SANTA ANA, Calif. » A convicted California serial killer who went on a nine-day rampage that claimed the lives of four people has been denied parole and cannot reapply for seven years.
Brett Matthew Paul Thomas, now 56, and his friend, Mark Titch, were convicted in 1977 after committing the murders during robbery or burglary attempts in Orange County.
Thomas, who was 18 at the time, and Titch, who was 17, were both sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. Titch died behind bars last year.
The two were neighbors at a Stanton apartment complex that the police had dubbed "The Zoo" because of the criminal activity there, City News Service reported.
Their first victim was Laura Stoughton, 20, who interrupted the pair on Jan. 21, 1977, as they were breaking into her home.
They abducted her and drove to an abandoned field where Titch shot her at close range with a stolen .22-caliber rifle.
Three days later, the two killed Ephraim Jacob Christian, 35, during a botched robbery at Rockview Dairy.
Five days after that, Thomas and Titch followed the owner of a billiards hall to his home with a plan to rob him.
They gunned down Aubrey Duncan at his home, and then shot his 18-year-old daughter, Denise, in the heart after her mother opened the door to find out what was going on.
Duncan’s wife and two other daughters survived, as did an 11-year-old daughter who was at a neighbor’s house.
Police caught up with Thomas and Titch the following month in neighboring San Bernardino County, where they were driving around in a stolen car.
At a press conference before Friday’s parole hearing, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Thomas was "a serial murderer who has not and cannot reform."
Lynette Duncan, one of the surviving daughters of Aubrey Duncan, still remembers telling her sister that her father and Denise were dead, she said.
"That was the day she learned that the boogeyman was real and evil really did exist, and its name is Brett Thomas," Duncan said, according to the Orange County Register.