As briefly noted last week, a notorious local serial killer from the 1980s, one of a husband-and-wife pair known as the San Francisco Witch Killers, was up for parole this week, and as the Associated Press is reporting, she was denied.
Most of SFist's readership won't remember the tale of Michael Bear Carson and Suzan Carson, both convicted of killing three people as part of their confessed mission to rid the world of people they said were "witches." First came their roommate in the Upper Haight, 22-year-old Karen Barnes, whom they bashed in the head with a frying pan in March of 1981 and then stabbed 13 times. They hid her body in the basement of their apartment building wrapped in a blanket, and proceeded the following year to kill a Humboldt County man named Clark Stephens whom they worked with on a marijuana farm, and 30-year-old Jon Charles Hellyar, just outside Santa Rosa, in January 1983, because he apparently called Suzan a "witch."
Declaring themselves pacifists and "vegetarian Moslem warriors" after converting to a form of Islam, the Carsons were also heavily involved with drugs, though it's not clear what kinds, and they said the reason for killing Barnes was that she had falsely converted to their religion and "draining Miss Carson of her health and yogic powers," according to a statement they made in a press conference they themselves called in April 1983 in which they confessed to the killings. They later recanted and pleaded not guilty, as the Ledger reported, when they were arraigned a month later.
In an eerie parallel to recent events, Michael Carson said during that press conference, "Witchcraft, homosexuality and abortion are causes for death."
Also, apparently, the Carsons kept a hit list of celebrities and politicians they wanted to target, which included Johnny Carson and Ronald Reagan.
Both Carsons were convicted, obviously, and sentenced to 75 years to life, and bizarrely, even without the aid of drugs, neither has expressed any remorse to this day. Michael Carson even passed up his parole hearing in June because, per the AP, "he refuses to renounce his violent religious beliefs."
How did this story not make it into Season of the Witch?
The Carsons had to be considered for parole because of the prison crowding crisis and because they're both over the age of 60, despite neither of them showing any interest in being paroled. As CBS News reported, both Michael Carson's daughter and former wife were fighting their possible parole, declaring both he and Suzan "still dangerous."