This post is taking extra time to research so be patient. If you have any suggestions on who should be included on this list, hit me back with a name in comments.
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.
Can social status or wealth replace the desire to rape and murder within the hearts and minds of serial killers? Can social acceptance and financial gains quell the obsession and compulsion to degrade and deprive of life? Colonel David Russell Williams was a decorated colonel and a rising star in the ranks of the Canadian Air Force. At his height, Col. Williams managed Canada’s largest military airfield. Among his prestigious commendations, Colonel Russell Williams received the Canadian Forces
Decoration and the South-west Asia Service Medal. In December 2010 Col. Williams was chosen newsmaker of the year in Canada, not solely due to his military exploits; Williams became a media and news mainstay due to the revelation of the Col. Williams no one knew. By the end of 2010, Col. Williams’ impeccable military career and his legacy would be destroyed and the great colonel would become an embarrassment to a nation. Williams’ perverse desires were too intense to keep in check. He allowed them to overtake him and develop into a sickening need to rape and take the lives of two women thereby transforming the lives of his victims as well as their friends and families…forever.
“I look better than any of those bitches,” Russell whispered as he admired himself in the full length mirror; modeling lingerie that he had pilfered from one of his victim’s closets. He had always been partial to red but the lavender brought out the color in his eyes, so he thought. Searching in his bag of clothes, Russell recalled memories of the pleasure he obtained by stealing articles for his bag of personals. He loved breaking into different homes and rummaging through the women’s underwear, so much so that he referred to it as, “collecting artifacts.” Russell welcomed the release from normal day to day responsibilities. He was regarded as a stand-up citizen, but more than that, he was regarded as a model military man. As he gazed upon his image in the mirror, he chuckled to himself believing that he had everyone fooled. The fact is, Russell was a commander in the Canadian Armed Forces, a position that was above reproach; who would believe that in his spare time he was a cat burglar with an appetite for women’s lingerie. Unfortunately, unbeknownst even to Col. Williams was depths of depravity that his obsession would eventually take him to.
Born on March 7, 1963 in Bromsgrove, England, Williams and his family emigrated to Canada, where they moved to Chalk River, Ontario. After graduating high school in 1982 and graduating from the University of Toronto with an economics and political science degree, Williams enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1987. In 1990, he received his flying wings, and was posted to 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School, based at CFB Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, where he served for two years as an instructor.
Promoted to captain on January 1, 1991, Williams was posted to 434 Combat Support Squadron at CFB Shearwater, N.S. in 1992, where he flew the CC-144 Challenger in the electronic warfare and coastal patrol role. In 1994, Williams was posted to the 412 Transport Squadron in Ottawa, where he transported VIPs, including high-ranking government officials and foreign dignitaries.
Williams was promoted to major in November 1999 and was posted to Director General Military Careers, in Ottawa, where he served as the multi-engine pilot career manager.
He obtained a Master of Defense Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada in 2004 with a 55-page thesis that supported pre-emptive war in Iraq, and in June 2004, he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and on July 19, 2004, he was appointed commanding officer of 437 Transport Squadron at CFB Trenton, Ontario, a post he held for two years.
From December 2005 to May 2006, Williams also served as the commanding officer of Camp Mirage, a secretive logistics facility believed to be located at Al Minhad Air Base in Dubai, United Arab Emirates that provides support to Canadian Forces operations in Afghanistan.
He was posted to the Directorate of Air Requirements on July 21, 2006 where he served as project director for the Airlift Capability Projects Strategic (C-17 Globemaster III) and Tactical (CC-130J Super Hercules), and Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue (CC-127J Spartan), working under Lieutenant General Angus Watt.
In January 2009, he was posted to the Canadian Forces Language School in Gatineau, Quebec, for a six-month period of French language training, during which he was promoted to colonel by recommendation of now-retired Lieutenant-General Angus Watt.
On July 15, 2009, Williams was sworn in as the Wing Commander at Canadian Forces Base Trenton by the outgoing Wing Commander Brigadier General Mike Hood. CFB Trenton is Canada’s busiest air base and locus of support for overseas military operations. Located in Trenton, Ontario, the base also functions as the point of arrival for the bodies of all Canadian Forces personnel killed in Afghanistan, and the starting point for funeral processions along the “Highway of Heroes” whence their bodies are brought to Toronto for autopsy.
Williams has been described as an elite pilot and “shining bright star” of the military. He had flown Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Governor General of Canada, the Prime Minister of Canada, and many other dignitaries across Canada and overseas in Canadian Forces VIP aircraft. The exposure of the perverse actions perpetrated by Colonel Williams would erase an otherwise stellar career.
Jessica Lloyd, 27, vanished on January 28, 2010. Investigators identified distinctive tire tracks left in snow near her home. One week after her disappearance, the Ontario Provincial Police conducted an extensive canvassing of all motorists using the highway near her home from 7 pm on February 4, 2010, to 6 am on the following day, looking for the unusual tire treads. Williams was driving his Pathfinder that day — rather than the BMW he usually drove — and an officer noticed the resemblance of his tire treads. These were subsequently matched to the treads near Lloyd’s home.
On February 7, 2010, the CFB Trenton base commander was called by the OPP in Ottawa and asked to come in for questioning. During the 10-hour interview he confessed to the numerous crimes of which he was later convicted. Early the next morning Williams led investigators to the woman’s body in a secluded area on Cary Road, 13 minutes away from where he lived. Williams was also charged in the death of Corporal Marie-France Comeau, a 37-year-old military flight attendant based at CFB Trenton, who had been found dead inside her home in late November 2009.
Williams was arraigned and remanded into custody on Monday, February 8, 2010. A week after his arrest, investigators reported that, along with hidden keepsakes and other evidence they had found in his home, they had matched a print from one of the homicide scenes to his boot. In addition to the four primary incidents, the investigation into Williams includes probes into 48 cases of theft of women’s underwear dating back to 2006. In the searches of his Ottawa home, police discovered stolen lingerie that was neatly stored, catalogued, and concealed.
Along with the murder charges, Williams was charged with breaking and entering, forcible confinement, and the sexual assault of two other women in connection with two separate home invasions near Tweed, Ontario in September 2009. According to reports, the women had been bound in their homes and the attacker had taken photos of them.
Hours after the announcement of Williams’ arrest, police services across the country reopened unsolved homicide cases involving young women in areas where Williams, a career military man, had previously been stationed. According to news reports, police began looking at other unsolved cases based on the full statement that Williams gave to police.
Williams appeared before the Ontario Court of Justice in Belleville, Ontario. Williams waived his right to a preliminary inquiry and thus had his next appearance scheduled at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for October 7, 2010. On October 18, 2010, Williams pleaded guilty to all charges. On the first day of Williams’ trial and guilty plea, details emerged of other sexual assaults he committed, including that of a new mother who was wakened with a blow to the head while she and her baby were asleep in her house.
The first day of trial revealed several aspects of Williams’ perversity not previously known. Through trial commencements Williams’ pedophiliac tendencies were exposed. He confessed to stealing underwear of girls as young as nine years old. During a break-in into the bedroom of a 12-year-old, he left a message in her computer saying: “Merci” (“Thank you” in French).
Williams admitted to 82 fetish-related home invasions and attempted break-ins between September 2007 and November 2009. Williams had progressed from break-ins to sexual assaults with no penetration to rape and murder. While in operation he kept detailed track of police reports of the crimes he was committing, logged his crimes, kept photos and videos, and had even left notes and messages for his victims. Revealed during trial were thousands of pictures of his crimes that he kept on his computer. During investigations and presented throughout the trial were numerous pictures of Williams dressed in the various pieces of underwear and bras he had stolen, frequently masturbating while lying on the beds of his victims.
On October 22, 2010 Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert F. Scott sentenced Williams, to two concurrent terms of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
In response to his arrest, conviction and subsequent embarrassment to Canada and the Canadian Forces, Williams was stripped of his rank, and later dishonorably discharged. Williams’ uniform was burned and his medals were revoked and cut into pieces, his commission scroll (a document confirming his status as a serving officer) was shredded, and his Pathfinder was crushed and scrapped. He currently resides in a maximum-security prison in Port-Cartier, Quebec.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The true crime genre has given me insight on some of the most wicked people to walk the face of the earth. At times I sit in utter amazement as well as in true disgust as I read and research the atrocities committed by the men and women. The most frightening thought is that these people look exactly like anyone else. There is no visible indicator that would identify any of the people as inherently evil or dangers to humanity, yet as we read we realize that we share this planet with individuals that give no regard to human life.
After hundreds of hours of reading, interviewing and film, I thought that I had reached a point of numbness in respect to the depravity of these crimes. I felt that by constantly being exposed to these crimes I would develop a mental callousness to these people and their exploits and honestly in a way….I had. However, my next subject made me realize that I’m not quite as tough as I thought I was.
In 39 short years on earth, Carl Panzram would murder at least 22 people and sodomize 1000’s of males. Panzram was born on June 28, 1891 in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. The last of 8 children, Panzram was a mischievous child; when he was eight he was convicted of drunk & disorderly conduct behavior. Carl broke into a neighbor’s home when he was 11. He stole anything he could get his hands on, including a handgun. He was quickly found out by his brothers, who beat him unconscious. Panzram received beatings from his brothers regularly and for any reason, no matter how insignificant. Carl was later arrested for the burglary. In 1903, at the age of 12, he was sent to the Minnesota State Training School. During his two year stay, Panzram was repeatedly raped, beaten, and tortured by staff members. In retaliation, young Carl burned down the school’s warehouse. By the time he was released in 1905, Carl was a teenage alcoholic filled with hatred and rage. Panzram developed a propensity for running away from home. When he was 14 he ran away and was reportedly gang raped by a group of hobos.
As he entered adulthood, Panzram became a proficient thief and burglar. He went through varied periods of incarceration until he joined the United States Army in 1907. While serving his country Panzram was convicted of larceny and served a prison sentence from 1908 to 1910 at Fort Leavenworth. During his time in prison, Panzram tallied numerous violations of prison rules, each carrying its own punishment, usually merciless beatings from prison guards. Upon his release from Leavenworth in 1910, Panzram realized that he was virtually homeless. Having spent most of his life behind bars, Carl Panzram had become irreversibly and totally evil, void of any level of kindness.
To call Carl Panzram a rapist would be like calling the North Pole “chilly.” From the time he was released from prison, Panzram robbed and raped his way around the country. He rode the trains over vast distances and spent time in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Utah, cutting a path of destruction across the country in a methodical, relentless way that kept police hot on his trail but a step behind. He raped without mercy, rarely passing up an opportunity to take on a new victim. In his autobiography
Panzram stated, “Whenever I met one that wasn’t too rusty looking I would make him raise his hands and drop his pants. I wasn’t very particular either. I rode them old and young, tall and short, white and black. It made no difference to me at all except that they were human beings.” Panzram also had an affinity for fires also. In his own words he states, “I burned down old barns, sheds, fences, snow sheds or anything I could, and when I couldn’t burn anything else I would set fire to the grass on the prairies, or the woods, anything and everything.”
In the summer of 1911, Panzram went about the business robbing and burglarizing. He would make his escapes by hopping boxcars and rolling to the next town. He jumped a freight train heading northwest and brought along some stolen guns that he had buried outside town before he got arrested. While he was in a boxcar with two other bums, he saw another opportunity for rape. Just as he was about to make his move a railroad cop appeared. Panzram got the drop on the officer, raised his pistol and robbed the cop of his watch and whatever money he had. Then, while the other two men watched, he raped the officer at gunpoint. He then forced the other two men to do the same.
Carl continued his travels around the country using various assumed names. On June 1, 1915, Panzram burgled a house in Astoria, Oregon. and was arrested soon after while attempting to sell some of the stolen items. Law enforcement promised Panzram a light sentence if he revealed the whereabouts of the rest of the stolen goods. Though he complied, Panzram was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Feeling double-crossed, he broke out of his cell and burnt down the jail. Panzram was immediately transferred to the Oregon State Penitentiary. Once at the prison, Panzram got into trouble almost immediately for rule violations, and punishment became routine; as did his escapes from prison. On May 12, 1918, Carl escaped from the Oregon Prison for good. He sawed through the window bars using a hacksaw blade and jumped down off the prison walls. As frantic guards fired hundreds of rounds at the fleeing convict, Panzram made it into the woods and disappeared from sight. He later hopped a freight train heading east and left the Pacific Northwest forever.
In the summer of 1920, Panzram ended up in the city of New Haven, Connecticut. He found an old three-story colonial located at 113 Whitney Avenue. Once inside, Panzram found a large amount of jewelry, bonds and a .45 caliber automatic handgun. The name on the bonds was William Howard Taft; yes the 27th President of the United States. Panzram had burglarized the home of ex-president Taft. Taft’s Colt .45 caliber handgun would go on to be used in several murders. After stealing everything he could carry, Panzram escaped through the same window that he entered and hit the streets carrying a large bag of loot.
In 1920, Carl Panzram crossed from thief and rapist to serial murderer. He traveled to the lower east side of Manhattan and sold most of the stolen jewelry and bonds. Using some of the money he gained from the burglary, Carl bought a yacht named the Akista. He sailed the boat up the East River, eastward through the Long Island Sound past the south shore of the Bronx, the City of New Rochelle, and Rye and onto the rocky coast of Connecticut. As he traveled he would burglarize several boats, he would steal booze, guns, supplies and anything else that he could make a buck from. He docked the Akista at the New Haven yacht club; it was there that the seed of a murderous future was planted.
While at the yacht club, Panzram noticed the constant flow of sailors. He realized many of them were looking for work on outgoing freighters or local boats. Panzram concocted a scheme to hire sailors as deckhands for his ship then rob rape and kill them. From his confession Carl admits, “Every day or two I would go to New York and hang around 25 South Street and size up the sailors. We would wine and dine and when they were drunk enough they would go to bed. When they were asleep I would get my .45 Colt automatic, this I stole from Mr. Taft’s home, and blow their brains out.” He would then tie a heavy rock to the body and toss the deceased sailor overboard. Panzram murdered at least 10 sailors in this fashion. Local residents became suspicious when he would dock to buy supplies; regularly carrying a different crew. Upon realizing that he was arousing the curiosity of the locals, Carl sailed down the coast of New Jersey with his last two passengers until he reached Long Beach Island, where he intended to kill them both. In late August 1920, a huge gale hit and the Akista smashed to pieces against the rocks. The three men swam to shore and parted ways.
In 1921, Panzram served six months in jail in Bridgeport, Connecticut, for burglary and possession of a loaded handgun. When released he stowed away on a ship and landed in Angola, a Portuguese colony on the west coast of Africa. Panzram landed a job with the Sinclair Oil Company as a foreman on an oil-drilling rig. The company was involved in searching for new sources of oil in Africa. Once there Panzram raped and murdered an 11 year old African boy. He gives the account in chilling detail, “A little nigger boy about 11 or 12 years old came bumming around,” he said. Panzram lured the boy back to the Sinclair Oil Company grounds where he sexually assaulted and killed him by bashing his head in with a rock. “I left him there, but first I committed sodomy on him and then I killed him,” Panzram wrote in his confession. “His brains were coming out of his ears when I left him and he will never be any deader.”
Panzram then moved to an area called Lobito Way and lived in a fishing village. The locals suspected him of murder but had no proof. He eventually hired six natives to assist him in the lucrative but dangerous occupation of crocodile hunting. While in the jungle the six men demanded a share of the profits. In return, Panzram shot each native in the back of the head then fed the bodies to the hungry crocodiles; he then rowed back to Lobito Bay. Realizing that many people saw him leave with the men and come back alone, he knew he had to relocate.
Panzram then headed north up the Congo River toward a place called Point Banana and then made his way to the Gold Coast. Robbing local village farmers along the way, he eventually got enough money to buy a fare to the Canary Islands. From there he stowed away on a ship to Lisbon, Portugal. Upon his arrival, he soon discovered that the local government knew about his crime spree in Africa and cops were on the lookout for him. Fortunately for Panzram he found another ship headed for America. Stowing away on the ship he soon found himself back in the United States by the summer of 1922.
Soon after he arrived in the U.S. Panzram renewed his captain’s license and retrieved the papers for his yacht, the Akista. His plan now was to steal another boat and register it with his yacht’s name. On July 18, 1922, while searching unsuccessfully for a similar boat to steal, Carl came across a 12 year old boy walking alone on the west side of Salem, Massachusetts. The boy’s name was George Henry McMahon who lived at 65 Boston Street in Salem. He had spent most of the day in a neighbor’s restaurant until the owner, Mrs. Margaret Lyons, asked George to run an errand. Panzram kept the boy for 3 hours where he reportedly sodomized the child six times before bashing his head in with a large rock. During the rape, Panzram stuffed magazine pages down the child’s throat and after the murder; the boy was left covered up with tree branches.
In haste, Panzram rushed to separate himself from the crime scene. As he fled the wooded area where he left McMahon’s body; two Salem residents passed by. The pair noticed how nervous and fidgety Panzram seemed, but they continued on their way. Though young George Henry’s body would be found three days later, the crime would go unsolved until 1928.
Panzram continued his search for a replacement boat and early in the summer of 1923 he stole a ship out of a Providence, Rhode Island marina. Panzram sailed the boat up the Hudson River to Yonkers. In Yonkers Carl met 15 year old George Walsoin. Panzram used the teen’s infatuation with sailing to lure him into his clutches. Promising that he would allow the boy to work with him on his trip upriver, Panzram waited til late in the night and sodomized the child.
Arriving in Kingston, a small bay off the Hudson, Panzram met a young man that seemed interested in purchasing the boat. Panzram took the buyer out to the yacht on the night of June 27 where they had a few drinks together. Unbeknownst to Panzram, the young man had no intention of purchasing the boat but to simply rob Carl of all he possessed. Realizing the true objective of his guest, Panzram shot the man, tied a metal weight onto the body and threw the man overboard; young George Walsoin stared in utter shock.
The next morning, Panzram and Walsoin, sailed into Poughkeepsie, NY. Panzram went on shore and stole a quantity of fishing nets worth more than $1,000. They set sail again and cruised across the river to Newburgh. After the boat dropped anchor, George jumped ship and swam to shore. He eventually made his way back to Yonkers the next day and told the police about being sexually assaulted by Panzram.
Area police were on the lookout for Panzram and his ship. After staking out the marina all night, Panzram docked and on the morning of June 29, 1923, the officers boarded the yacht and arrested Panzram. Using his sailing name, “Captain John O’Leary,” Panzram answered questions from the investigating detectives who charged him with sodomy, burglary and robbery. The next day he was placed in the Yonkers City jail awaiting court appearance. Panzram used his boat as collateral to hire an attorney. In turn, the lawyer arranged bail for Panzram, who immediately skipped. The lawyer, attempting to verify his property, was alerted by authorities that the boat was stolen and must be immediately confiscated. The attorney was left with nothing for his services.
On August 26, 1923, Panzram broke into the Larchmont train depot on Chatsworth Avenue. While rifling through passenger luggage he was confronted by a Larchmont cop, Officer Richard Grube, who was making his rounds. After wrestling with and disarming Panzram, he placed him under arrest. Still using the name John O’Leery, Panzram confessed to three additional burglaries. In village court the next morning, Judge Shafer set bail at $5,000 and remanded Panzram to county jail pending grand jury action. While in the village jail, Panzram told cops he was an escaped prisoner from Oregon where he was serving a 17-year sentence for shooting a police officer.
Larchmont police sent telegrams to Oregon. On August 29th, they received a reply citing that “Jeff Baldwin,” was a wanted man in Oregon. Telegrams came from various regions of the United States, each with various names but all describing the same man, verifying that indeed this man is wanted with several bounties on his head. Panzram even tried to claim a $500 bounty on himself using the logic that since he confessed, he should receive the reward.
Larchmont sentenced Panzram to prison for a five year term. He was taken to Dannemora, just 10 miles from the Canadian border, in October 1923. During an escape attempt, he climbed one of the prison walls and immediately fell 30 feet below onto a concrete step. He broke both legs and ankles. His spine was also badly injured. He received no medical attention for his injuries. He was carried into a cell and dropped on the floor. In July 1928, after serving five long, hard years, Panzram was discharged from Dannemora. Permanently crippled by lack of medical attention and certifiably insane, Carl Panzram was free again.
Consumed with revenge, the six foot 200 lb. Panzram set to put in motion the killing spree he had concocted while incarcerated. Within two weeks, he committed a dozen burglaries and killed at least one man during a robbery in Baltimore. Fortunately for the citizens of Washington DC, Panzram was arrested for burglary. It was during this period of incarceration that Carl would meet his one and only friend. Through this friendship the world would become aware of the true evil that coursed through the veins of Carl Panzram.
A naïve 26-year-old rookie guard named Henry Lesser had recently been hired to the jail in Washington DC. As Panzram was processed into the jail, an inquisitive Lesser asked Carl why he was here. In response Panzram said with a wry smile, “What I do is reform people.” The young guard monitored Panzram over the next few weeks. Unbeknownst to Lesser, Panzram wasn’t planning to hang around much longer. He had gradually been chipping away at the concrete surrounding the bars in the window of his cell so that he could eventually escape. His plans were thwarted by an overzealous inmate that informed the warden of his plans. As punishment Panzram was handcuffed to a pole and beaten mercilessly by guards. Lesser pitied Panzram and expressed his compassion by giving him a dollar to buy cigarettes and extra food. In a life filled with pain, this was the only act of kindness that was ever expressed to Carl Panzram. The two men became friends and confided in one another. Soon, Panzram agreed to write his life story for Lesser. And so, over the next few weeks, while Lesser supplied pencil and paper, Panzram wrote down the details of his twisted life of hate, depravity and murder.
Panzram wrote a 20,000 word confession. Within this journal of his life, Carl detailed the murders of at least 22 murders, over 1000 rapes and countless robberies and arsons; all eventually verified by the authorities of the various municipalities in which they occurred. As Panzram enlightened society to the true nature of his crimes, he felt obligated to divulge a trick used by criminals of his day to avoid capture. Criminals were frequently able to avoid arrest warrants by changing names. Panzram committed his transgressions against society under several names including, Jefferson Baldwin, Jeffrey Rhodes, John King and John O’Leery.
The document not only gave accounts of crimes but also contained Panzram’s opinions of the criminal justice system of the day. He gave graphic testimony of abuses he suffered while in prison. Prisons at that time were little more than hell holes, castles of pain designed to break unruly inmates; mentally and physically. Wardens served as the kings of these castles of pain and used the guards to carry out their orders, often utilizing physical torture to ensure obedience. The purpose of prison was strictly punishment and detention with little to no emphasis placed on rehabilitation. Panzram’s descriptions of his treatment during his periods of incarceration led to major changes in corrections in prisons nationwide.
Void of guilt or remorse, Panzram wrote of his tyrannical exploits occurring around the globe. He proudly admitted being the perpetrator of these crimes and gave vivid accounts of each offense, given with disturbing detail. Panzram however, adamantly blamed the commission of these acts on the criminal justice system. He blamed his crimes, not on himself but on society and the prison system, which he said perpetuates itself by producing more criminals.
On November 12, 1928, his trial for burglary began. Acting in his own defense, Panzram was found guilty by the jury and sentenced to 25 years. Panzram was promptly transferred to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. While in Leavenworth, Carl was assigned to work in the laundry facilities. Having told the warden that he would kill the first man to bother him, on June 20, 1929 he killed Robert Warnke, foreman of the prison laundry, battering him to death with an iron bar. During the trial for this murder, the jury took just 45 minutes to arrive at a verdict. Carl Panzram was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging.
Panzram refused to file any appeals, threatening to kill human rights activists that attempted to appeal on his behalf. On September 5, 1930 Carl Panzram was hung at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. When they put the noose around his neck, he allegedly spat in his executioner’s face and declared, “I wish the entire human race had one neck, and I had my hands around it!” When asked by the executioner if he had any last words, Panzram barked, “Yes, hurry it up, you Hoosier bastard! I could hang a dozen men while you’re screwing around!”
Such was the end of arguably the most evil man in American history. In his own words, Carl Panzram describes his life, “I am 36 years old and I have been a criminal all of my life. I have 11 felony convictions against me. I have served 20 years of my life in Jails, Reform Schools and prisons. I know why I am a criminal. Others may have different theories as to my life but I have no theory about it. I know the facts. If any man ever was a habitual criminal. I am one. In my lifetime I have broken every law that was ever made by both Man and God. If either had made more, I should cheerfully have broken them also. The mere fact that I have done these things is quite sufficient for the average person. Very few people ever consider it worthwhile to wonder why I am what I am and do what I do. All that they think it is necessary to do is to catch me, try me convict me and send me to prison for a few years, make life miserable for me while in prison and then turn me loose again. That is the system that is in practice today in this country. The consequences are that such that any one and every one can see crime and lots of it. Those who are sincere in their desire to put down crime are to be pitied for all of their efforts which accomplish so little in the desired direction. They are the ones who are deceived by their own ignorance and by the trickery and greed of others who profit the most by crime. If you or anyone else will take the trouble and have the intelligence and patience to follow and examine every one of my crimes and actions you will find that I have consistently followed one idea thru all my life. I preyed upon the weak the harmless or unsuspecting. Those I have harmed were all either weaklings either mentally or physically. Those who were strong in either mind or body I first lied to and led into a trap where they were either asleep or drunk or helpless in some way. I always had all the best of it, because I knew ahead of time just what to expect and the others did not. I therefore was strong in my knowledge and stronger in body than those preyed upon. This lesson I was taught by others. Might makes right.”
As we continue our journey into the twisted minds of those that commit the heinous crime of matricide, we happen across the name Carl “Charlie” Brandt. Born at some point in 1957, Charlie Brandt exhibited no psychotic traits in his youth, resulting in a basically normal childhood. Normal, that is until January 3, 1971.
On that date, Charlie Brandt shocked his small Fort Wayne, Indiana community. Brandt, only 13 at the time, retrieved a handgun from his parents’ bedroom and shot them as they prepared for bed. Both parents were in the bathroom at the time. Brandt’s mother, 8 months pregnant, was shot several times as she took a bath, her injuries were fatal. Brandt’s father, who survived the shooting, was shot point blank in the back. Next in young Charlie’s sights was his fifteen year old sister, Angela Brandt. After finding Angela, Charlie raised the gun, pointed, aimed and……..click; nothing happened. He pulled the trigger several times more but the gun never fired. Angela calmed her younger brother down and ran to the neighbors to call the authorities.
During questioning, Charlie’s father, Herbert Brandt, told authorities that it was his son that had committed these heinous acts. Police didn’t know what to do with their 13-year-old killer. Charlie was too young to be held criminally responsible for his crimes; therefore he never was charged with murder. Indiana courts ordered that Charlie undergo three separate psychological evaluations. The evaluations were proved all but useless. Psychiatrist Ronald Pancner along with two colleagues labeled Charlie a mystery. The child showed no signs of serious mental illness. After talking with Charlie about his friends, his family and his interests, Dr. Pancner reported to the courts that Charlie showed no evidence of diminished mental ability or capacity. The reports found that the child did well in school and loved a family that loved him; in other words, there was nothing to diagnose.
The State of Indiana saw fit to place Charlie in a psychiatric hospital, where he stayed just over a year — only until his forgiving father could win his release. Upon his discharge, Herbert Brandt moved the entire family, including Charlie, to Florida. Mr. Brandt forced Angela and Charlie to swear to never speak of this matter. Even Charlie’s two baby sisters, too young to remember, were never told the truth about their mother’s death. The incident is never spoken of again.
Fast forward to September 2004, the impending threat of Hurricane Ivan has Floridians evacuating their homes. Now married, Charlie Brandt is urged by his niece, Michelle Jones, to move him and his wife Teri into her home in Maitland, Florida in lieu of the approaching hurricane. Michelle, a successful television executive, was excited about having her aunt and uncle as guests and invited friends over regularly to socialize. On the evening of September 13, the good times would come to a tragic end.
Due to incessant bickering between Charlie and Teri, Michelle had warded off all would be visitors that evening. Expected guests were told by phone that the evening’s festivities would be cancelled. In the background the drunken bantering of the Brands was clearly audible. Eventually however, the phone calls were no longer being answered at Michelle’s home which worried several relatives and friends, including Michelle’s mother, Mary Lou Jones.
On September 15, Mary Lou convinced Debbie Knight, a mutual friend of her and her daughter, to stop by Michelle’s home. While on the phone with Mary Lou Debbie knocked on the doors and windows but got no answer. Looking for entrance, Debbie noticed the garage door. Once inside, Debbie was horrified to find Charlie Brandt’s body hanging from the rafters. Due to sweltering temperatures and the length of time since his death, Brandt’s body was in a state of decomposition. Ms. Knight then contacted Maitland police. The officers found Teri Brandt lying on the couch dead, she had been stabbed seven times in the chest. Nothing could prepare officers for what they would find next. In the master bedroom, the body of Michelle Jones was found decapitated. She had been disemboweled with her heart removed. On the bed next to her laid her head. It was obvious to the authorities that Charlie Brandt had murdered the women then taken his own life.
What seemed like the end of the investigation was only the beginning. Mary Lou Jones was livid to find out about the 1971 murder of Charlie’s mother and the facts surrounding the case. Angela had revealed to investigators the gruesome events of that evening. Even more shocking was the shrine Charlie had built in his own home. The truth was that Charlie Brandt had been infatuated with Michelle for years. Along with a graphic poster detailing the female anatomy, hundreds of pictures of Michelle had been collected by Brandt. Combined with lingerie photos, it was clear why Brandt called Michelle his,”Victoria’s Secret.”
After investigating the life of Charlie Brandt, law enforcement officials began looking at cold cases. Profilers were positive that Michelle was not the first person he murdered in that fashion. Upon closer inspection, and with DNA evidence, it was found that at least three murders can be attributed to Carl “Charlie” Brandt. Officials admit, off the record, that considering the travels of Brandt and the similarities in murder style; Brandt’s body count over a thirty year period may be astronomical.
While enjoying bagels and coffee, serial killer, Israel Keyes would tell a sordid tale of crime that range from bank robbery to rape and murder. On July 10, 2012, the serial killer sat in an Alaskan police interview room and told a twisted story of an army veteran who idolized Ted Bundy and killed for the sheer thrill of it. Most importantly, Keyes enlightened law enforcement as to exactly how he chose then stalked and killed his victims, and how he was able to get away with murder for so long.
Born in Richmond, Utah in 1978, Keyes enlisted into the U.S. Army in 1998 and served until 2001. It was during this period that Keyes began his career in murder. Keyes’ first victims were in Washington State in the late 1990s. During the interrogation, Keyes admitted to investigators that he killed four people in Washington State. The claims made are the subject of an active investigation by the FBI as well as police in that state.
Keyes noted that those murders were not his first violent crime. The earliest crime to which Keyes admitted was the violent sexual assault of a teenage girl in Oregon, sometime between 1996 and 1998. He did not elaborate on the details of this incident, he did mention, however, that he did, “let her live.” He began his interview with the line, “When I was smart,” and told officers of the existence of “two” Israel Keyes. The first being the man that people thought that they knew, the likeable easy-going Keyes. The Israel Keyes that was an army veteran, carpenter and father of a 10 year old daughter, is the man that most would claim to know. Then there was the Keyes that was an alcoholic and loner. The Israel Keyes obsessed with the exploits of Ted Bundy; and has claimed to have stalked and murdered at least 12 people in his life time.
Unlike most serial killers, Keyes planned murders long ahead of time and took extraordinary action to avoid detection. He would travel the country; logging tens of thousands of miles to find and stalk potential victims. Keyes viewed America as one big killing field. A carpenter by trade, Keyes admitted that his hobby of murder brought him a rush like nothing else he had ever experienced.
To finance his murderous endeavors, Keyes took to robbing banks. During the interview Keyes admitted to robbing several banks throughout New York State. He confessed to committing at least one murder during his time in New York, though he could not recall the identity, age, or gender of the victim, or when and where the murder may have occurred. Even without the “specifics,” of the case law enforcement consider the admission to be credible. FBI later confirmed that Keyes robbed the Community Bank branch in Tupper Lake, New York in April 2009, giving credence to the possibility of the rest of his story.
Evidence links Keyes to the murders of Bill and Lorraine Currier of Essex, Vermont. The Vermont couple was last seen after leaving work in June, 2011. Keyes reportedly broke into the Curriers’ home on the night of June 8th and tied them up before driving to an abandoned farmhouse, where he shot Bill Currier before sexually assaulting and strangling Lorraine Currier. He then put the Curriers in separate garbage bags; facts are unclear from that point as their bodies have never been found. Keyes actually had identified the couple as potential victims two years earlier. It was during this time that he had hidden a “murder kit,” near their home. When he was ready to kill the Curriers, Keyes, in order to avoid any manner of detection, flew into Chicago and rented a car to drive some 1000 miles to Vermont, retrieved the kit consisting of a hand gun and various supplies and murdered the couple.
Keyes admitted to the investigators that he never had a particular victim type or profile. He would never kill close to his residence. He always killed far from home, and maintained that he had no prior connection to any of his victims. Keyes was adamant about never killing in the same area twice. He giddily told the officers of the thrill he derived by blending into the landscapes of faraway towns and watching potential victims.
Keyes’ last known murder was the kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig. A barista in Anchorage, Alaska, Keyes kidnapped Koenig on February 1, 2012, from her place of employment. After the kidnapping Keyes demanded $30,000 in ransom for her return. With no intention of permitting her to live, Keyes sexually assaulted Koenig then murdered her. Leaving Koenig’s body in a shed Keyes departed from his home. When he returned home, Keyes proceeded to dismember Koenig and disposed of her body in Matanuska Lake north of Anchorage. Abandoning hope of the ransom being met, Keyes stole her debit card and other property and left on a cruise out of New Orleans. Police tracked withdrawals from the account as Keyes moved throughout the American Southwest. Ironically, Koenig was not reported missing until February 2 after snow had covered any traces of the abduction.
Law enforcement traced the use of Samantha Koenig’s debit and credit cards through New Mexico, Arizona and into Texas. Keyes was subsequently apprehended in Lufkin, Texas on the morning of March 13, 2012. On April 2, 2012, two months after her disappearance, the body of Samantha Koenig was pulled from the lake. Later that month, Keyes was extradited to Alaska to await trial, scheduled to begin in March, 2013.
During this interview with law enforcement Keyes confessed to the murder of Koenig and other crimes that he’d committed across the country. Facing possible execution, Keyes may have hoped to plea-bargain a life sentence in return for his confessions, though he never requested such an arrangement. He admitted that there was no voice within him that compelled him to kill. He did so out of the sheer thrill of committing the act of murder. Throughout the interrogation, Keyes admitted to at least 12 murders; all of which carry a level of credibility. As he spoke, major cold-case investigations were quietly launched in Seattle and elsewhere. Investigators calculate that within his 15 year “active,” span, he may be the key to solving many more unsolved murders. The truth depths of Israel Keyes’ depravity will never be known. While being held in jail at the Anchorage Correctional Complex on suspicion of murder, Keyes committed suicide on December 2, 2012, via self-inflicted wrist cuts and strangulation.
During my periods of incarceration, I’ve found myself, on several occasions, in the company of individuals that I thought were the embodiment of pure evil. As I sat in the dining halls and day rooms, I listened to men tell stories of street life and give graphic accounts of murderous events that have taken place on the underbelly of society. Regardless of how vile and disturbing the stories passed around behind prison walls were, they pale in comparison to the horror I discovered during the research for this post.
Until recently, I had never heard the term, “baby farm,” before. Also, until recently that is, I had always considered infants exempt from violent crime. True, periodically you would have an isolated case of violence of some sort toward a baby, but it wasn’t commonplace. The truth is; you don’t realize how much you don’t know until you learn something.
During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, baby farming was a popular form of income in Europe, Great Britain and the United States. Baby farming meant the taking in of an infant or child for payment. Women would advertise themselves as a child care provider and take in as many infants and children as they could. baby farmers were paid in the understanding that care would be provided. Some baby farmers “adopted” children for lump-sum payments, while others cared for infants for periodic payments. In the case of lump-sum adoptions, it was more profitable for the baby farmer if the infant or child she adopted died, since the small payment could not cover the care of the child for long.
Children born out of wedlock, divorced mothers and poverty stricken families often brought unwanted children to these places. Mistresses of married men were forced to place their babies in these farms to conceal their affairs. The black market sale of babies and children was prevalent during this period also. Acquired through baby farms, crooked social services workers or simply kidnapped, infants were regularly sold to wealthy families. If a child could not be sold or pimped out to community pedophiles they were neglected to the point of death or simply murdered outright. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances regarding the child’s conception, the mother could not appeal to authorities concerning the whereabouts of her child. To do so would cause the woman a great deal of shame and ridicule; illegitimate births were frowned upon heavily during that era. If the parent did return to claim the child, the “farmer,” would tell them that the baby died of natural causes or taken by a social services worker. Usually, simply threatening to expose the infidelity of the woman and her lover to the community was enough to quell any investigation
Baby farms, black market adoption houses and child procurers caused the child mortality rate to skyrocket during this period as infants were murdered by the thousands. Of the hundreds of baby murderers of this period, three caught my attention as the most sadistic: Amelia Dyer, (England), Marianne Skoublinska, (Poland) and Enriqueta Martí, (Spain).
Amelia Dyer was born in 1837 and earned the title of the most prolific baby farm murderer of Victorian England. A nurse by trade she began using her home to house infants of young women who had conceived illegitimately. Fathers of illegitimate children had no financial obligation to the child or mothers during this time which left the mothers in desperate need of housing and child care. Dyer portrayed herself to be a kind woman that would provide a safe and loving home for the child. She would advertise to nurse and adopt a baby, in return for a substantial one-off payment and adequate clothing for the child. In reality, Dyer would farm off the babies for adoption while allowing the rest to die of neglect and malnutrition. Eventually Dyer took to murdering each child herself which allowed her to keep most, if not all of the fees. Dyer ran her business unnoticed until a doctor made note of the number of infant deaths in her establishment. The authorities were alerted and Dyer was arrested and convicted; not of murder, but of neglect. Dyer was sentenced to 6 months hard labor.
Upon her release, Dyer resumed her murderous career. Learning from her mistake of involving doctors, Dyer would now dispose of the bodies of murdered infants herself. Over the years, Dyer would attract the attention of the police several times. Each time they would get close, she would fake a nervous breakdown, relocate her business and take up an alias name to work under. After several bodies of infants began to surface, each linking to Dyer in some manner, authorities devised a plan using a decoy mother to set Dyer up. The plan was successful and as Dyer sat, expecting a distraught mother to show up, the police came and searched her premises. As they entered the home, the stench of death overtook many of the officers. No bodies of infants were found, however, authorities did find direct evidence linking Dyer to the murder of at least 20 infants. Estimates conclude that after decades of being in business Dyer was responsible for at least 400 deaths of infants and children. Amelia Dyer was found guilty of murder and on Wednesday, 10 June 1896, she was hanged at Newgate Prison in London, England.
Marianne Skoublinska was a Polish murderess that operated her baby farm in the late nineteenth and centuries. Not much is known about Skoublinska and her baby farming business. What is known is that in the late 1800’s, Madame Skoublinska left the baby farming business to begin a lucrative career in post pregnancy infant disposal, or after birth abortions. It seems that a parent or parents of unwanted infants paid Skoublinska to destroy the baby.
It is unknown exactly how long she operated this business, but in 1890 the public learned of the sinister livelihood of Marianne Skoublinska. Police and firefighters were called to a fire at her place of residence. As the fire was extinguished bodies of five children were found, not in bed but buried in various sections of the home. During the autopsy the physician determined the these children had not perished as a result of the fire but had received life ending injuries previous to the fire being set, one of which bore distinct traces of the skull having been battered in. Skoublinska was immediately placed under arrest.
During the investigation and trial the true horror of this woman’s deeds were exposed. As the police questioned neighbors they found that Skoublinska had only resided in that particular home for four months. As they dug for evidence in rubble of Skoublinska’s home, it is said that fifty bodies of children were found. Neighbors also testified of Skoublinska’s boasts of having the fattest, healthiest hogs in the district on account of the exceptionally good feed she provided for them. The truth was, she often threw the bodies of babies to the hogs to be devoured.
Marianne Skoublinska stood accused of the murder of 76 infants and children. She was charged with setting fire to her cottage, containing the bodies of five little children, in order destroy evidence and collect on the insurance on her property. At the trial it was established that not a single child who was entrusted to her care and entered her den ever left her house alive. It was also shown that she charged two different amounts for, “taking care” of children, fifteen roubles for allowing the baby to die in a few weeks, and twenty for killing the baby within a day or two. Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence against her, Marianne Skoublinska could not be convicted of murder and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Enriqueta Martí was never a baby farmer; but she was a prostitute, kidnapper, procuress of children, pedophile, cannibal and child murderer. Born in 1868, Marti
made an attempt at normal domestic life however, the seedier side of Barcelona, Spain attracted her and she became a prostitute. During the day she would dress as a homeless person, begging for hand outs and looking for children that seemed lost or abandoned. When she found a child she wanted she would take them by the hand and lead them where she wanted. The child was normally pimped out to area pedophiles then murdered the child later that evening.
Eventually her dreams of socializing with Spain’s elite came true. Her pimping and prostituting gave her the income necessary to live well and attend all of the gala events where the wealthy of Barcelona gathered. It is probable that in these places she offered her services as procurer of children. It was her connections with the wealthy that enabled her to continually operate a brothel that made whores of children aged 3 to 13. Though she had been arrested for operating such a business, Enriqueta was never tried and the matter of the brothel was lost in the judicial and bureaucratic system.
Marti was also a practitioner of black magic and considered a witch doctor. The ingredients she used to make her remedies were made from the remains of murdered children. Ranging from infants up to children of 9 years, she used everything that she could; the fat, blood, hair, and bones (that normally she turned into powder). For this reason, she did not have problems disposing of the bodies of her victims. Marti sold salves, ointments, filters, cataplasms and potions all of which were supposedly cures for diseases and ailments which had no cure at the time. Wealthy people of Barcelona paid large sums of money for these remedies.
The true number of children taken by Marti is unknown. Over a twenty year span experts theorize that Enriqueta Martí may be the most dangerous serial killer in the history of Spain. During her years of operation in Barcelona the public suspected that someone was kidnapping babies. Throughout this period there were many children who disappeared without a trace and the fear among the population was crippling.
On February 10, 1912 Marti kidnapped her last victim, Teresita Guitart Congost. On February 17th, a neighbor of Marti, Claudia Elías, saw a little girl playing with another child through the window of Marti’s home. Elias, having never seen the children before, asked Marti about them. Marti gave know response and began to keep all curtains to her home closed. A child fitting the little girl’s description had been reported missing; Elias, finding Marti’s behavior peculiar, reported her suspicions to a neighborhood businessman and to the authorities. Under the guise of a chicken inspection, law enforcement gained entry to the house and found the two girls. One in fact was the missing Teresita.
During questioning, the other child; Angelina, gave a frightening testimony. She told of another child, a boy named Pepito. Unbeknownst to Marti, she had witnessed Marti kill Pepito on the kitchen table. She explained how Marti dismembered Pepito, “like a chicken,” the little girl described. The girls further told authorities about how they themselves were lured away from their parents by Marti promising candies to them. After questioning the girls were returned to their homes.
During the investigation, authorities searched Marti’s current home as well as two of her previous places of residence. From their searches they found countless jars containing parts of children. In hidden rooms they found fifty pitchers, jars and washbowls with preserved human remains: greasy lard, coagulated blood, children’s hair, skeletons of hands, powdered bones and pots with the potions, ointments and salves already prepared for sale. Throughout the walls and ceilings of the homes were skeletons of infants and young children. Authorities also recovered blood soaked bags; some containing children’s clothing while others contained small human bones.
Enriqueta was imprisoned in the “Reina Amàlia” jail to await judgement. She tried to commit suicide by slashing her wrists with a knife of wood. Fearing that a successful suicide attempt by Marti would cause a riot among the community who wanted to see Marti tried and executed, she was put on 24 hour watch by other inmates. It would be those inmates that killed Marti while in prison custody. The death of Enriqueta robbed authorities of the opportunity to completely expose all of her secrets. The kidnapper and murderer died the early morning of May 12, 1913.
As a result of these women and murderers like them, laws were put in place around the world to protect children. One thing for certain, when driving through rural areas, I will never look at farms the same again.
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.
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.