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This day in history: February 1, 1959 - Penny Bjorkland kills August Norry.

Rosemarie Diane "Penny" Bjorkland seemed like an average eighteen-year-old "girl next door." Blonde haired, blue eyed, and freckled, she was also a nervous nail biter and something of a loner. On February 1, 1959, Penny left home with a .38 revolver, stolen the previous month from a friend's house, tucked into the waist of her pants. She was walking aimlessly down a road in the Daly City hills near San Francisco when landscaper and father-to-be August Norry stopped and asked if she wanted a lift. Penny thanked him, pulled out the gun and fired six shots into him at point-blank range. She then reloaded the gun and fired another six shots into his body. Then she did it again. Penny pulled Norry's body out and drove off in his car.

Police were baffled when Norry's bullet-riddled corpse was discovered the next day, more so when a boy testified he had seen a freckle-faced blonde girl recklessly driving Norry's car away from the hills. The bullets retrieved from the body were distinctive "wadcutters," primarily used for target practice. The bullets were traced to the gun shop they came from, and the owner recalled selling them to Bjorkland. Police arrested her at her home in Daly City, and she confessed the next morning.

When asked why she did it, Penny replied, "For about a year or a year and a half I've had the urge to kill someone. I'll admit that the motive sounds crazy, but I wanted to know if a person could commit a crime like this and not worry about the police looking for her or have it on her conscience." When she woke up on the first of February she told herself, "Today is the day I will kill someone." Near the end of the police interview she stated, "I've felt better since I killed him."

She was reported as having a "giggling disinterest" at the trial until the judge sentenced her to life imprisonment. She was stunned at the verdict and said, "I am unhappy."

Sources: Serial Killer Central, AllExperts.com




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