William 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, 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 10 years before his 1984 release on parole.
Suff subsequently raped, tortured, stabbed, strangled, and sometimes mutilated 12 or more sex workers in Riverside County, beginning in 1986. On January 9, 1992, Suff was arrested after a routine traffic stop.
Described as a mild-mannered loner, Suff worked as a county stock clerk who allegedly delivered supplies to the task force investigating his killing spree. He liked to impersonate police officers and cooked chilli con carne at office picnics. It was alleged that he once used the breast of one of his victims in a chilli con carne contest and won.
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. During the penalty phase that followed, the prosecutor presented evidence linking Suff to the 1988 murder of a San Bernardino sex worker, 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 all 12 murder counts. On October 26, 1995, the trial court followed the jury’s recommendations and ordered Suff condemned to death. Suff resides on death row at San Quentin State Prison.