Daniel Harold Rolling
Danny Harold Rolling (May 26, 1954 – October 25, 2006), also known as The Gainesville Ripper, was an American convicted serial killer. After
confessing to the murder and mutilation of five students in Gainesville, Florida in August 1990, he was ultimately executed. He also confessed to
raping several of his victims, committing an additional 1989 triple homicide in Shreveport, Louisiana, and attempting to murder his father in May
1990. In all, Rolling confessed to killing eight people.
Rolling was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. He had a difficult upbringing. He was abused by his father, James Rolling, who was a Louisiana State
Police officer. His mother, Claudia, and later his brother, Kevin. In one incident, Danny's mother went to the hospital after she claimed that her
husband, James Rolling, tried to make her cut herself with a razor blade. His mother made repeated attempts to leave her husband but always
to take him away like a criminal because his father was embarrassed by Danny. The idea that Danny was an unwanted child was reinforced
The Gainsville Ripper
He later fled to Florida, where he began his burglary and robbery spree, which culminated in the murders of five people in Gainesville. His
signature was to arrange the bodies in such a way as to highlight the carnage in the rooms — this even included setting up several mirrors
and decapitating and/or posing his victims.
Although law enforcement authorities initially had very few leads, in November 1991 Rolling was charged with several counts of murder, and
Alachua County State Attorney Rod Smith oversaw the prosecution. Rolling pleaded guilty in court, nearly four years after the murders
occurred. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to the death penalty on each count.
A second man, Edward Humphrey of Indialantic, Florida, was considered an initial suspect in the Gainesville
murders; authorities cleared him of all charges after Rolling's arrest. Police also considered Brandon Curry.
Rolling was known for hiding in Ocala, Florida in a wooded area that has now had a Home Depot built on it.
Subsequently, Rolling confessed via letter from his spiritual advisor to the Shreveport, Louisiana police, to the
killings of 55-year-old William T. Grissom, his 24-year-old daughter Julie and eight-year-old grandson Sean as they
got ready for dinner on November 4, 1989, in Grissom's home. Shreveport police alerted Gainesville police to the
similarity of the murder scenes, which is what prompted Gainesville Police's interest in Rolling. Shreveport police,
death more easily than Louisiana.
Rolling has been the subject of several writers and their works. His killing spree inspired Kevin Williamson to pen the script for the blockbuster
Rolling aided the writing career of Sondra London, who met him in prison while working with Gerard John Schaefer and other serial killers.
Gainesville Ripper murders are the subject of the book Beyond Murder by John Philpin and John Donnelly.
Rolling was the subject of an episode of Body of Evidence: From the Case Files of Dayle Hinman, a Court TV show (transmitted as Crime Scene
which someone shouting and complaining (presumably Rolling's father) off-camera can be heard.
A feature film entitled The Gainesville Ripper is currently in production in the Gainesville and Jacksonville, Florida areas, based on the accounts
of the killings. In the film, Rolling is portrayed by Zachary Memos.
During his incarceration, Rolling wrote and illustrated a horror fiction novel, Sicarius, as well as several songs and poems. His paintings and
various musings are now collected as "Murderabilia".
As a result of his murder convictions, Rolling was executed by lethal injection on October 25, 2006, and pronounced dead at 6:13 p.m. EDT at
Florida State Prison in Starke, approximately 30 miles northeast of Gainesville, Florida, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Rolling's last-ditch
appeal. He showed no remorse and refused to make any comments or offer any apology to the relatives of his victims, several of whom were
present at his execution as witnesses. His last meal consisted of lobster tail, butterfly shrimp, baked potato, strawberry cheesecake, and
sweet tea. Shortly before his execution, Rolling confessed to three other murders, those of the Grissom family in Shreveport.
As a teenager and young adult, he was arrested several times for robberies in Georgia. In addition to that, he was a peeping tom, he was
caught one time spying on a cheerleader dressing. Also as an adult, Rolling had trouble trying to assimilate into society and hold down a steady
job. At one point, he worked as a waiter. In May 1990, he tried to kill his father during a family argument in which his father lost an eye and an
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