Gerald Patrick Lewis (1 Viewer)


Gerald Patrick Lewis

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 6 +
Date of murders: 1987 - 1998
Date of arrest: April 14, 1998
Date of birth: August 10, 1965
Victims profile: Women
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Alabama/Georgia/Massachusetts, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in Alabama and Georgia. Died in prison on July 25, 2009

Convicted serial killer dies on death row
August 20, 2009

Alabama prison officials have announced that convicted serial killer Gerald Patrick Lewis has died while awaiting execution on death row, according to a news release from the Douglas County District Attorney’s office.

Lewis was convicted in Georgia and Alabama for killing several women, one of whom was killed in Douglas County. He died July 25.

In 2004, a Douglas County jury sentenced Lewis to death for murder of Peggy Lynn Grimes, who was 8 months pregnant at the time of her death, according to the release. The victim was reported missing by her mother after not hearing from her for several days. Grimes’ body was discovered five years later in a wooded area off of Vulcan Drive in Lithia Springs.

Lewis pleaded guilty to the murder of Grimes in November 2001; however, because District Attorney David McDade was seeking the death penalty, the sentencing phase had to be presented to a Douglas County jury.

“Gerald Patrick Lewis was a violent man who took the lives of many innocent women, McDade said. “I hope that the news of his death will finally bring closure to the family members of all of his victims."

Gerald Patrick Lewis, who is jailed in Alabama on suspicion of killing four women, told the Mobile Register that he was responsible for a killing spree lasting more than a decade, including killing one near a gravel pit in Brockton. "It feels good to talk about it," he said. "I've been walking around with this stuff for years. I'm already in big trouble. I've got nothing to hide."

Police in Atlanta have said they are also searching their records for possible matches to Lewis' account of killing two women in the area in the early 1990s. "We are continuing our investigation into other unsolved homicide files throughout the city and county of Mobile, and Baldwin County authorities are also reviewing their files." Within the last nine months, two women who were prostitutes and drug users, and a man dressed as a woman, have been killed in Mobile. Police said they would not be surprised if Lewis had, in fact, killed other women around the country. During police interrogations of Lewis, he often seemed to have something more he wanted to talk about.

Lewis' self-described killing spree, which he said lasted more than a decade, ended April 14, three days after Kathleen Bracken was found slaughtered at the Twilite Motel.

The 32-year-old woman, originally from Swampscott, Mass., was raped and stabbed to death in a room at the motel on Government Boulevard. Police tracked down Lewis to his mother's Daphne home, in the Lake Forest subdivision.

During questioning, detectives said he spilled "explicit" information about killing Ms. Bracken, two women in Georgia, and 22-year-old Misty McGugin of Chickasaw. Miss McGugin's car was found abandoned at Drifters lounge on the Causeway Feb. 1. in Baldwin County.

He led police to Baldwin County Road 66, just east of Daphne, where he said he left Miss McGugin's remains. Police bundled up the body they found in a soft spot on the ground there, and turned it over to the state medical examiners, who confirmed Miss McGugin was the victim.

Lewis also told investigators that he tried to abduct a teen-age girl from the parking lot of the Wal-Mart Super Center off U.S. 98 in Daphne about a month before he was arrested. The story matched an account that the girl told to police.

The girl said she had seen movement in her car when she approached it, ran back in the store, and a store employee called Daphne police. Lewis fled before police arrived.

"We know that in 1987 he served time in the state of Massachusetts for assault with intent to murder, where he had a 10-year sentence," said Mobile Police Chief Sam Cochran "We also are aware that in 1994 he received a 10-year sentence in the state of Georgia for a stolen motor vehicle, a weapons charge and eluding police."

Gerald Patrick Lewis

When Gerald Patrick Lewis was questioned in the rape and murder of Kathleen Bracken, 32, in Mobile, Alabama, in April of 1998, they got quite a bit more than they bargained forwhen the suspect hinted that in addition to Brackens he had killed other women. He has since confessed to six murders and the list could grow longer before Lewis is finished.

Massachusetts authorities are currintly looking into Lewis' claims that he murdered two young women there in the late 1980's or early 1990's and Atlanta police are reportedly reviewing unsolved cases hoping to connect him to some of the killings.

There is not much doubt about four other unfortunate females that ran across the brutal killer in Alabama and Georgia, however.

After his arrest for the Brackens murder, Lewis led investigators to the shallow grave of Misty McGuin near Daphne, Alabama. The 22-year-old had been abducted and killed in early 1998.

Lewis is also most certainly the murderer of at least two women in Georgia, including the ghastly murder of Patricia Grimes, 22, in Douglas County, Georgia. Grimes had been eight months pregnant at the time of her death in 1992, and her remains had been unidentified since their discovery in 1993 until Lewis confessed.

Though more charges sure to be forthcoming, Lewis has already been sentenced to life in prison for the Brackens case and is currently on death row for the kiling of McGuin.

Gerald Patrick Lewis Confession

July 22, 2005

It happened at a place called the Twilite Motel. (That's been my nickname since I was caught, Twilite) This place was a dump. There was a bar in front and the rooms in back. A lot of hookers hung out there. You could drive around the place, and the girls stood in front of the room doors if they were available. Well that night I had no luck at all finding anyone all along that little strip where the hookers hang out. And I looked everywhere but no one was around at that time.

So I pulled in front of the bar and finished my beer before I went in. While I'm sitting there this girl comes out. Her name is Kat. Kathleen Bracklin. She looked good as hell, nice ass, small tits, about 5'8" but slim, long brown hair. But she had a big nose. But I'm pretty drunk and I just want to get laid. I'm not really thinking about killing. I just want some pussy. So she see's me and comes out and asks me why I'm just sitting out here in the parking lot. I told her I was going in as soon as I finished my beer and that I was looking for a girl. She said well you found one. Come on back to my room.

So I get out and we go back to her room and then shes like it'll be 100 bucks. I had the money but I ain't paying this bitch $100. She wasn't that good looking. I figured I could find something else and she got mad and started cussing me so I left. I rode around and still there were no girls around, so I say fuck it. I go back to Kat's room and there's a fat girl outside her room door and I asked if Kat was in there and she said yea but she's busy. She asked if she could sit in my truck and wait so I let her. I thought about fucking her but decided to just wait to see if I could talk Kat into going down to $50, if not, I'd fuck the fat girl.

She told me all the other girls were downtown because of the Easter weekend and all the shrimp boats were in. I wasn't going to downtown Mobile because there's cops all over the place and they have cameras on poles all along the streets. So this fat girl is real quiet and I'm kind of looking over at her and she just turned me off. Ugly and she smelled funny too. So I decided if I can't get Kat down to $50 I'll go to Solomons, it's a gay bar. Besides I could get laid there for free!

After awhile some guy comes out of Kat's room and Kat stands in the doorway butt naked. She looked real good in clothes but naked she looked old and worn out. She sees me and ask me if I changed my mind and she tells the fat chick that I'm the one that she was telling her about, how she cussed me out. So we all go in the room and close the door because there's guys in the parking lot yelling at her because she's naked. Kat dosent even cover up. Her and the fat girl talk about getting something to eat and she leaves.

I tried to talk Kat down but she wouldn't do it. So I turn to leave and this bitch hits me in the back of my head then kicks me and starts slapping on me so I turn around to push her off me and the bitch bit my finger, so with my other hand I grab her neck and squeeze her adams apple and I felt it crunch as my fingers pulled it to the side of her neck. She lets go of my finger and I put that hand on her neck too and choke her out and throw her on the bed. My finger hurts like hell but it's not bleeding.

She starts to wake up a little so I get on the bed and straddle her and punch her in the face real hard. It knocked her out. I'm looking down at her naked body under me. My dick is hard, so I say fuck it, There's a rubber on the night stand. I get it and spread her legs apart with my knees pulling my pants down to my knees and put the rubber on. Her pussy lips are open and I can see pink and I ain't even touched her yet. So I stick my dick in her and it goes in real easy, so I start fucking her and she starts to move around a little. She's coming to. So I start choking her with both hands. I'm leaning up on my arms and the full weight of my body is against her neck as I fuck her. Her hands try to grab mine and pull them away, the whole time her eyes are open and she's looking at me as I choke her and fuck her.

It didn't take long because I was pretty turned on and I start cumming. I get off her and she's out. Her eyes are still open, so I pull the rubber off my dick and look for something to put it in because I'm gonna take it with me. And there on the floor is a crumbled up $100 bill and a plastic bag with a 6 pack of Bud in it. I guess the money was from the other guy, and I'm thinking what a sucker to give this bitch $100. So I pocket the money and put the rubber in with the beer then I look at her laying there on the bed naked with her legs spread wide open and her eyes still looking up.

I grab her legs to close them and she still felt warm. So I was like the hell with it I've come this far so I pulled out my pocket knife and put my ear against her chest and I can hear her heart beating slow. So I put the knife over her heart as I keep one ear against her and push the knife in her chest. There's hardly any blood cuz I hear that it all goes into the chest cavity. So I move the knife handle around with the blade inside of her. I pull it out and stab her again and again each time moving the handle around then I heard one loud heartbeat then it got even slower. So I listen as I move the knife around and her heart beat about 10 times more each time getting slower in between beats then stopped. I looked at her face and her eyes are still open. So I pull the knife out of her and wipe it against her side to get the blood off. First one side then the other, and it cut her skin and it didn't bleed. So I sat on the edge of the bed and just dragged the knife against her skin leaving cuts that didn't bleed. A few filled with a little blood but not enough to flow out. Just a little. I cut her face, her neck, chest, tits, stomach, and legs.

Then I remembered the fat chick that left to get some food. I had forgotten about her so I start to roll Kat's body in a sheet. My truck was right outside the door, so I was going to throw her in the back. But I look out the window and theres a few people sitting on there car hoods drinking. So I don't know when the fat girl is coming back, so I grab the bag with the beer & rubber and leave. I made sure I had wiped down everything I touched. I left behind a cigarette butt (they got DNA off of it later).

When I was cutting her skin it wasn't going in deep I didn't put much pressure against the blade. The cuts only opened up about 1/4 of an inch if that. But anyway I left, went down the road and thats when I picked up Lisa the little blonde. Looking back now there's a lot of things that I should have done different that night and the next day.

Later on during discovery motions in court for this murder I found out that the fat girl had come back to the room, she had a key, and found Kats body and freaked out but nevercalled the cops because she had a bunch of warrants on her from Texas (She got 25 years) but the next day she told someone else and they called the cops,. but looking back I should've fucked Lisa. Brought her back afterwards that night and tried to get Kats body out of the room or just killed Lisa in the woods like I wanted to.

But like I told you she was good, real good, and I felt weak and let her go. But I really wanted to fuck her some more. I made a lot of stupid mistakes then, hell I went 12 years without a mistake like that. I really should of known better but I can't go back now.

Appeals court upholds five capital murder convictions

May 30, 2003

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- An appeals court has upheld the capital murder convictions and death sentences of five death-row inmates, including a former state trooper convicted of burning his wife to death in her car.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in rulings released Friday denied an appeal by George Martin, convicted of killing his wife, Hammoleketh Jackson Martin, 33, in 1995. The judges also affirmed lower court rulings in the cases of Earl Jerome McGahee, convicted of killing his ex-wife and another student at a junior college in Selma in 1985; Christopher Lee Price, for killing a minister in 1991; Cuhuatemoc Hinricky Peraita, for murdering Holman Prison inmate Quincy Lewis in 1999 and Gerald Patrick Lewis, convicted in February 2000 for the murder of Misty McGugin in Baldwin County.

In Martin's petition from Mobile County Circuit Court, the state appeals court voted unanimously that the death sentence was appropriate after considering the trial proceedings.

Prosecutors had argued that Martin, who was approaching bankruptcy, had $377,000 in life insurance policies on his wife when she was found burned in her Ford Escort on an isolated road near the couple's home in Theodore.

The trial jury, in an 8-4 vote, recommended a sentence of life in prison without parole, but the trial judge rightly overrode the jury's decision and imposed the death penalty, the appeals judges ruled.

"Martin killed his wife in order to collect approximately $377,000 in life insurance," appeals court Judge Kelli Wise wrote for the majority. "Similar crimes have been punished by death on numerous occasions."

The trial judge noted that the victim's body was burned so badly, forensic experts could only recover 24 pounds of it. There also was evidence she was alive when the gasoline-doused vehicle was set afire.

Attorney Al Pennington, who penned Martin's appeal, said there were numerous reasons the case should be overturned.

Those included the fact that a state forensic sciences department expert testified that a pair of pants used as evidence could have easily been tainted by other evidence stored with them. The expert testified that gasoline on newspapers could have gotten on to the pants prosecutors said Martin was wearing to commit the crime after both were stored in a paper bag in the trunk of a law officer's cruiser.

"It's just beyond me that they upheld this conviction," Pennington said Friday. "I've been working on death penalty cases since 1977 and I cannot imagine that this conviction would be upheld."

Assistant Attorney General David Clark, who initially prosecuted the case for the state, was on military duty and unable to be reached for comment.

Appeals court judges also upheld the conviction and death sentence of Earl Jerome McGahee, who was convicted in Dallas County Circuit Court for the 1985 killing of his ex-wife, Connie Brown, and Cassandra Lee, a student at George C. Wallace Junior College in Selma.

Among other claims, McGahee argued in his second round of appeals that he was denied a full and fair hearing because his attorneys were not allowed to fully develop evidence and testimony during the trial.

Judge Sue Bell Cobb, writing for the majority in the unanimous opinion, said the court found "no abuse of the trial court's discretion in the court's rulings."

The appeals justices also upheld without an opinion the conviction and death sentence in Christopher Lee Price's second round of appeals.

Price, of Winfield, was convicted in 1991 of murdering Church of Christ minister Billy Lynn, 57, with a knife and a sword at his Fayette County home.

State courts previously rejected Price's appeals, which included a claim that potential jurors joked about the murder weapon being an ax.

Appeals court judges also denied the appeal of Cuhuatemoc Hinricky Peraita, convicted of murdering Holman Prison inmate Quincy Lewis while already serving life without parole for three murders in Gadsden.

Prosecutors argued that Peraita held Lewis down while inmate Michael Castillo stabbed him with a prison-made knife. Peraita told investigators he and Lewis had been "partners" who protected each other. Peraita allegedly had arranged to "buy" Castillo with cigarettes.

When Peraita refused Lewis' demands that he also have sex with Castillo, Lewis threatened both men. The disagreement ended months later with Lewis' death, according to Peraita's account.

In his appeal, Peraita argued that he was deprived of due process, a fair trial and a reliable sentencing as a result of numerous allegations of error during his trial.

But Judge Pam Baschab, writing for the majority, said after researching trial records, no error was found that "may have adversely affected the appellant's substantial rights."

Judge Sue Bell Cobb dissented, saying she believed the trial court erred when it prevented an expert on prison psychology from testifying during the trial's guilt phase.

Gerald Patrick Lewis also had his capital murder conviction and death penalty upheld by the criminal appeals court judges. Lewis was convicted of killing two women in Alabama and received a death sentence for murdering 21-year-old Misty McGugin in Baldwin County.

The appeals court justices, however, did remand the case to the trial court for resentencing on his attempted kidnapping convictions, saying a life sentence was too harsh for the crimes.

The Lewis ruling Friday marked the first time that an Alabama appeals court recognized mitochondrial DNA as evidence, said Tom Parker, spokesman for the state courts system.

Mitochondrial DNA can identify a person as belonging to a particular family line, Parker said. Nuclear DNA, which can identify a specific person, has been accepted in the courts for years.

Mitochondrial DNA became an issue in the case because McGugin's body was too badly decomposed to identify her based on nuclear DNA evidence.

Besides McGugin's murder, Lewis was sentenced in August 2000 to life without parole for the killing of Kathleen Bracken in Mobile County.

Judge Sue Bell Cobb dissented from the majority in part, saying the jury could have concluded that Lewis raped McGugin after he killed her, requiring he be charged with abuse of a corpse.

Body Count

August 9, 1998

Gerald Patrick Lewis says he's a serial killer. Police have charged him with killing four women. He told the newspaper about killing seven. He'd been living right here, not far from Mobile Bay.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story, based in part on jailhouse interviews with alleged serial killer Gerald Patrick Lewis, contains graphic images that some readers may find disturbing.

Hunched over a table in the Mobile County Metro Jail, Gerald Patrick Lewis scuffs his plastic flip-flops on the linoleum and tries to recall all the women he has killed.

"One, two, um, three she was pregnant four,'' he says. Those are the four he's told police about. But he keeps counting. "Then five, and six. Yeah. Seven.''

He spreads all five fingers on his right hand, and two on his left. "Why don't we start with this one?'' he says.

Right hand, index finger. It was his first killing, he said, and even though he was just 21 at the time, he remembers it clearly:

It was almost Christmas, 1986, and warmth was scarce in Brockton, Mass.

Lewis slid down in the cold seat of his van and raised a bandana to his face, when Lena Santarpio waddled out of her parents' house.

She was eight months pregnant, and looked it.

Seeing her again stirred up old feelings, old hurts after all, that was his baby she was carrying but the heft of his hunting knife brought comfort. He kept it in his hip pocket, with the blade between the flaps of his wallet. It was a quicker draw, that way.

With some difficulty, Lena climbed into the passenger seat of her little green Mercury Bobcat, and her father got in behind the wheel. They pulled out of the driveway, and Lewis eased his van away from the curb, trying to keep the bandana over his face while he shifted gears. A couple of miles past the city limits he realized they were going to a relative's house, so he pulled off to the side of the road to wait for their return.

Lunch time came and went. So did supper. It got dark, but still no Bobcat.

Frustrated, he turned back toward Brockton.

The whole Christmas season had always disgusted him, he said, but this particular night was really bad. The town had outdone itself with wreaths, blinking lights, little wooden reindeer pulling little wooden Santas across frosty front lawns.

He tried to steer his van around the icy spots on the road, but the old Volkswagen's headlights were weak. The windshield wipers clicked and screeched, brushing aside the snow.

As he approached the square that marked the center of town, his mind reeled with thoughts of Lena and their child. At the square, a young woman walked along the roadside, and Lewis slowed to get a look at her face.

Lena! His heart leapt then sank. Not Lena. This was just some girl, but she had the same brown hair, the same faint spots of acne on her cheeks, the same dark eyes. He stopped.

"You looking for a ride?''

"Yeah. You looking for a girl?''

A prostitute.

Once she was in the van he pressed PLAY, and the speakers blared "Holding Back the Years'' by Simply Red. The song had come out about a year ago, when he was 20 and Lena was 16. It was their song. He had listened to it during his last jail stint, and quoted the lyrics in his letters to Lena. Now he was free on bail, and even though Lena refused to see him, he had a pretty fair substitute on the seat beside him. He sang along.

I'll keep holding on

The girl acted nervous, and that made him jumpy, so he whipped out the knife with his right hand and held the blade to her neck, forcing her head down between her knees. He shoved her left hand under his thigh, so she wouldn't grab for the gear shift. Her hand was warm. She started to cry.

He drove about 15 miles, then parked behind a gravel pit and made her get out. "Please,'' she whimpered.

They walked about 10 feet into the woods, and he raped her. Her screams bounced off the gravel and frozen trees, so he strangled her, then raped her again. He sliced open her stomach, in a contorted effort to find his unborn child. Then he finished her with his knife, driving it in 30 to 40 times, until his arm was tired and her hand turned cold.

Finally, he dragged a log over the woman's body, and walked back to the van. He got in, and pressed PLAY.

So tight.

Right hand, index finger.

Lewis, now 32, said that as he drifted to the South, he killed six more women, on a mission to replace the love of a teen-age girl who left him more than a decade ago. Even now, he said, he sits in his cell in Mobile and thinks about Lena Santarpio: her hair, her Massachusetts accent, the way she moved her hands.

After his latest arrest in April of this year at his mother's house not far from Mobile Bay he told police he had killed two women in Georgia and two in Alabama. One of the women in Georgia was pregnant.

But during a three-hour interview on July 9 he told the Mobile Register he had committed three more killings. He said he left one body in Massachusetts, four in Georgia and two in Alabama.

Seven women altogether.

He said he kept three killings secret from police, holding out to see whether homicide detectives would deliver a promised Prozac prescription, which they didn't.

Police in all three states say they believe Lewis. Actually, some investigators say they think he has killed more than he admits. Some of the details of Lewis' new admissions locally and in other states have been confirmed.

Police call him a serial killer, and he agrees.

"I have no reason to lie,'' he said at the Metro Jail. "I'm never going to get out.''

Lewis' attitude in the interviews was fatalistic, and his appearance also suggested that he had given up. He said he hadn't once, in three months, washed his black-and-white striped jail-issue clothes. They smelled like it. He had equally ignored grooming: His beard was long and mossy down his neck. His skin was white and bloated, and his startling green eyes were sunk in deep, like emeralds dropped in paste. "Shaving and all that is the least of my worries,'' he said. "I want a TV, something to focus my mind on while I wait.''

Before providing locations and specifics about the additional killings, Lewis said he wanted several things from the warden, including a television, a cell to himself, and smoking privileges. None of the requests was met.

"These are things I'll be able to get anyway,'' he said, "once I'm on death row.''

Despite receiving none of the requested privileges, Lewis gave the Register more details in a second interview July 18. For four hours, he described the killings with the kind of depth and detachment that could churn the strongest stomach. The story of his life, as he tells it, is an account of mounting horror, of rapid-fire murder.

"Does he really deserve to be called human?'' asked his younger brother, Sean. "Does he even deserve that?''

The last time Gerald Patrick Lewis saw his little brother or any of his family was the day before Easter. "He came to my house,'' said Sean, who is 30 and now lives with his wife and two children in Spanish Fort, on the high bluffs across the bay from Mobile. "He told me he wanted to get help. I thought he meant about his drinking. We hugged, and I said, 'Everything's going to be all right, brother.' I didn't know what he was doing, you know, to those women.''

When darkness fell that Easter eve, Lewis drove his little red pickup down Highway 90, just west of Mobile. He parked in front of the Twilite Motel, where customers are drawn to a tall electric sign that buzzes and pops at night like an oversized bug zapper. Lewis said he sat outside the windowless lounge a few minutes, emptying his beer bottle. He heard music inside it was Karaoke Night at the Twilite. He went in and sat at the bar, listening, and the guy with the microphone was doing a pretty good job. So Lewis said he made a request, and sang along.

I'll keep holding on

So tight.

The words were like a stick that stirred up something dark and deep in his soul. Right about then, Lewis said, he heard 32-year-old Kathleen Bracken's voice from across the room, where she was shooting pool. She had brown hair, and was from Swampscott, Mass.

There was no mistaking her accent.

Jacksonville, Fla., 1965

Gerald Patrick Lewis was born into a middle-class life in Jacksonville, Fla., on Aug. 10, 1965. He was the son of Edward and Linda Lewis, a computer designer and a draftswoman. Throughout most of his childhood they shifted back and forth between Atlanta and the Boston suburb of Brockton.

He never picked up the clipped speech of Boston, or the easy drawl of Atlanta. Family members said that young Lewis they called him Patrick rarely had close friends because the family moved so often.

Police say there is a triad of behavior almost always found in a serial killer's background: fire-setting, chronic bed-wetting and animal torture. Lewis said he did wet the bed growing up, but couldn't remember when he stopped.

About the other two, though, he and his family remember just fine.

When he was 4, said his mother and brother, Patrick was playing by himself downstairs, while the rest of the family slept. Suddenly, screams rolled up the stairs. It was Patrick. He had been playing with matches, and dropped one on his pajamas. The flannel lit up and burned his body across his chest and shoulders, leaving scars he still bears.

Shortly afterward, as Lewis tells it, he stood in his darkened bedroom and pressed a kitchen knife to his belly. "I remember thinking, 'I could pop this in and out real quick, and I wouldn't even feel it,''' he said. "But I didn't have the guts to do it.''

It was as though that one fumbled match had burned away his childhood innocence, along with his pajamas.

He said he "sort of'' played with fire as he grew older. "There were some woods,'' he said. "There were a couple of apartment complexes, too.

"I wasn't scared. I was never scared of fire.''

He said he never managed to burn an apartment complex to the ground, but almost succeeded at Collier Apartments on Collier Road in Atlanta. ``The basement was divided into storage areas,'' he said. ``They were separated by walls that were chicken-coop wire covered with cardboard. I remember squatting down there and lighting the cardboard, then running out across the street to watch it. The whole thing didn't go, but the bottom did, for sure.''

He said he once set fire to a doghouse while the family dog slept inside, but the dog got away. So he killed it a different way. "I used to cut the tops off white milk jugs and slip them over dog's heads, so they couldn't see,'' Lewis said. "I'd put them out on the road, and I remember one of them got run over. He was ours.''

When Patrick was 11 years old, his parents divorced.

On the day his father moved out, ancient family history was pulled out of closets and packed into cardboard boxes. Patrick and Sean snooped through the boxes, and found Lewis' baby book, which detailed his birth and first days of life. Under the space marked "Father,'' they saw another man's name.

"We had the same mother,'' Sean said, "but Patrick's father was somebody my mother knew before she met my father. It crushed Patrick.''

Even so, Patrick followed his father (whom he started calling "Ed'') as he bounced around the country: Philadelphia, Abington, Mass., Plymouth, Mass., on and on, a life easily broken down and packed into the back of a rented van. Along the way, he said, he learned to steal, rifling lockers at school or sneaking off with somebody's go-cart.

When his father couldn't put up with him any more which was often Lewis was sent back to his mother in Georgia, until her patience wore thin, too.

He dropped out of school in the ninth grade, and got his driver's license at 16. But he needed cash to buy wheels of his own. In Brockton, Mass., near his father's home, he cased out burglary prospects. An industrial park held a number of sprawling companies, like L. Knife & Son beer distributors, that were easy targets at night. He had a particular fondness for L. Knife & Son. "We'd climb in through the cellar window,'' Lewis said. "There was always plenty of cash and booze.''

Before long he and his friends moved on to higher highs. "I was into everything,'' Lewis said, ticking off a list of drugs. "Let's see: I snorted a lot of heroin. Cocaine, pot, speed a lot of speed acid. I can't remember it all. I never liked needles, though. One time, I broke into a doctor's office with some friends, and found some little bottles of Demerol. They all started shooting it up, but I drank it. Man, I hated needles.''

Eventually, the cycle of burglaries and drugs broke down, and police put Lewis in cuffs. All the burglaries a total of 14, according to Brockton police records brought him a year's sentence, of which he served six months. When he got out, he headed south, to Franklin, Ga., outside Atlanta, to live with his mother and brother.

There, it was hard to keep up a drug habit though Lewis said he certainly tried to because he had a hard time holding down jobs. In August 1983, he was fired from Stitchbonders, a weaving plant, when he shoved a broom handle into a loom and ruined the $10,000 machine. After he was fired, said the owners, he came back to the plant and stole a pistol and cash.

"Yeah,'' Lewis said. "I hated that job.''

He fell back into burglary. Again he was caught, and this time he was sentenced to four years. He served two, then rolled back north, this time to Weymouth, Mass., where his father, "Ed,'' was living. He was 20 years old.

"How many times could he have gone the other way?'' Sean said. "He always told me 'OK, this is it. I'm turning over a new leaf.'''

This time Lewis seemed ready to change. He got a job at a Kentucky Fried Chicken, dumping chicken into the cooker. Lena Santarpio was a cashier at the restaurant, 16 years old and unaware of his past. He was crazy about her, but couldn't stand his job frying chicken, so he quit and started pumping gas at a BP a couple of blocks away. He and Lena stayed in touch, though. She visited him at the station, sometimes sitting outside with a milkshake, waiting for his shift to end.

He saved his money and bought a rust-colored Firebird, which he painted black. For their first real date, Lena says they rode in the hot rod to McDonald's for burgers.

"Oh, wow, I had forgot all about that,'' she said in a recent interview. "But talking about it, everything comes back to me.'' He loved Dr. Pepper, jeans with holes in the knees, concert T-shirts and high-top sneakers. She loved his eyes. They were deep and green, and never rolled in sarcasm or flashed in anger. They were ... different. ``Everybody else thought they were creepy,'' she said. "I didn't. I liked them.''

Lena said she used red fingernail polish to paint her initials, in looping, pretty letters, under the Firebird's passenger side door handle.

Perhaps, his family hoped, this girl could keep him out of trouble. Lena developed a blood clot in her leg and had to spend a couple of nights in the hospital. Lewis couldn't stand the separation, so he went to her room, and they had sex there on her hospital bed. They both say that's where their child was conceived.

The Twilite

Lewis and Kathleen talked only briefly at the pool table, but he said he felt like he'd known her for years. Her brown hair and Massachusetts accent reminded him of Lena.

He called her Kat, and says she proposed sex. He began to want to kill her. "I was feeling the urges,'' Lewis said. "I could feel it coming, so I got out of there.''

He said he drove to several other places, looking for a white prostitute whose hair was any color but brown, rocking in his seat and chanting, "Gotta get a girl. Gotta get a girl.''

But no streetwalkers were out, so he drove back to the Twilite and parked in front of Kathleen's room. Room 11.

A girl walked out of the room as Lewis pulled up. "Hey,'' he called out his truck's window. "Is Kat in there?''

"Yeah, but she's with somebody.''

Lewis said that sometime during the ensuing 20-minute wait, his mind tripped over Kathleen Bracken's Massachusetts roots. "I started thinking she knew Lena's family,'' he said. ``I thought she had a picture of my son. I knew it.''

Brockton, Mass., 1986

Lewis and Lena had been dating about six months when she became pregnant, and he moved in with her family. They weren't pleased with their daughter's condition, but Lewis was thrilled. At least until Lena cut off the sex, during her pregnancy.

"I couldn't believe it,'' he said. "I went out and started driving around, picking up hookers.''

Things went sour at the house. "Her mom was constantly after me,'' he said, a point that Lena readily confirms today. "One time I took a shower and left the soap on the side of the tub. The next morning, I found a note on the side of the tub that said, `Please do not leave the soap here. Leave it in the soap dish.'

"She was always nagging me, calling me names with that accent of hers,'' Lewis said, raising the pitch of his voice and mimicking sharp Massachusetts speech: ``Come heah, you bastahd!''

It turned out that Lena was pregnant with twins. But one of them a girl died in the womb. Lewis said he felt crushed. He spent more time out on the street, looking for women and a release.

Soon, he said, his desperation led to rape.

It was an August night in 1986, about five months before his first killing. He saw the woman sitting outside the Tiptop Pizza parlor where she worked. Lewis, who was driving by, stopped and asked if she needed a ride. She said no. He passed by later, and she was still there. He stopped again.

"You sure you don't need a ride?''

"Well, maybe, yeah.''

She got in the car he was driving Lena's little green Mercury Bobcat and he came out with the knife almost instantly. "Don't fight me,'' police say he told the 23-year-old girl. "I've done this before.''

He drove her to a secluded, fenced-in parking lot and raped her. When he was done, the woman told police, Lewis got in his car and renewed his offer to take her home. She fled.

"I learned my lesson,'' he said.

Caught, Lewis spent about three months in jail before he made bail. He wrote to Lena daily and often called collect. Her parents threatened to change their number, but Lewis was desperate to know the answer to one question: Was the remaining twin a boy or a girl? He called again. Lena answered. The operator asked whether Lena would accept the charge, but she didn't say yes or no. She blurted out ``boy'' and hung up.

That was the last time Lewis ever heard her voice.

On Thanksgiving Day of 1986, Lewis' father came to the jail and bailed him out. His lawyer had whittled the amount down to $1,000. While out, Lewis stalked Lena, even hiding outside her house. "I remember standing outside, freezing, watching them string up Christmas lights inside,'' he said. "I spent hours watching.'' The Twilite

The longer Lewis stared at the door to Room 11, the larger the ball of anger inside him grew, he said. Finally, a man walked out, and Kathleen stood naked in the doorway.

Lewis stepped out of his truck and went in.

They chatted a moment, and she said sex would cost $100.

"Not yet,'' he said he told her. "Not until you give me Stephen's picture.''

"I have no idea what you're talking about,'' she said, in such a Yankee way. "Who the heck's Stephen?''

"Give it to me!''

Kathleen Bracken's next five words may have sealed her fate. Lewis said he recalls them exactly: "Get outta heah, you ... BASTAHD!''

Brockton, Mass., 1986

Lewis said that his first killing the woman he picked up at the Brockton town square came shortly before Christmas 1986. He was still out on bail after the rape.

He recalled that after he picked her up, he passed a brick, L-shaped building on the right, and several giant mounds of gravel on the left. He wheeled behind the gravel pit and made her get out. He raped her, then killed her with the knife.

He said he continued to stalk Lena, who was about eight months pregnant by then. To remind her of his presence, he set fire to the Bobcat one night. The family ran out of the house, confounded. Police there said they remember the fire, but that they never could prove who was responsible. Lewis said he watched Lena, from behind shrubs, as the flames leaped.

After the holidays, he said, he sat up at all hours of the night, thinking of Lena and pondering suicide. He said he wanted solitude, and found it in an unlikely place: on the elevator in his apartment complex. "I liked the way it felt, in there. It was quiet, sort of cut off from everybody else. I'd get on about 3 o'clock in the morning and push the `stop' button between floors. I practically lived there.''

Once, he broke into an apartment on the fifth floor, where a woman named Carolyn Sweet lived with her 5-year-old daughter, Stephanie. They didn't have much money, but there was another kind of loot. "They had guns,'' Lewis said. "A .25, a .22, and some other pistols. I took a lot of them.''

Again, a report was filed, but police had no suspect.

Lewis said one of the pistols became his companion on the elevator. He said he sat for hours with its muzzle to his temple, working up the nerve to pull the trigger. He couldn't. It was as though he was 4 years old again, standing in the dark with a knife to his belly.

"I wanted somebody else to do it for me,'' he said. So he planned for the occasion.

He said he took a rope into the elevator and rode to the top floor, the fifth. He climbed up through the elevator's emergency access panel and tied the rope to a support beam in the elevator shaft. Then he climbed back down and tied the rope's other end around his neck. He sat like that for hours on several nights, waiting for someone on a lower floor to summon the elevator and snap his neck.

His plan backfired.

On Jan. 19, 1987, the 5-year-old girl on the fifth floor, Stephanie, opened the elevator doors and found him there with his noose in place. Lewis said he thought: "She knows I want to kill myself, now, so she knows I sat on the elevator with a gun to my head ... so she must know I broke into her mother's apartment.''

Police records show that Stephanie and two of her friends were playing outside the building the next morning, making angels in the snow, when Lewis came down and called out to Stephanie, "Hey! I've got some toys to show you in the elevator.''

So she left her friends and went with Lewis to the elevator, where he said he had gifts for her.

"But he didn't,'' the girl, now 16, said. "He put his hands around my neck and pressed down hard.''

Outside, Stephanie's friends wondered why she was gone so long. They went to her mother and said, ``Is Stephanie here? She came in with a man.''

Her mother ran down the hall, frantically calling the little girl's name. She pushed the "Call'' button outside the elevator, and waited for it to come up. When the doors opened, there was Stephanie, crumpled in the corner, with blood and saliva dripping from her mouth. Her neck was bruised and bleeding.

Doctors in the emergency room said Stephanie would have died, if strangled even one or two seconds more. In the hospital, Stephanie described Lewis, and police tracked him down. He told the officers he had been asleep on his couch. But the little girl picked his photograph out of a lineup, and he went to jail. This time his bail was set at $20,000. Police found the rope above the elevator, and Lewis' court-appointed lawyer asked that he be sent to Bridgewater State Hospital, a mental institution. "There is some concern that he might be suicidal,'' the lawyer told the judge, according to court records. ``There were notes found.''

He was charged with attempted murder, assault with intent to murder and assault and battery. But the court ruled that he was too mentally disturbed to stand trial. He was soon off to Bridgewater, where he would spend about four years.

The Twilite


That word pronounced that way lit some violent sign in Lewis' brain, he said.

He said he was so enraged that he ignored the knife in his hip pocket, and choked Kathleen Bracken into unconsciousness with his hands. "I was looking at her laying there,'' he said, "and I thought, `Damn. I came in here for the sex.'''

So he raped her and pillaged her room, he said. "There were some cold beers in there,'' he said. "Can you believe that? Cold beers!'' He said he also found some cash. While he pocketed it, though, she woke up. This time he remembered the knife. He pulled it out, he said, and stabbed her once in the chest. The autopsy would show that the blade struck deep into Kathleen's heart.

Lewis said he was surprised she fell at only one blow, so he knelt down to feel for a pulse in her neck. That's when somebody knocked on the motel room door.

Bridgewater, Mass., 1987

At Bridgewater State Hospital, Lewis told another patient that he was serving time for fighting with a friend whom he'd caught assaulting a 5-year-old girl. The patient knew of a woman on the outside with a similar experience, and slipped Lewis a piece of paper bearing the woman's name Geanette Charron and her address. Geanette lived in Fall River, Mass. He wrote her there, and they began to exchange letters often. In a July interview with the Mobile Register, she said the Lewis she knew was considerably different from the one who says he killed seven women.

When she heard about his confession she said, "Oh my God,'' and dropped her telephone receiver. "This is not real. This can't be real.''

She said she visited him several times during his stay at the mental hospital. She said he told her the story about saving a 5-year-old girl from a friend's assault.

Actually, he lived out an entire fantasy life through her. Lewis said and Geanette confirmed that he told her he was raising a son, Stephen, and a daughter, Sarah.

"That's not true? What else is not true?'' Geanette asked the Register reporter. "I can't believe Gerry would lie to me like this.''

Everybody who knows Lewis calls him Patrick, but Geanette knew him as Gerry. Gerry Lewis, the nice guy who couldn't catch a break. "I guess I thought she could save me,'' Lewis said. "She was my way out.''

But Lewis found out that Geanette already had a boyfriend.

Lewis didn't describe the sort of treatment that he underwent at Bridgewater, but said he was desperate to get away. He said his lawyer came up with a simple plan.

"My lawyer told me, 'Just plead guilty. They'll let you go,' and so I did,'' Lewis said. When he pleaded guilty in 1992, he said, the judge passed down a 10-year sentence, with parole eligibility after four years and six months. His sentence was retroactive, meaning his time in the hospital counted as time served.

"Yeah, man,'' he said. "I was out of there in six months.'' He was 27 by then, and moved in with his mother in Atlanta. He was quickly dismissed from his new job at Wieucia Dry Cleaning, after the owner suspected him of pilfering the cash registers.

About two months after his release from Bridgewater, he said, he killed a second time. He wanted another woman who looked like Lena, and found her hooking on Stuart Avenue in Atlanta, in front of the Alamo Motel. "Before she got in the car she said she had to run in her motel room real quick,'' Lewis said. "Something about making sure her son was OK.''

In the car, he gave her the same treatment as the girl in Massachusetts: head down between her knees, left hand under his thigh, right hand behind her back. He said he took her to a dirt pit just off a runway at the Fulton County Airport, and made her get out of the car. He put her against a tree and raped her at knifepoint, then stabbed her 30 to 40 times.

"She didn't even cry or anything,'' he said. "It was kind of strange.''

Three other slayings followed that one in quick succession, he said. The next girl was seven or eight months pregnant, about like Lena had been the last time he saw her. He said she had sold sex to him before. He picked her up at her Atlanta-area apartment.

"When she got in my car, it was the strongest feeling I've ever had about one of the girls,'' Lewis said. "I asked her, `Have you ever been to Massachusetts? Do you know anybody in Massachusetts?' She just seemed sort of confused about it.''

He took her to a kudzu-covered slope on Lee Road in Douglas County, Ga., and pulled his car to the roadside. He got out and walked around behind the car, lifting his knife as he walked, he said. The girl opened the passenger's side door and put both feet on the ground, but couldn't get out of the low-slung sports car without help. "She was really pregnant,'' he said. "I got tired of waiting, so I grabbed her by the hair and pulled her out.'' They walked up the slope, trudging through the creeping kudzu, and at the top he made her take off all her clothes, he said. ``When I saw her standing there, all pregnant like that, I just couldn't do anything as far as sex,'' he said. "But I couldn't just leave. I had to finish it.''

She didn't die easily, he said. She kept reviving, only to be stabbed again and again.

He said he covered her body with a few branches, then drove to a gas station to wash off his shoes and hands. He went home and dropped the knife in a pipe that ran down the side of his carport.

He said he picked up the third Georgia woman near several bars and strip clubs on Fulton Industrial Boulevard in Atlanta, and drove her down Fulton Industrial a couple of miles, until he found a wooded area. The knife came out, and the scene was the same as the previous girls: He took her about 10 feet into the woods, raped her, stabbed her 30 to 40 times, and covered her body.

The fourth Georgia killing was the same, he said: He picked the woman up a couple of weeks later in the same prostitution hot spot, drove down Fulton Industrial Boulevard a mile or so past the last body and found another secluded area.

Lewis recalled the name of only one of the Georgia women "Angela,'' the second one he killed. He said he didn't have her last name.

The Twilite

Lewis paused, and stared at Kathleen Bracken's motel room door. Countless dealings with prostitutes, abductions, seven killings: He said the scenes flashed through his mind when he heard the rapping of knuckles on wood.

Lewis crouched quietly until the caller walked away. He grabbed the cash he had found and a cold beer from the room's small refrigerator. He cranked his truck. "I drove around to the front of the bar,'' he said. "I went in and sat down, but I was pretty shaken, after that knock. I was sitting there, and all of a sudden I threw up everywhere.'' He said he looked around, but the bar's patrons seemed oblivious. To nobody in particular he murmured something about having too much to drink, then left.

Atlanta, 1993

The Georgia killings ceased when he got a new girlfriend, Lewis said. Her name was Kim Davis, and for a little while, life seemed perfect. That lasted until one day in December 1993, he said, when she stood him up on a date. His car was broken down, so he stole a brown Toyota Celica and drove to a nightclub called The Crystal Chandelier, where Kim liked to go after work. Inside, he hid in a corner and watched her. She was with another man.

Lewis went out to the parking lot and waited. When she came out and got into her car, he said he punched through her car's window, and hit her several times. The guy Kim was with grabbed a beer bottle and threw it at Lewis, who retreated and left in the stolen Celica. The owner of the club called police, and the responding patrolman passed Lewis speeding away. According to the patrolman's written report, he turned around and chased the Celica for several miles as other squad cars joined in.

Lewis eventually wrecked. Police arrived and drew their guns. In the car, detectives found a long knife with a serrated blade, a foot-long steel pipe wrapped in black electrical tape, a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and burglary tools, according to the report.

Lewis started another 10-year sentence for auto theft, carrying weapons, eluding police and having burglary tools. He was out by November 1997, less than four years after his arrest. He was 32, and moved in again with his mother.

His mother, though, had moved from Atlanta to deep in Alabama, to the eastern side of Mobile Bay. She had a modest place on Greenbriar Court in Daphne's Lake Forest subdivision, a huge neighborhood with everything from trophy homes to small brick boxes. Sean lived in nearby Spanish Fort, with his wife and two children.

The ex-con got a job changing oil at Chris Myers Automotive on U.S. 98, and bought a red Toyota truck. His family thought maybe he had finally turned a corner. Maybe he was done with the burglaries, the police and the jail time.

Lewis never told police this, but about two months after he moved to Daphne a couple of weeks after Christmas he parked his truck at Daphne's Wal-Mart Supercenter to hunt women. He waited for a white woman with dark hair, dark eyes, doing the pregnant walk. He waited for Lena.

Finally he saw a woman that matched well enough. He watched her leave her car, then followed her through the store. "She was just right,'' he said. "I went out and got in her car.''

He opened the door and climbed in the back seat. The backs of the rear seats folded down, allowing Lewis to crawl into the trunk. He said he waited there, with his knife in his hand. In a few minutes, he heard the driver's door open, and someone got in. But something was wrong the car's springs compressed way too much, as though a heavy person had sat down. Lewis said he lowered the rear armrest and peeked out. Some guy was in the driver's seat, fumbling for his keys.

"I thought, 'Oh my god, I'm in the wrong car,''' Lewis said. "I didn't know what to do. I mean, do I kill this guy, or what?''

He decided to wait it out. The driver drove slow, then fast, then slow again. Seven minutes passed, maybe eight. The driver stopped at a couple of signs, hung a sharp left, parked, stepped out and slammed the door behind him. Lewis peeked out. He was in a brick carport, with wood trim. He waited. His eyes were adjusting to the darkness of the trunk, and he found several wrapped gifts, which he opened. "It was a bunch of drinking glasses,'' Lewis said. "I left them in there, and got out. It was hard to see, but I remember the house was at a dead end, and I think there was a boat there.''

He walked through a couple of hundred yards of trees, and found himself on U.S. 225, in Spanish Fort. From there, he said, he walked to the Delchamps grocery store and called a taxi.

In July, a Register reporter drove to Spanish Fort and, using Lewis' description, found a car and house on Fiesta Drive like those he told about. "I don't understand how you could know this,'' Ray Small said, when asked if he remembered ever opening his trunk to find unwrapped gifts. "There were some glasses, a present for my mother.''

Small said he had heard something in the back seat on the way home that night, but glanced over his shoulder and saw nothing. "I thought I was losing my mind,'' he said.

A couple of weeks after the flubbed abduction, Lewis began spending more money on prostitutes and alcohol, he said. His son's birthday rolled around on Jan. 16, and on that day, Lewis said, he dropped into a drinking binge from which he would not emerge until April, at the time of his final arrest.

He didn't want his mother to know how much he was drinking, so at night he loaded all the cans and bottles into trash bags and sneaked them out of the house.

On Jan. 18, Daphne police arrested him for drunken driving. A couple of weeks later, on Jan. 31, he went to Woody's Motel on the Causeway over Mobile Bay, and checked in under a name he picked randomly from the telephone book. From his room, he rang up "escort services'' whose numbers he'd gotten from the Yellow Pages. "I called several, looking for a blonde girl,'' he said. "I didn't want to kill anybody that night. But nobody wanted to send a girl to Woody's. They said it was too dangerous.''

Finally, he said, he found a service that was less discriminating. The people there paged a girl, and she called Lewis at his room. She described herself: 5-foot-4. One hundred pounds. Brunette.

He said he told her to come over. He went out to his truck and retrieved a rope for strangling and a knife for stabbing. He put the rope on the floor behind the bed, and the knife he put behind the head board. It was a quicker draw, that way, he said.

The woman who came to his door was Misty McGugin, police would say later.

Lewis said he gave her $150 for sex. ``We did it once, then we talked awhile,'' he said. "Everything seemed to be OK. I was OK. Then we did it again, and she set me off.''

He said the way she touched him reminded him of Lena's ways. "I sat up and told her, `You've got to get out of here,''' Lewis said. "She touched my shoulder and said `What's wrong?' That really set me off. I hit her a couple of times, and she was screaming 'Please don't hurt me' or whatever, so I threw her on the bed and choked her. She kept waking up, so I stabbed her.''

He said he wrapped her bleeding body in a plastic tarp and put it in the back of his truck. He took her about 12 miles from Woody's on U.S. 90 East, past Daphne to Baldwin County 66, then turned on Boaz Road. People who live on that road say it's a lonely stretch, without much traffic. On one side of Boaz, plowed farmland stretched for miles. On the other, underbrush and small trees provided cover. He dragged her body about 50 feet from the road.

Along the way, he said, he stopped to have sex with the corpse. "I don't know why,'' he said. "I guess I just wanted to be with her again.''

He said he took her purse, her ponytail holder (he called it a ``scrunchie''), and took back the money he'd given her earlier at the motel. Driving to his mother's house, he threw out the purse along a wooded stretch of the Lake Forest subdivision, and tossed the knife off a bridge, he said.

Lewis had a sort of trophy room, in the attic of his mother's house. There, he said, he kept mementos from each killing on a plywood altar. That's where police found the scrunchie.

Lewis grew bolder with his escort-service encounters, giving his real name, calling from his mother's house. But it was an expensive habit.

"I was losing $150 a pop,'' he said. "I didn't care for that too much.''

It didn't get any easier when he quit his job changing oil. He said he went back to trolling the Wal-Mart parking lot, watching the women come and go. Once, he broke into a woman's car and waited for her to come out. But when she reached for the door handle, she saw a movement in the back seat and fled back to the store.

When Lewis later told homicide detectives about the attempted abduction, his story matched a police report that the woman had filed.

Escort services were too expensive, and abductions were too risky. Lewis said he went back to familiar ground: streetwalkers. "They weren't hard to find,'' he said.

Mobile, 1998

After his take from Kathleen Bracken's room at the Twilite Motel, Lewis said he had a fistful of cash and an unsettled mind. He wanted another woman, and found her at The Crest motel, about a half-mile down Government.

Her name was Lisa. Lewis said he gave her $100 so she could buy cocaine, then took her to his mother's house, where they had sex in his room. The next morning Easter morning after his mother had gone to church, Lewis took Lisa to a lonely dirt road, where he planned to have sex with her, then stab her to death, he said.

But he couldn't bring himself to pull the knife. "She had sort of lightish brown, blonde hair,'' he said. ``It just wasn't doing much for me.'' He let Lisa go.

Maybe he was nervous from the night before, he said. He knew he had slipped up. The knock on the motel room door had shaken him, and he hadn't dragged Kat into the woods, like the others. Police were probably crawling all over the Twilite by now. Did they know? Had he left anything in the room? No, he didn't think so. But still, it was troubling.

Sure enough, somebody at the Twilite remembered a red truck. That wasn't much to go on, but police began rounding up and interviewing their usual prostitution suspects. After a day of footwork, detectives said they ran across Lisa, who told them this:

Yeah, she'd met a guy in a red truck. In fact, she'd been with him. He lived in that place across the bay. Lake something-or-other. The next day, April 14, three days after Kathleen Bracken died with a hole in her heart, a cop with a composite sketch in her hand stepped onto Lewis' mother's doorstep. The officer knocked, and Lewis answered.

When investigators questioned Lewis about the Twilite killing, he didn't clam up. He told them about two dead women in Georgia, and about Misty McGugin and Kathleen Bracken. "Do you know how long I walked around with that in my head?'' he said in one of his July interviews with the Register. "It felt good to get it out, to say it.''

He's been jailed since that day. The other inmates have nicknamed him Twilite, which he said he hates.

After his first interrogation, police in Douglas County, Ga., went to the kudzu-covered slope and found a woman's body. By then it was just a pile of bones, but lab tests showed that some of the bones belonged to an unborn baby. Police also cut open the carport drain pipe at Lewis' old house in the Atlanta area, where he'd told them to look. A long-bladed knife slid out.

Atlanta police are searching their records for missing-persons reports on other Georgia women that Lewis has told them and the Register that he killed. Police in Massachusetts flew down to interview Lewis in the last week of July after the Register called seeking information then went back to look for the place he said he left the first body. They found the L-shaped building, the gravel piles, the warehouse, the conveyor belt, all as he had described it. Cadaver-sniffing dogs hit on a couple of different places, but police there say they probably won't find the body that Lewis said is there unless he is at the scene to point the way.

To date, Lewis is charged with five murder counts: two women in Alabama, two in Georgia and one of the Georgia women's unborn child.

He now awaits the completion of a psychological examination, which has been under way. He said he'd rather skip it and go on to trial. He could be up for Alabama's electric chair, depending on how the evidence pans out, and which state prosecutes first.

"I want to go to court, and lose,'' he said. "I don't want to spend the rest of my life in here. I want to die. I thought about killing myself, but I just can't.''

So he sits in his cell, thinking of Lena and pondering suicide, he says, waiting for someone to summon the elevator from below.

Facts on the case

Name: Gerald Patrick Lewis

Born: Aug. 10, 1965 in Jacksonville, Fla.

Last address: Greenbriar Court in Lake Forest subdivision, Daphne

Criminal history:

August 1982, charged with 14 burglaries in Brockton, Mass. Served six months of a one-year sentence.

September 1983, charged with multiple burglaries in Franklin, Ga. Served two years of a four-year sentence.

August 1986, charged with rape in Brockton, Mass. While out on bail, charged with attempted murder of a 5-year-old girl. Served four years and six months of a 10-year sentence at Bridgewater State Hospital.

December 1993, charged in Douglas County, Ga., with auto theft, carrying weapons, eluding police and possession of burglary tools. Served three years and 11 months of a 10-year sentence.

April 1998, charged with murdering four women in Georgia and Alabama, as well as an unborn child.

Alleged victims:

After his latest arrest, Lewis told police that he killed four women. In July, he told the Mobile Register that he has committed three more killings. The seven victims, according to Lewis and police, were:

A Brockton, Mass., woman (December 1986). Massachusetts police are looking for a body.

Four Georgia women, one of whom was pregnant (1992). Georgia police have found one body.

Misty McGugin of Chickasaw (January 1998).

Kathleen Bracken of Mobile (April 1998).

Case status:

Lewis, arrested April 14 by Mobile police, is being held in the Mobile County Metro Jail without bond. He has been undergoing psychological evaluations to determine whether he is fit for trial.

About serial killers

Police describe serial killers as those who kill more than three times, with a cooling off period between killings, in an effort to gain a release of fulfillment.

Most are men, white, in their 20s or 30s, work in menial jobs and have unfulfilled sexual expectations, according to police. Most begin violent fantasies early in life, when they're still children, and most use a ``hands-on'' method of homicide, like strangling or stabbing.

Serial killers are uncommon. The last serial killer known to be anywhere near Mobile was Donald Leroy Evans, who was sentenced to death in Mississippi for murdering and raping a homeless 10-year-old girl in 1991. He claimed to have killed 72 people during a 10-year murder spree across 21 states. So far, just three of the killings have been confirmed.

The Lewis family poses for a shot at church on Easter Sunday, 1968. Linda holds baby Sean, eyeing a toy giraffe, and Edward holds 2-year-old Gerald Patrick.

Gerald Patrick Lewis said he had few happy moments as a child. One of them, he said, was a family trip to Disney World. Sitting on a fence in the Magic Kingdom are, from the left: Gerald Patrick, Sean, and their cousins, Gerry and Ginger.

Gerald Patrick Lewis

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