Many of us find serial killers interesting. There’s something about their minds, we want to know what happened to make a person capable of committing their crimes. Some people will become pen pals with an interesting killer, or even several, but others have taken it much further than that.
You may have seen me write about one rather well known hybristophile by the name of Veronica Compton. In 1980, a beautiful young Veronica not only fell in love with serial killer Kenneth Bianchi of the Hillside Strangers, but attempted to murder a pregnant woman in order to make it look like the wrong man had been arrested. Veronica smuggled Bianchi’s sperm out of the prison in a glove; she flew to another state with this DNA, and planned to leave it at the scene of the crime she committed. Veronica did not pull this off, her pregnant victim overpowered her, and Veronica herself went to prison. Pretty quickly she quit conversing with the man she’d attempted to kill for, but she didn’t swear off killers; Veronica quickly took up with another serial, Doug Clark, instead.
Now for Sondra London, she’s the person I really want to talk about! So, Sondra is another serial killer groupie who actually knew Florida’s serial killing cop, Gerald Shaefer (body count of 30+) as a teenager. The two had dated for about a year, 1964 through 1965, and they were intimate. Sondra speaks candidly (first link below) of making love at a grave yard and the things Gerald said to her back then. For example, he told her of his neighbor, Leigh Hainline. Gerald used to watch Leigh through her window. He believed that Leigh knew he was watching her, and that she seductively stripped in order to tease him. Gerald was very angry about it – he’d said that she was a whore and he wanted to hurt her. Eventually he did just that; on September 8th of 1969, Leigh went missing. Nine years later her skull was found in a canal near Ft. Lauderdale; she had been shot to death, and a locket with her name on it was found among the killer’s other trophies.
After Gerald was arrested, Sondra realized she could be another Ann Rule with Ted Bundy; she had not only known a serial killer in real life, but intimately. Why not capitalize on it? And she did just that, Sondra published books on Gerald, poems and gory short stories he’d written. Gerald later admitted that some of these stories were more than they seemed – they were confessions.
Other serials saw what Sondra was doing with Gerald, and they wrote to her, too. When serial killer Danny Rolling (AKA The Gainesville Ripper) was arrested, he contacted Sondra; the two had a real connection, and they fell in love.
One of the most intriguing things about Sondra is that she makes no excuses for the killers in her life, which we often see with women who fall in love with these men. Sondra tells of Danny’s crimes very matter of factly, she speaks of when Danny broke into a college woman’s dorm as she slept. He raped, stabbed, then cut off his victim’s head, and placed her decapitated body in a sitting position to resemble “The Thinker”. That was what Danny Rolling did – he raped, mutilated, murdered, and posed their bodies in the most gruesome poses he could imagine; this one enjoyed shocking those who found his handiwork.
In August of 1990 Danny killed 5 of Florida’s university students in horrific ways; he also admitted to murdering 3 more in Shreveport, Louisiana back in November of ’89. On top of all this, Danny attempted to kill his own father.
Now, as you can imagine with men, Danny and Gerald didn’t much appreciate each other. You know, jealousy; Danny, a handsome young serial killer who was getting a ton of media attention, was suddenly in a relationship with Gerald’s ex.
Danny was excessively smitten with Sondra, and he spoke (and sang) openly about his affections; he spoke frankly of Gerald as well:
“This guy has got real problems, doesn’t he? Schaefer is a little too full of himself and we can easily figure out the content of substance he is filled with. It smells like something pooling in a sewage treatment plant. He is just a spooky little punk who gets his kicks out of intimidating people. He’s a bluffer. He wants anyone who has the displeasure of entertaining him to believe he holds a full house, but if you call his bluff, you’ll find he only has a pair of deuces. Two pitiful excuses for being barely human.”.
Gerald Schaefer was murdered while on death row in December 3rd, 1995. A fellow convict stabbed him more than 40 times, even his eyes were gouged. Inmates don’t like rats, and Gerald was a snitch. Danny Rolling was also sentenced to death for his crimes, and in 2006 he was put to death by lethal injection.
Sondra London has researched multiple serial killers: Toole, Gacy, Heirens, and even Bianchi. (Is it weird she delved into the same killer as Veronica?) She has had relationships in one way or another with a few. She herself is an interesting subject – just search her on YouTube. She also made the talk show rounds back in the day, and her site still stands. I’ll add some of the best links below
Sondra’s story, 3 parts (less than 30 min total) It is worth the watch, she’s a character!
Here’s part 1-
Sondra has this to say for herself
This is also where I got that screen shot about Ann Rule and Ted Bundy-