William Lester Suff (born August 20, 1950, as Bill Lee Suff), also known as the Riverside Prostitute Killer and the Lake Elsinore Killer, is an American serial killer.
In 1974, a Texas jury convicted Suff and his then-wife, Teryl, of beating their two-month-old daughter to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals later reversed Teryl's conviction but upheld Suff's in Suff v. State (Tex. 1976) 531 S.W.2d 814, finding insufficient evidence to convict her as either the primary actor or a principal in their baby's murder.
Though Suff was sentenced to 70 years in a Texas prison, he served only ten years before his 1984 release on parole. He is currently incarcerated at San Quentin after having been convicted of killing twelve women in California and receiving the death penalty in 1995.
Suff subsequently raped, tortured, stabbed, strangled, and sometimes mutilated 12 or more women in Riverside County, between June 28, 1989, and December 23, 1991. On January 9, 1992, Suff was arrested after a routine traffic stop after a police officer found a bloody knife and objects believed to be related to the killings.
Described as a mild-mannered loner, Suff worked as a warehouse clerk for Riverside County when he was arrested, having been hired while still on parole from Texas. During his time in this job, Suff delivered office furniture to the officers on the task force investigating his killing spree.
On July 19, 1995, a Riverside County jury found Suff guilty of killing 12 women and attempting to kill another, though police suspected him responsible for as many as 22 deaths. Suff did not testify in his own defense. During the penalty phase that followed, the prosecutor presented evidence linking Suff to the 1988 murder of a San Bernardino woman, as well as evidence that despite his prior Texas prison term for murdering his first daughter, he abused and violently shook his three-month-old daughter by his second wife. On August 17, 1995, after deliberating for only 10 minutes, the jury returned verdicts of guilty on 12 murder counts and on one count of attempted murder.
The jury could not unanimously agree to find him guilty on a 13th count of murder. On October 26, 1995, the trial court followed the jury's verdict and ordered Suff condemned to death. Suff resides on death row at San Quentin State Prison.
His 2014 appeal of the sentence was rejected by the California Supreme Court which upheld the death penalty.
Book and TV
The Riverside Killer by Christine Keers and Dennis St Pierre was published in 1996 by Pinnacle True Crime.
In 1997 Cat and Mouse - Mind Games with a Serial Killer was published by Dove Books. Suff met with author Brian Alan Lane and told his story. The book includes short stories and poems written by Suff and photos of several of his victims.
Suff is the subject of the television program Real Detective, season 2, episode 2. The 40 minute program includes dramatic recreations and interviews with the lead detective of the Riverside Taskforce, Det. Bob Creed. The episode first aired on March 9, 2017. He is also profiled as part of the Amazon Prime 2013 Documentary Serial Killers Defined.
Suff was convicted of 12 murders by a jury.
- Kimberly Lyttle
- Tina Leal
- Darla Ferguson
- Carol Miller
- Cheryl Coker
- Susan Sternfeld
- Kathleen Milne
- Sherry Latham
- Kelly Hammond
- Catherine McDonald
- Delliah Zamora
- Eleanor Casares