He Was an NFL Draft Pick, and a Brazen Serial Killer

'Sports Illustrated' looks at Randall Woodfield, the I-5 killer
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2016 11:09 AM CST
Updated Nov 25, 2016 2:30 AM CST
He Was an NFL Draft Pick, and a Brazen Serial Killer
An NFL football sits on the field.   (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

In the 17th round of the 1974 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers went with Randall Woodfield. The handsome, six-foot-tall Portland State receiver showed up for training camp that summer and scrimmaged against the Chicago Bears in July. On Aug. 19, his NFL career was over before it really began. While the Packers didn't comment on Woodfield's release to L. Jon Wertheim for his in-depth Sports Illustrated piece, the team's head of pro scouting for that year had this to say: "I know that was a factor that he was caught exposing himself.” Exposing himself was just the start. After a season with the semipro Manitowoc Chiefs he was cut again, with a detective later learning that Woodfield was tied to 10 indecent-exposure cases throughout Wisconsin. So Woodfield returned to the West. And the incidents continued, followed by the murders.

A man with a knife would force women to perform oral sex and rob them in Portland. Woodfield was arrested in a sting operation and ended up in prison through mid-1979. In October 1980, Cherie Ayers, a former high school classmate of Woodfield's, was raped and murdered in her Portland apartment. Darcey Fix and Doug Altig were shot, execution-style, with a .32 revolver in the same city before year's end. The series of crimes that followed generated the nickname the "I-5 Bandit" and "I-5 Killer": The robberies, assaults, and other crimes happened within two miles of an I-5 exit. In January 1981, Shari Hull and Lisa Garcia were raped and shot with a .32 revolver in Keizer, Ore. Except Garcia survived. Three more women were murdered before Garcia picked Woodfield's photo out of a lineup in March. Read Wertheim's full piece for more on how police got their man. (More Longform stories.)

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