Number of victims: 3 - 30 +
Date of murders: 1969 - 1982
Method of murder: Strangulation / Ax
Location: Several US states
Bruce Davis had dreams of a singing career. But after relocating to New York City in the mid-sixties, the Toledo, Ohio native soon discovered that breaking into show business was no easy task. Left embittered when his dreams of stardom came to nothing, Davis embarked instead on a life of crime.
In February 1972, Davis was arrested in Washington, D.C., for the murder of local businessman, James Earl Hammer. Convicted eventually of manslaughter, he drew a sentence of five to fifteen years imprisonment. While serving that time investigators in Illinois linked him to the strangulation murder of Rev. Carlo Barlassina.
Davis was extradited to Illinois in December 1972, where a term of 25-to-45-years was added to his existing sentence. He had no intention of serving that time. On October 24, 1979, Davis attacked and killed prison guard, Joe Cushman, before escaping in Cushman's car. He remained at large until Halloween, when deputies eventual tracked him to Smithers, West Virginia.
Back in custody, Davis for some reason decided to come clean about all the murders he’d committed. He claimed to have killed 32 men between 1969 and 1971. All of the victims were wealthy professional men, who were lured with promises of sex, then killed and relieved of their cash and valuables. According to Davis, he’d committed murders in Washington, D.C., New York, Baltimore, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Reno, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The police were never able to verify all of Davis’ claims, but they did link him positively to at least four of the murders. However, he’d only stand trial for killing prison guard Joe Cushman. Convicted on that charge, he was sentenced to life in prison.