LOS ANGELES -- A stunned jury in the murder trial of Lawrence Bittaker listened Thursday to a gruesome tape-recording that prosecutors say was made while Bittaker and his accomplice raped and tortured a 16-year-old girl.
'For those of you who do not know what hell is like, you will find out,' prosecutor Stephen Kay had told jurors earlier.
After hearing the tape again Thursday, Kay broke down in tears in the hallway but defended his introducing it as evidence.
'You're darn right it should have been,' he said, his voice choked with emotion. 'The jury needs to know what these guys did.'
Some of the seven-woman, five-man jury cried. Others looked like they were in shock as the 10-minute tape played.
Bittaker, a 40-year-old mechanic, sat expressionless as the screams emanated from the tape recorder. The prosecution claims the killers made Shirley Lynette Ledford scream by smashing her elbows with a sledge hammer and twisting her breasts with a pair of pliers.
Voices, allegedly those of Bittaker and his confessed accomplice, Roy Norris, could be heard ordering the girl to commit sexual acts.
Kay said Bittaker and Norris, who confessed in exchange for being spared the death penalty, kidnapped the high school girl while she was hitchhiking. They took her, he said, to a specially selected remote site in the San Gabriel Mountains in Bittaker's van, which he allegedly called 'Murder Mack.'
After raping, sodomizing and strangling the girl with a coat hanger, the killers dumped her body on a front lawn in the San Fernando Valley.
Bittaker is charged with 28 felony counts in the kidnap, rape and torture deaths of Miss Ledford and four other teen-age girls in 1979.
Norris confessed to taking part in the five killings and has already testifie against Bittaker.