Murder Inc. Exclusive: Was Long Beach’s Phantom Rapist a Serial Killer?
AaronTimones is an anagram for I am not EARONS
During 1969 and 1970, the Phantom Rapist terrorized the Long Beach and Lakewood area by breaking into homes and assaulting women, sometimes even with their husband or parents present. The Phantom wore a hood or a ski-mask and usually entered the home between midnight and 6:00 am. He awakened victims by pressing a pillowcase over their heads, warning them not to scream and forcing them on their stomachs and then bound the victims with ligatures he had brought with him, venetian blind cords, clothesline or electrical cords. After binding the victims hands he rolled them over, gagged them with a cloth and covered their head with a pillowcase. The Phantom knew intimate details about his victims and bragged about stalking them for weeks. He attempted to use a rag soaked in ether in one attack and is also believed to have used a chemical to drug a victim’s dog. The rapist sometimes used Spanish and mid-western accents and claimed he lost his family during a violent revolution.
His first known attack was on New Years Day in 1969. The next attack was May 3 1969, when he attacked a 75 year old woman in downtown Long Beach. Two days later on May 5 1969, 69 year old Thelma Lewis was found stabbed to death in her home in neighboring Lakewood. Thelma’s murder was never linked to the Phantom, but he struck again the next night, May 6, attacking a 44 year old woman. On May 16 1969 the Phantom attacked a 16 year old girl and then a 60 year old woman on May 25. On June 6 1969, the Phantom attacked another woman, followed by the murder of Rose Parker on June 21. The Phantom was believed to be responsible for her murder, but never charged with the crime.
On August 30 1969 Kathleen Butts was found murdered in the bushes of a vacant lot in Long Beach. Her hands and feet were bound and there was a rope around her neck. It’s believed she disappeared while hitchhiking. On September 12 the Phantom struck, this time in Buena Park. On November 3, eighth grader Jan Marsh was found murdered on a dirt walkway in nearby Lynwood. That night on November 4, the Phantom attacked a couple in Long Beach while wearing a ski mask. He bound them and robbed them and then assaulted the woman.
The Phantom Rapist, next broke into a home on Christmas morning at 1:00 am. Wearing a ski mask and armed with a pistol he attacked a couple in their bedroom. He bound the victims with neckties and a terrycloth belt and stole cash. He then threatened to harm the woman’s husband and raped her. On February 9 1970, the Phantom again chose another couple in Long Beach. A 56 year old woman and her husband were awakened by a flashlight shining in their faces. In a low voice using a mid-western accent the Phantom warned them “keep quiet and you won’t get hurt.” He told the husband to “roll over on your stomach”, bound his hands behind his back with neckties and covered his head with a pillowcase. The phantom then ordered the woman to roll over but she fought back and was beaten and choked until she was unconscious. He bound her and assaulted her on the bed while her husband lay next to her. Afterwards the Phantom asked “where’s the money?” and left with the victims purse. On March 12 he attacked a 29 year old woman in Norwalk.
It had been over 14 months since the Phantom Rapist began his reign of terror. Then on March 20, 1970 came an arrest. Detectives were staking out 22 year old Albert “Corky” Savage Jr.’s residence in Lakewood for two weeks. While a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter was trailing Savage in his truck, the chopper crashed to the ground at Del Amo Boulevard and Paramount Boulevard. Savage was arrested shortly after the crash and charged with possession of a weapon as a convicted felon. Detectives claimed they saw Savage place a .25 caliber handgun wrapped in a greasy red mechanic’s rag behind the seat of the trunk to his pickup truck. They also claimed to find a flashlight, gloves, sleeves from a black wool sweater and a sketch map.
But on May 21 1970, Albert Savage and three other men broke out of the LA County Jail. They sawed their way through the bars of a second story window and jumped 25 feet to escape. While still on the lam, Savage was charged with 19 counts of burglary and rape in connection with the Phantom Rapes.
On October 30, 1970 Vicki Lynn Miner disappeared while walking to school at Buena Park High. Two weeks later she was found bludgeoned to death in a vacant lot in Buena Park.
Meanwhile, in Hammond, Indiana, Albert Savage was arrested during a burglary at an automobile shop. He gave his name as Albert Johnson, and while being held in the Hammond Jail, Savage escaped again, this time by picking the lock to his cell. Detectives traced Savage to an auto-repair shop in Hammond. When they caught up with him, he fled on foot and was shot in the back, severing his spinal cord. As a result, Albert Savage was paralyzed from the waist down.
In May of 1971 the Phantom Rapist trial began as Savage was wheeled into court in a wheelchair. He was charged with seven counts of rape and eight counts of burglary. Savage pled not guilty and claimed he was innocent. Long Beach police criminalist Martin Klein testified that wool fibers found on two Phantom Rapist victims beds showed “no discernible difference” with fibers from a sweater belonging to the defendant. He also claimed that cotton fibers “were similar” to those from two work gloves removed from Savage’s truck at the time of his arrest.
As the trial continued, a bloody week of murder and mayhem befell the Phantom’s former arena. On August 11, 1971, Bellflower resident Margaret Makeig was found shot to death in the head on her living room floor. Three days after Margaret’s murder, on August 14, 1971, two sisters, Dorothy Truxa and Margaret Miller were found murdered in their car in a Downey shopping mall parking lot. They’d both been shot in the head with a small caliber weapon. Three more days later on August 17, 1971, Lakewood Village resident Velma Harris was found shot to death in her home by an intruder. She’d been shot in the back of her head on her bedroom floor. In her hands she clenched a bloody telephone cord and her bikini bottom was ripped off and lying nearby. She lived in the same area the Phantom Rapist attacked many victims and not far from where Rose Parker was purportedly killed by the Phantom in May 1969.
During the Phantom Rapist trial it came to light how Albert Savage had come to attention as a suspect for the crimes. Albert Savage was employed as a car-lot boy at a Long Beach auto dealership. When one of the Phantom Rapist’s victims had dropped off her car to be serviced, Albert Savage was assigned to chauffeur the woman. The woman thought she recognized Savage’s voice, clothing, build and body odor as that of the Phantom Rapist who had attacked her on May 6 1969. A second Phantom Rapist victim had her car serviced at the same dealership before her assault on May 3 1969. A third woman whose house was burglarized on May 15 1969 while she was not home, testified that the .25 caliber gun recovered from Savage’s truck had been stolen from her residence. During the trial, Savage testified that he bought the gun in the bar where his wife worked, but he didn’t know the man who sold it to him.
The prosecution also produced testimony from a Long Beach police crime lab technician who claimed that there “was a very high probability” glove prints left at the scene of a Phantom Rapist crime matched the gloves found in Savage’s truck. Albert Raymond Savage was found guilty of the Phantom Rapist crimes and sentenced to 10 years to life.
January 1 1969 Phantom Rapist Long Beach
January 1 1969 Long Beach Burglar
May 3 1969 Phantom Rapist Downtown Long Beach
May 5 1969 Thelma Lewis Murder Lakewood
May 6 1969 Phantom Rapist Long Beach Traffic Circle
May 15 1969 Long Beach Burglar
May 16 1969 Phantom Rapist Long Beach City College Area
May 25 1969 Phantom Rapist Hawaiian Gardens CA
June 6 1969 Phantom Rapist Long Beach
July 21 1969 Rose Parker Murder Long Beach
July 27 1969 Phantom Rapist Long Beach
July 31 1969 Long Beach Cat Burglar (Date N/A)
August 7 1969 “Not the” Phantom Rapist Long Beach
August 14 1969 Letter to the Editor
Aug 17 1969 Phantom Rapist Profile
August 30 1969 Kathleen Marie Butts Murder Long Beach
Kathleen Butts was found bound and strangled in the same area the Phantom Rapist was active
September 12 1969 Phantom Rapist Buena Park
October 12 1969 Long Beach Cat Burglar
November 3 1969 Jan Marsh Murder Lynwood
November 4 1969 Phantom Rapist Cal State Long Beach
December 25 1969 Phantom Rapist Long Beach
February 9 1970 Phantom Rapist Long Beach
March 12 1970 Phantom Rapist Norwalk
March 20 1970 Phantom Rapist Albert Savage Arrest Lakewood
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department crashed a helicopter while tailing Albert Savage
March 23 1970 Albert Savage Long Beach
March 24 1970 Albert Savage Long Beach
May 21 1970 Albert Savage Escape Los Angeles County Jail
May 29 1970 Albert Savage 19 Charges Files
October 30 1970 Vicki Lynn Miner Murder Buena Park
Vicki Miner lived and was murdered in Buena Park where the Phantom Rapist attacked in September 1969
November 5 1970 Albert Savage Escapes/Shot Hammond, Indiana
November 8 1970 Albert Savage Paralyzed Hammond Indiana
February 4 1971 Long Beach Cat Burglar
May 13 1971 Long Beach Rapist
May 16 1971 Albert Savage No Bail Long Beach
May 17 1971 Albert Savage Trial Delay Long beach
May 27 1971 Albert Savage Court Long Beach
May 28 1971 Albert Savage Trial Los Angeles
June 28 1971 Albert Savage Pleads Innocent Long Beach
August 11 1971 Marguerite Makeig Murder Bellflower
August 14 1971 Dorothy Truxa & Margaret Miller Murder Downey
Dorothy Truxa and Margaret Miller were murdered in Downey where Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo’s mother, stepfather and brother lived
Dorothy Truxa lived in Downey when she was murdered
Margaret Miller lived in Paramount just south of Downey and Lynwood
August 17 1971 Velma Harris Murder Long Beach
Velma Harris was murdered in her home near suspected Phantom Rapist murder victim Rose Parker, but Albert Savage was in custody in 1971. Were Rose Parker & Velma Harris murdered by the same killer?
November 2 1971 Albert Savage Trial Long Beach
November 3 1971 Phantom Rapist Albert Savage Trial Jury Selection Long Beach
November 5 1971 Albert Savage Trial Long Beach
November 5 1971 Phantom Rapist Albert Savage Trial
November 9 1971 Albert Savage Trial Long Beach
November 19 1971 Albert Savage Trial Long Beach
November 18 1971 Albert Savage Trial Glove Prints Questionable Long Beach
November 19 1971 Albert Savage Trial Long Beach
November 26 1971 Albert Savage Trial Long Beach
November 29 1971 Albert Savage Trial Long Beach
December 1 1971 Albert Savage Testifies Long Beach
December 2 1971 Albert Savage Jury Deliberations Long Beach
December 7 1971 Albert Savage Convicted Long Beach
Dec 29 1971 Albert Savage Sentenced Long Beach
December 1971 Joe DeAngelo’s Mother, Step-Father & Brother Live in Downey