uncooperative with the treatment program and his prognosis was labeled as poor.

Summer 1969

He went to Lake Tahoe with another just released patient and found a job as a dishwasher at a gambling resort called “Harvey’s Wagon Wheel”.

August 1969

He quit his job and moved back home.  He pulled a knife on a forest ranger who asked him to leave the park, but did not stab him. He was taken to county jail but was not booked.

September 1969

He began treatment as a resident of the community drug abuse prevention center in Santa Cruz.

Fall 1969

He began ritualistically burning his penis with a lit cigarette.

October 1969

He moved out of the drug center, and applied for welfare.  He went to visit his old manager of the Goodwill store. Herb told him that he was “hearing voices and receiving messages. In addition he made homosexual advances to his friend who called his uncle, who was a physician and recognized the signs of schizophrenia and had the sheriff commit him.

October 1969

Herb was committed to the psychiatric ward of San Luis Obispo County General Hospital because “as a result of a mental disorder he is a danger to others, a danger to himself and gravely disabled.”

November 1, 1969

He sent his parents a letter telling them that he had been forcibly committed to the psychiatric ward of San Luis Obispo County Hospital.  He asked them to write whenever they could.  He was treated for eight weeks by a psychiatrist, Joseph Middleton, who diagnosed him as a paranoid schizophrenic.

November 1969

His parents drove down to visit Herb at the psychiatric ward.  It was then that Herb told them he was homosexual.

November 23, 1969

He was discharged with his prognosis listed as “grave”.  Contingent on his discharge was his attendance at the Santa Cruz Mental Health Clinic.

Early 1970

Herb visited the clinic intermittently, and rarely attended group therapy sessions.  He also was careless about taking his medication. He got a job as a dishwasher in the Holiday Inn

March 1970

He moved out of the house and moved into a cheap hotel paid for with his welfare checks.  Ed Lawrence introduced him to a commune in Santa Cruz.  Herb wanted to move into the commune but his strange behavior made the residents nervous.

Summer 1970


Herb and Pat Brown, a friend from the commune, went to Hawaii together.  Pat abandoned Herb and it was at that time that he admitted himself to the mental health clinic in Maui.  He was examined by a psychiatrist and diagnosed with schizo-affective schizophrenia. 

July 1970

He was discharged as improved and wrote home for money to fly home. 

July 30 1970

Police arrested him for being under the influence of drugs and possession.  While in jail, deprived of his medication, he became hyperactive and sang loudly. He was committed as an emergency case to the county hospital psychiatric ward.  The charges were dropped and the hospital had to release Herb under the California law that limits holding involuntary mental patients past seventy-two hours.

August 1970

He applied for readmission to Cabrillo College to study psychology, but failed to keep his counseling appointment.  He blamed his parents for his illness and changed he life insurance policy so the UNICEF would be the beneficiary.  He got a job driving a truck for Goodwill Industries, and had a homosexual affair.

1970 / 1971

He went through a series of fads. He shaved his head, went on a macrobiotic diet, and lost weight. He wore a big black sombrero and faked a Mexican accent.

March 28, 1971

He spent ten days in jail for public intoxication and resisting an officer.  The drunk in public charges were dismissed. 

April, 1971


His case was closed at the mental health clinic in Santa Cruz because of his failure to keep group therapy appointments.

May 1971

He moved to San Francisco where he lived in decrepit apartments among alcoholics, drug addicts and other mental patients.  There he met a new friend, Allan Hanson, who confirmed his beliefs on reincarnation, and began to believe that his voices where really telepathy, indicating that he was chosen by God to do something special.  He also became fascinated with art and read many books by Leonardo Da Vinci.  While in the library, Herb was researching Einstein and found that he was born on the anniversary of Albert Einstein’s death.  He believed that it was no coincidence and that he was destined for some special work.

September 1971

Herb began to work out at the Newman Herman Gym and did some amateur boxing there.

March 1972

He received a permit to box in Golden Gloves.  He wouldn’t stop assailing his opponent; trainers had to pull him away. 

September 1972


He moved back in with his parents.  He stopped taking his medication and his anger toward his father grew.  The voice commanded him to kill. In addition, a major earthquake was predicted to devastate California.

October 1972

He received a job as a busboy in a restaurant.

October 13, 1972

He passed a transient, Lawrence White, walking alone along a windy road in the Santa Cruz mountains.  He stopped his car pretending he had car trouble.  When White stopped to offer help, Herb beat him to death with a baseball bat.  He left the body at the side of the road. 

October 24, 1972

He picked up a young lady, Mary Guilfoyle, a Cabrillo College student that was running late for an interview.  She hitched a ride with Herb.  Herb stabbed her through the chest and the back, dissected her body and scattered her remains alongside a hillside road.  Her body wasn’t found until the following February.

November 2, 1972

Mullins went to St. Mary’s Catholic Church.  After confessing to Father Henry Tomei, Herb brutally stabbed him with is hunting knife, to protect him self from exposure. 

November, 1972

He was rejected by the Coast Guard for failing the psychological evaluation

December 16 1972

He bought a gun, after reading “Einstein on Peace”; he stated that he needed the gun because he was one-third Scandinavian.  The book said that in Switzerland, every adult male was in the militia and kept a gun for protection.

January 15, 1973

He passed the physical and mental exams for the Marine Corp, but refused to sign a document to release his criminal record. He insisted that the charges should have been dropped. He was subsequently dismissed from the military. 

January 19, 1973

Herb moved into a shabby apartment after his father told him he had to move out.  His parents were tired of the constant criticism.  He told them he would try to enlist in the army and applied for a number of jobs.

January 25, 1973

  • He decided to kill James Gianera, the man who introduced him to marijuana.  Herb went to Jim’s old residence. The new occupant, Kathy Francis, told him that Jim and his wife Joan moved to another part of town.  He went to Jim’s new residence where he shot Jim and his wife Joan, then repeated stabbed both corpses. 
  • He went back to the Francis residence where he murdered Kathy Francis and her two children. 

February 6, 1973

Herb came across four teenage campers. While engaged in conversation Herb asked them to leave the premises.  Herb claims he asked them telepathically if he could them and they all said yes.  He then took out his gun and shot them all.

February 12, 1973

Mary Guilfoyle’s body found

February 13, 1973

Fred Perez was working in his driveway when Herb pulled up and shot him in the chest.  However, Fred’s neighbor, Joan Stagnaro, heard the shot and saw the license plate and called the police. 

February 13, 1973

He was pulled over and arrested but remained silent and did not resist. 

February 14, 1973

After searching his apartment, police found a Bible, an address book with Gianera’s address listed, newspaper articles about his recent murders and rosary pouch that belonged to Father Tomei. 

March 1, 1973

Herb was charged with ten counts of murder, however he was not charged with the murder of White, Guilfoyle and Tomei.  He attempted to plead guilty to all ten counts of murder, however, he was not found competent to represent himself.  He was however deemed legally sane on all ten counts.

July 30, 1973


Herb stands trial for the murders.  During the trial, Herb stated that the heard messages that told him to commit human sacrifices to prevent massive earthquakes in California.  He called these messages “die songs”.

August 19, 1973

Herb was convicted of ten counts of murder.  He was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder and eight counts of second degree murder.  He received a life sentence and would be eligible for parole in 2020. 

General Information





     Number of victims


     Country where killing occurred

United States

     States where killing occurred


Childhood Information

     Date of birth

April, 18 1947


Salinas, California

     Birth order

2 of 2

     Number of siblings

1 (older sister, Patricia)



     Raised by

Both parents, Jean and Bill Mullin

     Birth category


     Parent’s marital status


     Family event


     Age of family event


     Problems in school?

No, he was rather popular

     Teased while in school?


     Physically attractive?


     Physical defect?


     Speech defect?


     Head injury?


     Physically abused?


     Psychologically abused?


     Sexually abused?


     Father’s occupation

Furniture Salesman, WW II Veteran

     Age of first sexual experience


     Age when first had intercourse


     Mother’s occupation


     Father abused drugs/alcohol


     Mother abused drugs/alcohol


Cognitive Ability

     Highest grade in school


     Highest degree

Associate’s Degree

     Grades in school




Work History

     Served in the military?

Applied to serve in different branches of the military but never served



          Type of discharge


          Saw combat duty


          Killed enemy during service?


     Applied for job as a cop?


     Worked in law enforcement?


     Fired from jobs?


     Types of jobs worked

Truck driver, busboy, service station attendant, convenient store clerk, dishwasher, Manager of a Goodwill store.

     Employment status during series

Employed as a busboy




     Sexual preference


     Marital status


     Number of children


     Lives with his children


     Living with

Family (moved out at one point and moved back in later)


     Animal torture


     Fire setting


     Bed wetting


Killer Psychological Information

     Abused drugs?

Yes, Marijuana, LSD

     Abused alcohol?


     Been to a psychologist?

Checked into a mental institution on several occasions

     Time in forensic hospital?

Spent time in and out of hospitals



Killer Criminal History

     Committed previous crimes?

Had a few arrests, for public intoxication and, possession of marijuana,

     Spend time in jail?


     Spend time in prison?


     Killed prior to series?  Age?


Serial Killing

     Number of victims


     Victim type

Random:  Old friend, hitchhiker, transient, campers, a family in wrong place.

     Killer age at start of series


     Gender of victims

Male and Female

      Race of victims


      Age of victims

Varies from 4 - 72

      Method of killing

Shooting and Stabbing

      Type of serial killer

Psychotic visionary/organized

      How close did killer live?

drove to crime

      Killing occurred in home of victim?


      Killing occurred in home of killer?



Killer brought with him, Gun and Hunting knife, Baseball bat

Behavior During Crimes



     Tortured victims?


     Stalked victims?



He stabbed victims after shooting them to death

     Quick & efficient?


     Used blindfold?


     Bound the victims?


After Death Behavior

     Sex with the body?


     Mutilated body?

Only Mary Guilfoyle

     Ate part of the body?


     Drank victim’s blood?


     Posed the body?


     Took totem – body part


     Took totem – personal item

The rosary pouch of the Priest

     Robbed victim or location


Disposal of Body

     Left at scene, no attempt to hide


     Left at scene, hidden


     Left at scene, buried


     Moved, no attempt to hide

One victim, Lawrence White

     Moved, buried


     Cut-op and disposed of


     Moved, too home




     Date killer arrested

February 13, 1973

     Date convicted

August 19, 1973



     Killer executed?


     Name and state of prison

Mule Creek State Prison in California

     Killer committed suicide?


     Killer killed in prison?


Date of death




Californian guilty in 10 murder cases. (1973, August 20).  New York Times, p. 10.

Jones, D. (2002, March 8) Murder Capital of the World:  Three grisly mass-murder sprees plunged the county into terror.  Santa Cruz County Sentinel.  Retrieved October 28, 2004, from

Lunde, D. T.  & Morgan, J. (1980).  The Die Song.  New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Newton, M. (2000).  The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers.  New York:  Checkmark Books. 

Parole board won’t release serial killer. (2001, December 28)   Santa Cruz County Sentinel.  Retrieved October 28, 2004, from

Scott, S. L. (n.d.).  Herb Mullin:  Killing to save California from earthquakes -- a new motive for serial murder?  Retrieved October 6, 2004, from

Serial killers A-Z. (n.d.).  Retrieved October 26, 2004 from

Students on coast honor slain coeds.  (1973, Feb 22).  New York Times, p. 44.

Wacky world of murder. (n.d.). Retrieved October 9, 2004 from

Yamanaka, S. (n.d.). Serial Murders in Santa Cruz County.  Retrieved October 6, from Santa Cruz Public Library website: