Accused Serial Killer: Darren Deon Vann

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.

Darren Deon Vann
Darren Deon Vann

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.

Afrikka Hardy
Afrikka Hardy

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

Anith Jones
Anith Jones

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

Teaira Batey
Teaira Batey

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.

 

 

 

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William Bonin-The Freeway Killer

First of all, let me apologize for the hiatus between posts. Rest assured that I am back and you can look for regular posts from the Reignmaker1911.

Freeways aren’t anything spectacular, other than the daily hazards that accompany driving they aren’t looked upon as dangerous. They run through cities, counties and states, allowing us to maneuver about this country of ours. Unfortunately between 1972 and 1980, numerous freeways in southern California became the final resting place for a great many, the number may be in the hundreds. At least 36-44 male victims are accredited to a single murderer. The highways and byways of California ran red with the blood shed by William George Bonin who raped, tortured and murdered these men. Though many murderers used these thoroughfares as their killing fields, it was the wicked exploits of William Bonin that earned him the title of, “The Freeway Killer.”

Born January 8, 1947 to alcoholic parents, William Bonin along with his older and younger brothers, were raised primarily by his grandfather, a convicted child molester.  The pattern of abuse and the vicious cycle of rape permeated Bonin’s life at an early age. As a child young William was raped by his father. At the tender age of 6 Bonin was sent to an orphanage. During this period he was subjected to constant sexual assaults perpetrated by the older boys. Eventually, William became a willing participant in the homosexual sex acts with the other boys. At the age of 9, Bonin was released from the orphanage and began his transition from prey to predator as he began to molest younger boys in the area.

In 1965 Bonin enlisted into the Air Force and was sent to Vietnam. While logging over 700 hours of combat and patrol time, Bonin earned a Good Conduct Medal. William Bonin also displayed exemplary courage under fire by risking his own life to save the life of a fellow soldier. Bonin was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force in October, 1968 and returned to Connecticut to live with his mother before moving to California. Air Force officials later learned however that Bonin, during his tenure in the service, had sexually assaulted two fellow soldiers at gunpoint. From this point the depravity and sexual sadism of William Bonin would reach new depths.

William Bonin 1
William Bonin

In 1969 Bonin would have his first run-in with law enforcement.  He was arrested for the sexual of assault of 5 young men throughout Los Angeles County. During the assaults Bonin picked up the boys while driving around then handcuffed and sodomized them. During pre-trial evaluations Bonin was diagnosed as a “mentally disordered sex offender” and upon conviction was remanded to Atascadero State Hospital. It was here that the light was shed on the abuse Bonin received as a child. Though he had no memory of the abuses, physical evidence proved otherwise and the doctors deduced that his subconscious had repressed any ability to recall the experiences consciously. Doctors also found a variety of other physical and psychological anomalies. They reported brain damage in the area that is thought to restrain violent impulses; manic-depressive illness, and several unexplained scars on his head and backside. As with the abuses; Bonin could not recall the origins of his scars. Bonin remained at Atascadero for five years. He was released, not due to being cured but due to fact that nothing more could be done for him. On his file the doctors simply stated that he was no longer a danger to others. Though he was examined at great length by neurologists, psychiatrists and psychologists; the actual treatment William Bonin received is unknown to this date.

Obviously Bonin had not read his own chart because within 16 months of his release he had sexually assaulted 14 year old David McVicker at gun point and attempted to abduct another teenage male. Bonin received a sentence of one to 15 years in prison. McVicker would be his last rape victim that lived to testify.

Released in October of 1978, Bonin was anxious for a fresh start. He immediately moved to the town of Downey, CA and soon found employment as a tow truck driver. William even met a girl with whom he began dating. He told friends the he and she went to nearby Anaheim every Sunday. Bonin became acquainted with fellow Downey resident Everett Fraser. Fraser would throw elaborate parties at his home, to which he would always invite Bonin. A 22-year-old factory worker and part-time magician named Vernon Butts was in attendance at one of these parties. Over time Butts became enamored with Bonin and was excited by sadistic homosexual activities. Sharing the same ideology, the ne’er-do-well Butts leapt at the chance of becoming Bonin’s first accomplice. Together, they would prowl the highways of Southern California in Bonin’s olive drab van, looking for teens to ravage.

Vernon Butts
Vernon Butts

In May of 1979 the body of 14-year-old Reseda resident, Thomas Lundgren was discovered in Malibu. Lundgren had been emasculated as well as slashed across the throat, stabbed, and strangled to death. In August the remains of Mark Shelton, a 17-year old from Westminster were found at Cajon Pass. On August 5, 1979, sometime between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., Bonin and Butts picked up Marcus Grabs. Grabs was hitchhiking along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach. The depraved duo sodomized, beat and stabbed Grabs over 70 times. They then dumped the body in Malibu Canyon. Butts would go on to assist Bonin in at least 5 more murders. Despite the obvious similarities in modus operandi of the three killings, officials in Orange as well as Los Angeles County refused to acknowledge the possibility of a serial killer being in operation. However, that manner of thinking would change as the death toll continued to rise.

Three weeks later the mutilated and semi castrated corpse of 15-year-old Donald Hyden of Hollywood would be found near Ventura Freeway. On September 12, 1979, the body of David Murillo, 17, was found in the same vicinity. Both teens had been sodomized and strangled with a ligature. David’s head had been bashed in with a tire iron. Eight days later, an 18-year-old Newport Beach youth named Robert Wirostek was abducted as he cycled to his job at a grocery store: his body was found on September 19 alongside the Interstate 10 Highway.

In late November 1979 a corpse of an unidentified youth was found in Kern County. The victim was savagely beaten, then strangled to death before his body was discarded. On December 2nd, the nude body of 17-year-old, Frank Dennis Fox was found alongside a highway five miles east of San Diego.  On December 13th another John Doe was found, mutilated and discarded like trash. In early January of 1980, the body of Michael McDonald from Rialto was found fully clothed body in San Bernardino County Approximately a week and a half later the strangled corpse of 15-year-old, Long Beach teen, John Kilpatrick was found in Rialto.

In early 1980 Bonin had recruited a new accomplice, another sexual psychopath, Gregory Matthew Miley. On February 3rd, while driving from Downey to Hollywood they met a 15-year-old hitchhiker named Charles Miranda. They forced Miranda into the van and robbed him of his wallet. Bonin then over powered the boy and beat and raped him. Bonin then goaded Miley to join in, not being able to sustain an erection, Miley raped the boy with a blunt object.

Gregory Matthew Miley
Gregory Matthew Miley

On February 5th 1980 the two men abducted, raped and killed James McCabe. The 12 year old boy was waiting at a Huntington Beach bus stop for a bus to Disneyland. The two men tricked young James into the van by promising to take him to Disneyland. Once inside, Miley drove as Bonin beat and raped the boy. Eventually Miley pulled over into secluded area and as Bonin strangled the boy with a tire iron, Miley jumped up and down on his chest. James McCabe’s body was left near a garbage dumpster in the Garden Grove area of the city of Walnut, CA. These monsters used McCabe’s six dollars, his Disneyland entrance fee, to purchase themselves lunch.

Ronald Gatlin, an 18 year old from Van Nuys, CA was found in March 1980. Not only was Gatlin beaten and sodomized as the others were; Gatlin suffered deep lacerations in his ear and neck resulting from being tortured with an ice pick. His body was found in the city of Duarte. One week later, on March 21st, 14-year-old Glenn Barker was also raped, beaten and strangled to death with a ligature; which had become Bonin’s signature method of murder. Unlike the others, Barker’s body bore multiple cigarette burns, possibly the evidence of a new accomplice. Later that same day 15-year-old Russell Rugh was abducted from a bus stop in Garden Grove. He too had been raped, bound, beaten and strangled to death. His body was found laid next to that of Barker’s in Cleveland National Forest in Southern California.

One evening in late March, Bonin encountered William Pugh at a function held by Everett Fraser. Bonin offered him a ride, agreeing to take him wherever he was going. Once inside, Bonin asked Pugh if he would like to engage in sexual intercourse with him. Shocked by the question, Pugh attempted to jump out of the van at the next stoplight. Bonin grabbed him by the collar, snatched him back in and according to Pugh; confessed to him his exploits as “the Freeway killer”.  He told Pugh just how much he enjoyed picking up teenage males to rape, torture and murder. He then leaned in even closer and said, “If you want to kill somebody, you should make a plan and find a place to dump the body before you even pick a victim.” He dropped Pugh off at home without incident. Pugh, a common thief had never killed anyone; that would all change very soon.

Harry Todd Turner was a 15-year old runaway from a boy’s home in the Lancaster community. Bonin and Pugh found the boy street walking in Los Angeles and offered him $20.00 for sex. Once inside the van, Bonin bound, raped and bit the boy numerous times. Exhausted from the assault, Bonin told Pugh to beat the child. Pugh beat Turner about the head and body for several minutes with a blunt object. Bonin then strangled Turner to death with his own T-shirt and discarded him near the Santa Monica Freeway.

April 10, 1980 proved to be a busy day for the psychopaths; abducting 16-year-old Steven Wood from Bellflower, as well as 18-year-old Lawrence Sharp from Long Beach hours later. Both young men were sodomized, beaten and strangled with Wood’s naked corpse being discarded beside the Pacific Coast Highway. Sharp would be found in May behind a Westminster gas station.

Bonin would re-team with Vernon Butts in the April 29, 1980 kidnapping of 19-year-old Daren Kendrick. Kendrick was abducted from the parking lot of his job. While he was raped and beaten like the other victims, Kendrick was forced to swallow chloral hydrate which left him with caustic chemical burns on his mouth, chin, chest and stomach. The young man also suffered an ice pick being driven through his right ear that caused a fatal wound to the upper cervical spinal cord. His body was found in Carson near the Artesia Freeway.

On May 19th Bonin asked Butts to accompany him on his next foray. Butts declined the offer and Bonin went on alone to abduct a 14-year-old South Gate boy named Sean King. According to Bonin, King’s body was discarded in Yucaipa, though to date his remains are yet to be found. Excitedly, Bonin returned to Butt’s home and bragged of the killing to his accomplice.

In late May, Bonin asked a 19-year old, mentally challenged drifter by the name of James Munro to move in with him. Impressed with his demeanor, Munro agreed to the arrangement. Bonin also convinced his supervisor at the Montebello delivery firm for which he worked to give Munro a job. Approximately a week later Munro and Bonin spotted Steven Jay Wells at a bus stop on El Segundo Boulevard. After being enticed into the van, Wells was driven to Bonin’s apartment where, according to Munro, the youth was raped, beaten, and strangled with his own T-shirt. The two men then stuffed the lifeless body into a box and proceeded to the home of Vernon Butts. Bonin asked Butts for advice concerning methods of disposing of the corpse with Butts simply responding, “Try a gas station like’ or ‘where’ – I don’t know which – ‘we dumped the last one.” Wells’ body was found discarded behind a Huntington Beach gas station.

James Munro
James Munro

Unbeknownst to Bonin, William Pugh had been arrested in May for an unrelated car theft. While incarcerated, Pugh heard on the news of law enforcement’s search for the perpetrator of the rash of murders. Confiding to a counselor, Pugh expressed that he may know who is responsible for these crimes. The counselor relayed the information to a LAPD homicide sergeant named John St. John. St. John interviewed Pugh, finding his testimony to be credible; St. John decided that Bonin might indeed be the Freeway Killer.

Round-the-clock surveillance of William Bonin began on June 2nd, 1980, the same day that Steven Jay Wells was murdered. On June 11 police observed Bonin attempting to pick up five separate teenage boys. William Bonin was arrested later that evening while sodomizing a young man in his van. In July, police arrested 22-year-old Vernon Butts, charging him as an accomplice in six of the “freeway” murders.

Bonin was formally charged with 14 counts of murder, eleven counts of robbery, plus one count each of sodomy and mayhem. Butts, charged with 6 counts of murder himself and fearing the death penalty, began to tell police of other accomplices. James Michael Munro, who upon Bonin’s arrest had stolen his car, was arrested in Michigan on July 31 and returned to California to stand trial on charges of killing Stephen Wells. Miley was arrested in Texas and charged with the murders of Charles Miranda and James McCabe. Butts, Miley and Munro all agreed to testify against Bonin in exchange for being spared the death penalty. Pugh, also attempting to save his own skin, agreed to a plea deal in exchange for his testimony and eventually received 6 years for manslaughter.

Bonin expressed no remorse for what he had done. Once confronted with the evidence Bonin freely confessed to police concerning the crimes for which he was charged as well as to those that law enforcement knew nothing of. Bonin confessed to killing 21 young men and boys, though officials cite that through blood and semen stains as well as hair and carpet fibers, the number of deaths for which he is responsible may possibly be double that. He shared aspects of each crime in horrifying detail. After his arrest Bonin told a reporter “I’d still be killing. I couldn’t stop killing. It got easier each time.”

Bonin’s trial began on November 5, 1981in Los Angeles County. Here he was charged with the murder of 12 of his victims, the victims who were murdered within the county jurisdiction. Vernon Butts, Greg Miley and James Munro testified for the prosecution. They spelled out details of the torture suffered by assorted “freeway” victims, the glee with which Bonin inflicted pain and the roles each of them played in the commission of these atrocities. In return; Butts, Miley and Munro drew life sentences in return for their testimony against Bonin.

On January 5, 1982, after eight days of deliberation, jurors convicted Bonin on ten counts of murder and ten of robbery. (He was acquitted in the deaths of Thomas Lundgren and Sean King.) Two weeks later, he was formally sentenced to death. About one year later he was convicted in Orange County of the other four murders, for which he received a second death sentence. Though sentenced to death, Bonin took advantage of the American legal system and appealed his sentence a number of times. After exhausting all of his appeals, on February 23, 1996, William George Bonin was executed by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison. Bonin was the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the history of California.

 

 

A Solution To Violent Crime-Parental Guidance Suggested

I would be remiss if not a full blown hypocrite if I did not address the acts of depravity committed daily here in my own city. The word depravity means moral corruption or wickedness. What act of moral corruption or wickedness is there greater than that of a parent disregarding his responsibilities to a child? The senseless violence that has permeated Chicago neighborhoods as well as neighborhoods around the country can be traced directly back to the lack of not only a positive male role model within the home and in the community, but the lack of a family unit at all.

As an advocate for prison reform I have and will continue to point out injustices throughout our legal system, however as a man first and foremost I will call it how I see it. For the most part, perpetrators of inner city violent crime are not forty something males. Old men aren’t riding around with their buddies gunning up public parks. Young adults and teenagers, (more specifically young males) are the trigger pullers, but the accomplices are the men & women that brought them into being. How, one may ask? There are great responsibilities in becoming a parent. Parents play a direct role in whatever their children become; positive or negative. When parents are not actively participating in the development of their children; someone or something else will. Whether its music videos, video games, neighborhood drug dealers or other children, the void will be filled.

As with most crime, inner-city violence is committed in areas that the perpetrator is familiar with. The serial killer plots his attack against members of his own community, not only because he is easily camouflaged but also because of his ability to remain close to that which he despises. The same applies to inner city violence. A young man grows to loathe his current socio-economic situation. Without positive familial reinforcement, he seeks that what is lacked in the home from the streets. In the streets the young man acquires a warped sense of morality, justice and values from other like-minded youths.

Several parents have abandoned proven effective traditional methods of raising children and embraced time outs or becoming our child’s friend. Other parents have given up “parenting”, all together allowing children to simply “grow up” forcing them to deal with the harsh realities of life on their own. Many parents have turned away from their own morally sound upbringing to indulge in lifestyles that accentuate the pleasures of “immediate gratification,” thereby destroying the likelihood of establishing a respectful parent-child relationship. These factors, combined with the massive numbers of fathers that are currently incarcerated, create a climate ripe for the senseless violence that we see, read & hear about today.

The socio-economic stresses attached to inner city life can be challenging but not insurmountable. The challenges are increased when a child has to face the world without the vital tools for success that only caring parents can provide. Needing support to handle day to day struggles, the child turns to his peers for assistance. Misguided youth become misguided young adults who are ready, willing and able to misguide their peers as well as other youths in the community. Parents have allowed themselves to be replaced by these peers, as well as, by various forms for entertainment such as video games, television and music lyrics. Through constant exposure to these forms of media that emphasize misogyny, violence and indifference toward life and without responsible parents to enforce the value of true morality and work ethics, the child forms a warped, “code of ethics.”

The lack of parental guidance denies a child of the ability to deal with day to day obstacles in a rational manner. The ability to use logic instead of emotions to solve problems is a skill that falls within a parent’s scope of duties. Without the capability to apply logic to a difficult situation and arrive at a reasonable conclusion, the emotionally charged child engages in a violent confrontation often ending in tragedy for an innocent victim.

7d673-therealreasonfortheriseinchicagoviolence3
Emotionally Charged Youth May Mean Tragedy for Innocent Victims

Without self-respect, success of any type is unattainable.  A child that does not respect himself cannot and will not respect parents or authority figures. If the child continues on this self-destructive path of disrespectful behavior, negative contact with law enforcement is inevitable. It is these young people; lacking the respect for self and others and possessing a false sense of entitlement, that commit the majority of community based violent crime. Self-respect, or the child’s lack of it, falls squarely upon the shoulders of the parents. Self-respect creates strong moral character; strong moral character prevents many incidents of senseless violent crime from ever being committed.

Community based violence is the result of many components; I would dare to say that most, if not all, can be traced back to ineffective parenting.  It would interest me to see just how many of the perpetrators actually come from homes where both parents had an active role in their childhood development. Parents must regain the power that they have given to the streets, the TV and the radio by becoming parents again. The only way to end the violence that infect our communities is for parents to not just talk but to show children through their actions that true success must be attained through education and work. Morality & integrity cannot be found in the street and are not the responsibility of teachers and schools but must be addressed in the home. Respect of self and of others cannot be found in books but must be conveyed from the hearts & minds of parents to their children. To solve the problem of violence in our neighborhoods, parents must raise their children instead of allowing them to simply grow up, therefore, in an effort to save our communities; parental guidance is suggested.

A Monster Is As A Monster Does

In my never-ending search for acts of depravity I happened across an interview with serial killer Paul Runge.  Runge was sentenced to death on June 5, 2006 after being found guilty in February of repeatedly raping and cutting the throats of Yolanda Gutierrez, 35, and her daughter, Jessica Muniz. The sexual sadist also confessed to the rape and murders of 5 other women throughout DuPage & Cook counties. During the conversation, Runge told the interviewer, “Not everyone convicted of accused of committing monstrous acts, is a monster.”

I know that I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer but if I’m not mistaken, those that, let’s say play football, earn the title of football players, right? People that cook are still considered cooks, or has that changed? The asinine statement made by this predator would definitely not go over well with the families of these women: Yolanda Gutierrez, Jessica Muniz, Stacy Frobel, Dzeneta Pasanbegovic, Amela Pasanbegovic, Dorota Dziubak, Kazimiera Paruch. These are the victims that fell prey to the evil that Paul Runge terrorized the Chicagoland area with from 1995 through 1997.

For those that are unfamiliar with Paul Frederick Runge, let me enlighten you to his personal brand of darkness. In August 1987, a 17 year old Runge manipulated a schoolmate into a private meeting near a horse stable not far from his home in the Chicago suburb of Oak Forest. Under the pretense that she would be helping Runge to hide marijuana, the young lady accompanied Paul to his home where she was punched in the face and raped. During her period of captivity Runge’s girlfriend called him requesting a ride to work. Paul proceeded to stuff the heavily constrained girl into a sleeping bag and left. After being held captive for 15 hours the girl; while handcuffed, bound, gagged and covered with knife wounds hopped out into traffic and was taken to safety by a passing motorist.

In 1988, Runge was prosecuted in Cook County Circuit Court, found guilty and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Paroled in 1994, Runge moved to suburban Carol Stream Illinois with his fiancée Charlene. In 1997 Paul was returned to prison on a parole violation. During his period of freedom, Paul Runge took the lives of 7 people and changed the lives of countless family members and friends forever.

In early January of 1995, Stacey Frobel, a 25 year old friend of Charlene came by for a visit. After hours of socializing and cocktails Stacey was persuaded to stay over instead of driving home intoxicated. Sometime during the night Stacey was assaulted by Runge who struck the woman in the head with a dumbbell. He then carried Stacey’s bloody body into another bedroom, laid her down on a sheet of plastic and raped the unconscious woman. The following morning, Runge used a saw to dismember her body in a bathtub.

As parts of Frobel’s body surfaced in Northern Illinois & Southern Wisconsin, Paul and Charlene were investigated as they were the last people to see Stacey Frobel alive. The couple swore adamantly that Stacey had left the night before and were oblivious to her demise.

In July 1995, sisters Dzeneta Pasanbegovic, 22, and Amela Pasanbegovic 20, two Bosnian immigrants that answered an ad for house cleaners needed. They arrived at the Glendale Heights home of Paul & Charlene Runge, (who were now married) and unfortunately met their end. Once inside, the two women were handcuffed, raped and eventually dismembered. Runge placed their body parts into large plastic bags and discarded them in garbage containers throughout the city.

Dorota Dziubak, 30 and Kazimiera Paruch, 43, both of Chicago, were selling their respective homes in 1997. In January, Dorota was assaulted and murdered by Runge. Ms. Paruch met her untimely end at the hand of Runge in March of the same year.  In each case the victims were bludgeoned to death and their houses set ablaze. Their burned bodies were discovered after firefighters extinguished separate fires in their homes.

Yolanda Gutierrez, 35, and her 10-year-old daughter, Jessica Muniz, lived in a modest apartment on the northwest side of Chicago. Yolanda had placed an ad in a local classified to sell a “Hooked on Phonics,” instructional game that was no longer being used. Unfortunately, evil personified came calling that night in the form of Paul Runge. On January 31, 1997; Runge raped the mother and daughter, slit their throats then set them on fire.

In 2001 Runge, who was still incarcerated from the parole violation, was officially charged in the murders of Gutierrez & Muniz. Confronted with DNA evidence, Runge confessed to the murders of all 7 women. On 2/27/2006, Paul Runge was found guilty of murder and on 6/5/2006 Judge Joseph Kazmierski sentenced him to death. However, in Illinois a death sentence is simply a symbolic gesture.  A moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois has been in effect since Gov. George Ryan halted executions in the state shortly before he left office. Prosecutors were later allowed to resume seeking the death penalty in criminal cases, but the state legislature has not lifted the ban on carrying out a death sentence. Currently, a sentence of death in Illinois is actually a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

There is an old saying, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, what is it? The mere suggestion of Runge that anyone could consider him as anything other than a monster is preposterous. We here in the real world have always and will always judge each other based on our actions. In the words of our cinematic hero Forrest Gump, just as stupid is as stupid does; a monster is as a monster does.

Paul Runge
Paul Runge

The Real Reason for the Rise in Chicago Violence.

The violence that plagues the streets of Chicago is not new. Though it has only recently been reported by media outlets around the world, the violence in the streets of Chicago has existed for decades. Another fact that you might find interesting and hopefully shocking, it isn’t by chance, believe it or not, all of this destruction was planned. Please read on as I bring you up to snuff.

The Real Reason for the Rise in Chicago Violence 3

During the 50’s and 60’s massive amounts of heroin was “dumped” in Black communities around the country. This was done as a strategic maneuver to cause mass addiction and to quell the civil rights movement which at that time was gaining momentum. In the 70’s, the Nixon administration initiated the ”War on Drugs”, under the guise as an effective means for law enforcement to take down and prosecute drug cartels that seemed to operate above the law. During the presidency of Ronald Reagan the “war on drugs” was reinstituted and the “Just Say No” campaign swept America, unfortunately, so did “crack” cocaine. Americans oblivious to its true intentions supported the laws and statutes that came about from the “war”.

What actually happened was the statutes of this war gave law enforcement carte blanche to violate the constitutional rights of Blacks. According to federal records, there were no Blacks arrested for the transport and wholesale sale of narcotics. In fact only 33% of those arrested for ANY drug related offenses were Black, yet 73% of those serving time for those same offenses were Black. According to a 1998, University of Georgia study, Blacks receive sentences and average of 6 months longer than non-Blacks for the same crimes. According to Federal statistics, due to crack’s prevalence in predominantly Black neighborhoods the sentencing for “crack” convictions is 3 times as long as the sentencing for “cocaine” convictions.

Illinois prisons are filled with an astonishing amount of non-violent petty offenders. Illinois incarcerates Blacks on an 8 to 1 ratio to whites for drug related offenses.  The population of Illinois Department of Corrections has a population of 60% Black with over two thirds incarcerated for non-violent offenses such as drug possessions. Whites and blacks engage in drug offenses at similar rates, yet an overwhelming focus of law enforcement on drug use in low-income urban areas, with arrests and incarceration the main weapon.  Furthermore Blacks were 2.8 to 5.5 times more likely to be arrested than whites in every year between 1980 and 2007. Illinois has a greater percentage for putting more African Americans behind bars for drug crimes than whites than any other state in the nation. Between 2000 and 2007, simple pot possession arrests alone accounted for between 37.7% and 42.1% of all drug arrests.

The violence in the streets of Chicago and other metropolitan areas is a direct result of the mass incarceration of the Black male and its devastating effects on the Black community.  Society grooms us to believe and accept that law enforcement and the judicial system, is right and fair and those that run afoul of it must be wrong or guilty. Potential employers, institutes of education and even family members look upon an individual with a felony conviction with utter disdain. The judicial system has devised a way to legalize discrimination by placing a permanent blot on an individual, no matter the circumstances or how petty the offense. The likelihood of a Black male, convicted of petty offenses such as drug possession, acquiring gainful employment is slim at best. Regardless of a nonviolent criminal history, the conviction placed on his record makes it legal for this individual to endure hardships parallel to those instituted during the Jim Crow era. The scene for re-offense is set as the frustration due to the inability to provide for his family mounts, thus resulting in probable re-incarceration.

The father provides a vital asset to the family structure as well as the Black community. Through the mass incarceration of Black men, the mission to disassemble the Black family has been achieved. Men are the head of the family, families create communities. Taking out the Black male creates communities that lack any form of leadership. When young men are raised without the influence of a positive male they often lack the ability to apply logical analytical problem solving to everyday situations. These emotionally charged young men often apply irrational solutions to rational circumstances. In many cases these men grow into adulthood with resentment for the absence of the father. Others may lack respect for a father unable to provide for his family.  The young men grow into adulthood seeing society as a two sided group, the haves and the have nots. Many develop an erred since of entitlement, a bleak outlook on future life with a total disregard for their own life as well as the lives of others. With the absence of a real sense of self-worth, a false sense is developed, guided not by the laws of the land but replaced with the laws of the street, laws that classify individuals as either predator or prey. As a result, violence ensues and death numbers skyrocket.

The violence perpetrated in Chicago streets come as a direct result of the mass incarceration of the Black male. Laws, put in place by the “War on Drugs”, have caused great loss of life here in Chicago. It is not uncommon to cruise through Black neighborhoods and see tactical police officers patting each other on the back and giving high fives for taking down an old man in possession of some minute amount of drugs. In the distance, the sound of rapid gun fire from automatic weapons can be heard; a sound as common as chirping birds to Black community residents. This activity is followed immediately by another familiar sound, easily recognizable to Black community residents, a mother’s cry of pain due to her slain child as the detective in charge of the case simply writes another murdered youth off as gang related or drug related so that it can be added to the 75% plus of the unsolved homicides here in Chicago. I guess to the powers that be the “War on Drugs” is working exactly as planned.