It is a sad but true fact of life that child abuse and neglect exists in our world. An even darker fact is that children often comprise a great many of serial murder victims. Day after day, local and national media services report to the world circumstances surrounding some depraved act committed against a child. Our cell phones even notify us when a child has been victimized. Ironically, many of these predators are people that are considered “pillars of the community” or “stand-up citizens”.
Wayne Williams, the Atlanta child murderer, is the child of 2 career school teachers.
Growing up in the Dixie Hills neighborhood of southwest Atlanta, Williams was not impoverished. A trusted member of the community, the 23-year-old Williams was arrested on June 21, 1981, for the murders of 27-year-old Nathaniel Cater and 29-year-old Jimmy Ray Payne. Williams first became a suspect in the Atlanta Child Murders during the investigations into those murders. During the two-month trial, prosecutors matched nineteen different sources of fibers from Williams’ home and car environment; his bedspread, bathroom, gloves, clothes, carpets, dog and an unusual carpet fiber to a number of victims whose bodies had been found. Williams also failed three polygraph tests throughout the investigation. On February 27, 1982; Wayne Williams was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Another well-known case of child abuse and murder committed by a great American citizen was that of John Wayne Gacy; the Killer Clown. Gacy would perform as a “Pogo the Clown” for fundraising events, parades, and children’s parties, thereby gaining the trust of children and parents alike. The trust he established with his community led to the corpses of 33 teenage boys being found on or near his property. Between 1972 and 1978, John Wayne Gacy sexually assaulted, tortured and murdered at least 33 young men
right here in Crook, I mean Cook County, Illinois. Gacy buried 26 of his victims in the crawlspace of his home. Three other victims were buried elsewhere on his property, while the bodies of his last four known victims were discarded in the nearby Des Plaines River. The youngest of Gacy’s known victims was just 14 years old.
Child murder is not something new. As long as there have been children, there has been child murder. Gilles de Rais was born in 1405 to a life of privilege a member of the House of Montmorency-Laval. Following the deaths of his father and mother in 1415, deRais and his brother were raised by his wealthy maternal grandfather. Through family wealth, de Rais was well versed in the life of an aristocrat. As an adult, deRais married Catherine de Thouars of Brittany; a wedding arranged by his grandfather. This marriage increased deRais’ net worth substantially. From 1427 to 1435, Gilles served as a commander in the Royal Army, distinguishing himself from the troops by exhibiting awe-inspiring bravery and courage. In 1429, he
joined forces with Joan of Arc in some of the campaigns waged against the English as he was present with Joan when the Siege of Orléans ended. He commanded valiantly during the Hundred Years’ War, for which he was appointed Marshal of France. Lauded as a war hero; de Rais’ retired from military life in 1435.
It was after his military service when his life made a distinct turn for the bizarre. Fond of the theater, deRais used the last of his fortune to promote and produce a theatrical performance resulting in a flop; to term it mildly. Desperate and distraught about being in financial ruins; deRais turned to the occult for guidance. Seeking any and everyone that studied alchemy, magic and demon summoning so that he may acquire some level of riches despite what may be required of him at a later time.
Bringing his books of magic; François Prelati of Florence, answered Gilles request. The two retreated to the lower hall of his castle at Tiffauges, there they attempted to summon a demon named Barron. Prelati entertained Gilles for hours with stories of his exploits with the demon Barron, ensuring him that the demon would indeed return him to a prosperous state. After three tries and no demon, Prelati; attempting to save face and reputation, reported to Gilles that the demon, Barron was angry and required an offering of children parts for his services.
Gilles deRais’ insatiable desire to regain some semblance of his previous wealth caused him to go mad and commit the unthinkable. It is said the child murders began at Champtocé-sur-Loire, however, no records exist of his exploits. What is documented is
that after Gilles moved to Machecoul, he sodomized then killed, or ordered to be killed countless numbers of children. Gilles would have his most loyal servants procure his victims, seeking out and apprehending unaccompanied children wandering the countryside or nearby villages. Gilles preferred boys, thinking himself a connoisseur of sorts; he would have his servants go out and find the boys with the fairest skin or the sleekest, toned limbs; keeping the most handsome of the decapitated heads and kissing them with the passion of a lover. When boys weren’t available girls would serve as victims. Disgusted by the thought of vaginal intercourse, Gilles would sodomize the girls as he had done to the boys. Oh, and one more note; sodomy would come pre or post mortem.
All children taken by Gilles were decapitated, most by braquemard; but periodically he would like to mix it up, depending on his moods and appetite for torture. Sometimes he or his servants used an axe, other times they severed the head from the body with dirks, daggers, and knives. Fascinated with torture and the act of dying, Gilles would stab a child in the neck and watch as the blood streamed down the neck. Mesmerized as he watched the essence of life leave their little bodies, de Rais would masturbate on the child’s bloody belly until he ejaculated. When not seeking sexual satisfaction but just personal pleasure deRais had their bodies cruelly cut open and taking delight at the sight of their inner organs; as the children lay dying, he would sit on their stomachs and laugh as he watched them die. The child murders went on for years with the body count innumerable.
On May 15, 1440, deRais’ kidnapping of a priest from Church of Saint-Étienne-de-Mer-Morte led to the Bishop of Nantes initiating an investigation. Testimonies from the parents of many of these missing children as well as witnesses convinced the judges that there were adequate grounds for establishing the guilt of the accused. Area residents testified to children begging for food near Gilles’ castle and never being seen again. Gilles accomplices Poitou and Henriet gave testimony so graphic many attendees were forced to leave the proceedings. Due to the intensity of the inquiry deRais was compelled to confess to his child murders. The exact number of children murdered at the hand of Gilles is unknown, some number into the high hundreds. For their crimes, Gilles, Poitou, and Henriet were hung then cremated.
Crimes against children are nothing new. Here we have child rape, torture, and murder at its worst. I’ve always felt that there is a special place in hell reserved for those that harm children. Gilles deRais took the lives of 100s of children simply because he could. The fact that he got away with it for as long as he did is inconceivable. Hundreds of children disappeared from a relatively small, sparsely populated rural area. How does this happen? I know that they didn’t have the technological amenities that we have today but damn; kids come up missing, simply vanished and day to day life simply just goes on.
“Based on a true story” or “Based on actual events” are two phrases that, when added to the synopsis or plot of a production adds intrigue and peaks added interest in the mind of the viewer or reader. A few of my favorite movies bore this phrase.THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was inspired by the life and crimes of Ed Gein.
The movie CHILD’S PLAY was based upon Robert Eugene Otto’s doll that was said to be possessed. One of my all-time favorite movies is THE HILLS HAVE EYES. Until recently I’d always assumed that the storyline and plot had simply come from the mind of Wes Craven. Imagine the amazement that I felt when I discovered that the events of this movie really happened, mind you it was some 500 years ago, but it HAPPENED.
For those that don’t do horror. THE HILLS HAVE EYES is a movie about a family of mutants that reside in the deserts of New Mexico. In the movie, it is hinted that the mutated state of this family came as a result of military weapons experiments. As the movie unfolds we soon realize that this mutant family consists of inbred cannibals that make meals out of unsuspecting travelers. For those that haven’t seen the movie I will end my description here but as I said previously, I always assumed that the movie was as fictional as a movie can get. During my nonstop search of the acts of depravity committed by mankind, I found that I had been completely mistaken with my assumptions about this movie.
It seems that some 500 years ago the Bean family lived in Scotland. According to the legend, Alexander “Sawney” Bean was born during the 1500s. His father was what we consider a landscaper in modern terminology. Young Sawney Bean wanted no parts in that manner of work. Considering himself a gentleman of leisure, he wanted a less
strenuous and more lucrative manner of bringing in an income. As a young man, he met and married a sinister woman with the same ideals and lack of morals. Together they procreated and brought forth 14 children into the world. These 14 children became devout practitioners of incest and soon the family expanded to the 48 member clan recorded in history.
As previously stated the couple, unwilling to work in the traditional capacity; raised their family with the same lack of work ethic. Needing housing, the Bean clan took residency in a coastal cave where they lived undiscovered for some twenty-five years. The cave was 200 yards deep and during high tide, the entrance was blocked by water. Needing income and food, the clan developed a plan to satisfy both sets of needs. Under the cover of night, the Bean clan would attack those that journeyed near their lair as their cave remained unseen to most. Unsuspecting travelers were ambushed by the family members and robbed. Clan members would also take their victims deep into their caves where they were killed and cannibalized. Uneaten body parts were either pickled for future use or cast into the nearby lake. It is said that their victim’s number in the thousands as people just disappeared from nearby villages and towns
Local villagers noted the disappearance of travelers but were totally unaware of an entire family living in the cave. As more and more people came up missing searches were organized but few ever noticed the cave and those that did refuse to believe that anything remotely human could live inside of it. During searches, several innocent people were taken into custody and killed in their search for justice. Innkeepers of the area often caught much of the suspicion as they were often the last people to see many of the disappeared. Though others were executed the disappearances did not stop. That was until one night, the Beans attacked a newlywed couple. Unbeknownst to the Beans, the couple rode ahead of a massive wedding party that followed the couple. As they jumped the couple they soon found that the male was a skilled fighter however the wife was fatally wounded during the melee. While attempting to subdue the groom the rest of the wedding party moved forward and witnessed the attack initiated by the Beans. Realizing that they had finally been exposed the clan hastily retreated into the cave.
3several innocent people were taken into custody and killed in their search for justice. Innkeepers of the area often caught much of the suspicion as they were often the last people to see many of the disappeared. Though others were executed the disappearances did not stop. That was until one night, the Beans attacked a newlywed couple. Unbeknownst to the Beans, the couple rode ahead of a massive wedding party that followed the couple. As they jumped the couple they soon found that the male was a skilled fighter however the wife was fatally wounded during the melee. While attempting to subdue the groom the rest of the wedding party moved forward and witnessed the attack initiated by the Beans. Realizing that they had finally been exposed the clan hastily retreated into the cave.
The king soon received a detailed report of the on-goings of the evening. Infuriated, he led a 400 member manhunt into the cave. While there they were shocked to find human remains pickled in mason jars as well as simply cast to the side of the cave interior. Shocked by what they had seen during the manhunt the whole clan was immediately taken into custody. Charged with murder and treason, the clan was executed without a trial. The men had their genitalia cut off, hands and feet severed, and were allowed to bleed to death; the women and children, after watching the men die, were burned alive.
The story of Sawney Bean is one of Scotland’s most shocking and gruesome legends. Over time it has turned into somewhat of an urban legend, a piece of folklore so to speak. The thing is that, while attempting to research and verify the existence of Alexander “Sawney” Bean, actual historical documents, such as newspapers and diaries during the era when Sawney Bean was supposedly active, make no specific mention of him or his clan. However, research did cite several instances of the disappearance of a great many people during the reign of King James VI of Scotland as well as that of James I of England. Furthermore, we do know that cannibalism was not unknown in medieval Scotland. All of these facts lead me to believe that the Bean story may have a basis of truth but the precise dating of events has become obscured over the years. Through research, I found that the Sawney Bean legend closely resembles the story of Christie-Cleek.
Christie-Cleek, whose real name was Andrew Christie, a butcher during the mid-fourteenth century. A severe famine-plagued Scotland in 1340. During this time Christie joined a group of scavengers in the foothills of the Grampians. A member of the party died of starvation; Christie wasted no time in putting his skills to work on the corpse and provided his companions with a hearty meal. Over time the group developed a taste for human flesh and under Christie’s leadership, they began to ambush unsuspecting travelers. Letting nothing go to waste the party would feed on their bodies as well as the bodies of their horses. It is alleged that before attacking, Christie’s apparent weapon of choice was a hook on a rod. Using this he would snatch his victims from their mounts and commence the attack, this implement was the “cleke” (i.e., “crook”) from which his nickname was derived. It is said that no less than thirty riders died at Christie’s hands. Eventually, the company was defeated by the king’s armed forces. Everyone was taken into custody; everyone except for Christie himself, who supposedly escaped and re-entered society under a new name. It is said the man known as Christie-Cleek died many years later, a married man and prosperous merchant.
In our society, the mere thought of cannibalism shocks us to our core, however; we are well aware of the fact that we share this world with all manner of people. History shows us that humans are capable of all manner of atrocities just as we are capable of greatness beyond measure. As I sit and actually think; is it really that big of a stretch to believe that the acts depicted in The Hills Have Eyes really happened somewhere? As I sit and read back over past posts as well as watch the local news, I really must admit to myself; no, not at all.
In The Darker Side of Evil we took a look at 10 of the most deadly Black serial killers in history. We also examined the media’s role in facilitating their crime spree. Several months of research has gone into this list. I’m basing inclusion on several factors such as body count, level of depravity, manner of murder, contrast between public and private life and post mortem victim interaction, (necrophilia, cannibalism etc.) I’ve put together a list of 10 of the most prolific serial killers of all time. Some of the names mentioned you will recognize from past posts, others are brand new to you and me. The list is not in any particular order but through my findings these are indeed 10 of the most depraved serial killers ever.
Edmund began his murderous career on August 27, 1964 at the tender age of 15. Kemper’s paternal grandmother, Maude Matilda Hughey Kemper, was sitting at her kitchen table working on her latest children’s book when she and Edmund had an argument. Enraged bythe argument, Kemper stormed off and grabbed the .22 caliber rifle which his grandfather had given him for hunting. He then fatally shot her in the head before firing twice more into her back. From that point Kemper dragged her body out of the kitchen and into her bedroom. Edmund returned from inside the house just as Ed Kemper Sr. returned home from buying groceries. Edmund took aim and shot him in the back of the head as he began to unload the truck. Confused, dazed and worried about the heinous acts he had just committed, he called his mother Clarnell in Montana. After a half an hour of pleading she finally convinced Kemper to call the sheriff. After confessing to both murders. Edmund Kemper, at 15 years old, was diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic as well as being psychotic and sentenced to Atascadero State Hospital, criminally insane unit.
Released on his 21st birthday and held his murderous urges in check until May of 1972. From that point he went on an 11 month killing spree that included five college co-eds, one high school student, his mother and his mother’s best friend. It was not only his victims that got Kemper included to this list. Unlike most serial killers Kemper did not have a specific manner of murdering his victims, he would shoot, stab, smother or strangle them. He would then take their lifeless bodies back to his home where he would perform irrumatio on their severed heads, have sex with their corpses and then dissect and dismember them. Edmund Kemper was indicted on eight counts of first-degree murder. On November 8, 1973, a jury convened for five hours before declaring Kemper sane and guilty on all counts. Judge Harry F. Brauer, ignoring Kemper’s request for the death penalty; sentenced Kemper to seven years to life for each count, with these terms to be served concurrently, and was sentenced to the California Medical Facility for incarceration and medical observation.
Evil personified is the only way to truly describe Carl Panzram with any level of accuracy. The only time this man smiled is when he caused pain, degradation and death to his many victims. Born June 28, 1891, Panzram was a serial killer, rapist, arsonist and burglar. Based on his autobiography, Panzram suffered a myriad of abuses during his youth. Caught for shoplifting at the age of 12 Panzram was sent to the Minnesota State Training School. According to his journals and personal testimony it was here that he was repeatedly beaten and tortured by staff members. Released from the school in 1905, Carl was a teenage alcoholic and constantly in trouble with the authorities. He ran away from home at the age of 14 and traveled via train cars. It was during this period in his life that Panzram claimed that on one train he was gang raped by a group of hobos.
As a young adult Panzram became a thief to survive. On June 1, 1915, Panzram burglarized a house in Astoria, Oregon and was arrested soon after while attempting to sell some of the stolen items. He was sentenced to seven years in prison. The ever defiant Panzram waged a war against the staff of the Oregon State Penitentiary and escaped from custody on at least two occasions; once for good.
In 1920 Panzram began his murderous rampage. While living in New York he would lure sailors on leave away from the local taverns. Panzram would then rape and murder the intoxicated sailors, shoot them and dump their bodies in the river. Upon his final capture in 1929 Panzram summed up his life in this statement, “In my lifetime I have murdered 21 human beings, I have committed thousands of burglaries, robberies, larcenies, arsons and, last but not least, I have committed sodomy on more than 1,000 male human beings. For all these things I am not in the least bit sorry.”
Carl Panzram’s victims ranged from 10 year old boys on up. Panzram didn’t care about race of his victim, he didn’t care if the victim was alive or dead, just as long as he could destroy and *. His reign of destruction and degradation came to an end on September 5, 1930 when he was executed
Ahmad Suradji was a well-respected 48 year-old witch doctor in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra. Born on January 10, 1949 and raised as a cattle-breeder; many in Indonesia trusted the man for guidance on matters such as love and money and health. Suradji, using aliases such as “Nasib Kelewang” and “Datuk Maringgi”, billed himself as a shaman, able to heal any and all of his people’s ailments. Innocent women would come to see this sorcerer who had promised them financial gains or potions to making themselves beautiful or more attractive to male suitors. Many women brought their daughters seeking remedies. Suradji took his female clients to a sugarcane field near his home in western Indonesia. As a part of their “healing” process he buried them up to the waist. Once immobilized into the ground, Suradji would strangle them. Immediately after death Suradji would drink the saliva emitted from the corpse’ mouth, a ritual that he believed enhanced his powers. He would then dig the victims up and rebury them with their heads facing his house, which he believed would give him extra power as a sorcerer.
The serial killer was arrested in May 1997 following the discovery of a body in the field in Lubukpakan, a village in North Sumatra province. Upon searching his property the bodies of women ranging from 11 years old to 30 years old were found buried. During interrogation he admitted to murdering 42 female victims. When asked why Suradji told police that in 1988 his father’s ghost came to him in a dream and told him to kill 70 women and carry out the ritual so that he could become a “dukan”, or mystic healer. On Monday, 27 April, 1998 a Sumatra court sentenced Ahmad Suradji to death. Originally indicted with Suradji were his three wives, (all sisters) however the only one found guilty was his senior wife, Tumini. Tumini was sentenced to life imprisonment. Ahmad Suradji was executed by firing squad on July 10, 2008.
After much deliberation it is the decision of the author that both of these Russian nightmares be included in our list. The atrocities committed by Andrei Chikatilo and Alexander Pichushkin embody the essence of depravity. Chikatilo, known by names such as The Butcher of Rostov or The Red Ripper or The Forest Strip Killer or The Rostov Ripper committed the sexual assault, murder, and mutilation of at least 52 victims between 1978 and 1990 in the Russian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR and the Uzbek SSR.
Oddly enough, Chikatilo began his life of perversion as a teacher. During a swimming session in 1973, he molested a 15 year old girl. While groping her breasts and genitals he ejaculated as she attempted to escape his grasp. In the same school, months later he sexually assaulted a female student he had locked in his classroom. Chikatilo was seen on several instances fondling himself in the presence of his students. Remarkably, Chikatilo was never once disciplined for any of his actions.
In December of 1978 Chikatilo attempted to rape a 9 year old girl. Unable to attain sexual gratification in the rape itself, Chikatilo ejaculated as he repeatedly stabbed the child in the abdomen. He then proceeded to strangle the rest of the life out of the little girl and simply tossed her body into the nearby Grushevka River. Andrei then went off the murder grid until 1981. In September of that year he met 17 year old Larisa Tkachenko standing at a bus stop. As he assaulted her he forced mud into her mouth and strangled her. Chikatilo the mutilated her by continuously biting her body, even going as far as to biting off one of the girl’s nipples. Nine months later he murdered 13 year old Lyubov Biryuk. Chikatilo inflicted 22 stab and slash wounds on the child’s head, neck, chest, and pelvic regions. From July to September 5 more women, ranging in age from nine to 18, were murdered in Chikatilo’s signature style of stabbing and strangulation.
Under constant observation authorities were sure that Chikatilo was the unknown murderer. In September 1984 Chikatilo was observed by an undercover detective attempting to lure young women away from a nearby bus stop. At that time Chikatilo was under investigation for theft; this gave authorities legal right to hold him for a prolonged period of time. While in custody, a sample of Chikatilo’s blood was taken and screened against semen samples found on the six victims allegedly murdered by Chikatilo throughout the spring and summer of 1984. The results of the blood type analysis largely discounted him as being the unknown killer. Chikatilo was found guilty of theft however, and served three months in prison. Authorities never quit investigating the murders, at times in a rush to judgment, innocents were incarcerated. Such was the case in 1984. Russian police had charged several mentally handicapped youths for more using coerced confessions. In October of 1984 evidence linked Chikatilo to 23 murders as a result of this the head of the Russian Public Prosecutors Office formally dropped charges against the previously charged youths.
In December of 1984 Chikatilo was released after serving his time for the theft conviction. He soon acquired employment with a locomotive factory in Novocherkassk. Andrei was able to keep his murderous impulses in check until the summer of 1985. In August of 1985 he met and murdered an 18-year-old woman, named Natalia Pokhlistova. Four weeks later, on 27 August, Chikatilo killed another young woman, Irina Gulyaeva, in Shakhty.
Chikatilo seemed to drop off of the map until early 1988. From that point the bodies of 19 more female victims would be found. Andrei had been under surveillance during this time however evidence against him was non existent until it was discovered that, unbeknownst to them at the time the blood test was taken, Chikatilo’s type A blood was a member of a minority group known as “non-secretors”, whose blood type cannot be inferred by anything other than a blood sample. As police only had a sample of semen, and not blood, from the crime scenes, Chikatilo was able to escape suspicion of murder. A frustrated police department enlisted the assistance of psychiatrist, Alexandr Bukhanovsky, who refined the profile of the killer, describing him as a “necro-sadist”, or someone who achieves sexual gratification from the suffering and death of others. Bukhanovsky also placed the killer’s age as between 45 and 50, significantly older than had been believed up to that point. Desperate to catch the killer, Burakov even interviewed a serial killer, Anatoly Slivko, shortly before his execution, in an attempt to gain some insight into his elusive serial killer.
Andrei Chikatilo was finally arrested on November 20th, 1990 after officers assigned to his surveillance witnessed Chikatilo exhibiting extremely suspicious behavior. He initially denied involvement in any murder until Dr. Bukhanovsky spoke with him. Believing that Bukhanovsky was interviewing him to understand the mind of a killer from a scientific context, Chikatilo revealed to Bukhanovsky that he indeed was the murderer. He not only revealed full details of each murder, he took authorities to previously undiscovered sites where he had hidden remains. By the end of the interrogation he had admitted to murdering 56 victims.
Chikatilo was arrested on November 20th, 1990. Charged with the murder of 53 victims, his trial began on April 14th, 1992 and ended in August. The verdict however, was not handed down until October 15th. On that date Andrei Chikatilo was found guilty of 52 counts of murder. On February 14th, 1994 Chikatilo was taken from his death row cell to a soundproofed room in Novocherkassk prison and executed with a single gunshot behind the right ear.
On April 9th 1974, while Chikatilo was carrying out his murderous existence, somewhere else in Russia an equally evil entity was being born. Despite Alexander Pichushkin’s normal childhood was he born to be the sadistic killer that he became? According to research, a childhood accident with a swing set created monster that some called The Chessboard Killer or The Bitsa Park Maniac.
Pichushkin began his murderous rampage in 1992. From that point he had admitted to murdering 61 victims. Pichushkin has said his aim was to kill 64 people, the number of squares on a chessboard. He recanted this at a later time admitting that even if he had gotten to 64 victims he would’ve continued to kill until he was caught. Targeting elderly men mainly, he killed without reservation and had no problem with murdering women and children as well. Pichushkin met many of his victims while playing chess in the park. In most cases he would invite his victims to drink vodka with him, catch them from behind and bash them about the head with a hammer. He then stuck vodka bottles in their skulls to ensure that they did not survive. Authorities in Russia speculate that Pichushkin felt a need to kill motivated not only by socio-psychotic impulses but as a direct desire to outdo the body count of Andrei Chikatilo.
On June 16th, 2006 Pichushkin was arrested. During the filming of his arrest and interrogation investigators were amazed at how easily he recalled exactly how he killed many of his victims as well as the locations where he buried their remains. During his interviews many times his ego would take over as he spoke of his crimes in a boastful tone. When investigators asked Pichushkin why he committed these murders he claimed that while killing people he felt like God as he decided whether his victims should live or die. “In all cases I killed for only one reason. I killed in order to live, because when you kill, you want to live,” he once said. “For me, life without murder is like life without food for you. I felt like the father of all these people, since it was me who opened the door for them to another world.”
On October 27th 2007 Judge Vladimir Usov convicted Alexander Pichushkin of 49 murders and 3 attempted murders. He was sentenced to life in prison with the first 15 years to be spent in solitary confinement.
Next up is La Bestia, (The Beast) Luis Garavito. Garavito was convicted of the rape, torture and murder of 147 boys, though actual counts have his victim list at somewhere near 300. Described by local media as “the world’s worst serial killer”, the worst thing about this case is that he may be RELEASED IN 2021.
Luis Garavito was born in January 25th, 1957 in Génova, Quindío, Colombia. The eldest of 7, Garavito was allegedly the victim of physical, emotional and sexual abuse as a child. Spending most of his days drunk, Garavito wandered from town to town in Colombia finding work where he could. The impulses to kill overcame him in 1992 and Garavito began passing himself off as a street vendor, monk, indigent, disabled person or a representative of fictitious foundations for the elderly and children’s education, to gain entrance to schools as a speaker. Garavito lured children into hidden areas that were over- grown with high plants. He promised either payment for easy work, or drugs, or made other offers. The children were tied up, tortured, raped and killed by at least one cut in the lateral part of the neck, or by decapitation. During the killings, Garavito was drunk.
Unfortunately, disappearing children is commonplace in Colombia as well as other poverty stricken cities. The majority of his victims seem to have been “street children,” children that look to the streets as a way of sheer survival. Many times they will work odd jobs, beg, sell newspapers, chewing gum, shine shoes, basically anything they could think of to turn a buck. Political violence as well as poverty would separate these children from their families. In “The Darker Side of Evil,” we use the term, “throwaway people” to classify the people most often targeted by serial killers.
Due to the sheer ghastly nature of the children’s remains, authorities initially believed that a satanic cult was at work. Several discoveries alerted police that this was more than the usual missing children of day today Colombian life. One such discovery was a mass grave of 25 boys, found on November 1997, in a ravine in the western coffee-growing city of Pereira. Another was In February 1998, 2 naked corpses of children were discovered lying next to each other outside of the town of Genua, Colombia. A third corpse was found the next day, only feet away. As a matter of fact, a great many corpses were being discovered throughout various towns. Several corpses; that fitting various modus operandi; which meant several different serial killers operating simultaneously in the same geographical area. One of these killers; Pedro Alonso Lopez, (strangler of the Andes) was suggested but after further review it was noted that Lopez’ 70 known victims were women and girls only.
Due to governmental financial restraints, profiling as we know it was not an option. A four man task force was put together to cross reference similarities in murders as well as other likenesses. As investigations heated up Garavito began to make mistakes in discretion. Bodies of boys being found were traced directly back to him being the last individual the child was seen with alive. Garavito, being an alcoholic, began leaving liquor bottles at crime scenes; more evidence that would assist in his eventual capture.
Garavito was captured on April 22nd, 1999. He confessed to murdering 140 children. However, he is still under investigation for the murder of 172 more children in more than 59 towns in Colombia. The court found Garavito guilty of 138 counts of murder, however he is still under investigation for the murder of over 200 other children. Garavito’s sentence of 1,853 years and 9 days is symbolic. Colombian law prohibits anyone to serve any longer than 30 years in prison. To add insult to injury; because he helped police find some bodies, as well as to his confessions, his sentence was further reduced to 22 years. In actuality he may possibly qualify for even earlier release for further cooperation and good behavior.
Dr. Henry Howard Holmes/Herman Webster Mudgett
As I leave the post office I turn around to take one last look before I go. Not that there is anything amazing about the architecture of this particular building, I look back and marvel at the fact that approximately 125 years ago, in this very location stood the murder castle.
Dr. H.H. Holmes was born Herman Webster Mudgett on May 16th, 1861 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. A bright child, Holmes excelled at scholastics, which made him a target for bullies. On one occasion his classmates forced young Herman to stand face to face with science skeleton, even placing the bony hand upon Holmes’ shoulder and head. Initially frightening him, Holmes began a lifelong fascination with death. As he got older Holmes took up the hobby of dissecting animals.
In 1884 Mudgett graduated from University of Michigan’s Department of Medicine & Surgery and immediately began pulling insurance scams with laboratory cadavers. He also traveled extensively during this time. Holmes was known for meeting a woman in one location, marrying her; then moving across the country and do the same thing but never bothering to get divorced; all the while taking advantage of his new wife as well as her money.
Holmes arrived in Chicago in 1886 and soon met Elizabeth S. Holton. Elizabeth and her husband owned a drug store and hired Holmes. After the passing of her husband Holmes made Elizabeth an offer for the store. Using the store’s inventory and fixtures as collateral Holmes obtained the funds necessary to purchase the store. Oddly enough, Mrs. Holton came up missing soon after the transaction. When asked about her whereabouts and well-being, Holmes would tell concerned inquirers that she had moved to California to be close to relatives. Finally, having obtained necessary finances, Holmes constructed a three story hotel across the street from the drug store.
“The World’s Fair Hotel,” located at 601-603 West 63rd Street, was enormous for its time leading neighborhood residents to dub the building, “the castle.” Measuring 162 feet long and 50 feet wide; the castle was constructed to house visitors to the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The hotel’s ground floor consisted of commercial space as well as Holmes’ relocated drug store. From the exterior the hotel was a grand creation and a blessing to the city; within the walls of the hotel a different and horrific story was told. To the untrained, unsuspecting eye, visitors saw basic everyday hotel rooms. Unbeknownst to everyone, the hotel contained a labyrinth of rooms with doorways opening to brick walls, oddly-angled hallways, stairways leading to nowhere, doors that could only be opened from the outside and a host of other strange and deceptive constructions. Some rooms were soundproofed, others were gas chamber type. The sinister purposes of these odd assemblies were about to unfold.
The atrocities that took place within this hotel were mind boggling. Hundreds of guests were killed for the sheer delight and comeuppance of Holmes. He didn’t limit his murderous tendencies to guests; many hotel employees became victims of their demented employer. As a condition of employment they were required to take out life insurance policies, for which Holmes would pay the premiums, but was also the beneficiary. The consummate ladies’ man and hustler, Holmes dated a number of women; some married, some single; all disappeared. The bottom line was that many people came to Chicago to see the World’s Fair but, for one reason or another, never returned home. Some victims were killed with rooms filling with poisonous gas. Others were submerged in acid pits. Guests were hung up by chains as their skin was methodically removed. Skeletal remains were sold to nearby colleges and universities, remains that couldn’t be salvaged were disposed of inside two giant furnaces.
According to missing persons report from that time as many as 200 victims may have met their end due to Holmes. However, when Holmes was finally apprehended in Philadelphia, he was charged with insurance fraud. Chicago police had begun investigations into the goings on within the hotel. Attempting to come up with an actual victim count was near impossible because bodies in the basement were so badly dismembered and decomposed that it was difficult to tell how many bodies there actually were. As Philadelphia police investigated Holmes, they too found that he had committed at least one murder in their jurisdiction.
In October 1895, Holmes was put on trial for insurance fraud and murder. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. Once Holmes had been found guilty has confessed to 30 murders he has committed. During his stay in prison he wrote an unabridged confession of his diabolical activities at the murder castle. On May 7, 1896, Holmes was hanged at Moyamensing Prison, also known as the Philadelphia County Prison.
Viktor Sayenko and Igor Suprunyuck
(Warning Graphic Video Enclosed)
Known as the the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs; Viktor Sayenko and Igor Suprunyuk, are two 19 year olds convicted of 21 murders in the Ukraine. These demented youths had the audacity to videotape some of their crimes in an attempt to become famous. A third accomplice Alexander Hanzha was charged only with two armed robberies that took place before the murder spree.
Suprunyuk and Sayenko began their murder spree on June 25, 2007. Ekaterina Ilchenko was walking home from her friend’s apartment. According to Sayenko’s confession, he and Suprunyuck were out for a walk Suprunyuck brandished a hammer and as Ilchenko walked past, Suprunyuck spun around and struck her in the side of the head. Later that same night they murdered Roman Tatarevich. Tatarevich was asleep on a bench. Suprunyuk and Sayenko smashed his head in with blunt objects rendering him unrecognizable.
Murders such as these carried on throughout July of that year. They seemed to select their victims at random or by opportunity. Most of their targets were vulnerable to attack, including women, children, elderly, vagrants, or people under the influence of alcohol. Not particular in how they killed, Suprunyuk and Sayenko tended to use whatever was available to them. Most of the victims were killed using blunt objects, including hammers and steel construction bars. They directed their attacks at the victims’ faces, leaving them unrecognizable. If time permitted, some victims were mutilated and tortured; some had their eyes gouged out while they were still alive. One of the victims was a pregnant woman, whose fetus was cut out of her womb.
Due to the manner in which victims were killed, investigators initially made no connection in the killings. The crimes began to be linked when Vadim Lyakhov survived an attack from the two. Lyakhov was originally thought of as a suspect and was even charged until it became clear that he couldn’t have committed these crimes. He then cooperated with the investigators to create sketches of the attackers. On July 14, residents of the village of Diyovka reported seeing 45‑year-old Natalia Mamarchuk riding her scooter. Witnesses then told authorities that two men knocked her down then took out a hammer or a pipe and bludgeoned her to death as she lay on the ground. The men then jumped on her scooter and drove off. Onlookers gave chase, but quickly lost sight of the attackers. Ironically, two children hiding in a tent nearby, saw the crime and gave descriptions of the men that matched descriptions given by Lyakhov.
A manhunt of over 2000 investigators ensued. Suprunyuk and Sayenko were arrested on July 23, 2007 when Suprunyuck attempted to sell a mobile phone stolen from one of the victims in a local pawn shop. When the phone was turned on to show that it worked, its location was traced by law enforcement agents. Hanzha was arrested later that day at home. The three suspects attended school together and had been life long friends. During interviews, investigators were made aware of the existence of video tapes of murders. The suspects’ mobile phones and personal computers contained multiple video recordings of the murders. Early videos captured Suprunyuk and Sayenko torturing and killing animals in the neighborhood. Latter videos showed the suspects torturing, murdering and mutilating humans. A video was leaked to the Internet, showing the murder of 48‑year-old Sergei Yatzenko.
On February 11, 2009, the court in Dnepropetrovsk found Igor Suprunyuk and Viktor Sayenko guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced both to life imprisonment. Suprunyuk was found guilty of 21 murders, Sayenko of 18. They also received fifteen-year sentences after being found guilty on the robbery charges. Alexander Hanzha, who was not involved in the killings, was found guilty of robbery and sentenced to nine years in prison.
Moses Sithole, aka “The ABC Murderer” is South Africa’s worst serial killer to date. The media gave him the nickname because his murders began in Atteridgeville, continued in Boksburg and finished in Cleveland, a suburb of Johannesburg. Sithole was born November 17th, 1964 in Vosloorus, a poor neighborhood of Boksburg, Gauteng in apartheid-era South Africa. His father died when Sithole was young. Unable to handle the parenting responsibilities alone, Sithole’s mother left him and his siblings in the care of local police causing them to spend the next three years in an orphanage. Citing mistreatment as the reason, Sithole ran away from the orphanage and back to his mother. He would eventually take up residence with an older brother.
Sithole began his criminal life in his twenties as a rapist. It would be his third victim that stepped up and testified against him. For his crimes Moses spent 7 years in prison. During his time in prison Sithole claimed that he had been sexually assaulted by other inmates. Released in 1994, Sithole began a murder spree that South Africa had not ever seen before.
Pretending to be a businessman, Sithole would gain the confidence of young ladies. Employment was scarce in the impoverished town of Atteridgeville so it was not difficult for Sithole to fool his victims using potential job opportunities as a lure. Gaining their trust, he would walk them out to the field then overpower, rape and strangle them.
By the summer of 1995, Sithole had claimed over 30 victims and the public was in an uproar for answers. At that time South Africa had more than their share of serial killers so authorities reached out to former FBI profiler Robert Ressler for assistance. Bodies fitting the same modus operandi had been found in Atteridgeville, Boksburg and Cleveland so the media gave the unknown perpetrator the title “The ABC Murderer”. In October 1995 witnesses reported to authorities that Sithole had been seen with a victim. Investigators pulled his file and retrieved information concerning his prior rape conviction. Police began keeping an eye on Sithole, but he soon vanished. While in hiding Sithole contacted South African journalist Tamsen de Beer and identified himself as the wanted murderer. Sithole told the reporter that the murders were in retaliation for being sent to prison though he was innocent. He also claimed that he had murder 78 women, twice as many as police had previously thought. To prove his claim, Sithole told the reporter of the whereabouts of the remains of one of his victims. Authorities found Sithole in Johannesburg. Sithole was shot as he attacked an officer with a hatchet during the arrest. As he was being treated Sithole was found to be HIV positive.
On December 5th 1997, Justice David Carstairs sentenced Sithole to 50 years’ imprisonment for each of the 38 murders, 12 years’ imprisonment for each of the 40 rapes, and five years’ imprisonment for each of the six robberies, all sentences to run consecutively; the total effective sentence is 2,410 years. Judge Carstairs went on to say that had it not been abolished, he would have sentenced Sithole to death.
We’ve all had relationship break-ups. People handle this situation in various manners. Often times it’s a mutual agreement between the couple. Other times it comes out of the blue and leaves one of the involved parties hurt and devastated. Regardless of the reason behind the split, for most of us the end result is the same. We hurt for a while then we get over it.
In the late 1990’s it was a breakup that led to a 5 year reign of one of the most prolific serial killers in Chinese history, Yang Xinhai; the Monster Killer. Yang Xinhai confessed to committing 65 murders and 23 rapes between 1999 and 2003. The murders ended 2003 when he was apprehended by authorities. Yang Xinhai was found guilty and executed in February of 2004.
Yang Xinhai was born in Zhengyang County, Zhumadian, Henan Province, China on July 29, 1968; the youngest of four children. In 1985, the 17 year old high school drop-out traveled around China working as a laborer. When work was not available Yang became a burglar. In 1988 and 1991, Yang was sentenced to labor camps for theft in Xi’an, Shaanxi and Shijiazhuang, Hebei. In 1996, he was sentenced to five years in prison for attempted rape in Zhumadian, Henan and released in 1999.
After his release in 1999, Yang met and began a brief relationship with a young female student. After learning of his criminal past the young lady broke all ties with Yang. Based upon his interrogation, this break-up is what Yang cites as the motive of his 5 year, 67 victim, killing spree. His rampage was so extensive that it would take hours to chronicle each murder separately; however I will enlighten you on just how he would operate.
Calling upon his experience as a burglar he would gain entry to a home. Always wearing new clothes and oversized shoes he noiselessly roamed through the home, not to steal; simply to murder. Using axes, hammers and shovels, he would violently slaughter his victims. Many times he would quietly take out whole families, primarily farmers. From 1999 through 2003 Yang Xinhai terrorized the provinces of Anhui, Hebei, Henan and Shandong, murdering anyone unfortunate enough to be at home that night. During these home invasions he would rape the women before murdering them in cold blood. The beginning of the end of his bloody rampage occurred in October 2002. Yang killed a father and a six-year-old girl with a shovel and raped a pregnant woman. The woman survived the attack and despite enduring serious head injuries; described the assailant to authorities.
During a police “shakedown,” of nightclubs in Cangzhou, Hebei; Yang was brought in for questioning. Authorities noticed that he appeared excessively nervous and soon found out why. A person fitting his exact description was wanted for murder in four provinces. As the interrogation intensified, Yang eventually confessed to 65 murders, 23 rapes and five attacks causing serious injury: 49 murders, 17 rapes and five attacks in Henan; eight murders and three rapes in Hebei; six murders and two rapes in Anhui; and two murders and one rape in Shandong. DNA matches in several crime scenes sealed the cases against Yang. Ironically, unbeknownst to Yang, he had contracted HIV from one of his rape victims. When asked about the reasons for the murders, Yang told authorities that he lashed out against society due to this girlfriend breaking up with him. From that breakup he developed a hatred of people. When asked about his crimes he was quoted as saying: “When I killed people I had a desire. This inspired me to kill more. I don’t care whether they deserve to live or not. It is none of my concern…I have no desire to be part of society. Society is not my concern.”
On February 1st, 2004 Yang Xinhai was found guilty of 67 murders and 23 rapes, and sentenced to death in Luohe City Intermediate People’s Court, Henan. In an instance of swift justice Yang was executed only 13 days later. On St. Valentine’s Day 2004, Yang Xinhai was executed by firing squad. Thus was the end of The Monster Killer, Yang Xinhai.
Growing up, my summers were spent in rural Georgia. Some of my earliest memories are those of my cousins and me being told to go out and, “slop the hogs.” Yes this chore was just as fun as it sounds. Slopping the hogs can be best defined as taking buckets of leftover food from the prior day’s meals and pouring them into the feeding trough out in the pig pen.
My grandparents made what can be called a “modest,” living at best, from farming. I could never imagine the term multi-millionaire being used to describe someone in this line of work. To my surprise I came across Robert Pickton. Robert Pickton was actually a multi-millionaire pig farmer in Port Coquitlam, a city in British Columbia, Canada. He and his brother David owned a family run operation in the area. The multi-millions came not so much from pig farming operations; they actually neglected that end of the business. It was the land itself that netted the Pickton’s millions. The farmland, purchased for $18,000 by Leonard Pickton and his wife, Helen Louise, in 1963, was worth $300,000 in 1993. By 1994 it was valued at $7.2 million. In the fall of 1994, they sold a part of their farm for $1.7 million to Eternal Holdings, a townhouse development company. That same year the city of Port Coquitlam also bought a chunk of their land, for $1.2 million, and turned it into a park. In 1995, Port Coquitlam’s school district bought a piece of the pig farm for $2.3 million, and built Blakeburn Elementary School on the site.
In 1995, soon after the Pickton’s financial windfall, area residents noticed that women began to come up missing. David Pickton took his earnings and moved up the road and begun a non-profit organization, the Piggy Palace Good Times Society. The organization would sponsor parties and social gatherings for other organizations throughout the area. The regular clientele were those that partook in the seedier side of life. Bikers, drug dealers and users and prostitutes comprised the palace’s day to day crowd. David Pickton’s organization became so popular that attendance would regularly top 2000 guests. At times the guests would stop by Richard’s converted slaughterhouse to visit, buy meat etc. Farm employee, Bill Hiscox began to notice that some guests of the farm, particularly women; had begun to come up missing. Hiscox reported his suspicions to the authorities and on February 6, 2002, police executed a search warrant for illegal firearms at the property. While in custody authorities issued a second search warrant as part of the ongoing investigation of the missing women. The following day Robert Pickton was charged with various charges included possessing and storing firearms without a license. He was later released and was kept under police surveillance.
Unbeknownst to Pickton, the police had discovered key clues concerning the disappearance of area women during the search of his property. Vancouver police had uncovered several personal items belonging to missing women such as identification cards, prescription medicine etc. On February 22, Pickton was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Sereena Abotsway and Mona Wilson. On April 2, three more charges were added for the murders of Jacqueline McDonell, Diane Rock and Heather Bottomley. A sixth charge for the murder of Andrea Joesbury was laid on April 9, followed shortly by a seventh for Brenda Wolfe. On September 20, four more charges were added for the slayings of Georgina Papin, Patricia Johnson, Helen Hallmark and Jennifer Furminger. Four more charges for the murders of Heather Chinnock, Tanya Holyk, Sherry Irving and Inga Hall were laid on October 3, bringing the total to fifteen, making the investigation the largest of any serial killer in Canadian history. On May 26, 2005, 12 more charges were laid against him for the killings of Cara Ellis, Andrea Borhaven, Debra Lynne Jones, Marnie Frey, Tiffany Drew, Kerry Koski, Sarah de Vries, Cynthia Feliks, Angela Jardine, Wendy Crawford, Diana Melnick, and Jane Doe (unidentified woman) bringing the total number of first-degree murder charges to 27.
During a preliminary inquiry held in 2003, investigators found that long before the murders began, Robert Pickton was involved in an attempted murder of a sex worker in 1997. Prostitute, Wendy Lynn Eistetter testified at the inquiry that after he had driven her to the Port Coquitlam farm and had sex with her, Pickton slapped a handcuff on her left hand and stabbed her in the abdomen. During the melee that ensued, Eistetter stabbed Pickton in self-defense. Later, both she and Pickton were treated at the same hospital, where staff used a key they found in Pickton’s pocket to remove the handcuffs from the woman’s wrist. Ironically, the attempted murder charge was stayed by the Canadian courts citing the Wendy Lynn was a known drug addict. Prosecution deemed her testimony was too unstable to hinge their case upon. Also during the inquiry it was discovered that the police had received several tips concerning the disappearance of women. Vancouver police detective constable Lori Shenher received a tip in 1998 stating that Pickton should be investigated in the case of the disappearances. Another call in 1999 informed Canadian police that Pickton had a freezer filled with human flesh on his farm. Investigators interviewed Pickton, even received permission to search his property; however police never actually made the search.
Pickton’s trial began on January 30, 2006 in New Westminster presided by Justice James Williams. Pickton pled not guilty to 27 charges of first-degree murder in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The voir dire phase of the trial took most of the year to determine what evidence might be admitted before the jury. On March 2, one of the 27 counts was rejected by Justice James Williams for lack of evidence.
On August 9, Justice Williams severed the charges, splitting them into one group of six counts and another group of twenty counts. The trial proceeded on the group of six counts. The remaining 20 counts could have been heard in a separate trial, but ultimately were stayed on August 4, 2010.Because of the publication ban, full details of the decision are not publicly available; but the judge has explained that trying all 26 charges at once would put an unreasonable burden on the jury, as the trial could last up to two years, and have an increased chance for a mistrial. The judge also added that the six counts he chose had “materially different” evidence from the other 20.
Though initially set to start January 8, 2007, Pickton faced first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Frey, Abotsway, Papin, Joesbury, Wolfe and Wilson on January 22. On that date, the media ban that was put in place at the beginning of the trial was lifted and for the first time Canadians as well as the rest of the world would hear the gruesome details of what was found during the search of the Pickton property.
The jury and court would hear testimony from investigators that found skulls cut in half with hands and feet stuffed inside. The remains of another victim were stuffed in a garbage bag in the bottom of a trash can and her blood-stained clothing was found in the trailer in which Pickton lived. Part of one victim’s jawbone and teeth were found in the ground beside the slaughterhouse, and a .22 caliber revolver with an attached dildo containing both his and a victim’s DNA was in his laundry room. In a videotaped recording played for the jury, Pickton claimed to have attached the dildo to his weapon as a makeshift silencer. A loaded .22 revolver with a big, spiky black, Hindu made dildo over the barrel and one round fired, boxes of .357 Magnum handgun ammunition, night-vision goggles, two pairs of faux fur-lined handcuffs, a syringe with three milliliters of blue liquid inside, and “Spanish fly” aphrodisiac.
More incriminating videotapes were found, a tape of Pickton’s friend Scott Chubb saying Pickton had told him a good way to kill a female heroin addict was to inject her with windshield-washer fluid. A second tape was played for Pickton, in which an associate named Andrew Bellwood said Pickton mentioned killing prostitutes by handcuffing and strangling them, then bleeding and gutting them before feeding them to pigs. Yes feeding them to the pigs!
The horror of what was found on the farms; the dismembered corpses, the feet, teeth, bones, the wood chipper, and the freezers paled in comparison to the thoughts of the area residents. I will explain. Robert Pickton supplied meat to a great many in the immediate and not so immediate area. Piggy’s Palace sported a reputation of serving a very raunchy crowd. Biker’s, prostitutes and drug addicts comprised the primary customer base. However, most of the residents of the area had patronized Piggy’s Palace at one point or another. Two mayors, several city council members, local business and civic leaders, ice hockey moms, high school and elementary school students–they all came for functions, dances, concerts and other recreations at Piggy’s Palace. To be brief, he bought the pigs, fattened them, and sold the meat to friends, or roasted them for the bikers, prostitutes, mayors, and Little Leaguers who partied at Piggy’s Palace. The entire city of Port Coquitlam (pop. 53,000), it seemed, was feeding on pigs that had been fed by the suspected serial killer Robert Pickton. Thousands of people had been to the palace and had enjoyed some roasted pork, pork from Robert Pickton’s farm. Let me help you here; Pickton kills victims, Pickton feeds victims to pigs, people eat pigs; therefore people eat victims.
The unusable remains of the pigs Robert slaughtered and served to his friends and neighbors–pig entrails, brains, bones, nerve tissue, and gore–were taken by truck to a rendering plant. Many are certain that the partial remains of the murdered sex workers were also hauled in those trucks. The plant turns animal bones, guts, fish, blood, pig entrails, used restaurant grease, and, now many believe, the remains of sex workers into a number of consumer products, like lipstick base, soaps, shampoos, and perfumes. These commodities that improve human appearance are shipped all over the world. The fact is that we may all have bathed in the remains of victims.
Women began disappearing from Vancouver in the 1980’s. At approximately the same time women began disappearing from the streets of Seattle and Sea Tac, WA. In both cases the women were known to be sex workers, drug addicted and or homeless; the type of people described in my book, The Darker Side of Evil, as throw away people. One difference in the two cases is that the women that were vanishing from the streets of Seattle and surrounding areas were being found; at least the remains of the victims were turning up. The remains of many of the missing Seattle women resurfaced in the wild areas around the airport, beside the freeways, and, most infamously, along the banks of the Green River. In Vancouver the victims just seemed to disappear. It is assumed that this is the reason that Vancouver authorities appeared to approach their missing persons’ issues in a seemingly lackadaisical manner. Without any evidence of a crime being committed there was simply no reason to assume that these women had been victims of any type of crime. In stark contrast, it was obvious that the women of Seattle and Sea Tac had been murdered and frightened communities demanded action. It was that call to action that would lead to the arrest and conviction of the monster known as The Green River Killer.
As stated earlier Justice James Williams decided to split the counts against Pickton citing undue stress being placed upon jurors. On December 9, 2007 the jury returned with a verdict that Pickton is not guilty on 6 counts of first-degree murder, but is guilty on 6 counts of second-degree murder. On December 11, 2007 Justice Williams read 18 impact statements from victim’s families; he then sentenced Robert Pickton to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years; the maximum punishment for second-degree murder and equal to the sentence which would have been imposed for a first-degree murder conviction. Also noted earlier was the fact that the decision to try Pickton for the other 20 murders was set aside. Prosecution had taken into account the fact that any additional convictions could not result in any increase to the sentence that Mr. Pickton has already received. Despite numerous appeals, Robert Pickton’s sentence was upheld.
Robert Pickton was accused of the murder of 27 women, however in a conversation between him and an undercover police officer posing as his cellmate Pickton confessed to the murder of 49 women. He went on to tell the officer that he had planned to kill 50 women then stop and that the only reason he was caught was due to getting, “sloppy.” The scary part about this is that it may be true. Initial attempts to have Robert Pickton investigated were all but ignored by authorities. Had a proper investigation been performed when he was accused of the attempted murder of Wendy Lynn Eistetter was committed a great many lives may have been saved. Not only was that not the case, the charges against Pickton was dropped thereby giving him an even greater air of invincibility.
How many Robert Picktons are in the world today? Every major city on this continent has its area known as, “skid row”; urine scented blocks littered with bloodstains, crack vials and dirty condoms. Within these areas sexual predators stalk their prey. Each day, prostitutes are beaten, raped, robbed, tied up, held down, doused, burned and not to mention….murdered. Most of these incidents never make the local news unless the media, our gateway to the world; choses to notify the public of such occurrences. Unfortunately, by then, it is usually too late for a great many victims and their families. How do we solve these problems? I have never been a fan of the Jerry Springer program but I think he sums it up at the end of each show. As he closes out each taping he looks at the camera as says these simple words, “Let’s take care of ourselves and each other.” Let’s try that for starters.
Those of us with significant others have all had these moments. We sit back, relax and think about how much we love our partner. We envelope ourselves in the joy that comes from simply being together. You not only reminisce about the blissful moments you’ve had together but in gleeful anticipation you dream about joyous moments the future has yet to bring. Equally as common, we’ve all had those times that we sit back and think about all of the stupid shit your partner has done. As if cued by an unseen director, your partner walks in, just as your thoughts of past dumb shit culminate. You look over to your partner and think to yourself, “ I could really just choke the shit out of this bitch.” At this point, your partner, curious about your stare; normally asks the question, “What’s wrong?” Just as quickly as the thought came, it leaves; you laugh to yourself and respond, “nothing” and everyone goes on about their day. For most of society this was a joke, a comedic look at a common occurrence in relationships. However, domestic violence is not a joke. It is a parasite that eats at the relationship fabric until the union itself is consumed and destroyed. Domestic violence is responsible for a great many of the deprave acts that occur in society.
Born in Chicago on July 15, 1940, Ronald Gene Simmons moved with his family to Little Rock, Arkansas in 1946. After a basically normal childhood Simmons dropped out of high school in September of 1957 and joined the U.S. Navy. Stationed at the Bremerton Naval base in Washington Simmons met Bersabe Rebecca “Becky” Ulibarri. After a three year courtship, Simmons and Ulibarri were married in New Mexico on July 9, 1960 and in eighteen years the couple had seven children. Simmons served his country for 20 years, from 1957 to 1963 in the Navy and from 1965 to 1979 in the U.S. Air Force. During this time Simmons was awarded a Bronze Star Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross for his service as an airman, and the Air Force Ribbon for Excellent Marksmanship. In November of 1979 Simmons would retire from the Air Force as a Master Sergeant.
In 1979 the Simmons family resided in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. After his retirement neighbors began to notice a change in Ronald as well as the Simmons family as a whole. People in town had actually begun to fear the Vietnam veteran. Visitors to the Simmons home noticed that he always had a beer in his hand. Friends of the Simmons children told their parents that he would stay in one particular room in his home. The room was described as dark, spooky and foul smelling.
On April 3, 1981, the Department of Human Services began investigating Ronald Simmons citing allegations that he had participated in sexual relations with his seventeen-year-old daughter, Sheila. On more than one occasion visitors to the home witnessed him giving her more than friendly kisses good-bye each morning. Eventually Sheila told a school Counselor she was pregnant with his baby. When notified of the impending investigation Simmons packed his family up and fled first to Ward, Arkansas in late 1981 and then to a tract of land that he would name “Mockingbird Hill.” In Dover, Arkansas in the summer of 1983. Charges, though filed, were soon dropped when the Simmons family disappeared.
While in Arkansas, the Simmons household remained largely uneventful until 1987, as far as child molesting incestuous homes go. Simmons worked a string of low-paying jobs in Dover and the nearby area. After acquiring a position as an accounts receivable clerk at Woodline Motor Freight, (probably the best job of them all) he soon quit after numerous reports of inappropriate sexual advances. He went to work at a Sinclair Mini Mart for approximately a year and a half before quitting on December 18, 1987. It was December in 1987 when the proverbial shit hit the fan. On December 22, 1987, Ronald Gene Simmons decided to methodically kill each and every member of his family. Simmons went out to the local Wal-Mart bought a .22 caliber handgun, went home, then bludgeoned and shot his wife Becky as well as their son Gene. He then strangled his three year old daughter. After knocking back a cold when he dumped the bodies into a pit the he’d had his kids dig days earlier.
As the other children came home he informed them of gifts that had for them. The catch was that he wanted to give them their gifts one by one. The first to receive their “gift” was 17 year old Loretta. She was beaten, strangled, then drowned in a rain barrel. Oddly, the next three of his children, Eddy, Marianne and Becky received the exact same gift. Again, he placed these bodies out in the pit.
Billy Simmons, the eldest Simmons’ son, his wife Renata and their son Trae arrived on December 26th for an after Christmas dinner. Ronald killed his son and bride by shooting them and drowned the child. Sheila Simmons arrived later that evening with her husband Dennis McNulty and two children; Sylvia the child she bore from Ronald, and Michael. Once again the adults were shot and the kids were drowned. Unlike the first four, the adult bodies were then lined up neatly in the lounge room of Simmons’ house. Each body was covered with coats except the corpse of Sheila. Her body was covered with the best tablecloth. The little bodies of the two grandsons were wrapped in plastic sheeting and left in abandoned cars at the end of the lane. Feeling that he had accomplished enough for the day Simmons stopped by Sears to pick up previously ordered Christmas gifts.
Simmons spent the next two days drinking beer and thinking of others that comprised his wicked hit list. On the morning of Monday December 28th Simmons stopped by Wal-Mart and bought a second gun. Next he drove into town to pay the local law office of Peel, Eddy and Gibbons Law Firm a visit. Once inside the first person to greet him was receptionist/secretary Kathy Kendrick, a woman he blamed many of his problems on. Previously he had made periodic sexual advances to Kathy during his visits into the office, all of which had been ignored. Expecting his usual come-ons Kathy thought nothing of it when Ronald showed up. This time however was different, this time Simmons proceeded to shoot Ms. Kendrick to death. While in town he stopped by the offices of the Taylor Oil Company where he shot and wounded his former boss Russell Taylor. While there Simmons shot and killed former co-worker J.D Chaffin. Two more victims would be injured by Ronald Gene Simmons’ wrath before this day was over.
After being arrested by Russellville police Simmons was sent to the Arkansas State Hospital in Little Rock for a competency evaluation by staff psychiatrist. Dr. Irving Kuo found Simmons to be sane and capable of standing trial. On May 12. 1988 Simmons was found guilty of the murders of Kendrick and Chaffin. On May 16 Judge John Samuel Patterson sentenced Simmons to death by lethal injection plus 147 years. Simmons was found guilty of fourteen counts of capital murder in the deaths of his family members on February 10, 1989. On March 16, 1989 Simmons was sentenced to death by lethal injection. To expedite his execution, Simmons waived all rights to appeal in both trials. Arkansas governor Bill Clinton signed Simmons’ execution warrant on May 31st 1990 and on June 25th 1990 Ronald Gene Simmons was put to death by lethal injection. This case was the quickest sentence-to-execution-to-death time in United States history. None of Simmons’ existing family members would claim his body therefore Simmons was buried in a paupers’ plot at Lincoln Memorial Lawn. Still today it is unknown what made Simmons embark on his murderous rampage.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; home of the Phillies and the Eagles and nicknamed, “The City of Brotherly Love”. For those that are familiar with my blog you already know that here, the word “love” probably isn’t going to be the topic we will be discussing. Founded in 1682 I’m sure that this great city has earned its popular nickname but through research I’ve found several incidents in Philadelphia’s history that paralyzed the citizens of this city in fear as well as horrified the nation.
In my book, ”The Darker Side of Evil” we analyzed the exploits of some of the most prolific serial in modern American history. One of the subjects of the book was Harrison Graham, “The Corpse Collector,” a 28-year old mentally retarded drug abuser who lived in a slum district of Philadelphia and rented a third floor apartment. In August of 1987, Graham engaged in a heated argument with his landlord concerning the neighborhood’s complaints of an intolerable stench emanating from his two room apartment. Later Graham left the apartment but not before nailing the entry door shut. Afraid of what may be causing the overwhelming odor police were enlisted to gain access to the residence. Once inside, the officers found two strangled women’s bodies, three more skeletons beneath a mound of garbage on the floor, another tied up in the closet. Further investigation yielded the skeletal remains of victim number seven on the roof of Graham’s building. On August 14, another skull and partial skeleton were excavated from the dirt floor of a row house three doors down from Graham’s building. He surrendered two days later and confessed to seven murders since the winter months of 1986.
In March of the same year police apprehended Gary Heidnik. Heidnik is often referred to as a serial killer, although having been convicted of only two murders. This fact does not lessen the depravity of his crimes. Gary Heidnik held 6 women captive in the basement of his house of horrors located at 3520 North Marshall Street in North Philadelphia. The captives were sexually abused, beaten, and tortured in front of each other. The first off the two women that Heidnik was convicted of murdering died of a combination of starvation, excess torture, and an untreated fever. Sandra Lindsay was dismembered, ground with a food processor and mixed it with dog food, which he then fed to the surviving victims. Having a problem dealing with the arms and legs; Heidnik put them in a freezer and marked them “dog food”. He then cooked her ribs in an oven and boiled her head in a pot on the stove. The second woman that died, Deborah Dudley was fatally electrocuted. Heidnik disposed of her body in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Convicted of two counts of murder in 1988, Heidnik was sentenced to death and incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh. Heidnik was executed by lethal injection on July 6, 1999.
These two cases caught my attention initially but after further research I found several other intriguing crimes out of this city. Mary Noe, born Mary Liddy on August 23, 1928 in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia met and married Arthur Allen Noe in 1948. From this union ten children were born, all of whom died between the ages of 5 days and 14 months. Oddly enough, it wasn’t until the book The Death of Innocents, was published in 1997 and an article in 1998 concerning the book’s subject matter that brought interest in this case. After receiving information concerning the death of the Noe children decades earlier police questioned Mrs. Noe. During her interrogation Mrs. Noe admitted to suffocating four of her children. She went on to state that she could not remember what happened to the other four children who died under similar circumstances. Noe was charged with first-degree murder and as a result of a plea agreement Mrs. Noe was convicted of eight counts of second-degree murder and in June 1999 she was sentenced to 20 years of probation.
I found the next case, known in Philly as, “The Boy in the Box” especially disturbing, even now, as I type, an uneasy feeling comes over me. On February 25, 1957; a boy approximately 4 to 6 years old was found in the Fox Chase community of Philadelphia. The boy was found nude, badly bruised and wrapped in a blanket inside a cardboard box. Police in 1957 took the fingerprints of the boy and were initially confident about a quick resolve to the boy’s identity as well as to his murderer. Hundreds of promising leads were tracked down and several likely suspects were identified and interrogated however 58 years later and having been adopted by the country as “America’s Unknown Child,” authorities are no closer to closing the case now than they were then. Since the child’s discovery, several theories have arisen. Accusations ranging from foster home abuse to the outright purchase of the child by a woman but to date, none has been proven. The boy was originally buried in a potter’s field but in 1998 the body was exhumed in hopes of retrieving DNA. The child was then reburied at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Cedarbrook, Philadelphia, which donated a large plot. The coffin, headstone and funeral service were also donated by the son of the man who had originally buried him in 1957. Sadly, since 1957, Philadelphia has had at least two other unknown children have been found murdered.
In 1982, the decomposed remains of a young girl were found inside a steamer trunk under the Platt Memorial Bridge in southwest Philadelphia. As in the Boy in the Box case, no one came forward to identify the victim. It took investigators five years to solve the mystery. She turned out to be a five-year-old West Philadelphia girl named Aliyah Davis who had been beaten to death by her stepfather in 1981, seven months before her body was discovered. The girl’s mother Maria Davis Fox and stepfather Charles Fox were charged for Aliyah’s death.
There was another unknown child who remained unidentified for more than a decade after his battered, decomposed remains were discovered stuffed inside a nylon duffel bag in a vacant lot in 1994. This unknown child came to be known as “The Boy in the Bag.” Buried in 2001 the child’s gravestone simply read, “unknown boy.” However in 2005 the boy’s name and how he died was In 1994, a four year old Jerell Willis, actually from East Camden, New Jersey; was beaten to death then stuffed into a duffel bag that was dumped in a trash-strewn lot in Philadelphia. For years, family members that inquired about young Jerrell’s whereabouts and well-being was given the run around by his mother and father. In 2005, the boy’s mother, Alicia Robinson was arrested at her Southwest Philadelphia home. During her interrogation Mrs. Robinson admitted to officers that she and her husband, Lawrence Robinson, also known as Jevon Willis; struck Jerell numerous times in their apartment. The boy became lethargic and then unconscious. The husband, Lawrence Robinson, during this time was incarcerated in Riverfront State Prison in Camden, serving the second year of an eight-year sentence for sexual assault. Alicia Robinson was sentenced to five years in prison in 2007.
Dolores Della Penna was born on December 13, 1954. The honors graduate from St. Hubert’s Catholic High School known for her quiet, friendly nature. Shortly before midnight on July 11, 1972 Dolores Della Penna was abducted from her home in the 4900 block of Rawle Street in Philadelphia. Witnesses informed authorities that they saw the young lady being beaten and dragged, apparently unconscious, into a car. It turns out that the 17-year-old Philadelphia schoolgirl was tortured, gang raped, murdered by dismemberment and beheaded. Della Penna’s torso and arms were later located in Jackson Township, New Jersey, while her legs were found in neighboring Manchester Township near the border with Jackson. The head has not been found.
This gruesome crime has remained unsolved over the years. However, one explanation has been constantly retold and reported to the police. It seems that a drug dealing biker gang fronted one of Della Penna’s acquaintances with drugs. The acquaintance blamed Della Penna for stealing a cache of those drugs and informed the dealers. In 1992 a Graterford inmate reaffirmed the story and added he actually witnessed the beating of Della Penna by drug dealers at a Kensington garage on the night of July 11, 1972. The inmate, who was 16 at the time of the murder, gave his account to a Graterford prison guard who passed the information on to authorities. In 1994 the witness, approximately 38 years old at the time described the homicide to detectives at Philadelphia Police headquarters and testified before the grand jury. In his testimony, the inmate confessed to witnessing the murder but out of fear for his own life decided to remain silent concerning the crime. Through this testimony and with the assistance of corroborators, detectives identified six suspects in the murder, three of which having died since the 1972 killing.
From 1972-1977 Ira Einhorn and Holly Maddux shared an apartment in Philadelphia. In 1977 Maddux broke up with Einhorn and moved to New York. On Sept. 9, 1977, Maddux returned to collect her things from the apartment and was never seen again. Weeks later during questioning, Einhorn claimed that Holly left the apartment heading to the store and never returned. During the following months several of Einhorn’s neighbors complained of foul smells emanating from his apartment. On March 28, 1979, police searched Einhorn’s apartment and were horrified to find Maddux’s decomposing corpse was found in a trunk stored in a closet. In 1981, just days before his murder trial was to begin, Einhorn skipped bail, and fled to Europe. Over the next 17 years Einhorn remained in Europe and began a new life, eventually marrying even. Unbeknownst to Einhorn, Philadelphia courts had tried and convicted the murderer in absentia. On July 20, 2001, after a lengthy extradition battle, Einhorn was returned to the states to serve his prison sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
Lastly, during Harrison Graham and Gary Heidnik’s reign of terror there was another serial killer on the loose in the streets of Philly. Dubbed “The Frankford Slasher” by the media, this perpetrator sexually assaulted and stabbed to death at least 9 women in and around the Frankford area of Philadelphia from 1985-1990. These murders as well as the exploits of Heidnik and Graham paralyzed the city with fear. In turn, Philly residents placed a great deal of pressure on the police to solve the crimes and put an end to the murders. Carol Dowd was one of the 9 women found slain during this time. On April 28, 1990 her body of was found behind a Frankford Avenue seafood market. As a result of an comment, fish market employee Leonard Christopher became the prime suspect. Despite witness’s testimony that several of the women were seen in the company of a middle aged white man before their disappearances, Christopher was questioned concerning all of the murdered women. Lacking evidence linking him to any murder, Christopher was tried and convicted of the murder of Carol Dowd and on December 12, 1990, sentenced to life in prison.
Every major metropolitan city in our country has endured its share of evil. Despicable acts that the residents care not to remember but will never forget. Wickedness of an unspeakable nature seeps in and unhinges communities while changing the lives of all parties involved; forever. The crimes reported in this post occurred in Philadelphia, PA and is forever a part of its history, however, in no way are they exclusive to this city nor are they indicative of the residents of this fine city as many of these acts and worse have occurred in cities across the country and around the world. To my readers in Philadelphia, Chicago and around the globe, I thank you for your time and implore you to let brotherly love continue.
Let me apologize for my absence, I’ve been spending time filming the hit show CHICAGO PD, starring a great, up and coming actor named LaRoyce Hawkins; as well as the upcoming Fox series EMPIRE with acclaimed stunt performer Eddie J. Fernandez and Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard. My participation in these productions can be considered minimal at best but hopefully won’t end on the cutting room floor. However minute my role; it was a pleasure to be in the company of these talented actors. Unfortunately, news out of nearby Hammond, Indiana brought me back to earth and returned me to my original calling.
The body of 19 year old Afrikka Hardy was found at a Motel 6 in Hammond, Indiana on October 17th. Friends of Ms. Hardy had begun to text her after her disappearance and became apprehensive when they received suspicious text responses believing that they were from the suspect. Evidence collected from the crime scene led to of 43 year old Darren Deon Vann being considered a suspect. After obtaining a search warrant, authorities arrested Vann near his Gary, Indiana home.
Once in custody, Vann began a horrific tale of the internet, prostitution and murder. Vann’s confession led authorities to the discovery of 6 additional bodies in the Northwestern Indiana area. Vann told interrogators how he arranged a rendezvous with Ms. Hardy who posted her “services” on an internet site. While in custody Vann confessed to the murders of Anith Jones, Teaira Batey and four other women from the Hammond/ Gary area. The current number of Northwestern Indiana murder victims in which Vann may be responsible is now at 7. Statements made during the course of his confession lead authorities to believe that the overall death toll may be much higher and his spree may extend back over 20 years.
Darren Vann, the suspect in these serial murders is no stranger to law enforcement. A convicted sex offender from Austin, Texas, Vann pleaded guilty to rape in 2009. Before that conviction, he served a year in prison in Indiana after he grabbed a Gary woman in a chokehold in 2004, doused her with gasoline and threatened to set her on fire. The victim in the 2009 case told police that in 2007 she went to Vann’s apartment, where he asked if she was a police officer. After she told him no, he knocked her down and began to strangle and beat her, hitting her several times in the face and telling the woman he could kill her. He then raped her. Sentenced to 5 years Vann received 15 months credit for the time he was in jail awaiting trial and was released in 2013. Despite both incidents, Texas officials deemed him a low risk for violence. In a recent interview, Vann’s ex-wife, who asked not to be named, cited that she had not known Vann to be violent. The woman that happens to be 29 years older than Vann went on to add that she knew a different kind of man, one who was friendly, protective and not abusive. However her adult son had a different view of Darren Vann. Vann’s ex-wife’s son says he was “creepy” and “strange.
Vann, who is housed in Lake County Jail, located in Crown Point, IN is being charged with one murder however, other charges are said to be forthcoming. Lake County Jail is the pre-trial detention facility for those awaiting trial but unable to make bail arrangements. Gary and Hammond, Indiana are the cities in which the women’s bodies were located, and both fall within Lake County boundaries. A reliable source within the jail indicates that there had been a buzz among the female residents of the jail in recent months about the disappearance of several area women as well as to whom the culpability may fall. Through the pods and cells of the women’s jail, ladies would speak of missing relatives and friends many of whom had chosen prostitution as a means of survival.
Since his arrest, Darren Vann had been cooperating with authorities. During his interrogation Vann told investigators of the locations of victim’s bodies throughout the abandoned buildings in Gary. However, Vann’s cooperation ended recently at a magistrate hearing at Lake County Jail. Vann stood stone-faced and refused to acknowledge Magistrate Judge Kathleen Sullivan as she asked the defendant basic questions regarding his name and his ability to understand his
charges. In response the accused stood stoically, non-respondent to the questions posed to him by the judge. Sullivan then addressed Vann’s public defender, Matthew Fech, urging him to “tell your client that he stays in jail the rest of his life until this hearing takes place.” Ultimately, Vann was held in contempt and the hearing rescheduled for the following week
As we mentioned earlier there had been talk among area residents concerning several disappearances. In The Darker Side of Evil, we use the term, “throwaway people.” Individuals that society cares not to look at therefore are hardly missed if they disappear. The accused, Darren Deon Vann; took advantage of law enforcement’s lackadaisical approach to following up on missing person’s reports. We have human beings vanish from the face of the earth and no one willing to take the time and effort to look at the evidence in front of them to find them. We’ve seen this time and time again. Andre Crawford terrorized Chicago’s Englewood area in the 1990’s. In addition to similar M.O.’s and circumstances, the killer also made use of abandoned residences.
On the other hand we cannot place the blame totally upon law enforcement. In a blink of an eye mothers, daughters, sisters and wives all gone; never to be heard from
again. If we take time to take an interest in the lives of one another this sort of crime would be impossible. Tupac Shakur once said, “How can the devil take a brother if he is close to me?” Some of these victim’s remains were mummified and skeletal meaning that they had been deceased for several months. People, let’s take time to reconnect with that estranged family member, distant cousin or long lost friend. Let them know that even though you may or may not agree with the way they are living their life; you still care. Inquire about that person you haven’t seen in a while. If we actively and aggressively keep tabs on people in our lives it reduces the likelihood of tragedies such as this occurring. Any information concerning people that we haven’t seen in a while should be forwarded to law enforcement. Let’s assist these families in receiving closure for their missing loved ones.
“It’s interesting when people die,” Don Henley, DIRTY LAUNDRY 1982. That phrase sums up America’s obsession with death. Whether its gang violence, serial killing or mass murder; each night we position ourselves in front of the television to receive our nightly fix, fed to us by the media. The focus of “The Darker Side of Evil,” was not only to bring to light the existence of Black serial killers in the U.S; the book also addresses the media’s ability to lessen the body count of these monsters through information and exposure. These predators, Black or White, normally operate within familiar circles and hide in plain sight, normally victimizing women within their own race, yet having no personal ties to. Female prostitutes and drug addicts comprise the target prey of most serial murderers. The disappearance of these individuals from the community go unnoticed a great deal of the time, enabling the perpetrator to continue to kill, virtually unnoticed
Occasionally, serial killers operate outside of the norm. Many choose young males as their choice of quarry. As in the case of Israel Keyes, some operate in multiple geographical areas. A select few choose to cross racial lines in their bloodlust. Such was the case of Cleophus Prince Jr., “The Clairemont Killer”. Prince terrorized the Clairemont community of San Diego County, California from January through September 1990. Though he chose to victimize women as most serial murderers do, his preference was to stalk rape and murder White women while he himself is African-American.
Cleophus Prince Jr. was born in Alabama on July 24, 1967 to Dorothy and Cleophus Prince Sr. Unlike the childhood experiences of most other serial killers, Prince Jr. Had not been abused in his youth and grew up in an environment that, described by his sister Tesa, was gentle and loving. However, Prince did not have a totally violence free upbringing. His father, Cleophus Prince Sr.; spent over 11 years in prison for murder.
As an adolescent, Prince never got into drugs, gangs or any other of the known pitfalls of youth. Growing up he never had any brushes with the law and became a role mode to his 7 younger siblings. After graduating high school in 1987 Cleophus Prince Jr. enlisted in the US Navy. In December 1989, not long after his stint in the service, Prince and his girlfriend Charla Lewis moved into the Buena Vista Gardens; an apartment complex in the Clairemont section of San Diego. Unfortunately, in January 1990, a 21-year-old Tiffany Schultz met her new neighbor.
On January 12, 1990 Prince spotted Tiffany Schultz sunbathing in a bikini just inside the door of her apartment. He then requested a hanger from the building manager; his reason was that he had locked his keys in his automobile. After receiving the hanger, Prince went back to the apartment building instead of heading to the parking lot. Moments later, neighbors that lived in the apartments below Ms. Schultz claimed that they heard noises and running water from her apartment. They described the noise as the sound of someone being beaten.
Neighbors noticed later that no one had seen Tiffany leave her apartment. Phone calls to her home went unanswered. It would be her roommate that endured the horror of discovering Tiffany’s lifeless body in her bedroom, lying face-up, clad only in bikini bottoms. Extending under the bed was her left leg and her right leg was posed at a 60-degree angle. A pathologist would later count 47 separate stab wounds around her left chest area, nearly half of which clustered around her breast. The murders were committed with so much rage that many of the punctures went all the way through the body. The other two areas that had sustained an attack were her neck and upper right thigh.
After an examination it was deemed that Tiffany had not been raped. Her boyfriend was immediately questioned and released by authorities. Tiffany worked part-time as an exotic dancer. Investigators thought that this was an isolated incident of one of her customers following her home and causing her untimely demise. They were dead wrong.
On February 16th, Janene Weinhold dropped her roommate off at work at about 9a.m. The two women were also residents of the Buena Vista apartment complex. Later that day the roommate waited patiently for Janene to pick her up from work. Oddly, the normally dependable 21 year-old was not only late but was not answering the phone. At approximately 8p.m., the roommate finally made it home. The young lady was horrified to find the body of the deceased Janene Weinhold.
The corpse lay on the bedroom floor wearing nothing but a bra. Similar to the first murder, her legs had been left open and she bore a concentration of stab wounds over the right breast. Not similar to the first, this woman had been raped. The frightened roommate soon found the phone and called police.
During the investigation police interviewed neighbors. The neighbor directly below Janene told authorities that earlier, at approximately 11:30 a.m. she saw a Black man sitting on the stairs; head in hands and with a saddened expression on his face. Moments later she heard noise coming from the apartment upstairs, the neighbor thought to call upstairs but just as quickly as they had begun, the noises stopped so she went on with her day.
The following month Anna Cotalessa-Ritchie, another second floor tenant of the Buena Vista apartment complex left her apartment heading to the corner store. On her way she noticed a Black man waiting at the bus stop. Returning from the store she noticed that the man was gone, assuming that he had caught the bus. The next time she would see this man he looked as if he was coming directly toward her in an aggressive manner. Surprisingly the man went right past Anna. Badly shaken, Anna hurried frantically to the door of her apartment. As she fumbled with the keys she heard footsteps coming up the stairs approaching her. Suddenly Anna had an epiphany, the man had never caught the bus, he had been stalking her since the time she saw him at the bus stop. Miraculously she found the right key, ducked into the apartment and locked the door before he made it up the stairs. Panic-stricken she listened with her ear against the door until she was sure he was gone. Anna Cotalessa-Ritchie had escaped the wrath of the Buena Vista Gardens murderer. Unfortunately, the next woman wouldn’t be nearly as lucky.
Eighteen year old Holly Tarr chose to visit her big brother, a Buena Vista Gardens apartment complex tenant, for spring break from her Michigan high school. She decided to bring along her best friend Tammy and both of the high school seniors were looking to enjoy a California spring break. On the morning of April 3rd the two young ladies enjoyed playing tennis in the rec area. The girls then headed to the pool to do some sunbathing and noticed a Black man in the weight room area watching them. Leaving Tammy poolside, Holly returned to the apartment to take a shower. Ten minutes later Tammy followed suit and headed to the apartment. As she approached she heard Holly scream. She ran to the door yelling her friend’s name but received no response. Eventually Tammy’s yelling and knocking at the door drew the attention of a member of the maintenance staff, who opened the door.
Tammy gained entry to the apartment just in time to see the same man that was watching them from the weight room scramble out of the bedroom. The man, holding a cloth to his face and a knife in his hand fell, got up and ran out of the apartment. Tammy ran into the bedroom and saw Holly, wearing only panties and bra, lying on the floor, barely alive. She had been stabbed once through the heart and like the others, her legs had been left spread apart. Tammy cried as she watched her friend gurgle blood and struggle for breath yet slowly expire. EMTs, though expeditious, could not save the dying teenager. As they removed the body, Tammy noticed that the opal ring Holly wore was missing.
As officers closed off the crime scene and searched for evidence they noticed several key clues. A Nike Air Jordan shoeprint was found near the door. The print did not match any shoes in Holly’s brother’s closet. Holly’s blood soaked T-shirt as well as a blood stained knife was found in the parking lot. Tammy told authorities of the Black man that watched them from the weight room. As officers checked the sign in sheet, there was only one name that they weren’t familiar with; a C. Prince. After further investigation it was found that C. Prince was Cleophus Prince Jr., a tenant in the building.
Officers tracked Prince down the following day and questioned him concerning his whereabouts on the day of Holly’s murder. During the interview he refused to be fingerprinted, answered the detective’s questions with a flippant tone and immediately asked if he could leave. Simply working out was not illegal and since the officers had no evidence to the contrary, his request was granted and Prince was allowed to leave without being charged.
The relationship that brought Prince to the Buena Vista apartments had ended earlier that spring. He now shared an apartment with Robert and Robin Romo. He confided to them that during a recent date he had that he in fact had raped his date multiple times during their night out. Not long after the police interview Prince moved out of the apartment complex.
In late May, Prince burglarized the home of Elissa Keller. The 38-year-old Keller shared an apartment with her 18-year-old daughter in the Top of the Hill apartment complex. On May 21st Keller had not reported to work nor was she answering phone calls. Co-workers thought this odd and contacted her about Elissa’s absence. Her daughter, who was away at the time, called and also got no answer. Worried she informed the police of her concerns. The daughter cut her trip short and returned to their apartment late that evening. She was horrified to find the dead body of her mother on the bedroom floor. Identical to the Buena Vista murders, the victim had a cluster of stab wounds to her chest. Elissa had also been beaten in the face, as well as choked. Next to her lifeless body lay her blood soaked underwear turned inside out. Devastated as she spoke with detectives, the daughter informed them that a gold nugget ring her mother wore at all times was missing from her finger.
Investigators walked the crime scene and soon deduced that the perpetrator entered through a window that had been left partially open. Detectives also noticed a familiar shoe print on the floor nearby. They also noticed a peculiar honeycomb pattern in the blood that was found at the other murder scenes.
On the morning of September 13th, neighbors of the Clark family heard 18-year-old Amber Clark, arguing with a male. Suddenly they heard Amber cry out then silence. Not long after, Pamela Clark returned home from her morning workout. Pamela, who was due to be at work in the afternoon, never arrived to her office. Phone calls made by her colleagues went unanswered. Curious, Pamela’s friend from work stopped by the Clark home and was shocked to find the body of Pamela lying in the doorway of the home. Pamela was on her back, nude, with her arms spread out at 90-degree angles to her body. She had been repeatedly stabbed, with eleven deep wounds to the upper left chest area. From blood trails on the floor, it appeared that she had been stabbed elsewhere and dragged to this location. Near her head lay a bloody knife.
After regaining her composure the friend called the police, however unbeknownst to her, the horror wasn’t over. As she walked through the home she found Amber dead on the bedroom floor. Though she was partially clothed, her breasts were exposed. Like her mother, she too had eleven stab wounds in a cluster on her chest. Another bloody knife was found in the bathroom nearby.
Examining the horrific scene, officers found that money had been taken from the women’s purses. Also missing was Pamela’s wedding rings and other small items. Officers located a torn dining room window screen and identified the window as the point of entry. They also found footprints made by an athletic shoe near the window.
Law enforcement compiled all of the similarities of the recent murders and drew the conclusion that this was the work of a serial killer. The county of San Diego was in an uproar and citizens put great pressure on law enforcement to solve these murders. A city councilman whose district included Clairemont told reporters he was fielding some 300 to 400 calls a day from concerned citizens. He went to meet with some people and found that they were in a state of terror. A task force was assembled to work these cases day and night. The task force consisted of twenty-seven detectives, five sergeants, one lieutenant, and a police captain. The murders were highlighted on America’s Most Wanted to gather any information that the public may have.
Ironically, during the same time frame, San Diego was being plagued by a series of burglaries. The burglar wore socks on his hands to so not to leave fingerprints. The perpetrator of the burglaries was no big secret though, except to law enforcement. Cleophus Prince Jr. bragged to trusted friends at work of the loot he had come across by burglarizing homes, even offering his foreman at Nacomm Communications several pieces of jewelry. A consummate talker, Prince now began to brag about women he was dating. Prince told friends he was dating an older white woman, a massage therapist. He had a wedding ring he said was hers, and he added that he was having sex with the woman’s daughter as well.
Eventually boasts from Prince’s mouth got to the ears of law enforcement. Neighbors from the various burglaries remembered the older model bluish-gray vehicle with a noisy muffler being present at the scene of burglaries. A BOLO, (Be on the Look Out) was placed on the car description. Soon officers got a tip that a member of the Family Fitness Center on Miramar Road (the same gym that Pamela Clark belonged to) drove such a vehicle. On February 4, 1991, an employee called police and reported that a man had just driven a 1982 Chevy Cavalier through the parking lot. The driver, Prince, was sitting there in his car when officers arrived fifteen minutes later. Though he had been a member of the club, Prince’s membership had been cancelled making him a trespasser and subject to arrest.
During the search of Prince’s vehicle officers found black leather gloves and wool gloves, along with a knife with an eight-inch blade, a steak knife, and two folding knives of different sizes. Though the items were suspicious, none were illegal. Prince could not be held for long on the trespassing charge so after being fingerprinted and having a blood sample taken he was released. Prince immediately left town and headed to his native Birmingham, Alabama.
Prince’s samples were sent to Maryland for testing along with samples from each of the murder scenes. Three weeks later, the police learned that there was a match between Prince and the semen samples from the Weinhold rape and murder. Police also learned that for each of the similar murders, Prince resided in the immediate area. Dispatched to his most recent address officers found that Prince no longer was in the area. However, during the search of his old apartment officers did find an opal ring that matched the description of the one removed from Holly Tarr when she was stabbed.
The police got a tip as to where Prince had gone and were elated to find that he had been arrested in Birmingham for burglary. The down side is that he had made bond and been released. After finding out the nature of San Diego’s interest in him his bondsman was contacted to find out where he was. Prince was then alerted to turn himself in. The following day, accompanied by his parents, he turned himself in to Birmingham authorities.
Initially on five murders had been linked to Prince until searches turned up another item that had belonged to a victim: a unique ring that matched the one missing from Elissa Keller. She was added to the victim list. Among the evidence against Prince was DNA matching several crimes. The Air Jordan shoes owned by Prince left footprints at several crime scenes also. The victims all fit a similar type: white, attractive brunettes that were physically fit. All except Holly Tarr had received the cluster type stab wounds. Her friend Tammy had interrupted her murder.
On July 13, 1993 Prince was convicted of murdering six women – Tiffany Schultz, 20; Janene Weinhold, 21, who was also raped; Holly Tarr, 18; Elissa Keller, 38; and Pamela Clark, 42, and her daughter, Amber, 18 – who were stabbed to death in their homes in Clairemont, University City and East San Diego. He was also convicted of 20 burglaries that occurred at the same time. Cleophus Prince Jr. was sentenced to die by lethal injection. Due to numerous appeals Prince currently resides on death row in San Quentin, as of this posting no death date has been set.
Normally I refrain from providing commentary on my posts, but I must get this out. Prince was sentenced to death in 1993 however, due to a vast number of appeals he is still alive 21 years later. These cowards find it so easy to prey on unsuspecting women, raping and murdering them without a second thought. But once they are caught, they make deals, file appeals, do any and everything imaginable to either avoid the death penalty or squeeze as many years as they can out of the state in which they are incarcerated. How many times have we seen the perpetrator agree to enter a guilty plea in order to take the death penalty; “off of the table?” Over and over again we have seen the defendant flee to Canada or some other sympathetic country to receive asylum from the death penalty when they gave no sympathy to their victims, brutally murdering just for the sport of it.
In every photo of Cleophus Prince Jr. he is shown smiling. The look on his face illustrates the arrogance and narcissistic demeanor of this individual. Each picture pisses me off more and more especially when I read that this punk is trolling for pen pals. In short, on behalf of the families of his victims and real men everywhere, I would love the opportunity to wipe that goofy ass grin off of his face and give him exactly what he is looking for; an old fashion ass kicking.