Randall Woodfield


Randall Woodfield

Randall Woodfield
Background information
Also known as: The I-5 Killer, The I-5 Bandit
Born: 26 December 1950 (1950-12-26) (age 58)
Salem, Oregon
Killings
Number of victims: 18
Span of killings: 1979–1981
Country: U.S.
State(s): Oregon, California
Date apprehended: 1981

Randall “Randy” Woodfield (born December 26, 1950) is an American serial killer dubbed The I-5 Killer or The I-5 Bandit for the I-5 Highway running from Washington to California, where he committed multiple sexual assaults and murders. A native of Oregon, he was convicted of three murders and is suspected of killing up to 18 people. Woodfield is incarcerated at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

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Early life

Born in Salem, Oregon, Woodfield came from a middle class family with no evident signs of dysfunction. He was popular among his peers, and was a football star at Newport High School on the Oregon Coast and at Portland State University.

Beginning in adolescence, however, he began to exhibit antisocial sexual behaviors, primarily a penchant for indecent exposure. Upon his first arrest for this crime in high school, his football coaches hushed it up so that he wouldn’t be kicked off the team.

Three arrests in the early 1970s for petty crimes such as vandalism and public indecency did not prevent Woodfield from being drafted in the 1974 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers as a wide receiver, in the 17th round (428th pick), but he was dismissed from the team that same year after more than a dozen arrests for indecent exposure.

Rape and murder spree

The following year, Woodfield robbed and sexually assaulted several women at knife point. He was eventually caught by an undercover female police officer, however, and went to prison for second degree robbery. He served four years of a 10-year sentence.

In 1979, Woodfield embarked upon a two year robbery spree, holding up gas stations, ice cream parlors and homes along the Interstate 5 freeway. Several of his female victims were sexually assaulted, murdered, or both.

In March 1981, police investigating a shooting death in Beaverton, Oregon encountered Woodfield, who was a casual acquaintance of the victim. Citing his history of sexual assault, police searched his home and found evidence linking him to the murder, as well as the attempted murders of two young women. Woodfield was arrested and charged with the Beaverton murder and a double murder of a wife and daughter in Redding, California.

Woodfield’s modus operandi — one part of which was using tape to bind his victims — linked him to many of the murders which occurred along the I-5 freeway. The type of tape found on the victims and the tape found at Woodfield’s house matched.[citation needed] Detectives also knew that they were looking for someone who was familiar and comfortable with the I-5 freeway, given the disposition of the victims.

In October 1981, Woodfield was tried in Salem for the murder of Shari Hull, as well as charges of sodomy and attempted murder.[1] Chris Van Dyke, son of actor Dick Van Dyke, was the district attorney of Marion County, Oregon at the time and prosecuted the case. He was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison, and sentenced to an additional 165 years for convictions of the other crimes.[1]

Prior to a later 1981 trial, Woodfield’s counsel attempted to move the trial from the Willamette Valley due to the publicity the case received in an effort to ensure a fair trial.[2] The judge in the case denied Woodfield’s request, along with a request to hypnotize a prosecution witness in an effort to determine if that witness had been influenced by the media coverage.[2] He is serving the sentences at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem.[3] While he was charged with four murders, it is estimated that Woodfield committed as many more, as well as upwards of 60 sexual assaults.

Prison life

In October 1983, Woodfield was injured at the prison during a disturbance by another inmate.[3] In April 1987, Woodfield filed a $12 million libel suit against author Ann Rule.[4] True crime author Rule wrote The I-5 Killer, a best-selling non-fiction account of Woodfield’s life and crime spree in 1984. Oregon’s federal court dismissed the lawsuit on statute of limitations grounds in January 1988.[4]

By 1990 he was suspected in at least 44 homicides.[5] In 2001 and 2006, DNA testing linked Woodfield to two additional
murders in Oregon from 1980 and 1981.[6]

See also

  • Freeway Killer
  • Steven Brian Pennell

References

  1. ^ a b National News Briefs. United Press International, October 13, 1981, Tuesday, PM cycle.
  2. ^ a b Judge refuses a change of venue for I-5 bandit suspect. United Press International, September 24, 1981, Thursday, PM cycle.
  3. ^ a b Domestic News. United Press International, October 3, 1983, Monday, AM cycle.
  4. ^ a b Tims, Dana. Murderer’s libel suit dismissed. The Oregonian, January 18, 1988.
  5. ^ Burgess, Anthony. Book Review: The revenge of the failures with time to kill; ‘The Serial Killers’ – Colin Wilson & Donald Seaman: W H Allen, 6.99 pounds. The Independent, December 21, 1990.
  6. ^ Bernstein, Maxine. DNA links ‘I-5 killer’ to 1980 slaying. The Oregonian, February 9, 2006.

External links

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