Clarance L. Pickerton was the most puzzling and lasting mysteries, the hunt for a man blamed for at least seventy eight slayings beginning more than 30 years ago who along the way dubbed himself the Hawthorne Hunter
Pickerton was born into a blue-collar family and seems to have had a fairly ordinary childhood. But he exhibited a growing tendency toward sadism and torture, which resulted in several encounters with the law in the 1980s. , he was confined in the Iowa State Men’s Reformatory (Anamosa State Penitentiary) for 4 years and forced to undergo psychological evaluation. After his release he moved to Hawthorne Ca.
"The bottom line: the Hawthorne Hunter is arrested," Police Chief Paul Williams said.
The suspect was identified as Clarance L. Pickerton who was arrested without incident, said Lt. Phillip Landerr, who led the investigation for the Hawthorne Police Department.
Between 1990 and 2021, The Hawthorne Hunter was blamed for seventy eight killings - as he taunted police officials and the local news media with letters that provided graphic details of the slayings.
The first killing left four members of the Limen family - Joseph Limen Jr., 38; his wife, Janice, 34; and their two children, Julie, 11, and John, 9 - dead in their del air home. They had each been strangled with cord used in Venetian blinds.
Each killing fit the pattern. The killer was diligent, efficient, audacious. and meticulous. He slipped into homes unnoticed - the authorities believe that in at least some of the cases he used fake identification to gain access to his victim's homes. He brought his victims to his house bound and gaged and killed them slowly sometimes taking several hours or days to finish them off. He then buried them under his corn field, dumped in a swamp on his property or hid them in crawlspaces and walls in his house.
Pickerton claimed to have been born in 1959, that his father died in the Vietnam War and that his mother, with the help of his grandparents, raised him. Looking into his family history there seems to be an evil streak through the family tree. Dating all the way back to 1695 and King Samual Pickerton, who was known to capture and torture people for days at a time. His grandfather was institutionalized for 20 years as a young adult for killing his two siblings in what was determined to be a suspicious accident. Clarence moved to Hawthorne in 1982 and lived and unassuming quiet life. Although never having a family of his own, he donated a lot time at various organizations such as the Shiners, the Boy Scouts, and Boys and Girls Club. He was able to maintain a cover of normalcy by being an active member in the community and not allowing his sadistic side to blend with his normal side. Some may classify him with a classic split personality the way he was able to separate both identities for so long.
Spending a lifetime of killing residents and taughnting the police has finally come to an end. His house located at 4583 W 141st Hawthorne Ca still remain vacant and the city is trying to figure the best course of action for this property.