The Devil in Orange County, Part 3

transient heldCraig Hulse was still on the loose when Timothy Montag, 21, was arrested in connection with the murders of Jerry Carlin and Florence Brown. It wouldn’t take cops long to determine that Montag had no involvement in the two murders, but while in custody he provided the authorities with some useful information.

Timothy belonged to the same bunch of drifters and druggies that Craig hung out with. None of the group had a fixed address, they wandered around Orange County crashing wherever they could: open fields, abandoned cars and occasionally a cheap motel room. The de facto leader of the group was Steven Hurd.

Hurd and Montag had met in February 1969 in a Garden Grove apartment. Montag described the scene:

“There used to be an apartment in Garden Grove where…there was like a brotherhood in dope…kind of like a supermarket…anyone that wanted to do something just went ahead and did it, and if it sounded good to the other people they’d go along.”

The drifters continued to hang out together even after the apartment ceased to be their hang-out.The guys could usually be found near the intersection of Fairview Street and Trask Avenue in Santa Ana getting high, they called the area “The Block”.

The cops had lots of questions for Montag, particularly about the days of the two murders.Timothy related what he could recall.  He said that one member of their group had a car and on June 1st, the night before Jerry Carlin was killed, he and others from “The Block” drove to a motel room in Costa Mesa to party. Montag spent the evening getting wasted and so he “was in no shape to remember anything” and crashed in the room. At 1:15 a.m. June 2, Jerry Carlin was bludgeoned to death with a hatchet — his killers stole $73 from the service station till.

Later the next day members of the group piled into the car and headed south down the Santa Ana Freeway to Scotsman’s Cove, a beach between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach.

Along the way the car stalled on the freeway near the Sand Canyon off-ramp. Montag said:

“We tried to get the car started by crossing the wires on the solenoid, and like the car just wouldn’t kick. Then a Highway Patrol car pulled up behind us.”

The Highway Patrol car was soon joined by three other CHP units and two sheriff’s cars. Montag said:

“Everyone inside the car was popping…reds (Seconal) like mad. So the police rousted us and they found some reds in the car, but like they couldn’t prove whose they were so they cut us loose. Everyone went to the orange grove and crashed except me. I stayed in the car and the next morning I woke up…and hitchhiked back down to Garden Grove. Just as I was splitting I saw the tow truck move up to the back of the car.”

Police theorized that after Montag left a tow truck pushed the car onto Sand Canyon Ave where it was left abandoned on a side street.

About 3 p.m. Florence Brown, driving her Pontiac station wagon, came down the Sand Canyon off-ramp from the northbound Santa Ana Freeway. She was only 200 yards from her destination, a PTA meeting.

Her assailants forced their way into her car and made her drive a few miles west on Sand Canyon to an orange grove. It was there she was repeatedly stabbed by Steven Hurd.

Hurd said he’d killed Brown because she:

“looked at me like I was a tramp, and she called me a bum.”

Following the slaying Steven Hurd, Christopher “Gypsy” Gibboney and Herman Taylor put Brown’s body into her station wagon,and then went back to pick up the rest of their gang of losers. The drifters then callously drove around with Brown’s body in the car.

Det. Lt. Richard Drake of the O.C. Sheriff’s said:

“They drove around the rest of the day–even stopping at Santa Ana to drop off some personal items–with the body in the station wagon. “Then later that night, they drove the station wagon down south (south of Santa Ana) again to get rid of the body.”

Upon investigation police thought it likely that the mutilation of Brown’s body occurred at the Riverside county burial site, and that it was Hurd who had removed the parts for use in a Satanic ritual. Brown’s heart and lungs had been cut out and her right arm had been severed. In addition, three ribs had been removed from her back and strips of flesh had been cut from her upper right leg. The body parts were never found and the cops feared the unthinkable, cannibalism.


Det. Lt. Drake said:

“There was something about the way in which the woman’s body had been mutilated which made us ask some unusual questions.”

After burying Mrs. Brown’s body in a shallow grave the group, which included a drugged out waitress, Mrs. Melanie C. Daniels, 31, reassembled and drove north.

weird trek satan slaying

Hurd wanted to see the man he called “the chief devil”. According to Hurd’s attorney Steven was not referring to the head of the Church of Satan, Anton LaVey.

For his part, LaVey was dismissive of many of the so-called devil worshipers of the time and referred to them as: “kooks and creeps who are out of their minds on drugs.”  Maybe LaVey wasn’t Hurd’s chief devil, but I can’t imagine Steven passing up an opportunity to see LaVey’s documentary film SATANIS, released in March 1970.


The drive up north was particularly bizarre. Hurd was on a mission to visit with the chief devil, whoever he was, and Melanie Daniels wanted to visit a boyfriend of hers who was doing time in San Quentin. Daniels actually got as far as the gate of the prison where guards turned her away.

The group drove Florence Brown’s car south again where they abandoned and then torched the station wagon in Los Gatos. The drifters split up there, each hitchhiking back to Orange County where they were arrested.

murder suspects

Because the band of drifters included three juveniles, Craig “Moose” Hulse (16), Herman Taylor (17), and Christopher “Gypsy” Gibboney, the Orange County D.A. had to decide if the young killers would be tried as adults. Another issue for the law was whether or not the criminals in the case were sane enough to stand trial.

NEXT TIME: Case wrap-up.

10 thoughts on “The Devil in Orange County, Part 3

    • Sherry – my parents were slack-jawed like the rest of us. None of us would have been surprised if we’d heard that Craig had been involved in a fight, even something serious, but two murders? It was shocking.

  1. Herman Taylor lived with me at my parents house ,he was nice & polite,girls liked him ,my mom liked him a lot , Chris Gibboney a high school friend was just a kid to me , a follower , I believe he got drugged up and got sucked into the whole thing, as for Arthur ( moose ) Hulse I knew him a little , strange guy but not really scary ,but Steve Hurd I tried to stay away from he was a pretty good size guy and was very scary, just the way he carried himself ,oh and Melanie Daniels was a slutty looking heavy set woman with a very foul mouth . We all lived in Apartments next to La Quinta High school on McFadden street in Westmonster when allthis broke out, I’m lucky I survived it all ,I knew too much about it all.

    • James – from everything I’ve been able to discover Steven Hurd was the dominant personality in the group. I agree with you sounds like the weaker folks got drugged up and sucked into a bad life. My brother and I knew Craig (Arthur) because they went to school together for a few years (grade school and junior high). My brother left Garden Grove High and went to Loara in Anaheim (they were more tolerant of guys with long hair for some reason). Craig dropped out of school and we didn’t see him until a friend and I picked him up hitchhiking. We’re pretty sure it was after the murders and before he was busted. I never felt that Craig was evil, just not too bright and the product of a miserable upbringing. There were plenty of opportunities to go wrong back then. My brother and I made lots of mistakes, but fortunately nothing that dragged us down forever. Sounds like you did well too! Thanks for your comments and thanks again for reading the blog. Best — Joan

  2. I aiways felt Chris was at the wrong place at the wrong time and anyone of us ( me, Clark, Tom, Henery, or Ken Yost) could have been sitting in his seat!!!

    • Tim – I think that was true of so many people during that time. I knew lots of people, myself included, who made some pretty dumb mistakes. Do you know what happened to Chris? I haven’t been able to find anything. Best, Joan

      • Last time I saw him was in OCJ ( Orange County Jail at 550 North Flower St. Santa Ana, Ca.) I passed him in a hallway, he was wearing a belly chain with his hands cuffed tightly to his side and leg irons making him do the jailhouse shuffle. I called out to him twice but he had the thousand yard stare and just looked right thru me like I wasn’t there. This wasn’t the Chris Gibboney I went to school with. This all happened in late 1970 or early 1971. I’ve searched for him but come up empty. Tim Bowles

        • Tim – I’m very familiar with OCJ (that’s a story for another time). Anyway, Chris seemed like a follower, just like Craig Hulse was, but Craig had a violent streak and I believe he would have gotten into serious trouble (though maybe not murder) even if he’d never met Hurd. Craig is still incarcerated and has been denied parole many times, he’ll never get out. Strange to think that people we both knew got caught up in such scary and ugly shit. Best – Joan

      • I know Chris was out free about 1980. I was working at the Denny’s on Chapman across from the cinedome. He came in alone, ate at the counter, and recognized me. We said our Hello’s then went about our own business. He looked the same. Even wore a shirt with bell sleeves…hippy guy 🙂 I will say he was sober and very quiet and low key. I agree with Jim.

        • Patricia,

          I never met Chris, but I got the impression that he was probably one of those people who
          was in the wrong place with the wrong crowd. I’m glad to hear that he seemed more together
          when you saw him and I hope he’s stayed sober.

          Thanks for writing.


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