Michael Bear Carson and Suzan Carson

Michael Bear Carson and Suzan Carson

James Clifford Carson (aka Michael Bear Carson) and Suzan Barnes Carson were serial killers active in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1980s.

Involved in the counter-culture movement, their crimes emerged from a shared missionary philosophy to exterminate individuals they believed to be “witches”. The pair reportedly kept a list of targeted individuals including celebrities and political figures such as Johnny Carson and then-president Ronald Reagan.

After their arrest in 1983, they held a news conference confessing to murders including those of Karen Barnes, stabbed to death in her home in Haight-Ashbury, Clark Stephens, murdered and mutilated in Humboldt County and John Hillyar, murdered while hitchhiking in the Napa Valley.

On 12 June 1984 the Carsons were convicted of one murder and sentenced to serve twenty five years to life in prison. Later they were convicted of two other murders and given the same twenty five years to life sentence.


  • Lane, Brian; Encyclopedia of Serial Killers (Paperback), Berkley (July 1, 1995)
  • Lawson, Kristan and Rufus, Anneli; California Babylon, St. Martin’s Griffin; Revised Edition (October 2000)
  • The Cry for War: The Story of Suzan and Michael Carson, Squibob Pr; 1st ed edition (January 1988)

External links

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