Searching for Keyes to Unsolved Murders; Law Enforcement Look to Israel for Answers

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.

Israel Keyes
Israel Keyes

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.

Samantha Koenig
Samantha Koenig

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Definitely Not The Farm Old McDonald Had

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 1
Amelia Dyer

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 Marianne Skoublinska 1threw 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

Enriqueta Marti
Enriqueta 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.

A Solution To Violent Crime-Parental Guidance Suggested

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Monster Is As A Monster Does

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Runge
Paul Runge

The Speck That Wouldn’t Go Away

Have you ever had a speck that wouldn’t go away? Whether it’s in your eye or on your shirt it can be a bothersome nuisance. Let’s take a look at how an early morning traveler from the 60’s in Chicago handles such a problem.

It was 3:00 a.m. Thursday July 14, 1966 and the humidity in Chicago was nearly unbearable. Barely coherent, Richard staggered down the street and came to rest at a bus stop. “The bitch,” Richard uttered to himself, but then a thought came, “which bitch am I talking about?” He chuckled to himself as he counted the number of people throughout his life that could aptly wear that moniker. Settling on his ex-wife for now, he mumbled “She couldn’t even wait for the ink to dry before gallivanting off with that weasel,” Richard recalled how his ex-wife was remarried in less than two days after their divorce was finalized.  Richard flopped down upon a bus stop bench and attempted to convey the reason for his current state of drunkenness to a man waiting at the bus stop. Attempting to look concerned, yet secretly hoping the tall intoxicated man would leave, the man sharing the bus stop bench listened to Richard’s drunken banter.

The warm Chicago air only exasperated Richard’s intoxicated condition has he rattled on to his unwilling audience about his life as a merchant marine. “I came up to leave on the SS Sinclair Great Lakes, but they gave the job to some punk ahead of me!” Richard said with slurred speech. The man had to admit, the stories were entertaining, at first; he then became nervous when Richard told of his troubles while living in Dallas, Texas. Soon the weary traveler became down right uncomfortable when Richard told him of his exploits of the last few hours.

“My sister and brother in law dropped me off up here at the National Maritime Union (NMU), hiring hall for a job, she gave me  $25 and split; I left and walked east on 100th St. and got a room at the Shipyard Inn,” Richard told the leery listener.  Looking into the night sky as if he could see himself, he then told the man how he and others began to slam shots of whiskey at the bar. Suddenly Richard stopped talking and stood stoic for a few seconds. “That’s when she came in,” he said after the silence. “Who came in?” The bus stop man asked Richard.  He paused to recall her name, “Ella, Ella Mae I think her name was,” Richard responded loudly and flopped onto the bus stop bench as if the thought exhausted him. “The bitch flirted with me from the time she came in,” he said as his blank look of drunkenness was now replaced with an evil sneer. Gone too was the stuttering and stammering of a babbling drunk. In its place was a man ready to tell a tale of true depravity to a captivated audience of one.

“She had been watching me and flirting the whole time,” Richard said as he lit a cigarette. “I told her that I had a bottle in my room and invited her to have a nightcap with me,” he continued. “She thought she was going to drink my booze and leave.” “What did you do?” The man asked with renewed interest. With a facial expression that can only be described as sheer evil, Richard told the man in full detail how he pressed his knife to her throat and raped the woman repeatedly. He also told the man how he rummaged through her purse and took the woman’s 22 caliber revolver before he callously threw the woman out of his room.

The man stared at Richard with a look of sheer amazement. Questioning if Richard had been lying to him the whole time, he wondered if his common sense was simply being put to the test.  He thought to himself, “is this guy some type of jokester, using me to simply while away the time as they waited for the early morning bus?”  He watched Richard’s face hoping to see some indication of truth or at least the slightest hint of prankery.  Instead, what he saw was a cold soulless gaze. Any shadow of disbelief would soon be erased from the man’s mind as his Richard continued the story of that night’s activities.

“After I gave that bitch the what for, I was fuckin hungry,” Richard said with an air of bravado.  “I grabbed supper from Kay’s Pilot House and returned to the tavern.”

“While I was at the bar,                I saw a group of young girls heading up 100th street,” Richard said has he stood and pointed.  Richard explained to the man how the girl’s laughed and giggled as they made their way up the darkened street to their townhouse. “I crouched down in the bushes across the street and watched them,” he said as he demonstrated his stance. “I started to masturbate in the bushes as I watched them undress in the window,” he said proudly. “Then they started talking to me, they sent messages to my head to come over; I could hear them in my head calling my name”. As he spoke, the captive listener could hear another distinct change in Richard’s speaking voice. The storyteller’s tone became one of utter disdain and hatred for the subjects in his tale.  As Richard spoke, the listener now recognized the psychosis in the man that had held his attention for so long; even worse, he realized that every word of his story was the absolute truth. Worried about seeming inattentive and turning Richard against him; the man acted more attentive than ever.

Oblivious to the man’s anxiety, Richard continued his story with a sense of renewed vigor, “I ran across the street, man I’m telling you, they were talking to me straight into my brain, and I knew it was them.  The broads told me to use the window so that’s what I did, I only wanted to burglarize the joint but the chics were in my head telling me how they wanted me.”  Richard then pulled out a knife and illustrated his next move, “The first chic screamed and played dumb, so I gutted the whore with my blade. The next broad came in so I choked the shit out of her, that’ll teach them about playing with people’s minds.” The man, now frightened to the core, sat wide eyed and speechless. Fully engrossed into the reenactment of his wickedness, Richard continued for at least another 20 minutes with his street side testimony. He explained in full detail how he took the lives of seven nursing students.  Richard concluded his monologue with the vivid description of his violent sexual assault, torture and murder of the eighth young woman to die at his hand that night

The sun was beginning to come up as Richard closed the story with the man. Not knowing what to say; truthfully afraid to say anything the man simply sat and looked and Richard. He then began to crack a smile as he hoped on all that is holy that Richard had simply made the whole story up. He was just about to commend Richard on his story telling ability when he heard a blood curdling scream followed by “They’re all dead! All my friends are dead!” The man turned to where he heard the scream. In the distance he could see a woman running and waving her arms wildly. At that moment the man froze, it dawned on him that he had just listened to the confession of a heinous murderer. A question arose in the man’s mind. “Is this guy about to kill me too?  Afraid to turn around but refusing to die from an attack to the back, he whipped around.

Astonishingly, the man was gone, the only thing remaining was the stench of old alcohol and dried blood. The early morning summer sunrise glistened off of the bus stop sign; a sign that read, ”no service between Midnight and 6 a.m. Aghast, the man stood mesmerized that for the better part of 3 hours, a guy named Richard had given him a confession of his murderous rampage and was now gone. The man abandoned his travel plans and returned home. When his wife asked him what had happened and where had he been, the man simply replied, “I had a Speck that wouldn’t go away!”

Richard Speck Early
Richard Speck

 

The Story of The Original Angry Bird

Jake went over everything in his head,” Go in, get the money, check for valuables and get out, no bloodshed!” Countless times before he had made himself the promise of no blood shed, each time he would find a reason to break this promise. Jake would travel the country, working with the railroad when he could, burglarizing homes during his off time. Jake would stalk the different houses he saw, making mental notes concerning the daily routines of their inhabitants. Initially, it was about the money, plain and simple. However, Jake began to give in to the violent impulses that compelled him.  The bitter rage that dwelled within him replaced the basic human need for money. Jake developed a hatred for the people that had hated him ever since his earliest memories.

With the patience of a monk, Jake watched the house at 1007 South 21st Street as he had for the better part of two weeks.  Having gathered everything he needed to know he decided that today, October 30th was the time to strike. As he peered into the window of the home, he considered aborting the mission, but that thought soon dissipated as his hunger pangs were clearly audible to himself and anyone else within earshot. While waiting on just the right time, Jake thought of his past victims and laughed to himself. “No, please, no!” The cries of his victims rang loudly in his head. To anyone else these screams of terror would have invoked immediate feelings of remorse, but not to Jake. Jake just laughed and whispered to himself, “I hate them Crackers.”

The time had come for him to act. With the stealth of a cat, he cross the street to his victim’s house, passing the mailbox with Kludt neatly written on it, he ducked into a row of bushes that grew against the house. He thought about the rouse he would use to gain entry. “Deliveryman,” he said out loud. Then suddenly, as if an epiphany had come upon him, Jake stripped down to his underwear. As he disrobed Jake spotted an ax inside of the doorway of the shed. Jake grabbed the ax, dressed in nothing but underwear, preceded to the door of the unsuspecting Kludts.

The house was occupied by Bertha Kludt, age 53 and her 17 year old daughter Beverly June Kludt. Disregarding any previous vows of nonviolence, Jake hacked Bertha & Beverly June to death mercilessly. The unmistakable shrieks of women being killed came from the house and alerted the neighbors.  As a result, the police arrived as Jake was attempting to leave through the back door carrying his shoes.

“Freeze,” the officers yelled the familiar command. Unwilling to go without a fight, Jake lunged at one of the officers with a knife, delivering him a superficial wound. The second officer attempted to ease in behind the occupied assailant, but Jake wheeled around and cut this officer also. As back up arrived, the police regained their composure, beat Jake into submission and arrested him.

During the ride to county hospital to have Jake treated for his wounds, the officers began to question him regarding the murder of the Kludt women. At the outset, Jake adamantly proclaimed his innocence. Simultaneously, as if it had been staged, Jake and the police looked down at the prisoner’s soiled apparel. Blood and brain matter covered Jake’s clothing, thereby diminishing any remaining pleas of innocence.

Homicide detectives assigned to the case listened as Jake told them how his only intention was to burglarize the home. He explained that Bertha Kludt appeared suddenly and tried to stop him whereas he hit here with the ax, causing her death. Beverly June came to her mother’s aid, he killed her. While being questioned Jake admitted to police that he had an extensive arrest record. He gave account of a life of incarceration in Michigan, Iowa and Utah that totaled 31 years. Most astonishingly, he told law enforcement how he had actually stalked and killed dozens of white women in dozens of states throughout the 1940s.

Jake’s trial began on November 24th 1947 and lasted almost three days.  A request by Jake to defend himself was denied by the judge and a public defender was appointed. Jake attempted to recant his confession as his attorney claimed it was given under duress due to Jake’s accusation that the officers beat the confession out of him. The judge admitted the evidence and on November 26th the jury deliberated for 35 minutes and returned with a guilty verdict. Judge Edward D. Hodge sentenced Jake to death by hanging.

Jake’s execution at the Washington State Penitentiary was scheduled for January 16, 1948. In an effort to gain a reprieve, Jake again brought up facts concerning the murders of 44 others. He had explained to the law enforcement community that he would be willing to help them solve these cases if he were granted this stay of execution. Washington governor Monrad C. Wallgren granted him a 60-day reprieve. Police from other states interviewed Jake, and eleven murders were substantiated. He was knowledgeable enough about the 33 other murders to be considered a prime suspect. The interviews with Jake enabled the police departments of many states to declare many unsolved murders as solved. In addition to his Washington state murders, he apparently had killed people in Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. He mostly preyed on Caucasian women. In each case, Jake killed his victims with an axe or hatchet

Before being led to the gallows, Jake was given a chance to speak. During this time, he gave a 20 minute monologue. During this time he placed a hex on everyone involved with the trial. Ironically, Judge Hodge died of a heart attack within a month of sentencing him to death. An officer that took his 1st confession as well as one of the officers that took his 2nd confession both experienced untimely deaths. The same fate fell upon the court’s chief clerk, and one of Jake’s prison guards.

The anger and rage that had once fueled this individual was extinguished. With no more stories to tell and no more hexes to throw. The gallows of Washington state prison at Walla Walla saw the depraved life and wicked times of Jake Bird ended by way of the hangman’s noose on July 15, 1949. Thus ends the story of Jake Bird, the original angry bird.

Jake Bird
Jake Bird

The Peculiar Tale of the Child Eating Fish

Albert sat in his room on a frigid January morning. He had become accustomed to entertaining himself with the vivid images, thoughts and memories that occupied the four corners of his mind. Some of the memories were decent, most depraved, but all of them were his property. He recalled a poverty stricken childhood filled with pain and suffering. Even now, memories of Saint John’s Orphanage were clear as a bell. Just as clear as if it all happened yesterday. The death of his father left his mother and siblings in dire straits.  As the youngest of four, he was the child forced to live at the orphanage. “They tried to break me!” Albert thought to himself.  The staff would administer ungodly beatings to the children for the slightest infraction. “They broke the other children”, Albert reminisced, “but not me, I embraced the pain.” Albert sat back and closed his eyes, not only had he embraced the pain, he fell in love with it; it would be a love affair that would endure throughout his life.

Nearly drifting into sleep, Albert was awakened by the piercing sound of his mother’s voice.  He looked around the small room then realized it was simply a dream. Albert was almost nine when his mother came and “rescued” him from the orphanage.  He then thought of the little boy he met when he was 12. The feelings he had for the telegraph boy were feelings that he had been taught were for a girl. Though these feelings initially frightened the young Albert, his suitor eased his conscience and assured him that his feelings were virtuous and that they should continue their relationship.  Albert’s young friend introduced him to urolagnia and coprophagia and taught Albert that the taste for urine and feces was an acquired one; but one that he would learn to enjoy.

Fighting off the sleepiness that was beginning to fall upon him, Albert smiled when he remembered being a young man in New York City. Unable to find employment, Albert made a living doing something he truly enjoyed, having sex with men. Unhappy with Albert’s status at that time, his mother introduced him to his would be wife. “Did I truly love her?” Albert thought to himself. The word love had become so distorted and twisted in his life that he was truthfully unsure about any emotions as they related to him. Ironically, just as his mother once did, his wife abandoned him and left Albert with six children to raise. While raising his children, Albert would attempt to teach them the joy and ecstasy of pain. He would fashion a paddle filled with nails and have the children paddle him until he bled.

Suddenly a loud noise down the hall interrupted his daydream, but Albert soon quelled his anxiety and resumed his reminiscent state of being.  As he turned the pages of his life, a malevolent spirit seemed to invade Albert.  The once pleasant atmosphere had become somber as Albert began to think about “the boys.”  Beginning in 1890, about the time he arrived in New York, Albert began having “urges.”  He could always hear the voices that would speak to him, giving him disturbing tasks to carry out. Ordinarily, he was strong enough not to relent to their power. But now, now he wanted to succumb to them. He would become a willing participant to their ungodly requests. Albert thought of all of the little boys that he had tortured and raped. Albert then stood up and walked over to the mirror on the wall. Gazing at his reflection, he formed a wry smile, “I wanted them to enjoy the pain as I did,” he whispered to himself. Having traveled across the country extensively, Albert once bragged to someone that he had children in every state. The true and horrific nature of that claim had yet to be revealed at that time

Albert looked around the room and scoffed at the peeling paint, “what a shotty job,” he thought to himself. Having been a painter himself, he was extremely critical of the work of others. Albert sat down again and thought about the children that he’d extended his special brand of caring to over the years. Unrepentant, he enjoyed memories of the pain and suffering he inflicted upon these young victims. The mere recollection of their torture sent Albert into a sexually aroused state.  He recalled his” instruments of Hell” consisting of a paddle of nails, meat cleaver and knives and how he used them on the children.  Their screams were a sheer delight to Albert; to him their cries were like the songbird in flight.

Albert stood up to look in the mirror again, staring at his reflection; he began to think of two men that greatly influenced his life. The first man was a past lover of his. On a romantic afternoon, the two had visited a waxworks museum.  Albert became fascinated by an exhibit that demonstrated the bisection of a penis; soon after, he developed a morbid interest in castration. Still gazing at his reflection, he remembered how, as a younger man, he had mastered the art of seduction. The young Albert had men at his beck & call back then. There was one man; Albert sat down, struggling to recall his name. “Kenner, Kenny no Kedden, Kedden was his name,” Albert said aloud.  Kedden was a retarded man that Albert had seduced. When he first laid eyes on Kedden, Albert had decided that he would be the one to satisfy his newly found fixation with castration. After tying up a naked Kedden, Albert began to cut around his penis. Smiling, Albert sat back on his bed, reliving the moment then suddenly; his cheerful demeanor became sullen as he remembered the look of anguish on Kedden’s face. It frightened him so that Albert administered first aid to the wound, left a $10.00 bill on Kedden’s knee and left town, never to return to St. Louis.

Albert thought of the second man as a godsend. Throughout his younger years Albert could not understand the insatiable hunger that he felt. His ravenous desires had gone undiagnosed until he ran into an old friend, Capt. John Davis. Davis would entertain Albert with tales of his adventures on the Steamer Tacoma.  Albert chose to lie down to fully relive Davis’ accounts of his exploits in China. Albert smiled as he remembered how Capt. Davis emphasized to him the state of poverty and starvation that the Chinese were going through. How the meat of children drew top dollar during the famine. He especially enjoyed the graphic description of the whipping of the children to tenderize the meat for consumption.

Albert then relived the pleasures that were derived from his encounters with these men. As he lay, hunger pains actually set in when he recounted the children he had devoured over the years. He remembered how much he enjoyed preparing the children for his meal. No longer was the whipping of the children to no avail, the whippings were now used to tenderize the children’s flesh. In his own mind the recipes he had conjured up were delectable. Utilizing his vivid imagination, he could see the faces of “his children,” as he so affectionately referred to them. Albert recalled watching Francis X. McDonnell play with the other boys. He’d been able to lure him away, sexually assault him and just when he was about ready to dismember him to take home; he heard voices and people coming. He hadn’t eaten Francis, but as he thought back now, he could visualize the possibilities. The name Billy Gaffney popped into Albert’s head. He remembered this little boy as well as the methods and efforts he used to create a fine meal of the four year old. “Little Grace,” Albert whispered to himself, as he sat down on the bed. Albert reminisced about how cute Grace Budd was. Seven years after abducting Grace, Albert wrote a horrifying letter to the Budd family detailing the kidnapping and demise of their beautiful daughter. He had actually come to the Budd home to take their son Edward, “Grace sat in my lap and kissed me. I made up my mind to eat her,” he repeated to himself a line he’d written in his letter to the Budd family. Suddenly, his mood changed from reflective to irate.  “Why did I write that letter?” Albert said while banging his head against the wall. The letter, that infuriated Albert, had been a key component in alerting the world of his depraved existence.

Albert’s once blissful demeanor had now been replaced with rage. Again he stood and looked into the mirror. This time he saw something else, he saw an imprisoned old man. His recollection of the letter he’d written to the Budd family brought him swiftly into the sobering reality of his current situation. The letter also reminded him of a face; angrily Albert spat into the toilet, not the face of a child but that of Detective William F. King. He remembered his arrest and interview at the police station. Albert vehemently denied any involvement in any kidnapping or murder. “I don’t know anything about those bones they say they’ve found. And cannibalism! The very thought sickens me,” Albert recited the testimony to himself in the exact same manner that he told police on the day of his arrest. However, due to Detective King’s tenacious questioning, Albert soon recanted and confessed, signing a full statement filled with the horrendous details.  Albert’s face took on a smug look as he recalled Detective King transcribing the declaration of guilt he provided. He remembered the officers’ look of utter disgust as he gave the account of Billy Gaffney’s death, dismemberment and consumption in full detail. Albert was no stranger to the police or to prison, however this time; there were no sexual escapades with the other men as there were on his first arrest. Absent were the nice calming doctors and comfortable hospital stays as in his second arrest. The only comforting aspect of Albert’s current predicament is that it would soon be over.

Albert continued to stare into the mirror. Raising his head and gazing into the light, Albert began to pray. He had always heard voices in his head, during his confession he admitted that everything he had done was at the command of God. Continually looking at his reflection in the mirror, he gave thanks for his frail and gentile demeanor that had given him the ability to abduct and devour children around the country. Albert told Detective King that it had been the voice of John the Baptist that led him to the 23 states that he had lived in. He also informed the detective that in each state, he had killed at least one child. Albert never returned to the same neighborhood.  Though the wickedness of his deeds knew no racial barriers, he had always been partial to Black and disabled children, reasoning that police would be less inclined to look for them. Still gazing at his likeness, Albert took note of his thick gray hair and his drooping gray moustache. While thinking of his beloved rumpled suits, he had an epiphany. The very same qualities that allowed him to ravage the children of various communities in perceived anonymity were the same characteristics people remembered to identify him at his trial. Albert’s head dropped.

As the noises of chains and voices became louder, Albert resumed his prayerful state. He spoke out loud to himself “What I did must have been right or an angel would have stopped me, just as an angel stopped Abraham in the Bible [from sacrificing his son].”  He began to hum hymns that he recalled from his youth in the orphanage. Crying, he fell to his knees and began to recite scriptures, “Happy is he that taketh Thy little ones and dasheth their heads against the stones,” he said piously. At times he would go on endlessly with quotations from the Bible all mixed up with his own sentences.

Hours passed, Albert maneuvered so that he might enjoy the excruciating pain within his hips.  During questioning he admitted that he had been sticking needles into his body for years. He had been placing them in the area between the rectum and the scrotum. At first, he said, he had only stuck these needles in and pulled them out again. In an effort to reach the next plateau of pain, he stuck others in so far that he was unable to get them out, and they stayed there.  To verify his statements, Albert was X-rayed and sure enough, there were at least twenty-nine needles in his pelvic region. The pain caused Albert to think about his children and the games that he’d taught them in their youth.  Though he had wished his children would learn to enjoy the pain as he did, he never forced it upon them. Actually, Albert had been a very fine father. He never once in his life laid a hand on one of his children. Thinking of them sent Albert into a depressed state, he whispered to himself, “I’m still worried about my children,” he sniffled. His six children ranged from age 21 to 35. “You’d think they’d come to visit their old dad in jail, but they haven’t.”

The voices in the hallway moved closer to Albert.  The rattling of the chains reminded him of the inevitable. The facial expressions of the jury were seared into Albert’s consciousness. He remembered looking at them as they listened attentively to the prosecution read the ghastly account of his alleged crimes. Ten hours of testimony was resolved in a mere half of an hour, “We find the defendant guilty as charged,” the jury foreman said. The words of Judge Frederick P. Close were deafening in his mind. ”Death by electric chair,” said Judge Close. Albert thanked the judge for his sentence; he recalled how the thought of experiencing the voltage in his body excited him. Albert enthusiastically welcomed prospect of feeling that much pain. Pain had been the only constant in Albert’s life and he was a loyal friend to it as it was to him.

As the prison cell doors opened to take Albert to his court designated appointment, he fell into a state of emotional numbness. As the officers extracted him from the cell, one of them asked him sarcastically, “are you ready to die?” Albert responded, “I have no particular desire to live. I have no particular desire to be killed. It is a matter of indifference to me.” The officers placed Albert in the chair and fastened the straps, preparing him for his final transition.  As he sat excitedly anticipating the currents that soon  would be coursing throughout his body, Albert had a thought. From this point forward, Hamilton Howard “Albert” Fish would strike fear in the hearts and minds of children for centuries to come and would forever take his place in the annals of American history as,

“The Boogeyman.”

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