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He beat, kicked and stabbed Tomei, who bled to death in the confessional while a parishioner watched Mullin run away. Marines, and passed the physical and psychiatric tests.
The witness description of a tall young man in dark clothing and black boots did not help the police, who initially speculated Tomei was lured into the church or startled a burglar. However, he was refused entry when it was found out that he had a number of minor arrests for his bizarre and disruptive behavior in the past.
Mullin's birthday, April 18, was the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which he thought was very significant.
Mullin believed that the Vietnam War had produced enough American death to forestall earthquakes as a sort of blood sacrifice to nature, but that with the war winding down by late 1972, he would need to start killing people in order to have enough deaths to keep the earthquake away.
Mullin was to claim later that the victim was Jonah from the Bible, and that he had sent Mullin a telepathic message saying, "Pick me up and throw me over the boat.
Kill me so that others will be saved." The next victim was Mary Guilfoyle, 24, a Cabrillo College student who was running late for an interview and decided to hitchhike. Mullin picked her up and stabbed her through the chest and the back.
Herbert William Mullin (born April 18, 1947) is an American serial killer who killed thirteen people in California in the early 1970s.
He confessed to the killings, which he claimed prevented earthquakes.
He extinguished cigarettes on his own skin, attempted to enter the priesthood, and got evicted from an apartment after he repeatedly pounded on the floor, shouting at people who were not there. Ressler said Mullin had paranoid schizophrenia, manifesting as early as his senior year of high school, which could have been accelerated by the use of LSD or amphetamines.
Shortly after graduating from San Lorenzo Valley High School, however, one of his best friends was killed in a car accident, and Mullin was devastated.
He built a shrine to his deceased friend in his bedroom.
In one published account of these murders, however, an FBI profiler states that Mullin killed the Francis family first and then executed the Gianera couple.
About a month later, on February 10, 1973, Mullin was wandering around Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park where he encountered four teenage boys camping illegally in the park.