Brandon Tholmer


Brandon Tholmer

some of these pictures are next to impossible

A.K.A.: "West Side Rapist"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape - Robberies
Number of victims: 4 - 34
Date of murders: 1981 - 1983
Date of arrest: November 7, 1983
Date of birth: 1949
Victims profile: Rose Lederman, 80 / Wolloomooloo Woodcock, 69 / Dorothy Fain, 70 / Mary Pauquette, 72
Method of murder: Strangulation - Stabbing with knife - Beating
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to four consecutive terms of life imprisonment in 1986

A native of Los Angeles, born in 1949, Tholmer was 26 years old at the time of his arrest for assaulting a police officer.

A charge of rape was added, when his fingerprints were matched with those recovered from the apartment where a 79-year-old woman was attacked on October 22, 1975, and Tholmer later pled guilty to that crime, blaming his actions on an LSD "high."

Suspected, but never charged, in a series of ten murders committed by the elusive "West Side Rapist," Tholmer spent three years in Patton State Hospital, undergoing treatment as a mentally disordered sex offender.

Released in October 1979, he continued treatment as an out-patient at a rehabilitation center in suburban Silver Lake. Memories of the West Side Rapist were revived from 1981 to '84, as homicide investigators probed the violent deaths of 32 elderly women around Los Angeles. Eighty-year-old Rose Lederman was one of the first to die, her body discovered in her Silver Lake home, within walking distance of Tholmer's rehab center, on August 13, 1981.

It was November 1984 when task force officers examined Tholmer's file and noted similarities between his old M.0. and the procedures of their latest maniac-at-large. Surveillance was initiated on November 6, and Tholmer was arrested one day later, poised outside the bedroom window of an 85-year-old paraplegic.

Evidence collected by authorities linked Tholmer to merchandise stolen from Rose Lederman in 1981, and one of his shoes matched a footprint found at the home of 69-year-old Wolloomooloo Woodcock, murdered in August 1982.

Suspected of 34 slayings in all, strongly connected with 12 through circumstantial evidence, Tholmer was ultimately charged with only four.

A jury convicted him on all counts -- including charges of rape, sodomy, arson and burglary -- on July 25, 1986. Sentenced to four consecutive terms of life imprisonment, he is unlikely to be prosecuted for numerous other suspected murders.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans

Man Convicted of Raping and Killing Four Elderly Women

July 26, 1986

The prime suspect in a series of slayings of more than a score of elderly Los Angeles women between 1981 and 1983 was found guilty Friday of four of the five murders with which he was charged.

Brandon Tholmer, 29, who once served a Patton State Hospital sentence as a mentally disordered sex offender, will face either the death penalty or life in prison without parole. The jury that convicted him after two weeks of deliberations will hear evidence in the penalty phase of his trial beginning Aug. 5.

Tholmer was found guilty of slaying four elderly women who lived within a two-mile radius in the East Hollywood-Silver Lake area. The victims were: Rose Lederman, 80, strangled in her Silver Lake home in August, 1981; Wolloomooloo Woodcock, 69, strangled and beaten in her East Hollywood home in August, 1982; Dorothy Fain, 70, stabbed in her Hollywood home in August, 1983, and Mary Pauquette, 72, beaten in her Monroe Street apartment in September, 1983.

The jury also found that during the course of the murders, Tholmer also committed rape, sodomy, arson and burglary--special circumstances that make him eligible for the death penalty.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Clarence A. Stromwall declared a mistrial on two other counts on which the jury deadlocked: An attempted burglary and the murder of Lorraine H. Wells, 76, who was smothered in her Hollywood bungalow apartment in May, 1983.

After Tholmer's arrest in November, 1983, Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates said Tholmer was a suspect in some of the 34 unsolved slayings of elderly Los Angeles women between 1981 and 1983. Since then, police have closed the book on investigations of 12 homicides they believe were linked to Tholmer.

Would Stake Out Victims

Murder charges, however, were filed only in the cases where there was the most evidence, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Lance Ito, who prosecuted Tholmer.

Authorities speculate that the tall, lanky defendant staked out his victims while hanging out at two supermarkets where his girlfriend worked. He then broke into the women's homes late at night to attack them, authorities theorize.

Suspect Is Arrested In Hollywood Slayings

November 8, 1983

A convicted rapist was arrested today in connection with the murders of two of 32 older women killed in the last two years in Hollywood.

The suspect, Brandon Tholmer, 27 years old, had been under 24-hour surveillance since Nov. 2 after detectives identified him as a potential suspect because of his conviction in a 1975 rape of an elderly woman, Police Chief Daryl Gates said. Mr. Tholmer served three years in a mental hospital and was released in 1979.

Mr. Tholmer, who was held without bail, was charged with the murders of Lucille Pyle, 82, and Mary Pauquette, 73. Both women had been raped.


MO: Rape-slayer of elderly women; victims also robbed

DISPOSITION: Four consecutiva life terms, 1986.