David Bullock was a gay prostitute in Manhattan with priors for larceny and robbery. He was placed on probation in September 1981 – at the age of 20 – after he pleaded guilty to stealing a bicycle. He turned 21 in November, and by December 5, David Bullock’s fragile grasp on impulse control had let go altogether.
He murdered at least 6 people in 30 days. Two of them had picked Bullock up for sex, two were random muggings, one was Bullock’s roommate, and one was a female friend and fellow prostitute whom Bullock shot for laughing at him when he confessed to his first killing. Police connected the deaths through the .38 used in all but one instance, and they zeroed in on Bullock because of his connection to the lone female victim.
He also shot at random people on 4 other occasions between December 5 and January 4, but was unable to say if he’d hit anyone.
Many descriptions of Bullock’s crimes use the term “motiveless” or “without provocation,” but both are largely inaccurate. The motive was “to amuse [him]self” and for “fun.” The provocation was “messing with [his] Christmas tree” or “cross[ing him] too many times.” Bullock pleaded guilty on October 27, 1982, and spent more than an hour grinningly describing his crimes to Justice Burton B. Roberts. “Roberts wasn’t a man easily stunned,” wrote Ida Libby Dengrove, the only sketch artist at the hearing.
Bullock received 6 terms of 25 years to life.