Lisa Rinna revealed that her mother was nearly murdered by the Trailside Killer.
“A few years ago before I was born my mom was attacked by a man that she worked with,” the 55-year-old said of her mother Lois Rinna on Tuesday night’s episode of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” as reported by People magazine Thursday.
“He picked her up at the bus stop and then all of a sudden he started to drive her down this really deserted road,” the reality TV star continued. “He tried to rape her. He tried to killer her. Luckily, a military policeman had seen them drive down this deserted road and he knew no one was supposed to be down there and he followed them down. My mom was saved that day by that military policeman.”
“That was a really bad thing,” said Lois, 90. “I knew him. I thought that was it. He’s straddling. He had a hammer in one hand and a knife in the other.”
In 1984, the United Press International reported that during Carpenter’s trial, Lois, who was then known as Lois DeAndrade, was the prosecution’s first witness. She described how Carpenter attacked her with a knife and hammer in 1960 at the San Francisco Presidio.
She testified that Carpenter said he attacked her because “every once in a while, I have this funny quirk.”
People magazine reported the Trailside Killer, whose real name is David Carpenter, terrorized the Bay Area by stalking and murdering several people on hiking trails in state parks near San Francisco in the 1970s and early 1980s. At one point, some believed he may have been the Zodiac Killer, but that has since been disproved.
“I was the first one he went to jail for,” said Lois of Carpenter’s 1960 conviction. “They gave him seven a half years.”
Lois is believed to be the first of Carpenter’s adult victims. The magazine revealed he had been incarcerated as a teen for molesting two of his young relatives. Then in 1970, Carpenter was imprisoned for kidnapping in rape.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported after he was freed, Carpenter shot and killed Richard Stowers, 19, and his fiancée Cynthia Moreland, 18, Anne Alderson, 26, Diane O’Connell and Shuana May 25 — all within a six-week period in 1980.
The newspaper also revealed that the following year, Carpenter raped and shot 20-year-old Heather Scaggs. Her naked body was found in Big Basin State Park in Santa Cruz County. He then killed 20-year-old Ellen Marie Hansen.
The Mercury News reported Carpenter’s eighth victim, Hansen’s boyfriend Steven Haertle, was shot in the neck but survived the attack. He was able to identity Carpenter.
The Los Angeles Times reported that in 1984, Carpenter was convicted of two murders and received the death penalty. Then the following year, he was convicted of five more murders. He is currently on death row at San Quentin State Prison.
Defense attorney Larry Biggam argued that Carpenter was “damned at an early age” by abusive parents. He said Carpenter’s criminal actions were “greatly influenced by his traumas… as a child” in a family that state officials found to be “one of the worst messes they had ever seen.”
“David Carpenter is a damaged human being,” said Biggam, as reported by United Press International. “He was damned at an early age.”
Biggam claimed Carpenter had a domineering mother and a part-time father who didn’t love him and regularly beat him.
However, Santa Cruz County District Attorney Art Danner described Carpenter as a calculating murderer who was not rehabilitated during years in prison for rapes and assaults, which ended with his last parole in 1979.
“That is where our story begins,” said Danner. “What he learned from his previous mistakes was that instead of letting his victims go, because they might turn up as witnesses, he eliminated them.”
Rinna said it wasn’t until she was older when she learned why her mother had metal plates in her had and couldn’t smell.
“When I finally learned the truth, I had such great sadness and empathy for my mom, knowing that not only did this happen to her but she basically just stuffed those feelings for how many years,” said Rinna. “She never dealt with it, she never talked about it — she never even told her daughter about it. It takes so much courage to come forward. I think the least we can do is show these victims some compassion.”