William Gladden was a pedophile who operated in Florida, Arizona and California, usually killing his victims so that they would not turn out like him. He grew up in the Sarasota area where he was molested as a child. He never identified his molester but it was probably Clifford Beltran. Gladden later became an abuser himself, and he spent time in Florida State Prison in Raiford where he was sentenced to 70 years for child molestation. His cellmate was Horace Gomble who taught Gladden ways to avoid detection and arrest. He became an effective jailhouse lawyer and filed a successful appeal of his conviction based on illegal search and seizure. He was released on probation and then disappeared. He was wanted for violation of terms of probation.
He supported himself on the run by selling child pornography photos on a pedophile internet site called PTL Network. He was arrested by Santa Monica Police Dept. detectives Constance Delpy and Ron Sweetzer in early 1996 when he was taking photos of naked children at the Santa Monica Pier. They confiscated his camera as evidence. He used the alias Harold Brisbane, and SMPD was not able to verify his identify for several days. Following his arrest he called lawyer Arthur Krasner and used the code word "Mr. Pederson" to indicate that he was a pedophile. Krasner got him released on $50,000 bail, before he could be identified as Gladden. He used a variety of other aliases, including Nathan H. Breedlove and Wilton Childs.
A short time later, Gladden murdered Evangeline Crowder who was a maid at the Hollywood Star Motel where he was staying. He killed her because she might have seen his computer with child pornography on it. The murder was investigated by LAPD homicide detective Ed Thomas. A fingerprint left at the scene led to the correct identification of Gladden.
Next he killed Darlene Kugel and stayed in her apartment for several days while he waited for his new DigiShot 200 to be delivered to the camera store (Data Imaging Answers). Jack McEvoy and FBI agents figured out that he would be getting a replacement camera, and they set up a stakeout at the camera store. When Gladden came into the store dressed as a woman, an FBI agent drew his gun, but Gladden was quicker and stabbed the agent in the throat with a knife, killing him. McEvoy and Gladden then struggled for the agent's gun. In the struggle Gladden was shot twice and killed. For a short time many people erroneously believed that Gladden was the Poet serial killer. The confusion resulted from the fact that Gladden was being followed by the Poet who would kill the detectives who were investigating Gladden's murders.