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The Serial Killer


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What Makes Serial Killers Tick?
Monsters or Victims?

"It was an urge. . . . . A strong urge, and the longer I let it go the stronger it got, to where
I was taking risks to go out and kill people--risks that normally, according to my little
rules of operation, I wouldn't take because they could lead to arrest."

-- Edmund Kemper

Where does this urge come from, and why is so powerful? If we all experienced this urge,
would we be able to resist?

Is it genetic, hormonal, biological, or cultural conditioning? Do serial killers have any
control over their desires? We all experience rage and inappropriate sexual instincts, yet
we have some sort of internal cage that keeps our inner monsters locked up. Call it
morality or social programming, these internal blockades have long since been trampled
down in the psychopathic killer. Not only have they let loose the monster within, they are
virtual slaves to its beastly appetites. What sets them apart?

Serial killers have tested out a number of excuses for their behavior. Henry Lee Lucas
blamed his upbringing; others like Jeffrey Dahmer say that they were born with a "part" of
them missing. Ted Bundy claimed pornography made him do it. Herbert Mullin, Santa
Cruz killer of thirteen, blamed the voices in his head that told him it was time to "sing the
die song." The ruthless Carl Panzram swore that prison turned him into a monster, while
Bobby Joe Long said a motorcycle accident made him hypersexual and eventually a serial
lust killer. The most psychopathic, like John Wayne Gacy, turn the blame around and
boast that the victims deserved to die.

They must be insane -- what normal person could slaughter another human, for the sheer
pleasure of it? Yet the most chilling fact about serial killers is that they are rational and
calculating. As the "British Jeffrey Dahmer" Dennis Nilsen put it, "a mind can be evil
without being abnormal."

What They Are

Before we look at who they are, we must first describe what they are. In his book The
Killers Among Us, Steven Egger defines serial murder:

A minimum of three to four victims, with a "cooling off" period in between;

The killer is usually a stranger to the victim -- the murders appear unconnected or

The murders reflect a need to sadistically dominate the victim;

The murder is rarely "for profit"; the motive is psychological, not material;

The victim may have "symbolic" value for the killer; method of killing may reveal this

Killers often choose victims who are vulnerable (prostitutes, runaways, etc.)

Statistically, the average serial killer is a white male from a lower to middle class
background, usually in his twenties or thirties. Many were physically or emotionally
abused by parents. Some were adopted. As children, fledgling serial killers often set fires,
torture animals, and wet their beds (these red-flag behaviors are known as the "triad" of
symptoms.) Brain injuries are common. Some are very intelligent and have shown great
promise as successful professionals. They are also fascinated with the police and authority
in general. They will either have attempted to become police themselves but were rejected,
or worked as security guards, or had served in the military. Many, including John Gacy,
the Hillside Stranglers, and Ted Bundy, will disguise themselves as law enforcement
officials to gain access to their victims.

Who They Kill

Serial killers choose victims weaker than themselves. Often their victims will fit a certain
stereotype which has symbolic meaning for the killer. Bundy brutally murdered
college-age women with long brown hair. Was he killing, over and over again, the
upper-class fiancee who broke off her engagement with him? David Berkowitz, aka "Son
of Sam," was not so particular -- he hated all women: "I blame them for everything.
Everything evil that's happened in the world--somehow goes back to them." Gacy
savagely strangled young men, some of them his own employees, calling them "worthless
little queers and punks." Some believe that Gacy's homicidal rage was projected onto the
boys who represented his own inadequacy in the eyes of his own domineering father.

With rare exception, serial killers objectify and humiliate their victims. Bundy deliberately
kept the conversation brief -- if he got to know the victim and saw her as a real person, it
would destroy the fantasy.

Serial killers are sadists, seeking perverse pleasure in torturing the victim, even
resuscitating them at the brink of death so they can torture them some more. ("How's it
feel, knowing you're going to die?" Gacy asked his victims as he strangled them, even
reciting the 23rd Psalm, urging them to be brave in the face of death.) They need to
dominate, control, and "own" the person. Yet when the victim dies, they are abandoned
again, left alone with their unfathomable rage and self-hatred. This hellish cycle continues
until they are caught or killed.

Why Are They So Difficult to Spot - Getting Away with Murder

We think we can spot lunacy, that a maniac with uncontrollable urges to kill will be unable
to contain himself. On the bus, in the street, it is the mentally ill we avoid, sidestepping the
disheveled, unshaven man who rants on over some private outrage. Yet if you intend to
avoid the path of a serial killer, your best strategy is to sidestep the charming, the
impeccably dressed, polite individual. They blend in, camouflaged in contemporary
anonymity. They lurk in churches, malls, and prowl the freeways and streets. "Dress him in
a suit and he looks like ten other men," said one attorney in describing Dahmer. Like all
evolved predators, they know how to stalk their victims by gaining their trust. Serial
killers don't wear their hearts on their sleeves. Instead, they hide behind a carefully
constructed facade of normalcy.

Mask of Sanity

Because of their psychopathic nature, serial killers do not know how to feel sympathy for
others, or even how to have a relationship. Instead, they learn to simulate it by observing
others. It is all a manipulative act, designed to entice people into their trap. Serial killers
are actors with a natural penchant for performance. Henry Lee Lucas described being a
serial killer as "being like a movie-star . . . you're just playing the part." The macabre Gacy
loved to dress up as a clown, while the Zodiac suited up in a bizarre executioner's costume
that looked like something out of "Alice in Wonderland." In court, Bundy told the judge
"I'm disguised as an attorney today." Bundy had previously "disguised" himself as a
compassionate rape crisis center counselor.

The most coveted role of roaming psychopaths is a position of authority. Gacy was an
active, outgoing figure in business and society, became a member of the Jaycees. Many
joined the military, including Berkowitz who was intensely patriotic for a time. Playing
police officer, however, is the most predictable. Carrying badges and driving coplike
vehicles not only feeds their need to feel important, it allows them access to victims who
would otherwise trust their instincts and not talk to strangers.

Yet, when they are caught, the serial killer will suddenly assume a "mask of insanity" --
pretending to be a multiple personality, schizophrenic, or prone to black-outs -- anything
to evade responsibility. Even when they pretend to truly reveal themselves, they are still
locked into playing a role. What nameless dread lies behind the psychopath's mask?

"What's one less person on the face of the earth anyway?" Ted Bundy's chilling
rationalization demonstrates the how serial killers truly think. "Bundy could never
understand why people couldn't accept the fact that he killed because he wanted to kill,"
said one FBI investigator.

What Makes a Serial Killer Tick?

Just as these killers rip open their victims to "see how they run" (as Ed Kemper put it),
forensic psychiatrists and FBI agents have tried to get inside the killers mind. Traditional
explanations include childhood abuse, genetics, chemical imbalances, brain injuries,
exposure to traumatic events, and perceived societal injustices. The frightening implication
is that a huge population has been exposed to one or more of these traumas. Is there some
sort of lethal concoction that sets serial killers apart from the rest of the population?

We believe that we have control over our impulses -- no matter how angry we get, there is
something that stops us from taking our aggressions out on others. Do serial killers lack a
moral safety latch? Or are they being controlled by something unfathomable? "I wished I
could stop but I could not. I had no other thrill or happiness," said Dennis Nilsen, who
wondered if he was truly evil. Serial killers are undeniably sick, and their numbers seem to
be growing. Are we in the midst of a serial killer "epidemic," as Joel Norris describes it? If
this is a disease, what is the cure?

What Makes Serial Killers Tick?
Family Tree
Are serial killers truly a 20th century bogeymen?

Is it our modern times that creates them, or have they been in operation before we
classified them as a phenomenon? Although the term "serial killer" was coined in 1971,
early fables of human/monsters reveals that there has always been danger in straying too
far, or in accepting the help of strangers. The carnivorous characters in Grimm's Fairy
tales become vivid metaphors of human bloodlust. Gruesome stories of Bluebeards and
their bloody chambers, big bad wolves, trolls under the bridge and witches in the forest, all
of whom make meals out of unsuspecting innocents, remind us of our contemporary
monsters. These cautionary tales may represent an early, pre-psychological way of
understanding the sadistic side of human nature.


"Lycanthropy," a combination of the Greek words "wolf" and "man", was another early
concept created to describe the horror of senseless sexual murder. In The A-Z
Encyclopedia of Serial Killers Harold Schechter and David Everitt describe the
lycanthropic madman as sexual predators who terrorized 16th century peasant villages, so
much that the authorities "regarded it as one of the most pressing social problems of the
day." Among the most notorious of these medieval "wolfmen" was Gilles Garnier of
France, and the German Peter Stubbe, both of whom attacked children, ripping them apart
and cannibalizing them. Stubbe even went so far as to savagely mutilate his own son,
gnawing at his brain.

The wolfman myth is still popular today -- we still hear how a full moon can bring out the
crazies. Albert Fish, the notorious cannibal killer of children, was called the "Werewolf of
Wisteria," and enjoyed dancing naked in the full moon. Other lunar lunatics include Ed
Gein, who also frolicking in the moonlight, dressed in his mothersuit made from the skin
of women. Unlike Gein, Bobbie Jo Long did not appreciate being adorned in female body
parts -- at puberty he had his abnormally enlarged breasts surgically removed. Even after
the operation, Long claimed to be affected by the moon's cycles through his own bizarre
"menstrual" cycle.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydes

The 19th century gave rise to another chilling predecessor to the serial killer's persona --
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Robert Louis Stevenson created a literary man/monster who
embodied the Divided Self -- appearing civilized and rational on the outside, while inside a
wretched brute struggled to break loose.

One of the most intriguing peculiarities of serial killers is their benign, "Dr. Jekyll"
appearance. They look and behave like everyman or any man -- "abnormally normal", as
Mark Seltzer says. If they come across as potentially dangerous in any way, they will
neutralize it in their behavior. The imposing 6'9'' Edmund Kemper cultivated a "gentle
giant" routine, which helped him to lure female hitchhikers into his car. The charming Ted
Bundy wore a cast, looking meekly pathetic, and asked for help. The young women who
gave him a hand must have thought of it as a random act of kindness. What resulted was a
senseless act of murder. The notorious Gacy entertained hospitalized children in his Pogo
the Clown costume. "You know, clowns get away with murder," he once said. Gacy used
rope tricks from his performance to strangle unsuspecting young men, who thought the
worst they would have to endure would be some hokey entertainment. With many serial
killers, the hidden Hyde comes out only after the victim is lulled into complacency.


As a man obsessed with recreating a human being from dead body parts, Mary Shelley's
Dr. Frankenstein was seeking the same ultimate power of creation as God Himself. While
Dr. Frankenstein attempted to compose a man, our modern day Dr. Frankensteins are
more gifted in the decomposing arts. Jeffrey Dahmer and Dennis Nilsen both tried to
create companionship in corpses. Dahmer operated on his victims, hoping for a own
love-zombie who would never stray. In his own attempts to create the perfect companion,
Nilsen said, "I think that in some cases I killed these men in order to create the best image
of them. . . . . It was not really a bad but a perfect and peaceful state for them to be in"
(As if he were doing them a favor!) "I remember being thrilled that I had full control and
ownership of this beautiful body," he mused. Many believe that Ed Gein was attempting to
reconstruct his mother by stealing body parts from a nearby cemetery.


And of course, one of the most popular monster monikers for serial killers is "vampire." In
Gothic drama, vampires represented the repressed sexuality of straitlaced Victorian
society, creatures of the night driven by beastly desires. The vampire motif is so frequent
that we see localized vampires ("The Vampire of Dusseldorf" Peter Kurten; "The Vampire
of Hanover" Fritz Haarmann; "The Vampire of Sacramento" Richard Chase.) Kurten
claimed that his "chief satisfaction in killing was to catch the blood spurting from a victim's
wounds in his mouth and swallow it." Another deeply demented vampire killer, John
Haigh, claimed that disturbing dreams created his unquenchable thirst for human blood: "I
saw before me a forest of crucifixes, which gradually turned into trees. . . Suddenly the
whole forest began to writhe and the trees, stark and erect, to ooze blood. . . . A man
went to each tree catching the blood. . . . 'Drink,' he said.

Early killers: How did they explain their evil?

The Baron Gilles de Rais

This15th century French aristocrat murdered hundreds of peasant children. Gilles blithely
declared that torturing the innocent was "entirely for my own pleasure and physical
delight, and for no other intention or end." Gilles was unbelievably bold in gathering
victims -- he would send servants out to round up children and haul them back to his
castle, as if he were collecting his rightful harvest from the peasant population. Why would
a military hero and companion to Joan of Arc torture children? Gilles' excuse is
precociously modern -- he blamed his parents. They didn't physically abuse him, however;
the monstrous aristocrat whined that he was the hapless victim of their amoral attitudes.
While lax parenting doesn't sound like a familiar prerequisite for today's serial killer, it was
an arch offense by Medieval standards -- one had to be a diligent guard against the Devil's
cunning ways. As a child Gilles said evil descended "when I was left uncontrolled to do
whatever I pleased and to take pleasure in illicit acts."

Was Gilles de Rais the sole sadistic multiple murderer of his era, or were there others who
used more discretion, choosing victims who were less likely to be missed? It is impossible
to say. Some, like Elliott Leyton, argue that "the curious phenomenon of the murder of
strangers is extremely rare in so-called 'primitive' societies," and that it is primarily in
"modern, industrializing societies that stranger-murder becomes a major homicidal theme.
"We can only speculate. It can be said, however, that the major archetype of the serial sex
slayer emerged in the grimy, gaslit streets of industrialized 19th century London.

Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper's infamous Whitechapel murders baffled the police and terrorized London.
As the first sensationalized serial killer, the Ripper became the prototype of the lust
murderer. The mystery of his identity paralleled the mystery of his motive. Nothing like
this was seen before -- why would anyone go lurking in the dead of night, eviscerating
poverty-stricken prostitutes? Clearly the Ripper was insane, thought the police. They
explored the insane asylums, looking for a raving, woman-hating madman. Crazed
immigrants, lunatic butchers, and even syphillis-ridden royalty were suspect. Most
believed Jack the Ripper had to be an immigrant (Americans were a favorite suspicion)
because no Englishman would commit such horrid crimes. The Ripper's bladework had
some speculating he was a deranged doctor. In any case, as the insane asylums were
searched and suspicious whispers echoed in respectable bourgeois homes, it became clear
that the Ripper could be anyone. The uncivilized monster behind Victorian society's prim
veneer had acted out in the ugliest of deeds.

Popular explanations

In the 19th century, civilization stopped looking to the Devil as the sole force behind
violent, sadistic behavior. Instead, scientists and writers began searching for the beast
within. As Fred Botting points out, the inhuman was now seen as "in-human". Darwin's
theories on evolution bridged the gap between beasts and man. How far are we from our
grunting, rock-throwing apelike ancestors? Not very far at all, according to 19th century
criminologists Cesare Lombroso and Max Nordau, who believed that violent men had
"primitive" faces with heavy jaws and low foreheads. By measuring the foreheads of
Italian criminals, Lombroso believed he could target the violent criminal.

Although Lombroso and his measuring tape have long since been discredited, the concept
of a lingering animalistic brutality is still popular today. As we move forward, becoming
more technologically advanced, there is something that refuses to budge, some primitive
holdout of the darkest recesses or our psyche. Is it the caveman within, as some
contemporary paleopsychologists say, the vestigial beast that got us through the "survival
of the fittest" when we needed it, but now that we live in a civilized society, it is no longer

Franz Josef Gall promoted "phrenology." By feeling the bumps on a person's head, Gall
believed that he could predict their character and level of intelligence. Physiognomy,
developed by Johann Kaspar Lavatar, claimed to read a person's character in their facial

These theories were all the rage when Herman Mudgett (aka H. H. Holmes) stood trial for
running a deadly boarding house that put the Bates Motel to shame. In Depraved, Harold
Schechter describes how the public, eager to know why Holmes was such a fiend, flocked
to see maps of the killer's head shape, as if a certain pattern in the bumps of his skull
would spell out "murderer." Holmes himself described his own evil metamorphosis: "My
features are assuming a pronounced Satanical cast. . . My head and face are gradually
assuming an elongated shape. I believe fully that I am growing to resemble the devil--that
the similitude is almost completed. In fact, so impressed am I with this belief, that I am
convinced that I no longer have anything human in me." This' "devil made me do it"
routine was a transparent attempt to avoid the hangman's noose. This devil was eventually
hanged for his misdeeds.

What Makes Serial Killers Tick?
Childhood Abuse

"I have several children who I'm turning into killers. Wait til they grow up" - message
scrawled on David Berkowitz's apartment wall, with an arrow pointing to a hole in the

Are some children just born "bad"? Some serial killers are precociously demented,
fascinated by sadistic violence at a very early age. As a child, Ed Kemper was already
beheading his sister's dolls, playing "execution" games, and once told his sister that he
wanted to kiss his second grade teacher, but "if I kiss her I would have to kill her first."

One of first places our society looks to for an explanation is the serial killer's upbringing.
"So many of us wanted to believe that something had traumatized little Jeffrey Dahmer,
otherwise we must believe that some people simply give birth to monsters," Ann Schwartz
has written.

In some cases, the abuse of children by their parents is barbaric, and it seems little wonder
that anything but a fledgling serial killer would come from such horrible squalor. As a
child, the "Boston Strangler" Albert DeSalvo was actually sold off as a slave by his
alcoholic dad. Many sadistic murderers portray their childhood as an endless chain of
horrifying sexual abuse, torture, and mayhem. Some stories of torture may be exaggerated
for sympathy (it is always to the killer's advantage to concoct wicked parents as an
excuse) but some have been corroborated by witnesses. Even families that appear healthy
on the outside may be putting on an act. Children can learn the "Jeckyl and Hyde" routine
from parents who are outgoing and social with neighbors and co-workers, but who scowl
at their kid's inadequacies when they get home.

As we examine childhood abuse as a possible key to the serial killer's behavior, we must
remember that many children have suffered horrible abuse at the hands of their parents,
but did not grow up to be lust murderers. Childhood abuse is not a direct link to a future
in crime. And while many girls are victimized as children, very few grow up to be
sadistically violent toward strangers. Childhood abuse may not be the sole excuse for
serial killers, but it is an undeniable factor in many of their backgrounds.

In his book Serial Killers, Joel Norris describes the cycles of violence as generational:
"Parents who abuse their children, physically as well as psychologically, instill in them an
almost instinctive reliance upon violence as a first resort to any challenge." Childhood
abuse not only spawns violent reactions, Norris writes, but also affects the child's health,
including brain injuries, malnutrition, and other developmental disorders.

Some parents believed that by being harsh disciplinarians, it would "toughen" the child.
Instead, it often creates a lack of love between parent and child that can have disastrous
results. If the child doesn't bond with its primary caretakers, there is no foundation for
trusting others later in life. This can lead to isolation, where intense violent fantasies
become the primary source of gratification. "Instead of developing positive traits of trust,
security, and autonomy, child development becomes dependent on fantasy life and its
dominant themes, rather than on social interaction," writes Robert Ressler, Ann Burgess
and John Douglas in Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives. When the child grows up,
according to these authors, all they know are their fantasies of domination and control.
They have not developed compassion for others. Instead, humans become flattened-out
symbols for them to enact their violent fantasies.

In looking to the parents for explanations, we see both horrifying mothers and fathers. The
blame usually falls on the mother, who has been described as too domineering or too
distant, too sexually active or too repressed. Perhaps the mother is blamed more because
the father has often disappeared, therefore "unaccountable." When the father is implicated,
it is usually for sadistic disciplinarian tactics, alcoholic rants, and overt anger toward

Monstrous Mothers

"We're still blaming mothers." - Joyce Flint, Dahmer's mother

It all seems to begin or end with Mother. Henry Lee Lucas launched his murderous career
by killing his mom; Ed Kemper ended his by killing his mom. Even the Shakespearian
multiple murderer Hamlet had an unnatural obsession with his mother's sexuality. "Serial
murderers are frequently found to have unusual or unnatural relationships with their
mothers," notes Steven Egger in his book The Killers Among Us. In our culture, the
imposing image of "Mother" looms large in our collective psyches, and some writers easily
accept that these killers are lashing out at maternal tyranny. If these murderers are still
dominated by Mother (Hitchcock's Norman Bates is the archetype), then it is easy to
dismiss them as "mama's boys" who never fully matured. Perhaps we find comfort in this
cliche -- the mother is a readymade excuse, particularly in our contemporary era of
obsessive parenting. Yet, as we look at some of the techniques of the serial killers'
mothers, we are inclined to see a deadly link between the womb and the tomb.

Uptight Moms

In an effort to keep their children chaste, some mothers have linked sexuality with death.
Ed Gein's religiously fanatical, notorious mother convinced her son that women were
vessels of sin and caused disease. In some sort of twisted misinterpretation, Gein made
literal vessels out of women, using their skulls for bowls, and other domestic objects. Ed's
body may have escaped from sexual disease, but his mind was clearly contaminated.

Joseph Kallinger was adopted by sadistic, Catholic parents, and after a hernia operation at
age 6, his mother told him that the surgery was to keep his penis from growing. Kallinger
never questioned her, and as an adult believed it had been stunted. A strict disciplinarian,
Kallinger's mother forced him to hold his open hand over a flame, beating him if he cried.
Kallinger later grew up taking extreme pleasure in torturing others, and became a sadistic
parent himself. After taking an insurance policy out on his 13-year-old son Joey, he slowly
drowned him, deaf to his own son's pleas for mercy.

"I certainly wanted for my mother a nice, quiet easy death like everyone else wants," said
Ed Kemper. His idea of an easy death is markedly unusual -- after beheading his mom, he
shoved her vocal cords down the garbage disposal, raped her headless body, and, by some
accounts, placed her head on the living room mantel and used it as a dartboard.
Admittedly, Kemper's mom was a shrill, tyrannical nag who locked her young son in the
basement when he grew too large and frightened his sisters. As an adult, Kemper and his
mother fought constantly, yet he chose to live with her. Why not just move away and don't
take her calls?

"Hillside Strangler" Kenneth Bianchi's adoptive mother was pathologically
over-protective. When Ken wet his pants, she took him to the doctor to have his genitals
examined. One protective agency wrote that Bianchi's mother was "deeply disturbed,
socially ambitious, dissatisfied, unsure, opinionated and overly protective . . . had
smothered this adopted son in medical attention and maternal concern from the moment of
adoption." As a child Bianchi was very dependent on his mother, yet harbored a deadly
hostility beneath the surface.

Loose Moms

Some serial killers had their sexually uninhibited mothers to blame. These mothers
overstepped the boundaries, exposing their children to inappropriate sexual behavior.
Bobby Jo Long killed women he characterized as whores and sluts, who he said reminded
him of his own mom. She had frequent sex (according to him) with men in the same room
where Bobby slept. According to Long, he shared his bed with his mother until he was 13
years old.

Charles Manson's prostitute mother Kathy Maddox, indifferently declared his name as "No
Name Maddox" for his birth certificate. She hoisted him off on relatives, and in one story,
famous but probably untrue, she traded the infant Charlie for a pitcher of beer. When he
was sent to live with his aunt, his uncle told him he was a sissy, and punished him by
sending him to school dressed as a girl.

Henry Lee Lucas also suffered gender confusion as a child, courtesy of his mother's
sadism. She was a heavy drinker and bootlegger. For unknown reasons she dressed him as
a girl until he was 7. "I lived as a girl. I was dressed as a girl. I had long hair as a girl. I
wore girl's clothes." She senselessly beat him after he had his hair cut because his teacher
complained. At one point, his mom struck him on back of head with a wooden beam,
fracturing his skull. Lucas was also apparently exposed to his mother's sexual activities.
He killed his mother in 1951.

Deadly Dads

It is usually the sadistically disciplinarian father that pops up in the serial killer's family
tree. John Gacy's dad berated his son, calling him a sissy, queer, and a failure. A violent
alcoholic, Gacy's father beat his mother, and shot his son's beloved dog to punish young
John. When Gacy later strangled his young victims, he encouraged them to stay brave
while facing death. "Through this ritual, Gacy sought to reassert his own vision of a
masculine identity that had been squashed down by his father," wrote Joel Norris.

Albert DeSalvo's father would bring home prostitutes and brutally beat his mother,
breaking her fingers one by one as young Albert helplessly watched. The elder DeSalvo
sold his children off as slaves to a farmer in Maine, while his mother went frantically
searching for them for six months, as story that has been confirmed by family friends and
social workers. "Pa was a plumber," said DeSalvo. "he smashed me once across the back
with a pipe. I didn't move fast enough."

What Makes Serial Killers Tick?
Dahmer Case
Lionel Dahmer's Story

Not all serial killers were beaten or abused as children. Jeffrey Dahmer had an apparently
normal upbringing, yet grew up to be one of the most notorious sex murderers in popular
culture. In his book A Father's Story, Lionel Dahmer searches for answers to his own son's
deviance. Lionel, who describes himself as an "analytical thinker," believes that Jeffrey's
mother's hysteria and psychosomatic illnesses during pregnancy might be responsible.

He describes Joyce as going through a difficult pregnancy, constantly vomiting, as if her
body was being sickened by what was germinating, an early biological "rejection" by
mother. While pregnant with Jeff, Joyce developed strange fits of rigidity: "At times, her
legs would lock tightly in place, and her whole body would grow rigid and begin to
tremble. Her jaw would jerk to the right and take on a similarly frightening rigidity. During
these strange seizures, her eyes would bulge like a frightened animal, and she would begin
to salivate, literally frothing at the mouth."

As Lionel describes it, it's as if a corpse was giving birth. Father Lionel remains detached
and analytical while Mother Joyce is in the midst of a biological warfare, fighting
hormones with drugs. Lionel asks, ominously, "Why was she so upset all the time? What
was it that she found so dreadful?"

"Then, at the end of the long trial, my son was born." Lionel's first sight of his son is in a
plastic container, which is how the victims of apartment 213 will later be removed. The
bloody chamber of Jeff's apartment, according to Lionel, had its origins in Joyce's drugged

While Lionel implicates Joyce as the biological contaminant in Jeffrey's sickness, he admits
to his own destructive inclinations, which may have been passed on to their son. Lionel
was fascinated by fire and made bombs as child. "A dark pathway had been dug into my
brain," he writes. Little Jeffrey is transfixed by pile of bones, which only seems macabre
after the adult Jeffrey's deadly deeds. At the time, Lionel saw it as normal curiosity.

At age 4, Jeffrey had a double hernia, and had to have surgery. "So much pain, I learned
later, that he had asked Joyce if the doctors had cut off his penis." Lionel thinks this
quasi-castrating surgery affected his son: "In Jeff, this flattening began to take on a sense
of something permanent," he wrote. "This strange and subtle inner darkening began to
appear almost physically. His hair, which had once been so light, grew steadily darker,
along with the deeper shading of his eyes. More than anything, he seemed to grow more
inward, sitting quietly for long periods, hardly stirring, his face oddly motionless."

Both father and son found solace in controlling biological experiments. "In the lab, I found
a wonderful comfort and assurance in knowing the properties of things, how they could be
manipulated in predictable patterns. It provided a great relief from the chaos I found at
home." Jeff became shy and fearful of others, just as his dad had been. "It was as if some
element of my character yearned for complete predictability, for rigid structure," said
Lionel. "I simply didn't know how things worked with other people." Lionel recognized
that Jeffrey was "so intimidated by their presence, that in order for him to have contact
with them, they needed to be dead."

Lionel sees a "terrible vacancy" in own son's eyes, and wonders, "Am I like that?" and sees
his son as a "deeper, darker shadow" of himself. He remembers that at the age of 13 he
wanted to hypnotize and cast a spell over a girl, "so I could control her entirely." At what
point does an innocent fantasy warp into a deadly fascination? Can we control the inner
life of our children? Lionel warns that "some of us are doomed to pass a curse instead."
The frightening conclusion of Lionel Dahmer's cautionary tale is that we can be blind to
our own destructive tendencies, and may innocently pass them on. "Fatherhood remains,
at last, a grave enigma, and when I contemplate that my other son may one day be a
father, I can only say to him, as I must to every father after me, "Take care, take care, take

What Makes Serial Killers Tick?
Childhood Events

Adoption as a potential contribution to the serial killer's motivation is fascinating because
it creates two questions. The first one is that the biological parents may have left their
child with deviant genes. (We will look into the genetics of serial killers shortly.) Finding
out that one was adopted may also undermine the sense of identity in a fragile youth, and
make the child prone to fantasizing an identity of his "true" parents, either good or bad.
Was the mother a prostitute? A nun? Was the father a gangster? A hero? And why did
they "reject" their child? This sense of rejection can have profound consequences on an
already unstable psyche. If the child actually meets his biological parent and is again
rejected, the damage is worse. David Berkowitz was deeply hurt when his biological mom
brushed him off. Some have speculated that Berkowitz's "Son of Sam" was an fantasy
attempt to reclaim a parent/child identity that had been crushed in real life.According to
Bundy biographers Michaud and Aynesworth, Ted's emotional growth was stopped in its
tracks after he learned that he was illegitimate at age 13. "It was like I hit a brick wall,"
Bundy had said. Of course, he tried out every excuse he could rummage, so it's difficult to
take his word on this when his family life appeared otherwise healthy.

It goes without saying that adoption does not create serial killers. At worst, it may
dislodge a child's self-identity. But that does not mean that finding oneself in multiple
murder is the only option available to adopted children.

Witnessing Violence

Some lust murderers claim that exposure to violent events ignited their thirst for blood. Ed
Gein, among others, said that seeing farm animals slaughtered gave him perverted ideas.
But wouldn't that make 4-H a breeding ground for serial killers? Both Albert Fish and
Andrei Chikatilo blamed their sadistic bloodlust on frightening childhood stories. Does this
mean we can expect Stephen King's children to top the murder charts? Even truly
traumatic experiences don't automatically create a serial killer. "Acid Bath Murderer" John
Haigh, as a child, ran outside after a WWII bombing at his London home. The bomb came
with "a horrifying shriek, and as I staggered up, bruised and bewildered, a head rolled
against my foot." Joel Peter Witkin, a well-known artist who's work is admittedly
gruesome but fascinating, experienced the same event after witnessing a car accident. So
what makes one person become a serial killer, and another a famous artist?

Juvenile Detention

Reform school in the early 20th century did anything but reform. The stories of sadistic
guards and medieval punishments are almost paralleled by the violent behavior of the
prisoners who went on to serial killing. Fortunately, this sort of extreme discipline is no
longer openly tolerated.

Although 1920's killer Carl Panzram was an incorrigible juvenile delinquent, the brutal
torture he received in reform school aggregated his violent rage. "From the treatment I
received while there and the lessons I learned from it, I had fully desided when I left there
just how I would live my life. I made up my mind that I would rob, burn, destroy and kill
every where I went and everybody I could as long as I lived. Thats the way I was
reformed . . . " Henry Lee Lucas also claimed prison transformed him into a serial killer.
Manson said that he was raped and beaten by other prisoners when he was 14, while a
particularly sadistic guard would masturbate as he watched. The grandfatherly pervert
Albert Fish blamed his sadomasochistic impulses on his experiences at a Washington, D.C.
orphanage: " I saw so many boys whipped, it took root in my head."

Peer Rejection

For different reasons, many multiple murderers are isolated as children. Lucas, who was
already a shy child, was ridiculed because of his artificial eye. He later said that this mass
rejection caused him to hate everyone.

Kenneth Bianchi was also a child loner, with many problems. One clinical report said that
"the boy drips urine in his pants, doesn't make friends very easily and has twitches. The
other children make fun of him." Dahmer was antisocial as a kid, laughing when he saw a
fellow classmate injured. He later became an alcoholic teenager, routinely ignored by his

As the isolation grows more severe, the reliance on fantasies, especially destructive ones,
can grow. These fantasies of violence often reveal themselves through two of the three
"triads" of predicting criminal behavior, firestarting and animal cruelty.

The Triad

Animal Cruelty

These secret compulsions are seen as the seeds to greater mayhem. "Violent acts are
reinforced, since the murderers either are able to express rage without experiencing
negative consequences or are impervious to any prohibitions against these actions.
Second, impulsive and erratic behavior discourages friendships," increasing isolation."
"Furthermore, there is no challenge to the offenders' beliefs that they are entitled to act the
way they do." (Ressler, et al, Sexual Homicide) "All learning, according to Ressler, has a
"feedback system." Torturing animals and setting fires will eventually escalate to crimes
against fellow human beings, if the pattern is not somehow broken.

Torturing animals is a disturbing red flag. Animals are often seen as "practice" for killing
humans. Ed Kemper buried the family cat alive, dug it up, and cut off its head. Dahmer
was notorious for his animal cruelty, cutting off dogs heads and placing them on a stick
behind his house. Yet not all serial killers take their aggressions out on pets. Dennis Nilsen
loved animals, particularly his dog Bleep, whom he couldn't bear to face after being
arrested for fear that it would traumatize the dog. Rapist torturer and murderer of eight,
Christopher Wilder, had made donations to Save The Whales and the Seal Rescue Fund.


Peter Kurten loved to watch houses burn, and Berkowitz, when he tired of torturing his
mother's parakeet, became a prolific pyromaniac, keeping record of his 1,411 fires. "Oh,
what ecstasy," said Joseph Kallinger to his biographer Flora Schreiber, "setting fires brings
to my body! What power I feel at the thought of fire! . . . Oh, what pleasure, what
heavenly pleasure!" Pyromania is often a sexually stimulating activity for these killers. The
dramatic destruction of property feeds the same perverse need to destroy another human.
Because serial killers don't see other humans as more than objects, the leap between
setting fires and killing people is easy to make.

Bed Wetting

Bed wetting is the most intimate of these "triad" symptoms, and is less likely to be willfully
divulged. By some estimates, 60% of multiple murderers wet their beds past adolescence.
Kenneth Bianchi apparently spent many a night marinating in urine-soaked sheets.


Formative years may play a role in the molding of a serial killer, but they cannot be the
sole reason in every case. Many killers blame their families for their behavior, seeking
sympathy. In true psychopathic fashion, serial killers are blaming someone else for their
actions. If their bad childhood is the primary reason for their homicidal tendencies, then
why don't their siblings also become serial killers? And if these conditions truly created
them, serial killers would probably be unionized by now, there would be so many of them
(a sad commentary on our continuing neglect of children.) We must look at other
components to see what pushes a serial killer over the edge.

What Makes Serial Killers Tick?
Twisted Rationalizations

"I'm the most cold-blooded sonofabitch you'll ever meet," said Ted Bundy. "I just liked to
kill, I wanted to kill." The hallmark of the psychopath is the inability to recognize others as
worthy of compassion. Victims are dehumanized, flattened into worthless objects in the
murderer's mind. John Gacy, never showing an ounce of remorse, called his victims
"worthless little queers and punks," while the "Yorkshire Ripper" Peter Sutcliffe brashly
declared that he was "cleaning up the streets" of the human trash.

In the 19th century, psychopathology was considered to be "moral insanity". Today it is
commonly known as "antisocial personality disorder" or "sociopathology." Current
experts believe that sociopaths are an unfortunate fusion of interpersonal, biological and
sociocultural disasters.

Psychopaths/sociopaths are diagnosed by their purposeless and irrational antisocial
behavior, lack of conscience, and emotional vacuity. They are thrill seekers, literally
fearless. Punishment rarely works, because they are impulsive by nature and fearless of the
consequences. Incapable of having meaningful relationships, they view others as fodder for
manipulation and exploitation. According to one psychological surveying tool (DSM IIIR)
between 3 - 5% of men are sociopaths; less than 1% of female population are sociopaths.

Psychopaths often make successful businessmen or world leaders. Not all psychopaths are
motivated to kill. But when it is easy to devalue others, and you have had a lifetime of
perceived injustices and rejection, murder might seem like a natural choice.

The following are environmental factors, psychiatrists say, which create a sociopath:

Studies show that 60% of psychopathic individuals had lost a parent;

Child is deprived of love or nurturing; parents are detached or absent;

Inconsistent discipline: if father is stern and mother is soft, child learns to hate authority
and manipulate mother;

Hypocritical parents who privately belittle the child while publicly presenting the image
of a "happy family".


Tests are showing that the nervous system of the psychopath is markedly different -- they
feel less fear and anxiety than normal people. One carefully conducted experiment revealed
that "low arousal levels" not only causes impulsiveness and thrill-seeking, but also showed
how dense sociopaths are when it comes to changing their behavior. A group of
sociopaths and a group of healthy individuals were given a task, which was to learn what
lever (out of four) turned on a green light. One lever gave the subject an electric shock.
Both groups made the same number of errors, but the healthy group quickly learned to
avoid the punishing electric shock, while sociopaths took much longer to do so.

This need for higher levels of stimulation makes the psychopath seek dangerous situations.
When Gacy heard an ambulance, he would follow to see what sort of exciting catastrophe
was in the making. Part of the reason for many serial killers seeking to become cops is
probably due to the intensity of the job.

Genetics and physiological factors also contribute to the building of a psychopath. One
study in Copenhagen focused on a group of sociopaths who had been adopted as infants.
The biological relatives of sociopaths were 4 - 5 times more likely to be sociopathic than
the average person. Yet genetics don't tell the whole story; it only shows a predisposition
to antisocial behavior. Environment can make or break the psychopathic personality.

When a psychopath does inherit genetically-based, developmental disabilities, its is usually
a stunted development of the higher functions of the brain. 30 - 38% of psychopaths show
abnormal brain wave patterns, or EEGs. Infants and children typically have slower brain
wave activity, but it increases as they grow up. Not with psychopaths. Eventually, the
brain might mature as the psychopath ages. This may be why most serial killers are under
50. The abnormal brain wave activity comes from the temporal lobes and the limbic
system of the brain, the areas that control memory and emotions. When development of
this part of the brain is genetically impaired, and the parents of the child are abusive,
irresponsible or manipulative, the stage is set for disaster.

Can psychopaths be successfully treated? According to the psychiatrists, "No." Shock
treatment doesn't work; drugs have not proven successful in treatment; and
psychotherapy, which involves trust and a relationship with the therapist, is out of the
question, because psychopaths are incapable of opening up to others. They don't want to

Most psychopaths end up in prison, instead of psychiatric hospitals.

Inside the Psychopathic Mind

According to Dr. J. Reid Meloy, author of The Psychopathic Mind: Origins, Dynamics,
and Treatment, the psychopath is only capable of sadomasochistic relationships based on
power, not attachment. Psychopaths identify with the aggressive role model, such as an
abusive parent, and attack the weaker, more vulnerable self by projecting it onto others.
As multiple murderer Dennis Nilsen put it, "I was killing myself only but it was always the
bystander who died."

Dr. Meloy writes that in early childhood development, there is a split in the infant
psychopath: the "soft me" which is the vulnerable inside, and the "hard not-me" which is
the intrusive, punishing outside (neglectful or painful experiences.) The infant comes to
expect that all outside experiences will be painful, and so he turns inward. In an attempt to
protect himself from a harsh environment, the infant develops a "character armor,"
distrusting everything outside, and refusing to allow anything in. The child refuses to
identify with parents, and instead sees the parent as a malevolent stranger.

Soon, the child has no empathy for anyone. The wall has been built to last. "Human nature
is a nuisance, and fills me with disgust. Every so often one must let off steam, as it were,"
said "Acid Bath Murderer" John Haigh.

In normal development, the child bonds with the mother for nurturing and love. But for
the psychopath, the mother is experienced as an "aggressive predator, or passive
stranger." In the case of violent psychopaths, including serial killers, the child bonds
through sadomasochism or aggression. According to Meloy, "This individual perversely
and aggressively does to others as a predator what may, at any time, be done to him."

The Victim Through the Psychopath's Eyes

When they are stalking a victim, psychopaths don't consciously feel anger, "but the
violence shows the dissociated effect." Many killers seem to go into a trance during their
predatory and killing phases. The psychopath seeks idealized victims in order to shame,
humiliate, and destroy them."'I must have' ends with 'It was not worth having,'" says
Meloy. By degrading the victim, the psychopath is attempting to destroy the hostile enemy
within his own mind. At Gacy's trial, forensic psychiatrist Richard Rappaport said that "he
is so convinced that these qualities exist in this other person, he is completely out of touch
with reality. . . and he has to get rid of them and save himself . . . he has to kill them."

The victim is seen as a symbolic object. Bundy described it by using the third person:
"Since this girl in front of him represented not a person, but again the image, or something
desirable, the last thing we would expect him to want to do would be to personalize this
person. . . . Chattering and flattering and entertaining, as if seen through a motion picture
screen." And later, "They wouldn't be stereotypes necessarily. But they would be
reasonable facsimiles to women as a class. A class not of women, per se, but a class that
has almost been created through the mythology of women and how they are used as
objects." If Bundy got to know anything too personal about the victim, it ruined the

Deluded Warriors

In a manic state, the psychopath is fearless and thinks he is omnipotent, sometimes evil
incarnate, as we have seen in Richard Ramirez's "Night Stalker" run. They are completely
out of touch with reality. One psychopath, while in custody, would dress himself as an
Indian warrior using his own feces as warpaint. Many serial killers identify with the myth
of the warrior. Calavaras County torturer Leonard Lake was fascinated by medieval
knights, and on a more modern cinematic note, many serial killers, including Gacy and
Kemper, worshipped John Wayne, the American archetype of the lone warrior.

Smooth Talkers

Psychopaths know society's rights and wrongs, and will behave as if they sincerely believe
in these values. "There are individuals who are so psychopathically disturbed that, in my
opinion, no attempts should be made to treat them," says Meloy. Many psychopaths will
read psychology books, and become skilled at imitating other more "sympathetic" mental
illnesses, such as schizophrenia. They will use any means possible to manipulate their
evaluators. Do psychopaths ever legitimately hear voices in their heads? According to
Meloy, "most functionally psychotic individuals do not experience command
hallucinations, and those who do generally successfully resist them."

John Gacy was "a smooth talker and an obscurer who was trying to white-wash himself of
any wrongdoing. He has a high degree of social intelligence or awareness of the proper
way to behave in order to influence people," said Eugene Gauron, who evaluated Gacy
before the killings began. Still, he was released. Perhaps the most dramatic duping of the
doctors was Ed Kemper's evaluation. Two psychiatrists interviewed him and agreed that
he was now "safe." All the while, Kemper had the head of one of his victims sitting in the
trunk of his car, parked outside the doctors' office. Bundy charmed his way into the good
graces of his jailers, only to escape when they became more lax in their watch of him.

What Makes Serial Killers Tick?
Is serial murderer ultimately a quest for sex or power, or both? It depends on who you
ask. Some believe that sexual domination is an expression of the need for power. "Sex is
only an instrument used by the killer to obtain power and domination over his victim,"
writes Steven Egger. According to Bundy, sex was not the principal source of
gratification. "I want to master life and death," he said. He wanted total control over his
victims: "Possessing them physically as one would possess a potted plant, a painting, or a
Porsche. Owning, as it were, this individual." Others believe that a deviant sexual drive is
the cause, and power is the tool to achieve sexual satisfaction.

Patrick Mackay
Some serial killers will identify with perceived sources of power, in an attempt to siphon
off some of the feeling of control and omnipotence for themselves. Some will indulge in
illusions of religious grandeur, be it Christ or Satan. Others look to the police, and will
mimic them, as if their borrowed authority gives the killer the authority to kill others. One
of the most chilling power role models, however, is Hitler.

As a teenager, British Patrick Mackay was grimly predicted to become a "cold,
psychopathic killer" by one of his doctors. Mackay identified with Hitler, and would pose
in his own handcrafted Nazi uniforms. After confessing to killing eleven people, including
a Catholic priest with an axe, he declared, "I shan't shed a tear. Life is full of shocks of all
descriptions and they have to be faced."

Sexual Deviance

"The demons wanted my penis," wrote David Berkowitz. For the "Son of Sam" murderer,
sex was not something that involved a willing partner. Instead, his warped sexual
fantasies, bred in social isolation, conjured up abstract forces of evil. We usually think of
demons as pursuing loftier goals, such as wayward souls, not penises. But for the lust
murderer, sexuality, power, and domination are intertwined so tightly they bleed into one
another. It is difficult to tell where sexual lust leaves off, and lust for blood takes over.

Sexual Homicide

According to Ressler, Burgess, and Douglas in Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives,
the number of "murders classified as 'unknown motives' has risen dramatically." They
believe that there are two types of sexual homicide: "the rape or displaced anger
murderer" and the "sadistic, or lust murderer."

How does a lust murderer differ from a rapist who kill their victims to keep from being
caught? Rapists who kill, according to one study cited in Sexual Homicide (Ressler et al),
"rarely find any sexual satisfaction from the murder nor do they perform postmortem
sexual acts. In contrast, the sadistic murderer kills as part of a ritualized sadistic fantasy."
Mutilation is "overkill," obsessively injuring the victim's body far beyond what it necessary
to kill the victim. Because psychopaths have a low arousal rate, it takes more to stimulate
them. Macabre mutilations excite the lust murderer. For them, killing triggers a bizarre
sexual fantasy which had developed in the dark recesses of their warped minds.

Ressler writes that "since his sexual history is that of solo sex, and he finds interpersonal
relationships difficult, if not impossible, he reverts to masturbatory acts even when a real
partner (his victim) is available. Masturbation generally occurs after death, when his
fantasy is strongest." Because the fantasies do not involve an actual person but a symbolic,
sacrificial victim, the violence can escalate after death. "Mutilations often occur when the
victim is already dead, a time when killer has ultimate control over the victim," writes

Many of the serial killers we have discussed admit to an abnormally strong sex drive. Ed
Kemper, who would often behead his victims before raping them, said that he had a "very
strong sensual drive, a weird sexual drive that started early, a lot earlier than normal." Yet
he fantasized about dead women, not living ones. "If I killed them, you know, they
couldn't reject me as a man. It was more or less making a doll out of a human being . . .
and carrying out my fantasies with a doll, a living human doll." The most disturbing thrill
Kemper got from murder was the sexual excitement in decapitating his victims: "I
remember there was actually a sexual thrill . . . you hear that little pop and pull their heads
off and hold their heads up by the hair. Whipping their heads off, their body sitting there.
That'd get me off," he said.

Kemper went on to say, "With a girl, there's a lot left in the girl's body without a head. Of
course, the personality is gone." Those pesky personalities that serial killers find so
troublesome in their victims explains why they go to such extreme lengths to
depersonalize the bodies of their victims with horrifying mutilations. What is it about a
personality that these killers find so threatening, that they need to obliterate it?

Other killers who had abnormal sex drives include the "Boston Strangler," Albert
DeSalvo, who reportedly needed sexual release at least five times a day. He even went on
to blame the murders on his wife's coldness. "It really was Woman that I wanted, not any
special one, just Woman with what a woman has," he said. David Berkowitz compulsively
masturbated, and "his preoccupation with oral sexuality," wrote Dr. David Abrahamsen,
"suggests his immature sexual development."

Because sex is linked to death, not life, for the lust murderer, the concept of procreation
disturbs them. "Sex should not exist," said John Haigh. "Propagation should be an
insensible act, like the throwing off of acorns by an oak tree."

For some of these killers, sexuality is equated with sin and death by overzealous parents
who were anxious to keep their sons from becoming promiscuous. Their libidinous drive
was channeled into other deviant behavior. "Lipstick Killer" William Heirens claimed that
burglary was his primary form of sexual release. As a child, he had been warned that
sexual contact was dirty and "caused disease." Joseph Kallinger, who was raised by
sadistic Catholic parents who told him his penis had been operated on to keep it from
growing (it was actually a hernia operation) was sexually excited by fires. For Ed Gein,
who had been sternly taught that sex was sinful and degenerate, it almost seems natural
that he would associate his own sexual curiosity with death, the fruit of sin itself.

Killing the Woman Within

Henry Lee Lucas, who was forced to dress like a girl as a child, declared, "I was death on
women. I didn't feel they need to exist. I hated them, and I wanted to destroy every one I
could find. I was doing a good job of it." Many believe that John Gacy was killing young
men who symbolically represented his own hated homosexual self. Bobby Joe Long, who
had an extra X (or female) chromosome, and grew breasts in puberty, brutally murdered
prostitutes, and women who reminded him of his mother's promiscuity.

Currently, there is debate over whether serial killers who are "insecure" in their
masculinity are the most vicious killers, as if they needed to excavate and destroy the
female lurking within. Joel Norris wrote that if "the killer is especially savage with respect
to the bodies of his female victims, police should look for evidence of feminine physical
traits on the suspect. Does he have especially fine hair . . . Are his features
disproportionately delicate?" Yet, as Richard Tithecott points out in his book Of Men and
Monsters: Jeffrey Dahmer and the Construction of the Serial Killer, "The motivation of
serial killers is frequently explained in terms of the need to expel: to expel the feminine, to
expel the homosexual. . . . The question (and the problem) becomes not masculinity but
femininity, or rather femininity's invasion of masculinity." Tithecott goes on to point out
that somehow feminine qualities are to blame for the killer's psychosis, when historically,
almost all aggressive acts are masculine in nature. This targeting of the "female within" is
nothing more than the serial killer's attempt to blame the victim.

Morbid Curiosity and Cannibalism:

Before they begin killing, many serial killers display a fascination with death. This in itself
is not unusual. Perhaps if their antisocial personalities had not gotten in the way, serial
killers may have become doctors, scientists, morticians, or even artists. Gacy worked in a
mortuary, sleeping in the embalming room, alone with corpses, but was fired after corpses
were found partially undressed. Dennis Nilsen pretended he was a corpse and masturbated
in the mirror to his own dead image. As a youngster Berkowitz became fascinated by the
morbid: "I always had a fetish for murder and death -- sudden death and bloodshed
appealed to me," he said.

Jeffrey Dahmer, who loved the dissection in biology class, told a classmate that he sliced
open the fish he caught because "I want to see what it looks like inside, I like to see how
things work." He later gave the police the same excuse -- he cut open his victims "to see
how they work." His attorney rationalized Jeffrey's cannibalism by declaring that "he ate
body parts so that these poor people he killed would become alive in him." Cannibalism is
a literal form of internalization: instead of making room in their hearts for the one they
crave, the cannibal makes room in his stomach for the one they desire. The metaphorical
hunger for another's companionship becomes a literal hunger. Many describe it as a way to
incorporate the other into oneself. Because psychopaths are incapable of experiencing
empathy and love, this crude and primitive form of bonding becomes a sickening

One particularly gruesome example of this notion of "all-consuming love" is Japanese
cannibal Issei Sagawa, who killed and ate a Dutch student. He would lucidly recount how
he coveted his victim: "My passion is so great I want to possess her. I want to eat her. If I
do she will be mine forever." Sagawa hesitates when discovers her womb: "If she had lived
she would have had a baby in this womb. The thought depresses me for a moment." But
Sagawa continued on.

The Martha Stewart of serial killers, Ed Gein's gruesome home improvements featured
lamp shades made from human skin, seat covers, and skulls used for drinking cups. He
also made clothing and bracelets out of body parts. Anatomical textbooks were not
enough to satisfy his curiosity -- he took to grave robbing, and eventually murder.

What Makes Serial Killers Tick?
Are They Insane?

Are serial killers insane? Not by legal standards. "The incidence of psychosis among
murderers is no greater than the incidence of psychosis in the total population," said
psychiatrist Donald Lunde. The legal definition of insanity is based on the 19th century
McNaghten Rules: Does the offender understand the difference between right and wrong?
If he flees or makes any attempt to hide the crime, then the offender is not insane, because
his actions show that he understood that what he was doing was wrong. Yet what person
in their right mind would filet young children and write letters to the parents, rhapsodizing
over what a fine meal their child made? In the case of Albert Fish, the jury found him
"insane, but he deserved to die anyway." Only a few, including the dimwitted Ed Gein and
sadistic Peter Sutcliffe have successfully pleaded insanity.

Always looking to manipulate, serial killers will do just about anything to convince the
authorities of their insanity. Being declared "legally insane" means avoiding death row, and
if the criminal can convince his keepers that he has fully recovered, there is the hope of
actually being released.

"Acid Bath Murderer" John Haigh drank his own urine in front of a jury to convince them
of his insanity, but only served to repulse them more. William Hickman was stupid enough
to put in writing his intention to convince the jury he is crazy: "I intend to throw a
laughing, screaming, diving act before the prosecution finishes their case. . ." (He closes
this letter to a fellow inmate with "P.S. You know and I know that I'm not insane

Alter Egos

One of the most predictable attempts to shift the blame is by creating an evil dark side, or
alter ego. Some of these creations are named as the true culprits of the crimes. While in
custody H. H. Holmes invented "Edward Hatch," who he claimed was the shadowy
mastermind behind the murder of the young Pietzel children. "Lipstick Killer" William
Heirens created George Murman, and actually corresponded with George by letters. John
Gacy based his alter ego, "Jack Hanley," on a actual cop by the same name. Gacy's Jack
was tough, in control, and loathed homosexuality. When Gacy drank too much, the
punishing hand of Jack would take control. One of the most notorious alter egos is
"Hillside Strangler" Kenneth Bianchi's "Steve Walker." Steve came out during hypnotic
sessions as the aggressive opposite to Ken's gentle guy act. Clever hypnotists were able to
snare Steve as a hoax. (It was later revealed that Bianchi had seen the movie "Sybil" two
days prior to his psychiatric evaluation.)

Fabricating an alter ego is a convenient way to pin the guilt on another, even if that other
is within. It's a psychological variation of "the devil made me do it." But diabolical alter
egos are usually clumsy constructions that fall apart under scrutiny. At best, a legitimate
split personality could hope for a mental institution instead of death row. But authentic
cases are exceptionally rare.


Most schizophrenics will resist the aggressive commands of the auditory hallucinations
they hear, according to Dr. Meloy. Santa Cruz in the 1970's had a renaissance of
psychopathic killers. Of course, there is Edmund Kemper, the most articulate of them the
batch. His schizophrenic colleagues, however, are frightening examples of the truly
mentally-ill serial killer.

Herbert Mullin (police mugshot)
Herbert Mullin heard his father's voice in his head, commanding, "Why won't you give me
anything? Go kill somebody -- move!" By killing people, Mullin was convinced, he was
actually preventing earthquakes and tidal waves. Unlike most serial killers, he was not
seeking a certain type of victim. His 13 "sacrificial" victims included a family, a priest, a
homeless man and some hapless campers.

Upon his arrest everyone agreed that Mullin was a paranoid schizophrenic, but was found
"legally sane." Unlike many serial killers who try to convince the authorities that they are
crazy, Mullin tried to prove his sanity, stating that he was the victim of a huge conspiracy.
He declared that he "a good American person who was tricked into committing the
crimes. I know I deserve my freedom."

On a self-described "divine mission": John Linley Frazier, slaughtered a wealthy Santa
Cruz family in 1970 because he believed they had been "polluting and destroying the
Earth." Initially he was called an "acid casualty," but later tests revealed Frazier as an
acute paranoid schizophrenic. Nonetheless, Frazier was declared legally sane and
sentenced to life imprisonment.

David Berkowitz's "Son of Sam" routine was a well-constructed attempt to appear
schizophrenic. "There is no doubt in my mind that a demon has been living in me since
birth," he raved. "I want my soul back!" he wrote. "I have a right to be human." Later he
held a press conference, announcing that his story of demons had been an invention.

What Makes Serial Killers Tick?
Natural Born Killers
Genetics/Bad Seeds

Are the psychopathic criminals really different from birth? Many parents say that their
children who grow up to be violent offenders are markedly different from their non-violent
siblings. Three-year-old Ted Bundy sneaked into his teenage aunt Julia's room one
morning, and slipped butcher knives under the covers of her bed. "He just stood there and
grinned," she said. Serial killer Carl Panzram himself wrote: "All of my family are as the
average human beings are. They are honest and hard working people. All except myself. I
have been a human-animile ever since I was born. When I was very young at 5 or 6 years
of age I was a thief and a lier and a mean despisable one at that. The older I got the
meaner I got." German child killer Peter Kurten had drowned two playmates by the tender
age of nine.

Are these children just born bad? Environment alone cannot explain deranged behavior --
too many abused and neglected children grow up to be law-abiding citizens. If there is a
genetic explanation, its a slippery, discreet mutation. We don't see entire families of serial
killers. There is no such thing as a "kill gene", but research is revealing some genetic
tendencies to violent behavior. In other words, bad seeds blossom in bad environments.

One study of twins who were raised apart, done by Yoon-Mi Hur and Thomas Bouchard
in 1997, revealed a strong link between impulsivity and sensation-seeking behavior,
"attributed almost entirely to genetic factors." Both sensation-seeking traits and
impulsivity have been "found to be higher in drug abusers, delinquents, and psychopaths."

Do Serial Killers Have an Extra Chromosome?

Multiple murderer Bobby Joe Long had an extra X (female) chromosome, otherwise
known as Klinefelter's syndrome, which meant he had the female hormone estrogen
circulating in higher amounts in his system. His breasts grew during puberty, which caused
him great embarrassment. Long, however, has an abundance of other serial killer
prerequisites. He suffered traumatic and repeated head injuries, among other things.

Conversely, an extra Y (male) chromosome was once in vogue as an explanation to
violence. Mass murderer Richard Speck's legal defense said he had an XYY genetic
makeup, but further tests proved this wrong. While an extra male chromosome seems like
a logical explanation for mutant-aggressive behavior, there is not much evidence that links
the X or Y chromosome to serial killers.


High testosterone in itself is not a dangerous thing, but when it is combined with low
levels of serotonin, the results might be deadly. Testosterone is associated with the need
for dominance (many successful athletes and businessmen have high testosterone levels.)
But since not everyone can be the top dog, serotonin keeps the tension from peaking, and
mellows us out. When serotonin levels are abnormally low, however, frustration can lead
to aggressive, even sadistic behavior, according to a study by Paul Bernhardt.

Heavy Metals

Some research has shown that violent offenders have higher trace levels of toxic heavy
metals (manganese, lead, cadmium and copper) in their systems. Excess manganese lowers
the level of serotonin and dopamine, which contributes to aggressive behavior. Alcohol
increases the effects. James Huberty, the mass murderer, had excessive amounts of the
toxic substance cadmium in his system.

Brain Defects

"After I'm dead, they're going to open up my head and find that just like we've been saying
a part of my brain is black and dry and dead," said Bobby Joe Long, who suffered a severe
head injury after a motorcycle accident. According to many researchers, brain defects and
injuries have been an important link to violent behavior. When the hypothalamus, the
temporal lobe, and/or the limbic brain show damage, it may account for uncontrollable

The hypothalamus regulates the hormonal system and emotions. The "higher" brain has
limited control over the hypothalamus. Because of the physical closeness of sexual and
aggressive centers within the hypothalamus, sexual instinct and violence become
connected for lust murderers. The hypothalamus may be damaged through malnutrition or

The limbic brain is the part of the brain associated with emotion and motivation. When the
limbic brain is damaged, the individual loses control over primary emotions such as fear
and rage. The predatory gaze of the psychopath, according to Meloy, lacks emotions, and
is as cold as a reptile's blank stare. Reptiles are missing the limbic part of their brain, where
memories, emotions, socializing, and parental instincts reside. In other words, serial killers
are aptly described as "cold-blooded," just like their scaly reptilian brethren.

The temporal lobe is highly susceptible to injury, located where the skull bone is thinnest.
Blunt injuries, including falling on a hard surface, can easily damage this section of the
brain, creating lesions which cause forms of amnesia and epileptic seizures. Damage to the
temporal lobe can result in hair-trigger violent reactions and increased aggressive
responses. As a child, Ken Bianchi fell off of a jungle gym, and landed on the back of his
head. He soon began to have epileptic seizures.

Researcher Dominique LaPierre believes that the "prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain
involved in long-term planning and judgment, does not function properly in psychopathic
subjects." Paleopsychologists also believe that there is some sort of malfunction in the
brain of serial killers, that somehow their primitive brain overrides the "higher" brain:
reason and compassion take a backseat to lust, aggression, and appetite. A study by
Pavlos Hatzitaskos and colleagues reports that a large portion of death-row inmates have
had severe head injuries, and that approximately 70% of brain-injured patients develop
aggressive tendencies.

Some of these brain injuries are accidental, but many of them were inflicted during
childhood beatings. Among the many serial killers who had suffered head injuries are
Leonard Lake, David Berkowitz, Kenneth Bianchi, John Gacy, and Carl Panzram, who, as
a child, had some sort of head infection. "Finaly my head swelled up as big as a baloon. . .
. I was operated on in our own home. On the kitchen table," he wrote. "I would sure like
to know if this is the cause of my queer actions." Ted Bundy, however, had extensive
X-rays and brain scans, which revealed no evidence of brain disease or trauma.

No Fear

Crime Times reports on findings that psychopaths have a greater fear threshold, and are
less likely to respond to fear-inducing stimuli, such as sudden, loud noises. In other words,
psychopaths may be immune to fear. The psychopath's heart rate and skin temperature are
low, and their "startle reaction" was substantially less than the average person. The
autonomic nervous system of intensely violent people is intensely sluggish . . . . They need
a higher level of thrill or stimulation in order to have an intense experience," says forensic
psychologist Shawn Johnston.

Sensory deprivation

Studies show that the lack of physical touch can be harmful to the child's development. In
a study of chimpanzees, the babies who were not handled became withdrawn, and later
began to attack others. Some serial killers had been separated from parents at early age, or
were denied their mother's love and physical touch.


These physiological characteristics, however, do not guarantee a serial killer. Many have
brain injuries and biological abnormalities who are not violent. A lump on the head is no
singular forecast for a serial killer. Can evil be reduced to a chemical equation? Perhaps it
is a combination of environment and chemical predispositions. What we do know is that
no singular pattern emerges for serial killers. Many of these biological studies are new, so
perhaps in the future the chemical profile of serial killers will be revealed.

What Makes Serial Killers Tick?
Deadly Fantasies
Strange and bizarre fantasies thrive in isolation and anger. For the fledgling serial killer,
fantasies of violence prompt further isolation, which in turn creates a greater reliance on
fantasy for pleasure, according to Robert Ressler (et al) in Sexual Homicide. "As I grew
up I realized, though imperfectly, that I was different from other people, and that the way
of life in my home was different from that in the homes of others. . . . This stimulated me
to introspection and strange mental questionings," said "Acid Bath Murderer" John Haigh.

Eventually, to sustain the fantasy, serial killers come to a point where they need to live it
out. They will dwell on the murder act for years, and drift into almost trance-like states
days before the murder, completely enraptured by their fantasy. Their victims are reduced
to hapless pawns in their wicked reverie. Much of the strange, ritualized mutilations come
from an inner drama that only the killer can understand.

"I made another world, and real men would enter it and they would never really get hurt at
all in the vivid unreal laws of the dream. I caused dreams which caused death. This is my
crime," said Dennis Nilsen. Nilsen's American counterpart Jeffrey Dahmer had a similar
insight: "I made my fantasy life more powerful than my real one."

Yet the brutal, messy reality of murder never completely fulfills the power of the fantasy.
In fact, it is usually a letdown, but the fantasy won't go away -- it is too deeply ingrained
in the killer's psyche. This accounts for the serial nature of lust murder. "The fantasy that
accompanies and generates the anticipation that precedes the crime is always more
stimulating than the immediate aftermath of the crime itself," observed Ted Bundy.

Many serial killers will keep "souvenirs" of their crime, which later refuels the fantasy.
When Bundy was asked why he took Polaroids of his victims, he said, "when you work
hard to do something right, you don't want to forget it."

Doctors B. R. Johnson and J. V. Becker at the University of Arizona are attempting to
understand how deeply fantasy warps the serial killer's mind. They are studying nine cases
of 14 - 18 year olds who have "clinically significant fantasies of becoming a serial killer."
The research is attempting to see if we can spot potential killers based on the potency of
the sadistic fantasies of teenage boys, and if there is any way to interrupt the link between
fantasy and action.

What Makes Serial Killers Tick?
The Last Straw
It's one thing to fantasize about killing someone, but it's another thing to do it. What
prompts serial killers to cross the line, again and again? Drugs are often involved,
especially alcohol, as we see in the case of Gacy (who also had Valium, amphetamines,
and pot in his arsenal) Ramirez, Nilsen and Dahmer.


According to Ressler et al, "stressors" are events that trigger the killer into action. They
can be "conflict with females, parental conflict, financial stress, marital problems, conflict
with males, birth of a child, physical injury, legal problems, and stress from a death." As
the killer grapples with frustration, anger, and resentment, the fantasies of killing can
eclipse reality. "Many triggering factors center around some aspect of control," says
Ressler. Gein's mother's death sent him over the edge, while Kemper's fight with his mom
made him crazed ("I remember one roof-raiser was over whether I should have my teeth
cleaned.") Christopher Wilder, who traveled across the country, raping, torturing, and
murdering eight women, claims his murderous rampage began after his marriage proposal
was rejected.

After the Murder

According to Joel Norris, there are 6 phases of the serial killer's cycle: 1) The Aura Phase,
where the killer begins losing grip on reality; 2) The Trolling Phase, when the killer
searches for a victim; 3) The Wooing Phase, where the killer lures his victim in; 4) The
Capture Phase, where the victim is entrapped; 5) The Murder or Totem phase, which is
the emotional high for killers; and finally, 6) The Depression Phase, which occurs after the

Norris writes that when depression sets in, it triggers the phases into beginning again.
Bundy said he never really got what he had hoped for out of the murders, and always felt
emptiness and hopelessness after. Joel Norris aptly describes the "post-homicidal
depression" the serial killer experiences: "The killer is simply acting out a ritualistic fantasy
. . . but, once sacrificed, the victims identity within the murderer's own fantasy is lost. The
victim no longer represents what the killer thought he or she represented. The image of a
fiancee who rejected the killer, the echo of the voice of the hated mother, or the taunting
of the distant father; all remain vividly in the killer's mind after the crime. Murder has not
erased or changed the past because the killer hates himself even more than he did before
the climax of emotion. . . it is only his own past that is acted out. He has failed again. . .
Instead of reversing the roles of his childhood, the killer has just reinforced them, and by
torturing and killing a defenseless victim, the killer has restated his most intimate

What Makes Serial Killers Tick?
Social Evils
Violent Contemporary Culture

Many multiple murderers blame our violent culture for feeding their appetites. Days before
he was executed, Bundy declared that hard-core pornography was responsible for his
murderous rampage. In our entertainment, sex and violence seem to go hand in hand. Is
there any validity to Bundy's claim?

Many serial killers adopt violent figures as their role models. Mild mannered Peter Kurten,
who on the surface was a polished and polite gentleman, idolized Jack the Ripper while in
jail (Weimar Germany as a culture seemed fascinated by the Ripper's nefarious deeds.) "I
thought of what pleasure it would give me to do things of that kind once I got out again,"
he said. Both John Wayne Gacy and Ed Kemper worshipped John Wayne, who obviously
had a broader fan base than only serial murderers, but his vigilante justice appeals to the
killer who feels he has been wronged. To this day many homicidal acts are blamed on
movies and music. Although there is no direct proof that violence in the media creates
serial killers, it may activate the fantasy, and perhaps legitimizes it for some. As Ed
Kemper said regarding violent pornography, "That didn't make me mean. It just fueled the

According to Elliot Leyton, in his book Hunting Humans, serial killers are "not alien
creatures with deranged minds, but alienated men with disinterest in continuing the dull
lives in which they feel entrapped. Reared in a civilization which legitimizes violence as a
response to frustration, provided by the mass media and violent pornography with both the
advertising proclaiming the 'joy' of sadism and the instruction manual outlining correct
procedures, they grasp the 'manly' identity of pirate and avenger."

Stranger Society

It is easier for us to see each other only as strangers, or stereotypes. The serial killer stalks
stereotypes. "We are creating strangers of each other," says Steven Egger. "As we become
strangers we begin to see others more as objects and less as human beings."

"Its the anonymity factor," said Bundy on the ease of killing. In the 20h century, the angst
of the city continues to spawn both killers and victims. Serial killers can easily troll for
victims among the "forgotten": runaways, prostitutes, drug addicts, and the
poverty-stricken. Perhaps the anonymity itself is a factor that creates a serial killer. Feeling
disenfranchised, forgotten, ignored in the looming crowd, the psychopath not only kills
those who mirror back his own forgotten, anonymous identity, but even makes a name for
himself, "becomes somebody" in the process.

Serial Killing as a Career?

David Berkowitz illustrates this possibility."Hello from the cracks in the sidewalks of New
York City, and from the ants that dwell in these cracks. . . " he wrote. Berkowitz had no
stable identity -- no achievements, no friends, no attachments. Just isolation. The "Son of
Sam" identity gave him great notoriety and power over others. "I believe they were
rooting for me," he said of the general public. He was thrilled to hear co-workers at the
post office chat about the Son of Sam, with no idea that the mild-mannered David was the
same psycho-killer in the daily newspapers.

Notoriety as a possible incentive is indeed frightening. The serial killers who are initially
motivated by a need for power love the media attention. Gacy treasured his scrapbook of
all the press he received. Jeffrey Dahmer's trial had "the air of a movie premiere, complete
with local celebrities, groupies who hounded for autographs, and a full-scale media
onslaught--of which I was a part," wrote Dahmer biographer Anne Schwartz.

But Dr. Meloy, author of The Psychopathic Mind, warns us against celebrating serial
killers: "If the murder attracts media attention and catalyzes both public fear and
fascination, it will reinforce the psychopathic's concept of self as larger than life. . . . In a
real sense, the popular media may mythologize predators to the degree that they do
become a legend in their own minds. This verification in reality of that which heretofore
had only been experienced in fantasy leads the psychopath to consider predation as the
sole means to achieve notoriety."

What Makes Serial Killers Tick?
When Do They Stop?

When does a serial killer stop? Either when they are caught or killed. Very few have
turned themselves in. Only Ed Kemper called the police to confess, and waited at a phone
booth to be picked up. Recently, a Humboldt county truck driver walked into a police
station with a female breast in his pocket as proof of his deeds. Some plea to be caught,
yet coyly disappear before the cops arrive to arrest them. William Heirens wrote his
memorable message ("For heavens sake catch me before I kill more I cannot control
myself") in bizarre, red lipstick cursive on the wall, while his victim lay dead, shot and
stabbed in the neck. If there are any serial killers who quit because they were satiated or
bored, we cannot know because they are not in captivity.

Some claim that if they could they would have indulged in mass destruction. The
"Vampire of Dusseldorf" Peter Kurten said "the more people the better. Yes if I had the
means of doing so, I would have killed whole masses of people -- brought about
catastrophes." When Carl Panzram wasn't fantasizing about poisoning towns with arsenic,
he spent his time plotting a grand scheme to incite war between the British and the
Americans. "I believe the whole human race should be exterminated, I'll do my best to do
it every chance I get," he told a jury before their deliberation (they sentenced him to death
in less than a minute.)

Are There Any "Reformed" Serial Killers?

Fortunately, our society is not willing to risk the opportunity to find out by releasing them.
In fact, one of the most outspoken critics of "reform" is a serial killer himself, the
unrepentant Carl Panzram: "I have no desire to reform myself. My only desire is to reform
people who try to reform me. And I believe that the only way to reform people is to kill
em. My Motto is, Rob em all, Rape em all and Kill em all."

Conclusion: "A person was a blank"

In the end, all we can conclude is that serial killers are human black holes. That they are so
normal, so generic, so invisible, they terrify us because they mirror us. Henry Lee Lucas
grimly proclaimed that "All across the country, there's people just like me, who set out to
destroy human life." Many of them describe themselves as having a piece missing,
something dead within, or as Bundy said, a void inside. Not only are the victims "a blank"
to the killer, as Lucas put it, they are blank to themselves. "What I wanted to see was the
death, and I wanted to see the triumph, the exultation over the death. . . . In other words, I
was winning over death. They were dead and I was alive. That was a victory in my case,"
mused Ed Kemper. In other words, "Get a life" becomes "Take a life."

Killing others is not an attempt to fill the void, but to spread the void. To make the other
into a lifeless object mimics the killers own lifelessness. "It didn't mean nothing, it just
didn't mean nothing." said DeSalvo. "It was so senseless that it makes sense, you know?"

The serial killer lives on the other side of our social boundaries. He is an embodiment of
the darkness, desire, and power that we must repress within ourselves. He is not a creature
of reason, but of excess and transgression and voracious appetites - selfish, carnal desire.
He breaks the social rules that confine the rest of us- our outrage keeps the boundaries
intact, while our curiosity can explore the dark recesses of our own repressed desires from
a safe distance. He crosses the line into a world of mayhem and depravity. We recoil at
their bloody antics, but remain transfixed.

Jeffrey Dahmer
Escape into Maddness

Konerak was only fourteen and he was running for his life. This was his only chance to
escape from the horrible smelling apartment where the creepy blond guy had slipped him
some kind of powerful drug. It seemed that luck was with him that he started to come
around just as the blond man had left the apartment.
jeff dahmer victim

It took all the strength he had to get up and get to the door. He was so disoriented and
panicked that it made no difference that he was naked. This was his only chance to
survive. He was working strictly on instinct. Just get out of there and run away.

It was just before 2 A.M. and Sandra Smith called 911 to report the boy running around
"butt naked.". She didn't know who he was, but she knew he was injured and terrified.

The paramedics got there first and put a blanket around the naked, dazed boy. Two police
officers arrived soon after and tried to understand what was going on with this young
man of Asian descent.

Sandra Smith, eighteen years old and her cousin Nicole Childress, also eighteen, were
standing near the boy when the Milwaukee city police arrived. The tall blond man was
also standing near the boy. The conversation became heated between the girls, the blond
man and the police.

The tall blond man told the police that Konerak was his nineteen-year-old lover who had
been drinking too much. Konerak who was drugged and incoherent wasn't able to
contradict the smooth-talking blond man. Dahmer gave the police a picture ID.

The two young women tried to intervene. They had seen the terrified boy trying to resist
the blond man before the police arrived. They were angry and upset. The police were
ignoring them and listening to the white man instead.

Just to be on the safe side, the two officers went with the boy and the tall blond man to his
apartment. The apartment smelled bad, but it was very neat. Konerak's clothing was
folded and placed on the sofa. There were a couple of photographs of Konerak in black
bikini briefs.

Konerak sat quietly on the sofa unable to talk intelligently. It's not even clear that he
understood the calm explanation the blond man was giving the police. The blond man was
apologizing that his lover had caused a disturbance and promised it wouldn't happen again.

The police believed the blond man. They had no reason not to -- he was well-spoken,
intelligent and very calm. The Asian was apparently drunk and incoherent. The officers,
not wanting to get in the middle of a domestic argument between homosexual lovers, left
the apartment with Konerak still sitting quietly on the sofa. In that neighborhood, the
officers felt that there were more pressing things for them to do.

What they missed in the apartment bedroom was the body of Tony Hughes, whose
decomposing corpse had lain for three days on the bed.

What they missed was the blond man immediately strangling the Asian boy and having sex
with his corpse.
jeff dahmer

What they missed were the photos that the blond man took of the dead boy, the
subsequent dismemberment of his body, and the cleaning up of his skull to be kept as a

What they missed was the opportunity to take the name of Jeffrey Dahmer off the ID that
the man gave them and run a background check which would have told them than the
calm, well-spoken man was a convicted child molester who was still on probation.
dahmer reporter

The story didn't stop there. The two girls who the police ignored went back home to
Sandra Smith's mother, Glenda Cleveland, a 36-year-old woman who lived next to the
Oxford Apartments which Jeffrey Dahmer called home. Later, Cleveland called up the
officers to find out what happened to the Asian boy. She asked how old the child was. "It
wasn't a child. It was an adult," the officer said.

When she continued to ask questions, he told her: "Ma'am, I can't make it any more clear.
It's all taken care of. He's with his boyfriend and in his boyfriend's apartment...It's as
positive as I can be...I can't do anything about somebody's sexual preferences in life."

A couple of days later, Cleveland called the officers back after she read a newspaper
article about the disappearance of a Laotian boy named Konerak Sinthasomphone who
looked like the boy that had been seen trying to escape from Jeff Dahmer. They never
sent anybody to talk with her.

Cleveland even tried contacting the Milwaukee office of the FBI, but nothing came of it.

That is, until a couple of months later on Monday, July 22, 1991 when all hell broke loose.

A couple of months later on July 22, 1991, two Milwaukee police officers were driving
around in the very high crime area around Marquette University. The heat was oppressive
and the humidity almost unbearable. The smell of the neighborhood was all the more
pungent in the heat: the garbage on the streets, the urine and feces left by the homeless,
the rancid stink of cooked grease.

Around midnight, as the two officers sat in their car, they saw a short, wiry black man
with a handcuff dangling from his wrist. Assuming that this man had escaped from
another policeman, they asked him what he was doing. The man started to pour out a tale
about this "weird dude" who put the cuffs on him in his apartment. The man was
thirty-two year old Tracy Edwards.

Edward's story smacked of some homosexual encounter that normally the police would
avoid, but the two policemen thought they ought to check out this man that had cuffed
Edwards who lived at the Oxford Apartments at 924 North 25th Street. The door to
Apartment 213 was opened by a nice looking thirty-one-year-old blond man.

Dahmer was very calm and rational. He offered to get the key to the handcuffs in the
bedroom. Edwards remembered that the knife that Dahmer had threatened him with was
also in the bedroom.

Once of the officers decided to go into the bedroom himself and take a look. He noticed
photographs lying around that shocked him: dismembered human bodies, skulls in the
refrigerator. When he collected his wits, he yelled to his partner to cuff Dahmer and place
him under arrest.

The placid, rational blond man suddenly turned on them and fought as the other cop tried
to cuff him. While the one officer subdued Dahmer, the other one went to the refrigerator
and opened it. He shrieked loudly at the face that stared out at him and slammed the door.
"There's a fucking head in the refrigerator!"

A closer examination of the apartment revealed an intimate juxtaposition of the tidy and
the unspeakable. While the small one-bedroom flat was neat and clean, especially for a
bachelor, and his pet fish well cared for, the smell of decomposition was overwhelming.

The box of baking soda in the refrigerator hardly absorbed the odors of a decomposing
severed head. The freezer had three more heads, stored neatly in plastic bags and tied
with plastic twisties.

There was a door that led to the bedroom, bedroom closet and bath which had been
outfitted with a dead-bolt lock. Anne E. Schwartz, the reporter who was first on the
scene describes what she saw in her book The Man Who Could Not Kill Enough: "
the back of the closet was a metal stockpot that contained decomposed hands and a penis.
On the shelf above the kettle were 2 skulls.

Also in the closet were containers of ethyl alcohol, chloroform, and formaldehyde, along
with some glass jars holding male genitalia preserved in formaldehyde...Polaroid photos
taken by Dahmer at various stages of his victims' deaths. One showed a man's head, with
the flesh still intact, lying in a sink. Another displayed a victim cut open from the neck to
the groin, like a deer gutted after the kill, the cuts so clean I could see the pelvic bone
clearly." Some of the photos were his victims before he murdered them in various erotic
and bondage poses.

The police, the county medical examiner, the media, families of missing young men, Jeff
Dahmer's family, the entire city of Milwaukee and the whole world tried to understand
what had really happened in Apartment 213. Eventually the story began to tumble out.

The first person to plumb the depths of Jeffrey Dahmer's depravity was Detective Patrick
Kennedy. A huge bear of a man with dramatic handlebar mustache, he engaged Dahmer's
confidence and was the person to whom he confessed the details of his 13-year killing

While Dahmer had fantasies about killing men and having sex with their corpses as early as
age fourteen, he didn't do anything about it until just after he graduated high school in
June of 1978. He picked up a hitchhiker named Steven Hicks when he was living with his
parents in the upscale community of Bath, Ohio. They drank some beer together, but then
Hicks wanted to leave. Dahmer couldn't stand the idea of Hicks leaving, so he struck him
in the head with a barbell and killed him.

He needed to get rid of the body so he cut it up, packaged it up in plastic garbage bags
and buried the bags in the woods behind his house. That fall, he attended Ohio State
University for a semester but flunked out. At the end of 1978, he left to join the Army and
was stationed in Germany. Apparently he didn't kill anyone when he was in the Army
which was corroborated by an exhaustive investigation by the German police. After a
couple of years, the Army discharged him for alcoholism and he went to live in Florida
before returning to Ohio. Once back home, he dug up Hick's body, pounded the
decomposing corpse with a sledgehammer and scattered the remains in the woods.

A few months after his arrest in October of 1981 for drunken and disorderly conduct, his
father thought it best that Jeffrey go live with his grandmother in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Things were calm for a few months until he dropped his trousers in the company of a
group of people. He had apparently had a bit too much to drink. He kept things under
control for another four years until he was again arrested in September of 1986 for
masturbating in front of two boys. He was put on probation for a year.

He killed his second victim, Steven Toumi, a hotel room in September of 1987. The two
of them had been drinking heavily in one of the popular gay bars. Dahmer didn't know
how he killed him, but when he awoke, Toumi was dead and blood was on his mouth. He
bought a large suitcase and stuffed the body inside. After he took Toumi's corpse to his
grandmother's basement, he had sex with it, masturbated over it, dismembered it and
threw it in the garbage.

Several months later, he selected his third victim, a 14-year-old boy named Jamie Doxtator
who hung around outside the gay bars, looking for relationships. Dahmer's methods
became established by that time. Generally, he would meet and select his prey at gay bars
or bathhouses. He would lure his victims by offering them money for posing for
photographs or simply to enjoy some beer and videos. Then he would drug them, strangle
them, masturbate over the body or have sex with the corpse, dismember the body and
dispose of it. Sometimes he would keep the skull or other body parts as souvenirs.

He practiced this ritual on Richard Guerrero, a handsome young man of Mexican origin in
late March of 1988. Dahmer said he met him a gay bar in Milwaukee, but the young man's
family disputed that their son was anything but heterosexual. By the summer of that year,
Dahmer had killed four men. While Dahmer's grandmother was completely ignorant of the
awful things that were happening in her basement, she was fully aware of the noise and
drunkenness of Jeff and his male friends. Something had to be done.

So, on September 25, 1988, Jeffrey moved into an apartment on North 24th Street in
Milwaukee. The very next day, he got into serious trouble. He offered a 13-year-old
Laotian boy $50 to pose for some pictures. He drugged the boy and fondled him, but did
not get violent or have intercourse with him. By incredible coincidence, the boy's name
was Sinthasomphone, the older brother of the boy that Dahmer would kill in May of 1991.

The boy's parents realized there was something wrong with their child and took him to the
hospital where it was confirmed that he had been drugged. The police picked up Dahmer
at his job as the mixer at Ambrosia Chocolate. He was arrested for sexual exploitation of
a child and second-degree sexual assault. On January 30, 1989, he pled guilty, although
he claimed that he thought that the boy was much older than he was.

While Dahmer awaited sentencing and was living again at his grandmother's house, he met
Anthony Sears at a gay bar. Like the others, he offered the 24-year-old aspiring model
some money to pose for photos. When they reached Dahmer's grandmother's house,
Sears was drugged and strangled. Dahmer had sex with his corpse and then dismembered

Anne Schwartz in The Man Who Could Not Kill Enough describes what happened next:
"...he kept the head and boiled it to remove the skin, later painting it gray, so that in case
of discovery, the skull would look like a plastic model used by medical students. Dahmer
saved the trophy for two years, until it was recovered from Apartment 213 on July 23,
1991. Later he explained that he masturbated in front of the skulls for gratification."

On May 23, 1989, Dahmer's lawyer, Gerald Boyle, and Assistant D.A. Gale Shelton
presented their arguments to Judge William Gardner. Shelton wanted a prison sentence of
at least five years. "In my judgment it is absolutely crystal clear that the prognosis for
treatment of Mr. Dahmer within the community is extremely bleak... His perception that
what he did wrong here was choosing too young a victim, -- and that that's all he did
wrong, -- is a part of the problem... He appeared to be cooperative and receptive, but
anything that goes below the surface indicates that the deep-seated anger and deep-seated
psychological problems that he is unwilling or incapable of dealing with."

Three psychologists examined him and concurred that Dahmer was manipulative, resistant
and evasive. Hospitalization and intensive treatment was recommended.

Boyle, the defense attorney, argued that Dahmer was sick and needed treatment, not
prison. He praised the fact that he had held a job. "We don't have a multiple offender
here. I believe that he was caught before it got to the point where it would have gotten
worse, which means that it is a blessing in disguise."

Dahmer himself spoke in his own defense, blaming his behavior on alcoholism. He was
articulate and convincing, for someone who had secretly murdered several men by that

"What I have done is very serious. I've never been in this position before. Nothing this
awful. This is a nightmare come true for me. If anything would shock me out of my past
behavior patterns, it's this.

"The one thing I have in my mind that is stable and that gives me some source of pride is
my job. I've come very close to losing it because of my actions, which I take full
responsibility for... All I can do is beg you, please spare my job. Please give me a chance
to show that I can, that I can tread the straight and narrow and not get involved in any
situation like this ever again... This enticing a child was the climax of my idiocy... I do
want help. I do want to turn my life around."

A marvelous performance by a true psychopath! The judge fell for it, stayed his sentence,
and put Dahmer on probation for five years. He was ordered to spend one year in the
House of Correction under "work release," which allowed him to go to work during the
day and return to the jail at night.

After 10 months, the judge granted him early release despite a letter from Dahmer's father
urging him not to release him until he received treatment. He went to stay with his
grandmother in early March of 1990, but his stay there was conditional upon him finding
his own place to live.

On May 14, 1990, Dahmer moved to 924 North 25th Street, Apartment 213 and the
killing began in earnest.

During the next 15 months, Dahmer went on a killing binge that cost 12 men their lives.
The pace of Dahmer's murders accelerated to a frenzy in May-July of 1991 when he was
killing almost at a rate of one man a week. All but three were black; one was white, one
was Laotian and one was Hispanic. Most, but not all, were homosexual or bisexual. The
youngest was Konerak,14, and the oldest was thirty-one. Many of the victims lived what
police call "high-risk" lifestyles. Most of the men had arrest records, often for very serious
crimes, like arson, sexual assault, rape, battery, etc. The listing below appears in Anne
Schwartz's The Man Who Could Not Kill Enough:

* Edward Smith June, 1990
* Ricky Lee Beeks July, 1990
* Ernest Miller Sept., 1990
* David Thomas Sept., 1990
* Curtis Straughter Feb., 1991
* Errol Lindsey April, 1991
* Anthony Hughes May 24, 1991
* Konerak Sinthasomphone May 27, 1991
* Matt Turner June 30, 1991
* Jeremiah Weinberger July 5, 1991
* Oliver Lacey July 12, 1991
* Joseph Bradehoft July 19, 1991

His ritual for luring, murdering and disposing of his victims was usually the same. He
invited the men to his apartment to watch sexually-explicit videos or to pose for photos.
He crushed up his prescribed sedatives and served them in a drink. Once drugged,
Dahmer strangled them with his bare hands or with a leather strap. He frequently had sex
with the corpse and later masturbated over it.

Before any clean-up began, Dahmer reached for his Polaroid to capture the entire
experience so that he could remember each and every murder. Then he cut open their
torsos. He was fascinated by the color of the viscera and sexually aroused by the heat
that the freshly-killed body would give off. Finally, he would dismember the man,
photographing each stage of the process for future viewing pleasure.

He disposed of most of the bodies, experimenting with various chemicals and acids that
would reduce the flesh and bone to a black, evil-smelling sludge, which could be poured
down a drain or toilet.

Some parts of the bodies he chose to keep as trophies, frequently the genitals and head.
The genitals were preserved in formaldehyde. The heads were boiled until the flesh came
off. Once the skull was bare, he painted it with gray paint to look like plastic.

Not unusual with necrophiliacs is cannibalism. Dahmer claimed that he ate the flesh of his
victims because he believed that the people would come alive again in him. He tried
various seasonings and meat tenderizers to make the human flesh more tasty. Eating
human flesh gave him an erection. His famous freezer contained strips of frozen flesh.
He had tried human blood too, but it did not appeal to his taste buds.

Like Eddie Gein, he tried to perfect the art of preservation and taxidermy so that he could
practice the state-of-the-art on his victims.

Control was an all important issue for Dahmer. He could not tolerate rejection or
abandonment. Even in his sexual relationships, he did not want to please his partner, he
just wanted to have his own fantasies fulfilled. Pleasure to Dahmer meant performing oral
or anal sex on his partner, whether alive or dead.

This absolute need for control led him down some pretty weird roads. One of them was a
kind of lobotomy that he performed on several of his victims. Once they were drugged, he
drilled a hole in their skulls and injected some muriatic acid into their brains. Needless to
say, it caused death right away in a few victims, but one supposedly functioned minimally
for a few days before dying.

Not surprisingly, his need for control led him to dabble with Satanism. In fact, just having
the bodies of his victims around him made him feel "thoroughly evil." "I have to
question," Dahmer said, "whether or not there is an evil force in the world and whether or
not I have been influenced by it. Although I am not sure if there is a God, or if there is a
devil, I know that as of lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about both." He had plans
to create a shrine in his apartment, featuring all of his trophies, his statue of a griffin, and
incense burned in the skulls of his victims, so that he could receive "special powers and
energies to help him socially and financially."

Why does a Jeffrey Dahmer happen? How does a man become a serial killer, necrophiliac,
cannibal and psychopath? Very few convincing answers are forthcoming, despite a spate
of books that propose to the understand the problem.

Many of the theories would have you believe that the answers can always be found in
childhood abuse, bad parenting, head trauma, fetal alcoholism and drug addiction.
Perhaps in some cases, these are contributing factors, but not for Jeffrey Dahmer.

His father, Lionel Dahmer, wrote a very sad and poignant book called A Father's Story
which explores the very common phenomenon of a parents trying desperately to give their
child a good upbringing and discovering to their horror that their child has built a high wall
around himself from which their influence is progressively shut out. While fortunately,
most parents do not have a Jeffrey Dahmer to raise, too many have seen their children
succumb to drugs, alcohol, crime despite their very best and often frantic efforts to

"It is a portrayal of parental dread... the terrible sense that your child has slipped beyond
your grasp, that your little boy is spinning in the void, swirling in the maelstrom, lost, lost,

Lionel seems to be fairly straightforward in recognizing the negative influences in Jeff's
life. No family is perfect. Jeff's mother had various physical ailments and appeared to be
high strung, coming from a background in which her father's alcoholism deeply affected
her life.

Lionel, a chemist who went on to get his Ph.D., stayed at work more often than he should
to avoid turmoil on the home front. Eventually, the marriage dissolved in divorce when
Jeff was eighteen. However, none of this commonplace domestic discord accounts for
serial murder, necrophilia, etc.

Jeff Dahmer was born in Milwaukee on May 21, 1960, to Lionel and Joyce Dahmer. He
was a child who was wanted and adored, in spite of the difficulties of Joyce's pregnancy.
He was a normal, healthy child whose birth was the occasion of great joy. As a tot, he
was a happy bubbly youngster who loved stuffed bunnies, wooden blocks, etc. He also
had a dog named Frisky, his much loved childhood pet.

Despite a greater number than usual of ear and throat infections, Jeff developed into a
happy little boy. His father recalled the day that they released back into the wild a bird
that the three of them had nursed back to health from an injury: "I cradled the bird in my
cupped hand, lifted it into the air, then opened my hand and let it go. All of us felt a
wonderful delight. Jeff's eyes were wide and gleaming. It may have been the single,
happiest moment of his life." The family had moved to Iowa where Lionel was working
on his Ph.D. at Iowa State University.

When Jeff was four, his father swept out from under their house the remains of some small
animals that had been killed by civets. As his father gathered the tiny animal bones, Jeff
seemed "oddly thrilled by the sound they made. His small hands dug deep into the pile of
bones. I can no longer view it simply as a childish episode, a passing fascination. This
same sense of something dark and shadowy, of a malicious force growing in my son, now
colors almost every memory."

At the age of six, he was found to be suffering from a double hernia and needed surgery to
correct the problem. He never seemed to recover his ebullience and buoyancy. "He
seemed smaller, somehow more vulnerable... he grew more inward, sitting quietly for long
periods, hardly stirring, his face oddly motionless."

In 1966, Lionel had completed his graduate work in Iowa and got a job as a research
chemist in Akron, Ohio. Joyce was pregnant with their second son David By that time
Jeff was in the first grade and "a strange fear had begun to creep into his personality, a
dread of others that was combined with a general lack of self-confidence. He was
developing a reluctance to change, a need to feel the assurance of familiar places. The
prospect of going to school frightened him. The little boy who'd once seemed so happy
and self-assured had been replaced by a different person, now deeply shy, distant, nearly

Lionel suspected that the move from Iowa to Ohio was the causative factor and Jeff's
behavior was a normal reaction to being uprooted from familiar settings and placed into
entirely new ones. Lionel, too, had suffered from shyness, introversion and insecurity as a
child and had learned to overcome these problems. He figured his son would learn to
overcome them too. What he didn't realize was that Jeff's boyhood condition was far
graver than his and that "Jeff had begun to suffer from a near isolation."
In April of 1967, they bought a new house. Jeff seemed to adjust better to this move and
developed a close friendship with a boy named Lee. He was also very fond of one of his
teachers and took her a bowl of tadpoles he had caught. Later, Jeff found out that the
teacher had given the tadpole to his friend Lee. Jeff sneaked into Lee's garage and killed
all the tadpoles will motor oil.

Things did not get better with time. "His posture, and the general way in which he carried
himself, changed radically between his tenth and fifteenth years. The loose-limbed boy
disappeared, and was replaced by a strangely rigid and inflexible figure.

He looked tense, his body very straight. He grew increasingly shy during this time and
when approached by other people, he would become very tense. More and more, he
remained at home, alone in his room or staring at television. His face was often blank, and
he gave the more or less permanent impression of someone who could do nothing but
mope around, purposeless and disengaged.

He had one friend, who drifted apart from him at age fifteen. Lionel found out at Jeff's
trial that during this period, Jeff would ride around with plastic garbage bags and collect
the remains of animals for his own private cemetery. "He would strip the flesh from the
bodies of these putrescent road kills and even mount a dog's head on a stake." There has
been the suggestion that Jeff tortured animals, but that is unlikely. He enjoyed a dog and
cat as pets in his childhood and kept pet fish as an adult. His fascination was with dead

Jeff grew more passive and isolated. " His conversation narrowing to the practice of
answering questions with barely audible one-word responses. He was drifting into a
nightmare world of unimaginable fantasies. In coming years those fantasies would begin
to overwhelm him. The dead in their stillness would become the primary objects of his
growing sexual desire. His inability to speak about such strange and unsetting notions
would sever his connections to the world outside himself."

While other boys pursued careers, education, the creation of homes and families, Jeff was
completely unmotivated. "He must have come to view himself as utterly outside the
human community, outside all that was normal and acceptable, outside all that could be
admitted to another human being." One would expect that a person harboring the
fantasies of death and dismemberment that swirled around in Jeffrey Dahmer's head as a
teenager would show some outer signs of mental illness. But Jeff just became more
isolated and uncommunicative. Far from rebelling, he never argued with his parents
because nothing seemed to matter to him.

In high school, Jeff had average grades and participated in a few activities: he played
tennis and worked on the school newspaper. However, his classmates considered him a
loner and an alcoholic, who brought liquor into the classroom. He actually had a prom
date, who he later invited to his parents' house for a seance.

His classmates remember a stunt he pulled when he got himself included in the yearbook
photo of the members of the National Honor Society. The yearbook staff caught the
prank in time and blacked out Jeff's picture.

As Jeff became more passive, the passions between Lionel and Joyce increased. It
culminated in divorce when Jeff was almost eighteen. A custody battle began over David.
Some months later, Lionel remarried. Whatever Lionel missed about Jeff's alcoholism, his
new wife Shari did not.

Lionel and Shari convinced him to try the idea of college. In the fall of 1978, they drove
him to Ohio State University, but he stayed drunk the whole semester and flunked out. By
this time, his drinking problem was well understood, but he would not seek help for it.
Lionel read him the rules: either Jeff had to get a job or join the Army. When Jeff refused
to get a job and stayed drunk most of the time, his father drove him down to the recruiting
office to join the armed forces in January of 1979.

From that time until Jeff's final arrest in 1991, life was a rollercoaster for Lionel and his
wife. Jeff would appear to be doing well and then it was clear that he wasn't. He seemed
to enjoy the Army, but then he was discharged early for habitual drunkenness. He then
moved in with his grandmother and got a job, but then he was arrested for drunkenness
and disorderly conduct. The offenses got worse as his alcoholism and emotional problems
intensified. Indecent exposure, then child molesting and finally, the most horrible
discovery of all when the police arrested him for multiple murders. Each time, Lionel
stood by him, paid for the lawyer, urged him to seek treatment and crossed his fingers that
Jeff would improve. Each time, his hopes were dashed by some fresh and more serious
difficulty. Lionel began to understand that his son was completely beyond his reach.

As early as 1989 when Jeff was facing sentencing for child molestation, Lionel felt that the
his "son would never be more than he seemed to be -- a liar, an alcoholic, a thief, an
exhibitionist, a molester of children. I could not imagine how he had become such a
ruined soul... For the first time, I no longer believed that my efforts and resources alone
would be enough to save my son. There was something missing in Jeff.... We call it a
"conscience"... that had either died or had never been alive in the first place."

Dr. James Fox, dean of the College of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University in
Boston and recognized expert on serial killer claims that "There was nothing we could do
to predict this [tragedy] ahead of time, no matter how bizarre the behavior. He also noted
that while Jeffrey was devastated when his mother left him, it would be wrong to blame
his parents for what he had become. "Ever since Sigmund Freud, we blame everything
bad that kids do on their parents... The culprit is Dahmer. Not his father, not his family,
not the police."

Fox believes that Dahmer is an unusual serial killer. "He fits the stereotype of someone
who really is out of control and being controlled by his fantasies. The difference is that
most serial killers stop once the victim dies. Everything is leading up to that. They tie
them up; they like to her them scream and beg for their lives. It makes the killer feel great,
superior, powerful, dominant... In Dahmer's case, everything is post-mortem... all of his
'fun' began after the victims died... He led a rich fantasy life that focused on having
complete control over people... That fantasy life, mixed with hatred, perhaps hatred of
himself which is being projected into his victims. If he at all felt uncomfortable about his
own sexual orientation, it is very easy to see it projected into these victims and punishing
them indirectly to punish himself."

Serial murder, psychopathology, necrophilia, cannibalism -- none of these phenomena is
unique to modern times. The answers to explain these phenomena go in and out of
fashion. Today, genetics is gaining ground over behaviorism in explaining why people
become criminals. In the case of Jeffrey Dahmer it may be the only explanation.

The security surrounding the trial of Jeff Dahmer was unique in Milwaukee's history:
"The courtroom was swept for bombs by a dog trained to sniff for explosives, and
everyone allowed into the courtroom was searched and checked with a metal detector... In
the courtroom, an eight-foot-high barrier was constructed from bullet-resistant glass and
steel, designed to isolate Dahmer from the gallery." (Schwartz)

Of the 100 seats that were available, 23 were for reporters, 34 for the families of Dahmer's
victims and the remaining 43 for public spectators.

The key players in this legal drama, besides Jeff Dahmer himself, were Judge Laurence C.
Gram, Jr., District Attorney Michael McCann, and defense lawyer Gerald Boyle, who had
defended Dahmer in the past. Lionel and Shari Dahmer attended every day.

On July 13, 1992, Dahmer ignored his lawyer's advice and changed his plea to guilty, but
that he was insane. According to Don Davis in The Milwaukee Murders, " the declaration
turned the case on its head. Now, instead of having to prove his man did not commit the
murders, defense attorney Gerald Boyle would unroll one of the goriest tapestries ever
seen in an American courtroom. His task was to convince the jury that Dahmer was
crazy, because only an insane person would do the things he did."

Mike McCann, on the other hand, needed to prove that Dahmer was not legally insane --
that he knew what he was doing was wrong, but did it anyway. In others words, Dahmer
was an evil psychopath who lured his victims and murdered them in cold blood..

The pool of prospective jurors were warned "You're going to hear about things you
probably didn't know existed in the real world. In this case," Boyle told them, " you're
going to hear about sexual conduct before death, during death, and after death. Will you
be so disgusted by that you won't be able to listen?" Together, Boyle and McCann
discarded potential jurors who were prejudiced against homosexuals or who didn't have
any use for psychiatrists.

Anne Schwartz remembers the second day of jury selection before the prospective jurors
were called into the room. Boyle held up a tabloid newspaper that read "Milwaukee
Cannibal Killer Eats His Cellmate. "We all laughed," Schwartz recalled, "especially Jeffrey
Dahmer... He was an attractive man when he laughed...I could see how so many were
taken in by him."

On January 29, 1992, the jury and two alternates were selected. Only one black person
was selected, which caused a protest among the family members. The entire case had
seriously polarized the community along racial lines from the moment the public heard
Glenda Cleveland's story through the discovery that most of his victims were black. Now,
it seemed as though this jury of six white men and seven white women was just another
example of racial injustice.

Boyle's defense consisted of some forty-five witnesses that would attest to various aspects
of Dahmer's bizarre behavior and to try to show that Dahmer's sexual and mental disorders
prevented him from understanding the nature of his crime. Every hideous detail of what
Dahmer allegedly did with his victims and every nightmarish thing that ever entered his
head was fair game. The goal was to convince the jury that such alleged actions and such
alleged thoughts did not happen with a man that was sane.

Boyle threw the question out to the jury? "Was he evil or was he sick?" Had the jury at
that point in time taken a vote, it's very possible that they would have agreed with Boyle.

However, it was McCann's turn to present his case. Dahmer, he told them, was a "master
manipulator and deceiver who knew exactly what he was doing every step of the way, able
to turn his urges on and off as easily as flipping a light switch. Did he attack other soldiers
while he was in the army? Other students while at Ohio State University? The deaths, he
said were not the acts of a madman, but the result of meticulous planning." (Davis)

Two detectives took turns reading the 160-page confession. It was a catalog of sexual
perversion. Detective Dennis Murphy stated that Dahmer "felt a tremendous amount of
guilt because of his actions. He felt thoroughly evil." Then he quoted from Dahmer's own
confession: "It's hard for me to believe that a human being could have done what I've
done, but I know that I did it." He claimed that his fear of being caught was overwhelmed
by his excitement of being completely in control.

The battle of psychiatrists over whether Dahmer was legally responsible and able to
control his actions seemed to confuse the jury.

Finally, in his summation, Boyle drew a chart for the jury that took the form of a wheel.
The hub of the wheel was Jeff Dahmer and all of the spokes coming out from the wheel
were the elements of his deviance. He read them off quickly:

"Skulls in locker, cannibalism, sexual urges, drilling, making zombies, necrophilia, drinking
alcohol all the time, trying to create a shrine, lobotomies, defleshing, calling taxidermists,
going to grave yards, masturbating.....This is Jeffrey Dahmer, a runaway train on a track
of madness..."

McCann rebutted, "He wasn't a runaway train, he was the engineer!" He was satisfying
his extraordinary sexual cravings. "Ladies and gentlemen, he's fooled a lot of people.
Please don't let this murderous killer fool you."

The jury deliberated for five hours and decided that Jeff Dahmer did not deserve to spend
the rest of his life in a hospital, but in a prison cell. On all fifteen counts, Dahmer was
found guilty and sane.

Anne Schwartz, who covered the Dahmer story for the Milwaukee Journal from its
discovery through the trial, was "astonished at how normal this man looked and
sounded...The day Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced, I heard him read his statement to the
court calmly and eloquently, and I wondered how easily I could have been conned.

"His apology, covering a thirteen-year bloodbath, ran four typewritten pages:

"'Your Honor:

"'It is now over. this has never been a case of trying to get free. I didn't ever want
freedom. Frankly, I wanted death for myself. This was a case to tell the world that I did
what I did, but not for reasons of hate. I hated no one. I knew I was sick or evil or both.
Now I believe I was sick. The doctors have told me about my sickness, and now I have
some peace.. I know how much harm I have caused... Thank God there will be no more
harm that I can do. I believe that only the Lord Jesus Christ can save me from my sins... I
ask for no consideration."

He was sentenced to fifteen consecutive life terms or a total of 957 years in prison.

Dahmer adjusted very well to prison life at the Columbia Correctional Institute in Portage,
Wisconsin. Initially, he was not part of the general population of the prison, which would
have jeopardized his safety. As it was, he was attacked on July 3, 1994, while attending a
chapel service by a Cuban who he had never seen before.

Dahmer, the model prisoner, convinced the prison authorities to allow him more contact
with other inmates. He was able to eat in communal areas and he was given some
janitorial work to do with other teams of inmates.

For some incredible reason, he was paired up with two highly dangerous men on a work
detail: Jesse Anderson, a white man who had murdered his wife and blamed it on a black
man, and Christopher Scarver, a black delusional schizophrenic who thought he was the
son of God, who was in for first-degree murder. It's not difficult to imagine how Scarver
viewed Jeff Dahmer, who had butchered so many black men, and Anderson. It was a
disastrous combination.

The morning of November 28, 1994, the guard left these three men alone to do their
work. Twenty minutes later, the guards came back to find Dahmer's head crushed and
Anderson's fatally injured body nearby. A bloody broom handle seemed to represent
Scarver's statement on the subject. Jeffrey Dahmer was pronounced dead at 9:11 A.M.

John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

John Wayne Gacy

It is no surprise that John Wayne Gacy, Jr. was admired and liked by most who had
known him. He was a sharp businessman who had spent his time, when not building up his
contracting company, hosting elaborate street parties for friends and neighbors, dressing
as a clown and entertaining children at local hospitals and immersing himself in
organizations such as the Jaycees, working to make his community a better place to live.
People who knew Gacy thought of him as a generous, friendly and hard-working man,
devoted to his family and community. However, there was another side to Gacy that few
had ever witnessed...

It was May 22, 1978, and Jeffrey Ringall had recently returned from a winter vacation in
Florida to his home in Chicago. He decided to reacquaint himself with the city by visiting
New Town, a popular area of Chicago where many popular bars and discos could be
found. While walking through the area, his path was blocked by a black Oldsmobile. The
heavy-set driver leaned out from the window and complimented Ringall on his
unseasonable tan. He continued to make small talk and then asked if Ringall wanted to
share a joint with him while they rode around town.

Ringall was delighted to escape the cold and share a marijuana cigarette with the stranger.
He hopped in the car and began to smoke with his friendly new acquaintance. Before they
were half way through with the joint, the man grabbed Ringall and quickly shoved a rag
over his face doused with chloroform. Ringall lost consciousness and only briefly
reawakened a couple of times during the car ride. During his wakeful periods Ringall
watched in a daze as street signs passed, trying to make sense of what was happening to
him. Yet before he was able to understand where he was and what was happening, the
stranger again covered his face with the chloroform-soaked rag and he passed out.

Once when he was awake, Ringall remembered being in a house and seeing the heavy-set
man naked before him. Ringall also remembered seeing on the floor a number of varying
sized dildos that the stranger pointed out to him and remarked on how he was going to
use them on his unwilling prisoner. That evening Ringall was viciously raped, tortured and
drugged by the sadistic stranger.

Later the next morning, Ringall awoke from one of his blackouts fully clothed and under a
statue in Chicagos Lincoln Park. He was surprised to be alive after the trauma that was
inflicted on his body. He made his way to his girlfriend's and later to the hospital where he
stayed for six days. During his hospital stay, Ringall reported the incident to the police
who were sceptical about finding his rapist, given the little information that Ringall could
provide. Along with skin lacerations, burns and permanent liver damage caused from the
chloroform, Ringall suffered severe emotional trauma.

Yet, he was fortunate to be alive. Ringall was one of the few victims of John Wayne Gacy,
Jr. to have survived. During a three-year-period, Gacy went on to viciously torture, rape
and murder more than thirty other young men, who would later be discovered under the
floorboards of his home and in the local river.

Chicago's Irish inhabitants and Mr. and Mrs. John Wayne Gacy marked the day with
celebration. It was St. Patricks Day and Marion Elaine Robinson Gacy and John Wayne
Gacy, Sr. welcomed their first son into the world at Edgewater Hospital in 1942. John
Wayne Gacy, Jr. was the second of three children. His older sister Joanne was born two
years before him and two years later came his youngest sister Karen. All of the Gacy
children were raised Catholic and all three attended Catholic schools where they lived on
the northern side of Chicago.

The neighborhood in which Gacy grew up was middle class and it was not uncommon for
young boys to take on part-time jobs after school. Gacy was no exception and he busied
himself after school with a series of part-time positions and Boy Scout activities. The
young Gacy had newspaper routes and worked in a grocery store as a bag-boy and stock

Although he was not a particularly popular kid in school, he was liked by his teachers and
co-workers and had made friends at school and in his Boy Scout troop. He always
remained active with other children and thoroughly enjoyed outdoor scouting activities.
Gacy seemed to have a very normal childhood with the exception of his relationship with
his father and a series of accidents that affected him.

When Gacy was eleven years old he was playing by a swing set when he was hit in the
head by one of the swings. The accident caused a blood clot in the brain. However, the
blood clot was not discovered until he was sixteen. From the age of eleven to sixteen he
suffered a series of blackouts caused by the clot, yet the blackouts ceased when he was
given medication to dissolve the blockage in the brain.

At the age of seventeen, Gacy was diagnosed with a non-specific heart ailment. He was
hospitalized on several occasions for his problem throughout his life but they were not
able to find an exact cause for the pain he was suffering. However, although he
complained frequently about his heart (especially after his arrest), he never suffered any
serious heart attack.

During Gacys late teens, he suffered some turmoil with his father, although relations with
his mother and sisters were very strong. John Wayne Gacy, Sr. was an abusive alcoholic
who physically abused his wife and verbally assaulted his children. Although John Sr. was
an unpleasant individual, young Gacy deeply loved his father and wanted desperately to
gain his devotion and attention. Unfortunately, he was never able to get very close to his
father before he died, something which he regretted his entire life.


After attending four high schools in his senior year and never graduating, Gacy dropped
out of school and left home for Las Vegas. While in Vegas, he worked part time as a
janitor in a funeral parlor performing odd jobs. He was not happy in Vegas because he
couldn't get a decent job. He tried desperately to earn enough money to get back home.
However, it was difficult because there were few jobs available for those who did not have
a high school diploma. It took him three months to earn enough money for a ticket back to
Chicago where his two sisters and mother joyfully awaited his arrival.

Soon after Gacy returned from Las Vegas in the early 1960s, he enrolled himself into a
business college and eventually graduated. While at business college, he perfected his
talent in salesmanship: Gacy was a born salesman who could talk his way in and out of
almost anything. He put his talents to work when he was hired at his first job out of
business school at the Nunn-Bush Shoe Company. He excelled in his position as a
management trainee and it was not too long after his start with the company that he was
transferred to manage a mens clothing outlet in Springfield, Illinois.

It was during this time that Gacys health again took a turn for the worse. He had gained a
great deal of weight and he began to suffer more problems with his heart condition. Soon
after his hospitalization for his heart, he was hospitalized again for a spinal injury. His
weight, heart and back problems would plague Gacy for the rest of his life, yet that would
not stop him from his work or other activities.

While in Springfield, Gacy became involved in several organizations that served the
community: the Chi Rho Club where he was membership chairman, the Catholic
Inter-Club Council where Gacy was a member of the board, The Federal Civil Defense for
Illinois, the Chicago Civil Defense where Gacy was a commanding captain, the Holy
Name Society where he was named an officer and the Jaycees where Gacy devoted most
of his time to and eventually became first vice-president and "Man of the Year."

It was obvious that Gacy took his involvement in community organizations very seriously
and he devoted most of his free time to them. Many who knew Gacy at this time
considered him to be very ambitious and eager to make a name for himself in the
community. He worked so hard that on one occasion he was hospitalized for nervous
exhaustion. However, once again he refused to let his health problems stand in the way of
life and happiness.

In September 1964, Gacy met and married a co-worker named Marlynn Myers whose
parents owned a string of Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurant franchises in
Waterloo, Iowa. Fred W. Myers, Gacys new father-in-law, offered him a position with
one of his franchises. Soon after that Gacy and his new wife moved to Iowa.

Life seemed to hold a lot of promise for Gacy at this time in his life.

Gacy began working for his father-in-law, learning the business from the ground up. On
average he worked for twelve hours a day, yet it was not uncommon for him to work
fourteen or more hours a day. He was enthusiastic and eager to learn, with hopes of one
day taking over the string of fast food restaurants. When Gacy was not working, he was
active in the Waterloo, Iowa, Jaycees.

Gacy worked tirelessly performing volunteer work for his community through the Jaycees.
It was there that he made most of his friends and spent most of his time. In Clifford L.
Linedeckers book, The Man Who Killed Boys, he quoted Charlie Hill, a Jaycee volunteer
who knew well: "He wanted to be very successful and he wanted to be recognized by his
peers.... [Gacy] was always working on some project and he was devoted to the Jaycees.
The club was his whole life."

However, Gacy managed to find some time with his wife when not working for his
father-in-law or doing volunteer work. Marlynn gave birth to a boy shortly after their
move to Iowa and soon after the birth of their son, they celebrated the birth of a daughter.
The Gacys had every reason to be happy during the first few years in Iowa. They had a
nice house in the suburbs and a loving and healthy family. Marlynn enjoyed looking after
the children and John was happy in work and with the Jaycees. He was even working on a
campaign for the presidency of the Jaycees. Everything seemed almost too good to be
true, and indeed it was.

Everything seemed to be looking good for John Wayne Gacy, Jr. Yet, his lucky streak
would not last too much longer. Rumors were spreading around town and amongst Jaycee
members regarding Gacys sexual preference. It seemed that young boys were always in
Gacys presence. Everyone heard the stories that Gacy was homosexual and made passes
at the young boys who worked for him at the fast food franchises. Yet, people close to
him refused to believe in the gossip, until May of 1968 when rumors became truths.

In the spring of 1968, Gacy was indicted by a grand jury in Black Hawk County for
allegedly committing the act of sodomy with a teenage boy named Mark Miller. Miller told
the courts that Gacy had tricked him into being tied up while visiting Gacys home a year
earlier, and had violently raped him. Gacy denied all the charges against him and told a
conflicting story, stating that Miller willingly had sexual relations with him in order to earn
extra money. Gacy further insisted that Jaycee members opposed to him becoming
president of the local chapter organization were setting him up.

However, Millers were not the only charges that Gacy would have to face. Four months
later Gacy was charged with hiring an eighteen-year-old boy to beat up Mark Miller. Gacy
offered Dwight Andersson ten dollars plus three hundred more dollars to pay off his car
loan if he carried out the beating. Andersson lured Miller to his car and drove him to a
wooded area where he sprayed mace in his eyes and began to beat him. Miller fought back
and broke Anderssons nose and managed to break away and run to safety. Soon after
Miller called the police, Andersson was picked up and taken into police custody where he
gave Gacys name as the man who hired him to perform the beating.

A judge ordered Gacy to undergo psychiatric evaluation at several mental health facilities
to find if he were mentally competent to stand trial. Upon evaluation, Gacy was found to
be mentally competent. However, he was considered to be an antisocial personality who
would probably not benefit from any known medical treatment. Soon after health
authorities submitted the report, Gacy pleaded guilty to the charge of sodomy.

When the judge finally handed down the sentence, Gacy received ten years at the Iowa
State Reformatory for men, the maximum time for such an offence. John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
was twenty-six years old when he entered prison for the first time. Shortly after Gacy
entered prison, his wife divorced him on the grounds that Gacy violated their marriage

While in prison Gacy adhered to all the rules and stayed far from trouble. He was a model
prisoner, realizing that there was a high possibility of an early parole if he remained
non-violent and well behaved. Eighteen months later, Gacys hopes came true, his parole
was approved. On June 18, 1970, Gacy left the confines of the prison gates and made his
way back to his place of birth in Chicago.

John Wayne Gacy, Jr. immediately began to put his life back on track again after moving
back to Chicago. He knew he could not afford to let the past disrupt his future if he could
help it. The only thing that seemed to have weighed Gacy down was the death of his father
while Gacy was in prison. Gacy went through difficult periods of depression after his
release from prison because he regretted never saying goodbye to his father. He felt
cheated that he never had a chance to improve his relationship with John W. Gacy, Sr., a
man whom he loved dearly despite of his abusive behavior. However, although deeply
saddened by unresolved conflicts with his father, Gacy refused to let it ruin his future.
Gacy moved in with his mother and obtained work as a chef in a Chicago restaurant. A job
that he enjoyed and worked at with enthusiasm.

After four months of living with his mother, Gacy decided it was time he lived on his own.
His mother had been impressed with how her son had readjusted to life outside the prison
walls and she helped him obtain a house of his own immediately outside Chicagos city
limits. Gacy owned one-half of his new house located at 8213 West Summerdale Avenue
in the Norwood Park Township and his mother and sisters owned the remaining half of the

Gacy was very happy with his new two-bedroom 1950s ranch style house that was
located in a nice, clean, family oriented neighborhood. He was quick to make friends with
his new neighbors, Edward and Lillie Grexa, who had lived in the neighborhood since the
time it had been first built. After only seven months of living in his new home, he was
spending Christmas evening with the Grexas, whom he had invited over for dinner with his
mother. The neighbors became fast friends and often gathered together for drinks or a
game of poker in the comfort of their homes. The Grexas had no idea of Gacys criminal
past or his most recent run in with the law.

A little more than a month after the Grexas had visited for Christmas dinner at Gacys
home, he had been charged with disorderly conduct. The charges stated that Gacy had
forced a young boy, whom he had picked up at a bus terminal, to commit sexual acts upon

Gacy had been officially discharged from his parole for only a few months before he was
already breaking the law again. However, Gacy slipped through the system when all
charges against him were dropped, due to the no-show of his young accuser at the court
proceedings. Gacy was a free man once again.

On June 1, 1972 Gacy married Carole Hoff, a newly divorced mother of two daughters.
Gacy had romanced the woman who was in a state of emotional vulnerability and she
immediately fell for him. She was attracted to Gacys charm and generosity and she
believed he would be a good provider for her and her children. She was aware of Gacys
prison experience, yet she trusted that he had changed his life around for the better.

Carole and her daughters quickly settled into their new home with Gacy. The couple
maintained a close relationship with their neighbors and the Grexas were always invited
over to Gacys house for elaborate parties and barbecues. As flattered as they were to
receive such invitations by their young neighbors, they were always bothered by a horrible
stench that prevailed through the house. Lillie Grexa was sure a rat had died beneath the
floorboards of Gacys house and she urged him to solve his problem. However, Gacy
blamed the horrible stench on the moisture build-up in the crawl space under his house.
Yet, it wasnt a problem with moisture beneath the house. Gacy knew the real and more
sinister cause for the stench and he kept the truth from everyone for years.

Although many friends, family members and neighbors complained about the strange
smells coming from Gacys house, it certainly didnt stop them from attending his theme
parties. Gacy threw two memorable barbecue parties in which he invited all those close to
him. On one occasion more than three hundred guests showed up to attend one of Gacys
parties. The two that were attended by the most people were a luau theme party and a
Western theme party. Both were huge successes. Gacy thrived on the attention he
received from people who had either been to or heard of the parties. He liked to feel

In 1974, Gacy decided he wanted to go into business for himself. He began a contracting
business named Painting, Decorating, and Maintenance or PDM Contractors,
Incorporated. He hired young teenage boys to work for him.

He told friends that he hired such young men to keep the costs low. However, that was
not Gacys only reason for hiring teenage boys: Gacy intended to seduce his young
employees. His homosexual desires and urge to inflict harm were slowly becoming more
apparent to those around him, especially his wife.

Carole and John had drifted apart by 1975. Their sex life had come to a halt and Gacys
moods became more unpredictable. He would be in a good mood one moment and the
next moment he would be flying into an uncontrollable rage and throwing furniture. He
was an insomniac and his lack of sleep seemed to have only exacerbated his other
problems. Gacy was rarely home in the evenings and when he was, he was either fixing
something with the outside of the house or working in the garage. However, there was
one thing that Carole was extremely worried about.

It was not only that Gacy showed no sexual interest in her that hurt Carole, but also what
pained her even more was when she began to find magazines with naked men and boys in
her house. She knew that Gacy was reading them and he acted nonchalantly about his new
choice of reading material. In fact, Gacy had told Carole that he preferred boys to women.
Naturally, Carole was distressed and she soon filed for divorce. The couples divorce
became final on March 2, 1976.

Although Gacy was having marital problems, he refused to let it hold him back from
realizing his dream of success. Being a man who thrived on and delighted in recognition
and attention, Gacy turned his sights to the world of politics. It was in politics that Gacy
hoped to make his mark in the world. He had high aspirations and hoped to one day run
for public office.
Gacy realized that he had to get his name out and make himself known by participating in
volunteer projects and community activities. He also knew that if he were to succeed in
politics he had to win over the people. Gacy had a natural talent when it came to
persuading others and he creatively came up with a way to gain the recognition he sought.

It was not long before Gacy caught the attention of Robert F. Matwick, the Democratic
township committeeman for Norwood Park. As a free service to the community, Gacy and
his employees volunteered to clean-up Democratic Party headquarters. Gacy further
impressed Matwick when the contractor dressed up as "Pogo the Clown" and entertained
children at parties and hospitals.

Unaware of Gacys past and impressed by his sense of duty and dedication towards the
community, Matwick nominated Gacy to the street lighting commission. In 1975, Gacy
became the secretary treasurer. It seemed as if Gacys dreams of success were beginning
to come true; however his career in politics would be short-lived. Troubles started to brew
when rumors began to circulate about Gacy having homosexual interest in teenage boys.

One of the rumors stemmed from an actual incident that took place during the time Gacy
was involved with cleaning the Democratic Party headquarters. One of the teenagers who
worked with Gacy on that particular project was sixteen-year-old Tony Antonucci.
According to the boy, Gacy made sexual advances towards him, yet backed off when
Antonucci threatened to hit him with a chair. Gacy joked about the situation and left him
alone for a month.

The following month while visiting Gacys home, Gacy again approached Antonucci.
Gacy tried to trick the young man into handcuffs and believing he was securely cuffed he
began to undress the boy. However, Antonucci had made sure that one of his hands was
loosely cuffed and he was able to free himself and wrestle Gacy to the ground. Once he
had Gacy on the ground he handcuffed him, but eventually let him go after Gacy promised
he would never again try touching him. Gacy never made sexual advances towards
Antonucci again and the boy remained working for Gacy for almost a year, following the

Seventeen-year-old Johnny Butkovich was like most young men who enjoyed cars and he
took great pride in his 1968 Dodge on which he was continually working. He particularly
loved to race his car, a hobby that cost quite a bit for a young man of seventeen. In order
to pay for new parts to sustain his hobby, he knew he had to get a job.

Johnny began doing remodeling work for Gacy at PDM Contractors -- a position that he
enjoyed and that paid well. He and Gacy had a good working relationship, which made the
long hours pass by more quickly. However, their working relationship ended abruptly
when Gacy refused to pay Johnny for two weeks of work -- something Gacy did often to
his employees in order to save money for himself.

Angered that Gacy had withheld his pay, Johnny went over to his boss's house with two
friends to collect what he believed was rightfully his. When Johnny confronted him about
his pay check, Gacy refused to pay him and a large argument erupted. Johnny threatened
that he was going to tell authorities that he was not deducting taxes from earnings. Gacy
was enraged and screamed at him. Finally, Johnny and his friends realized that there was
little they could do and they eventually left Gacys house. Johnny dropped off his friends
at their house and drove away, never to be seen alive again.

Michael Bonnin, also seventeen, was not too different from Johnny in that he enjoyed
working with his hands. He especially liked doing wood working and carpentry and he
was often busy with several projects at a time. In June of 1976, he had almost completed
work on restoring an old jukebox, yet he never had a chance to finish the job he had
begun. While on route to catch a train to meet his stepfathers brother, he disappeared.

Billy Carroll, Jr. was the kind of boy who seemed to be always getting into trouble ever
since his parents could remember. At the age of nine he was in a juvenile home for stealing
a purse and at age eleven he was caught with a gun. Billy was mischievous and spent most
of his time on the streets in Uptown, Chicago. At the age of sixteen, Billy was making
money by arranging meetings between teenage homosexual boys and adult clientele for a
commission. Although Billy came from a very different background than Michael Bonnin
and Johnny Butkovich, they all had one thing in common -- John Wayne Gacy, Jr. Just like
Johnny and Michael, Billy also disappeared suddenly. On June 13, 1976, Billy left his
home and was never seen alive again.

Gregory Godzik loved his job with PDM Contractors and he didnt mind doing the odd
jobs that his boss required of him, such as cleaning work. The money from his job also
allowed for him to buy parts for his 1966 Pontiac car, a time-consuming hobby. He was
proud of his car and, although it was a bit of an eye sore, it served its purpose. On
December 12, 1976, Gregory dropped his date off at her house, a girl he had had a crush
on for some while, and drove off towards his home. The following day police found
Gregorys Pontiac, but Gregory was missing. He was seventeen years old.

On January 20, 1977, nineteen-year-old John Szyc also disappeared much like the other
young men before him. He had driven off in his 1971 Plymouth Satellite and was never
seen alive again. Interestingly, a short while after the young man vanished, another
teenager was picked up by police in a 1971 Plymouth Satellite while trying to leave a gas
station without paying.

The youth said that the man he lived with could explain the situation. The man was Gacy,
who explained to police that Szyc had earlier sold him the car. Police never checked the
car title which had been signed eighteen days after Szycs disappearance with a signature
that was not his own. In Linedecker's The Man Who Killed Boys, the author points out
that Szyc had known not only Gregory Godzik and Johnny Butkovich but had also, "been
an acquaintance of John Gacy, although he hadnt worked for PDM Contractors."

Robert Gilroy was an outdoorsman, avid camper and horse lover. On September 15, 1977,
eighteen-year-old Gilroy was supposed to catch a bus with friends to go horseback riding
but he never showed up. His father, who was a Chicago police sergeant, immediately
began searching for Robert when he heard that his son was missing. Although a full-scale
investigation was mounted for his son, Robert was nowhere to be found.

More than a year later another young man named Robert Piest would vanish mysteriously.
The investigation into his disappearance would lead to not only the discovery of his body
but the bodies of Butkovich, Bonnin, Carroll, Szyc, Gilroy and twenty-seven other young
men who had suffered similar fates. It would be a discovery that would rock the
foundations of Chicago and shock all of America.

Robert Piest was only fifteen when he disappeared from just outside the pharmacy where
he had worked just minutes earlier. His mother, who had come to pick him up from work,
had been waiting inside the pharmacy for Robert, who had said hed be right back after
talking with a contractor who had offered him a job. Yet, Robert never returned. His
mother began to worry as time passed. Eventually her worry turned to dread. She
searched the pharmacy area outside and inside and still Robert was nowhere to be found.
Three hours after Robert's disappearance, the Des Plaines Police Department was notified.
Lieutenant Joseph Kozenczak led the investigation.

Soon after learning the name of the contractor who had offered the job to Piest, Lt.
Kozenczak knocked at the mans door. When Gacy answered, the lieutenant told him
about the missing boy and asked Gacy to go with him to the police station for questioning.

Gacy said he was unable to leave his home at the moment because there was a recent
death in the family and he had to attend to some phone calls. Gacy showed up at the police
station hours later and gave his statement to police. Gacy said he knew nothing about the
boy's disappearance and left the station after further questioning.

Lt. Kozenczak decided to run a background check on Gacy the next day and was
surprised to find that Gacy had served time for committing sodomy on a teenager years
earlier. Soon after Lt. Kozenczaks discovery, he obtained a search warrant for Gacys
house. It was there that he believed they would find Robert Piest.

On December 13, 1978, police entered John Wayne Gacy, Jr.s house on Summerdale
Avenue. Gacy was not at his home during the investigation. Inspector Kautz was in charge
of taking inventory of any recovered evidence that might be found at the house. Some of
the items on his list that were confiscated from Gacys home were:

* A jewelry box containing two drivers licenses and several rings including one which
had engraved on it the name Maine West High School class of 1975 and the initials J.A.S..
* A box containing marijuana and rolling papers.
* Seven erotic movies made in Sweden
* Pills including amyl nitrite and Valium.
* A switchblade knife.
* A stained section of rug.
* Color photographs of pharmacies and drug stores.
* An address book.
* A scale.
* Books such as, Tight Teenagers, The Rights of Gay People, Bike Boy, Pederasty:
* Sex Between Men and Boys, Twenty-One Abnormal Sex Cases, The American
* Bi-Centennial Gay Guide, Heads & Tails and The Great Swallow.
* A pair of handcuffs with keys. A three-foot-long two-by-four wooden plank with two
holes drilled in each end.
* A six mm. Italian pistol with possible gun caps.
* Police badges.
* An eighteen-inch rubber dildo was also found in the attic beneath insulation.
* A hypodermic syringe and needle and a small brown bottle.
* Clothing that was much too small for Gacy.
* A receipt for a roll of film with a serial number on it, from Nisson Pharmacy.
* Nylon rope.

Three automobiles belonging to Gacy were also confiscated, including a 1978 Chevrolet
pickup truck with snow plow attached that had the name "PDM Contractors" written on
its side, a 1979 Oldsmobile Delta 88 and a van with "PDM Contractors" also written on its
side. Within the trunk of the car were pieces of hair that were later matched to Rob Piests

Further into the investigation, police entered the crawl space located beneath Gacys
home. The first thing that struck investigators was a rancid odor that they believed to be
sewage. The earth in the crawl space was sprinkled with lime but seemed to have been
untouched. Police found nothing else during their first search and eventually returned back
to headquarters to run tests on some of the evidence and research the case more.

Gacy was called into the police department and told of the articles that they had
confiscated. Gacy was enraged and immediately contacted his lawyer. When Gacy was
presented with a Miranda waiver stating his rights and asked to sign it, he refused when
instructed by his lawyer. Police had nothing to arrest him on and eventually had to release
him after more questioning about the Piest boy's disappearance. Gacy was put under
twenty-four hour surveillance.

During the days following the police search of Gacys house, some of his friends were
called into the police station and interrogated. Gacy had told his friends earlier that police
were trying to charge him with a murder but claimed he had nothing to do with such a
thing. From the interviews police gathered little information on any connection with Gacy
to Robert Piest. Friends of Gacy could not believe he was capable of killing a teenage boy.

Frustrated due to the lack of evidence that police had linking Gacy to Piest they decided to
arrest Gacy on possession of marijuana and Valium. Unknown to police at the time, Gacy
had recently confided in a friend and co-worker a day before his arrest that he had indeed
killed. Gacy further confided in his friend that he killed about thirty people because they
were bad and trying to blackmail him.

Around the time Gacy was arrested, he was awaiting action on the Ringall case in which
he had been charged with rape. Determined to find his rapist, Ringall had months earlier
waited by one of the highway exits that he was able to remember during one of his
wakeful episode in Gacys car, before being chloroformed again. Finally, after hours of
waiting by the exit, he spotted the familiar car and followed it to Gacys house. Upon
learning Gacys name, he immediately filed charges of sexual assault.

Finally, after intense investigation and lab work into some of the items confiscated by
police from Gacys house, they came up with critical evidence against Gacy. One of the
rings found at Gacys house belonged to another teenager who had disappeared a year
earlier named John Szyc. They also discovered that three former employees of Gacy had
also mysteriously disappeared. Furthermore, the receipt for the roll of film that was found
at Gacys home had belonged to a co-worker of Robert Piest who had given it to Robert
the day of his disappearance. With the new information, investigators began to realize the
enormity of the case that was unfolding before them.

It was not long before investigators were back searching Gacys house. Gacy had finally
confessed to police that he did kill someone but said it had been in self-defense. He said
that he had buried the body underneath his garage. Gacy told police where they could find
the body and police marked the gravesite in the garage, but they did not immediately begin
digging. They first wanted to search the crawl space under Gacys house. It was not long
before they discovered a suspicious mound of earth. Minutes after digging into the
suspicious mound, investigators found the remains of a body.

That evening, Dr. Robert Stein, Cook County Medical Examiner, was called in to help
with the investigation. Upon his arrival at Gacys house, he immediately recognized a
familiar odor --the distinctive smell of death.

Stein began to organize the search for more bodies by marking off the areas of earth in
sections, as if it were an archaeological site. He knew that the excavation of a
decomposing body must be done with the utmost care to preserve its integrity and that of
the gravesite. Throughout the night and into the days that followed the digging progressed
under the watchful eye of Dr. Stein.

On Friday, December 22, 1978, Gacy finally confessed to police that he killed at least
thirty people and buried most of the remains of the victims beneath the crawl space of his
house. According to the book Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders by Sullivan
and Maiken, Gacy said that, "his first killing took place in January, 1972, and the second
in January, 1974, about a year and a half after his marriage." He further confessed that he
would lure his victims into being handcuffed and then he would sexually assault them. To
muffle the screams of his victims, he would stuff a sock or underwear into their mouths
and kill them by pulling a rope or board against their throats, as he raped them. Gacy
admitted to sometimes keeping the dead bodies under his bed or in the attic for several
hours before eventually burying them in the crawl space.

On the first day that the police began their digging, they found two bodies. One of the
bodies was that of John Butkovich who was buried under the garage. The other body was
the one found in the crawl space. As the days passed, the body count grew higher. Some
of the victims were found with their underwear still lodged deep in their throats. Other
victims were buried so close together that police believed they were probably killed or
buried at the same time. Gacy did confirm to police that he had on several occasions killed
more than one person in a day. However, the reason he gave for them being buried so
close together was that he was running out of room and needed to conserve space.

On the 28th of December, police had removed a total of twenty-seven bodies from Gacys
house. There was also another body found weeks earlier, yet it was not in the crawl space.
The naked corpse of Frank Wayne "Dale" Landingin was found in the Des Plaines River.
At the time of the discovery police were not yet aware of Gacys horrible crimes and the
case was still under investigation. But, investigators found Landingins drivers license in
Gacys home and connected him to the young mans murder. Landingin was not the only
one of Gacys victims to be found in the river.

Also, on December 28th, police removed from the Des Plaines River the body of James
"Mojo" Mazzara, who still had his underwear lodged in his throat. The coroner said that
the underwear stuffed down the victim's throat had caused Mazzara to suffocate.

Gacy told police that the reason he disposed of the bodies in the river was because he ran
out of room in his crawl space and because he had been experiencing back problems from
digging the graves. Mazzara was the twenty-ninth victim of Gacys to be found, yet it
would not be the last.

By the end of February, police were still digging up Gacys property. They had already
gutted the house and were unable to find anymore bodies in the crawl space. It had taken
investigators longer than expected to resume the search due to bad winter storms that
froze the ground and the long process of obtaining proper search warrants. However, they
believed there were still more bodies to be found and they were right.

While workmen were breaking up the concrete of Gacys patio, they came across another
horrific discovery. They found the body of a man still in good condition preserved in the
concrete. The man wore a pair of blue jeans shorts and a wedding ring. Gacys victims no
longer included just young boys or suspected homosexuals, but now also married men.
The following week another body was discovered.

The thirty-first body to be found linked to Gacy was in the Illinois River. Investigators
were able to discover the identity of the young man by a "Tim Lee" tattoo on one of his
arms. A friend of the victim's father had recognized the "Tim Lee" tattoo while reading a
newspaper story about the discovery of a body in the river. The victim's name was
Timothy ORourke, who was said to be such a fan of Bruce Lees that he took the Kung
Fu master's last name and added it to his own name in his tattoo. It is possible that Gacy
had become aquatinted with the young man in one of the gay bars in New Town.

Yet, another body was found on Gacys property around the time ORourke was
discovered and pulled from the river. The body was located beneath the recreation room
of Gacys house. It would be the last body to be found on Gacys property. Soon after the
discovery, the house was destroyed and reduced to rubble. Unfortunately, among the
thirty-two bodies that were discovered that of Robert Piest was still unaccounted for. Piest
was still missing.

Finally in April 1979, the remains of Robert Piest were discovered in the Illinois River. His
body had supposedly been lodged somewhere along the river making it difficult to find his
body. However, strong winds must have dislodged the corpse and carried it to the locks at
Dresden Dam where it was eventually discovered. Autopsy reports on Piest determined
that he had suffocated from paper towels being lodged down his throat. The family soon
after filed a $85-million suit against Gacy for murder and the Iowa Board of Parole, the
Department of Corrections and the Chicago Police Department for negligence.

Police investigators continued to match dental records and other clues to help identify the
remaining victims who were found on Gacys property. All but nine of the victims were
finally identified. Although the search for the dead had finally come to an end, Gacys trial
was just beginning.

On Wednesday, February 6, 1980, John Wayne Gacys murder trial began in the Cook
County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago, Illinois. Jury members, who consisted of five
women and seven men, listened as prosecutor Bob Egan talked about Robert Piests life
and his gruesome death and how Gacy was responsible for his murder thirty-two other
young men. Egan told them about the investigation into Gacy, the discovery of bodies
beneath his house and how Gacys actions were premeditated and rational. In Sullivan and
Maikens book, Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders, it is said that Egans
statement," left a stunning impression on the jurors and the courtroom spectators, who
were learning some of the details of Gacys killing for the first time."

Egans opening statement was followed by one of Gacys defense lawyers, Robert Motta.
He opposed Egans statement by claiming Gacys actions were indeed, irrational and
impulsive, but asserting that he was insane and no longer in control of his conduct.

If had been found insane, Gacy would have become a ward of the state mental health
system. Furthermore, there are no time limits on the incarceration of such a person and in
many cases they are set free when they are deemed mentally stable enough to re-enter
society. This is what Robert Motta believed was best for his client. Yet, an insanity plea is
usually a very difficult one to prove. Although prosecutors were stung by Gacys insanity
plea, it was something they had expected and were well prepared for.

When the opening statements had concluded, the prosecution brought its first witness to
the stand, Marko Butkovich, the father of Gacys victim John Butkovich. He was the first
witness of many that included the family and friends of the murdered victims. Some of the
witnesses broke down in tears on the bench, while others sadly recounted their last
goodbyes to their loved ones.

Following the friends and family of the victims came the testimony of those who worked
for Gacy who survived sexual and usually violent encounters with their boss. Some of his
ex-employees told of his mood swings and how he would trick them into being
handcuffed. Others told of how he constantly made passes at them while at work. The
testimony continued for the next several weeks, including that of friends and neighbors of
Gacy, police officers involved in the investigation and arrest of Gacy, and psychologists
who found Gacy sane during the killings. Before the state rested. it had called some sixty
witnesses to the bench.

On February 24th, the defense began its proceedings and to the surprise of many in the
courtroom, the first witness they had called was Jeffrey Ringall. It was expected that
Ringall would testify in behalf of the prosecution. However, Ringall had previously
mentioned his encounter with Gacy in a book and the prosecution believed that would
damage their case if they took him on as a witness. Therefore, the prosecution did not call
him as a witness because they believed his testimony would better help their case during
cross-examination. Gacys other defense lawyer, Amirante, asked Ringall if he thought
Gacy was able to control himself. Ringall didn't believe so, considering the savagery of
Gacy's attack. Testimony of Ringall did not last very long because he broke down while
telling the court the details of his rape. Ringall was so stressed that he began to vomit and
cry hysterically. He was eventually removed from the courtroom as Gacy sat by exhibiting
no signs of emotion.

In an effort to prove Gacys insanity, Amirante and Motta called to the stand the friends
and family of the accused killer. Gacys mother told of how her husband abused Gacy on
several occasions, at one time whipping him with a leather strap. Gacys sister told a
similar story of how she repeatedly witnessed he brother being verbally abused by their
father. Others who testified for the defense told of how Gacy was a good and generous
man, who helped those in need and always had a smile on his face. Lillie Grexa took the
stand and told of how wonderful a neighbor he was. However, Mrs. Grexa did say
something that would prove damaging to Gacys case. She refused to say that he was
crazy, instead she said she believed Gacy to be a "very brilliant man." That statement
would conflict with the defense's story that he was unable to control his actions and was

The defense then called Thomas Eliseo, a psychologist who interviewed Gacy before the
trial. He found Gacy to be extremely intelligent, yet believed that he suffered from
borderline schizophrenia. Other medical experts that testified on behalf of the defense gave
similar testimony stating that Gacy was schizophrenic, suffered from multiple personality
disorder or had antisocial behaviour. They further stated that Gacys mental disorder
impaired his ability to understand the magnitude of his criminal acts. In conclusion, they all
found him to have been insane during the times he committed murder. After the testimony
of the medical experts, the defense rested its case.

Both sides emotionally argued their cases to the jury that sat before them. Each side
recalled previous witnesses and experts who had testified. The prosecution reminded the
jury of the heinous crimes committed by Gacy, talked of his manipulative behavior, his
rape and torture of the victims and how his crimes were premeditated and planned.

The defense insisted that Gacy was insane and out of control at the time of the killings and
pointed to the testimony given by experts during the trial. After the closing arguments and
the testimony of over a hundred witnesses over a period of five weeks, the jury was left to
make their decision.

It took only two hours of deliberation before the jury came back with its verdict. The
courtroom was filled with silence and everyone within stood at attention when the jury
marched in with its verdict. The silence was broken when the court clerk read, "We, the
jury, find the defendant, John Wayne Gacy, guilty..."

Gacy was found guilty in the deaths of thirty-three young men and as Sullivan said, he had
the "singular notoriety of having been convicted of more murders than anyone else in
American history." Gacy received the death penalty and was sent to Menard Correctional
Center where, after years of appeals, he eventually was killed by lethal injection.

Andrei Chikatilo:
The Heart of a Monster
The Girl In The Red Coat

Late in the afternoon of December 22, 1978, in the small coal-mining town of Shakhty,
southern Russia, Svetlana Gurenkova sat waiting for a streetcar to take her home. As she
waited in the cold, her attention was drawn to a plump young girl who stood a short
distance from her. The girl was wearing a distinctive red coat with a hood trimmed in
black fur. As further protection against the cold, she wore a brown rabbit-fur cap and a
woollen scarf.

What attracted Svetlana's attention wasn't so much the girl or her clothing but the man she
was with. He was a tall, grey-haired man in his forties wearing a long black overcoat and
carrying a shopping bag. The man had a long face and nose and wore oversized glasses. It
wasn't his appearance that made her suspicious, it was the way the man was looking at the
young girl and whispering to her. The girl didn't seem to know him but still seemed
interested in what he had to say. Sometime later the man walked away. The girl followed
shortly after, looking happy and content. As Svetlana watched them walk away, her
streetcar arrived and she lost sight of them.

The young girl's name was Lena Zakotnova, a bright, happy nine-year-old who was on her
way home from school when she met the man at the trolley stop. She had told a school
friend earlier that she might be getting some "imported" chewing gum from a "nice old
man" that she'd met. Perhaps that was what enticed her to go with the man to his "secret
house," a small run-down shack, a short walk from the trolley stop.

Shortly after reaching their destination, the man unlocked the door of the shack and
switched on the light before leading the girl inside, locking the door behind them. Once
inside, the man wasted no time in pushing her to the floor and removing her coat and
panties. As she began to scream, he pressed his forearm across her throat and leaned his
body weight against her until she lay still. Her eyes were still open, so he blindfolded her
with her scarf before attempting to have sex with her.

Unable to achieve an erection, he began to violate the girls genitals with his fingers,
finding that the attack stimulated him to orgasm like never before. As he continued with
his assault, the girl began wriggling under him, struggling to draw breath through her
damaged throat. Concerned that the girl would report him for what he'd done, he
produced a knife and stabbed her three times in the stomach. When she lay still, the man
picked up her body and belongings and left the house, heading across a vacant lot to the
Grushevka River. In his haste to leave, he failed to notice two things. The blood of his
victim that had dripped onto the doorstep and the light that he had left burning.

Upon reaching the river he hurled her body into the freezing water and watched it
disappear downstream. Throwing her school bag after her, he turned and headed for
home, not realising that the girl was still alive.

The following day, after Lena's body was discovered floating in the river, Svetlana
Gurenkova told police at the scene that she had seen the girl at the tram stop with a tall,
thin, middle-aged man who wore glasses and a black overcoat. A police artist was
summoned and a sketch of the man prepared. Later the same evening, the Shahkty police
arrested Alexsandr Kravchenko, a local man who had previously served six years of a
ten-year prison sentence, for the rape and murder of a seventeen-year-old girl in 1970. At
the time of his arrest, Kravchenko was twenty-five and had never worn glasses.

While Kravchenko was being questioned, the sketch of the suspect that Gurenkova had
described was circulated throughout the town. One man that it was shown to was the
principal of a local mining school. After looking closely at the drawing he told police that
it closely resembled one of his teachers, Andrei Chikatilo. He was warned by police not to
tell anyone that he had made an identification. Later, as two other detectives searched the
streets that bordered the river, they found splashes of blood on the steps of a small shack.
They also noticed that an interior light had been left on. When inquiries with neighbours
revealed that the building was the property of Andrei Chikatilo, the police called him in for
questioning but released him shortly after when his wife confirmed his story that he had
been home with her the entire evening.

Even though the evidence against Chikatilo was strong, police considered Kravchenko a
more viable suspect and eventually managed to obtain a "confession" from him. After a
short trial Kravchenko was found guilty of the murder of Lena Zakotnova and sentenced
to fifteen years in a labour camp. Hearing the verdict, the people of Shahkty lodged an
official complaint against the leniency of the sentence. A new judge appointed to
investigate the complaint upheld the public appeal and passed a death sentence on
Kravchenko. By the time the sentence was carried out in 1984, over a dozen women and
children had fallen victim to the real killer. Had the police taken the time to further
investigate Andrei Chikatilo's involvement instead of implicating an innocent man, they
would have prevented one of the most brutal and despicable series of murders in criminal

Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo was born on October 16, 1936 in Yablochnoye, a small
Ukrainian farming village. Being born in the midst of Josef Stalin's campaign to
communise rural land by force meant that Andrei was introduced to death and destruction
at a young age. At the age of five, his mother told Andrei that, seven years earlier, his
older brother Stephan had disappeared and the family believed that he had been kidnapped
and eaten by neighbours. The story had a profound effect on the boy who later admitted
that he often imagined what had been done to his brother.

Several years later when World War Two broke out, Chikatilo's father, Roman, was
conscripted into the army. Captured by the Germans, he did not return home until well
after the war when he was branded by the Stalinist regime as a traitor for "allowing himself
to be caught." Even though Andrei was only ten when his father returned, he was already
a devout communist and openly criticised his father for his "betrayal."

From the beginning, Andrei was a scholarly child who spent more time reading than
playing with friends. He was particularly attracted to any books about the Russian
partisans who fought the Germans. One in particular told the story of how the partisans
had captured several German prisoners and had taken them to a forest and tortured them.

Because of his quiet ways and an almost effeminate demeanour, Chikatilo had few friends
and was constantly teased. He was extremely near-sighted, but because he feared that
wearing glasses would lead to more teasing, he refused to admit that he needed them. It
would be nearly twenty years before he wore his first pair. One other fact that he took
great pains to hide was that he was a chronic bed-wetter.

When he reached his teens, much of the teasing stopped. He grew taller and stronger and
became known as an avid reader with an excellent memory. By the time he was sixteen, he
was the editor of the school newspaper and the political information officer, a role that
gave him additional prestige. While his political life developed, his social skills were
virtually non-existent, especially with females.

When he turned eighteen, Chikatilo applied to Moscow University to study law. He failed
the entrance exam, but blamed his rejection on his father's humiliating war record. As he
matured he became more confident with women, but several early attempts at sex failed
when he was unable to achieve an erection. Convinced that he was impotent, he became
obsessed with masturbation. Sometime later, while on national service, he attempted to
have sex with a woman who was not interested in his advances. As the woman struggled,
Chikatilo overpowered her only to release her shortly after when he realised that he had
ejaculated inside his pants. Inadvertently he had discovered that fear and violence excited
him more than the sexual act itself.

Some years after completing his national service, he moved to Russia in search of work.
He quickly found a job as a telephone engineer in a small town called
Rodionovo-Nesvetayevsky, just north of Rostov. When he had saved enough money, he
sent for his parents and his sister and moved them into his new home. Some years later his
sister Tatyana introduced him to a woman called Fayina. A relationship developed and
they were married in 1963. Fayina quickly learned that her new husband was not only
unable to consummate the marriage, he had no real interest in sex. She saw this as nothing
more than intense shyness and finally managed to coax him into having intercourse with
her. Eventually they had two children, a girl Lyudmilla, born in 1965 and a boy Yuri in

Not long after his marriage, Chikatilo successfully enrolled in a correspondence course
with Rostov Liberal Arts University and in 1971, gained degrees in Russian Literature,
Engineering and Marxism-Leninism. With his newfound skills, Chikatilo became a teacher
at Vocational school No. 32 in Novoshakhtinsk. Almost from the beginning, his teaching
career was a disaster. His abject shyness made it almost impossible for him to teach or
control his pupils. He was constantly humiliated and ridiculed, not only by his students but
also by other staff members who considered him "odd."

Despite his lack of success, Chikatilo stayed in his teaching job. He later admitted that he
found that the company of young children sexually aroused him. In the following years,
what began as simple voyeurism outside the school toilets had degenerated into
indecent assaults on both male and female students. When parents began to complain,
Chikatilo was forced to resign and move on to other schools. At one such school,
Chikatilo was put in charge of a boy's dormitory. As usual, his charges ignored him or
openly teased him. Some months later, after he was caught trying to fellate a sleeping boy,
he was attacked and beaten by several senior students. From that moment on, Chikatilo
carried a knife. At no time was he reported to the proper authorities, perhaps because
under the Soviet regime of the time, an indiscretion by a single teacher could reflect on the
entire faculty.

In 1978, Chikatilo moved his family to Shakhty. Soon after, he bought the shack near the
river and lured his first victim. After being cleared of the murder of Lena Zakotnova,
Andrei Chikatilo continued teaching until he was made redundant in 1981. Unable to get
another teaching job he found employment as a supply clerk for the Rostovnerud, a local
industrial complex. The job entailed travel to other parts of the country to locate and
purchase supplies for the factory. He found that the periods away from home gave him
ample time to search for new victims. Six months later he killed again.

Larisa Tkachenko was completely different from the girls that Chikatilo was used to
dealing with. At seventeen she was older than the others and was also experienced in
sexual matters. A runaway from boarding school, Larisa had met her killer at a bus stop
outside of the Rostov public library. She was used to dating young soldiers and didn't
mind swapping sexual favours for a meal and a few drinks, so when Andrei Chikatilo
approached her with a similar offer, she went with him without hesitation. He took her to
a deserted stretch of woodland and, unable to contain himself, began tearing her clothes
off. As experienced as she was, Larisa panicked and tried to fend him off. Chikatilo
quickly overpowered her and beat her about the head with his fists.

As she screamed, he filled her mouth with dirt and strangled her. He then bit off one of her
nipples and ejaculated over her corpse. He would later tell police that he had "danced with
joy" around the body until he had settled down enough to cover the body with branches
and hide her clothes. She was found the next day.

Chikatilo was elated. While his first victim had left him frustrated and confused, the
second had given him an appetite that he found hard to satisfy. In June 1982, while on
another "business trip" to the town of Zaplavskaya, he killed thirteen-year-old Lyuba
Biryuk after following her from a bus stop. After a failed attempt at rape he produced a
knife and stabbed her repeatedly, including several wounds to her eyes. Because of the
warm summer conditions, her body was almost a skeleton when it was found just two
weeks later.

Over the next year, Chikatilo claimed six more victims, one in July, two in September and
one in December. The newest killings were slightly different, Two of the victims were
young males, a fact that was to cause great confusion for the investigating police. With
virtually no experience in serial murder, and serving under a regime that refused to admit
that such crimes were possible in the Soviet Union, the police began looking for two
separate offenders. What further confused the issue was that two of the victims had been
killed outside of the Rostov area. Even though the crime scenes and the manner of death
were strikingly similar, no links were established.

After killing another ten-year-old girl in December, Chikatilo did not kill for another six
months. His next victim was Laura Sarkisyan, a fifteen-year-old Armenian girl whose body
was never recovered until years later when Chikatilo confessed and directed police to her
grave. This shy and impotent man quickly learned how to choose his victims carefully. His
travels took him to many railway and bus stations where he was able to coerce young
vagrants of both sexes to go with him. Mostly it was a promise of food or similar treats
that lured them into the isolated tracts of forest that bordered most Russian towns. On
some occasions, the victims offered sexual favours in advance. Either way, once they went
with him they were doomed. An added advantage of preying on vagrants in Russia was
that nobody reported them missing because, officially, they did not exist. They only
became known when their bodies were found.

Before the summer was over Chikatilo had claimed three more victims. Lyuda Kutsyuba a
twenty-four-year-old female, an unidentified woman aged between 18 and 25 and a
seven-year-old boy, Igor Gudkov, who was savagely butchered.

By September 1983 the total number of victims had risen to fourteen, of which six had
been found. The central Moscow militia, concerned by the number of dead children that
were being reported by the local police, sent Major Mikhail Fetisov and his team to
Rostov to take over the investigation. Soon after his arrival, Fetisov reviewed the situation
and sent a scathing report to his superiors in Moscow criticising the ineptitude of the local
police and suggesting that all six murders were the work of a single sex-crazed killer.
Moscow headquarters reluctantly accepted his findings but fell short of calling the
perpetrator a "serial killer" as that was seen to be a purely western phenomenon and not
possible in Russian culture. A strange attitude considering that Rostov alone recorded
over four hundred homicides a year.

As most of the murders seemed to centre around the Rostov area, particularly Shakhty,
Fetisov and his deputy, Vladimir Kolyesnikov, decided to assemble a special squad that
would focus its investigation on that area. To lead the squad, Fetisov selected Victor
Burakov, an experienced forensic analyst who was considered by many to be the most
talented crime scene investigator in the department. Soon after the appointment, Burakov
and his team moved into a separate office in the militia headquarters building in Rostov. In
line with Soviet bureaucracy, the new sub-unit was given the ponderous title of "Division
of Especially Serious Crimes." As most of the bodies had been recovered from woodlands,
the case was known unofficially as the "Lesopolosa" or "Forest Strip killings."

Believing that the person responsible for the killings was abnormal, the team began to
search through the records of mental hospitals looking for anyone whose behaviour
patterns and history indicated an inclination towards crimes involving sex and violence.
Criminal records were also checked for known sexual offenders or anyone questioned in
relation to similar offences in the past. The task was long and arduous as each person that
matched the criteria had to be interviewed, have their movements at the time of the
offences checked and have blood samples taken for matching. The samples of semen taken
from the victims indicated that the killer had "Type AB" blood. If any of the suspects
matched, they were detained for further questioning, those that didn't were released.

In the absence of computers, the details of all the suspects interviewed were handwritten
on index cards and kept in boxes. One of the cards recorded that Andrei Romanovich
Chikatilo had been interviewed but was released when his blood type failed to provide a
match. Sometime after he was released, the police picked up a suspect acting suspiciously
near the Rostov streetcar depot and brought him in for questioning. The suspect, named
Shaburov, who was obviously retarded, soon confessed to stealing a car with four other
men. Not long after, he confessed that he and his friends had also killed several children.
His friends were then arrested and the four were questioned extensively for twenty-four

The four men, who had met at a school for the mentally retarded, readily confessed to
seven "Forest Strip" murders, even though they were unable to provide any details of the
victims or their locations. Several months later, when fresh murders were committed while
the suspects were still in custody, the police believed that they were dealing with a "gang
of madmen" and rounded up several other retarded young men for questioning. The
"questioning" was apparently brutal and unrelenting, resulting in the death of one of the
suspects with another committing suicide while in custody.

Eventually, as the murders continued, the "gang" theory was dropped and the boys
released. One other theory was that the killer worked as a driver for one of the many
factories in the area, which would explain how he was able to cover such large areas in a
short time. To check the theory, anyone who held a drivers licence and drove as part of
their job was checked. In all, over 150,000 people were interviewed before this line of
inquiry was also abandoned.

By September 1984, apart from establishing the blood type of the killer, the investigation
had failed to uncover any useable evidence. The fact that the blood type was shared by ten
percent of European men meant that it alone was of very little help unless they were able
to find someone to match it to. To make matters worse, while the police were struggling
to find an answer, the murders were accelerating at an alarming rate. From January to
September, fifteen new murders had been committed, eleven of them during the summer
period alone.

In an effort to narrow down the possibilities, Burakov enlisted the aid of several
psychologists and sexual pathologists from the Rostov Medical Institute and asked them
to prepare a profile of the killer. Most of the specialists that were consulted refused to
assist the police on the basis that they did not have sufficient information on which to base
their analysis. Only one psychiatrist, Aleksandr Bukhanovsky, offered his help and agreed
to provide a profile of the "Forest Strip" killer. Bukhanovsky didn't have much to base his
analysis on. Obviously the killer was a sexual deviate, approximately 5'10" tall, 25-50
years old, a shoe size of 10 or more and had a common blood type. After studying the
police files, Bukhanovsky gave the opinion that the killer probably suffered from some
form of sexual inadequacy and brutalised his victims to compensate for it.

While the additional information provided another means of identification the killer would
first have to be caught. In order to facilitate that, Burakov arranged for additional men to
patrol the bus, tram and train stations. One such location that received more attention than
most was the bus station in Rostov. Not only was it the busiest in the district but it was
also the last known location of two of the victims. Aleksandr Zanosovsky, a local police
inspector with an intimate knowledge of the location was given the job of patrolling the
area. His task was to look for anyone acting suspiciously around other commuters,
especially young women and boys.

Towards the end of one of the first days of the observation, Zanosovsky noticed a
middle-aged man wearing glasses whom, although wandering aimlessly through the
crowd, was paying particular attention to young girls. After observing the man for some
time Zanosovsky approached him and asked for his identity papers. The man seemed
nervous when approached and told the inspector that he had been away on a business trip
and was on his way home. Zanosovsky scrutinised the documents, including a red card,
which identified the man as a freelance employee of the Department of Internal Affairs, a
division of the KGB. Finding that they were in order, the policeman handed back the
papers, apologised for the interruption and left. As he walked away, Zanosovsky had the
uneasy feeling that the man, Andrei Chikatilo was hiding something.

Several weeks later, Zanosovsky was again patrolling the bus station in company with
another police officer. Both men were in street clothes. Late in the afternoon, just as they
were about to finish their shift, Zanosovsky saw Chikatilo again. Alerting his partner to
keep his eye on the man, he moved closer to his quarry and sat near him and watched from
behind a newspaper. When Chikatilo moved, Zanosovsky and his partner followed. For
several hours they followed Chikatilo as he boarded several buses that travelled around the
district before returning to the bus station.

As they watched, Chikatilo approached women of different ages and attempted to engage
them in conversation. Often he was rebuffed but, unperturbed, continued to approach
others. The pursuit continued into restaurants, bars and back to the station. All the way,
Chikatilo only seemed to have one thing on his mind, talking to women. At one stage he
made himself comfortable in a chair and dozed off for two hours. When he woke he
resumed his previous activities, the police followed. Some time later a young woman sat
down next to him and engaged him in conversation. The talk seemed to go well as shortly
after, Chikatilo put his arm around the woman.

Finally she laid her head in his lap and Chikatilo slid his hand inside her blouse and fondled
her. The girl, who seemed intoxicated, didn't object. Chikatilo seemed flushed with
arousal. A few minutes later, the girl sat up and spoke harshly to him and soon after they
parted company.

Zanosovsky could wait no longer and approached Chikatilo and again asked for his
papers. When he learned that he had been observed for some time and was under arrest,
Chikatilo was shocked and began to sweat profusely. Zanosovsky then asked to see the
contents of the man's briefcase. Chikatilo reluctantly agreed and opened it. It contained a
length of rope, a jar of Vaseline and a long-bladed knife.

Under normal circumstances, no Russian citizen can be held in custody for more than
seventy-two hours. In Chikatilo's case, the detectives needed additional time to check his
background, so decided to charge him with "harassing women in public places." This
minor charge only carried a maximum sentence of fifteen days imprisonment, but was
sufficient time to make further inquiries. However, shortly after checking his police files,
they discovered that Chikatilo was under investigation for the theft of a roll of linoleum
and a car battery from a factory where he worked as a supply clerk. In Russia, the charge
of stealing state property was considered a serious crime and meant that the investigators
would have the luxury of keeping him in jail for as many months as it took to check his
background in detail.

As his history unfolded, police learned of his penchant for children, particularly girls. They
uncovered the classroom incidents, his acts of voyeurism and the sexual assault of the boy
in the dormitory. Several people, who lived in the vicinity of his "secret" shack, reported
that he had used it to entertain prostitutes and spoke of his habit of stalking the corridors
of trains. The evidence seemed to indicate that he could be the killer they sought, until a
blood sample was taken from him and analysed. His blood type was found to be Type "A."
Had they taken samples of his sperm, hair or saliva, they would have found that his blood
type was actually Type "AB" as the "B" antigens are not present in the blood in sufficient
quantities to provide a positive match.

The only real evidence they had left were the contents of his briefcase and the police
report of his activities at the train stations. Incredibly, the knife and other items were lost
when a local police lieutenant mistakenly returned them to Chikatilo's home. Having
insufficient evidence to charge him for the murders, he was later charged with the stealing
offences and sentenced to one year's imprisonment and expelled from the Communist
party. In December 1984, after serving just three months of his original sentence, he was
released. Zanosovsky, still convinced that Chikatilo was the killer, was later demoted for
being "overly zealous in the performance of his duties."

After celebrating the New Year with his family, Chikatilo sought out a new job and was
soon employed in a locomotive factory in nearby Novocherkassk. As before, his new job
entailed travel. For the best part of a year Chikatilo refrained from killing. It wasn't until
during a business trip to Moscow, that he gave into his desires. On 1st August 1985, after
he completed his duties in the capital, he flew to Rostov where he made the acquaintance
of an eighteen-year-old mentally retarded girl on the train. He offered her some Vodka if
she would get off with him at a small station. She agreed and followed him into the woods
near the rail line.

Shortly after, she lay dead with thirty-eight stab wounds in her naked body. Chikatilo
completed his trip and went home. Later the same month after his return, he met a young
woman at the bus station in Shakhty who told him that she had nowhere to sleep. Offering
her lodgings in return for sexual favours, he led her into a wooded grove and attempted to
have sex with her but again could not sustain an erection. When she began to laugh at him,
he killed her and left her body in a field. It was his last murder for the year.

For Andrei Chikatilo, the time in jail had been a cleansing time. After having been arrested
and miraculously released, he was free to pursue the one thing that he desired most, young
innocent victims. While he bemoaned the loss of his status as a party member, his new job
opened up many new horizons that more than compensated for it. He spent most of 1986
travelling around the country on buying trips for his employer and celebrated his fiftieth
birthday on October 16. If he killed during that time, it did not come to the attention of the
investigation team. It wasn't until May 1987 during a trip to the town of Revda in the Ural
Mountains, that he killed a thirteen-year-old boy after luring him from the railway station.

In July another trip to Zaporozhye in the Ukraine resulted in the murder of another boy
that he had followed into the woods. The attack was so brutal that a part of his knife blade
broke off and was later found at the scene by police. The next trip to Leningrad in
September resulted in the death of yet another boy. While Chikatilo continued to travel
and kill, the police investigation was gaining momentum. In 1985, Issa Kostoyev, the
director of Moscow's Department for Violent Crime, unofficially called "The Killer
Department," had taken over the case and reorganised his investigators into three teams.
One group concentrated on Shakhty, another on Rostov and the third on Novoshakhtinsk.
His strategy was simple, investigate each murder systematically and focus on the areas
surrounding each one.

Anyone who had been convicted of a sexually motivated crime, including those still in
custody, was checked in great detail. All known homosexuals were rounded up and
questioned extensively. Sexual pathologists were asked to provide lists of their patients for
scrutiny, as were venereal disease clinicians. The latter were added after pathologists
found crab lice on one of the female victims. All railway workers, whether civilian or
military, were checked thoroughly for any discrepancy in their work habits and
movements. Every nightclub and pornographic video store in the three districts were put
under surveillance in the hope that the killer patronised one or more of them regularly.
Kostoyev left no stone unturned in his search for the killer, even to the point of
investigating any former police officers who had been dismissed for improper activities.

As the years passed, the investigators gleaned enough information to separate the "Forest
Belt" murders from the thousands of other similar occurrences. Slowly but surely, reports
of additional murders in surrounding districts filtered in. Two such murders were reported
from as far away as Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. Originally the Tashkent militia
weren't going to include one of the victims because her body was so badly mutilated, they
thought she had been run over by a harvesting machine.

By December 1985, Burakov and Kostoyev had organised for all trains in the three
districts to be patrolled by plain-clothed militia and "druzhinniki," as the volunteer militia
were called. Their instructions were to stop and check the documents of anyone who
looked suspicious. In addition, Army helicopters were used to patrol the railway lines and
the adjoining forests from the air. This increased scrutiny may have been the reason why
Chikatilo ceased his activities for nearly two years. Whatever the reason, the investigators
were later embarrassed to learn that Chikatilo himself, in his capacity as a freelance
employer of the Department of Internal Affairs, had been assisting the militia to patrol the
trains looking for the "killer." Armed with the knowledge that the investigation centred
around only three areas, he resumed killing in areas far removed from them.

In April 1988, Chikatilo killed again. His latest victim was a thirty-year-old woman that he
had met on a commuter train near the town of Krasny-Sulin, where he was sent on
business with the local metals factory. After enticing her to a vacant lot to have sex, he
stabbed her repeatedly and disfigured her corpse. When her body was found in early April,
a single shoe print was clearly evident beside her body, the imprint was size 9-10.

During the next year Chikatilo killed eight more times. The attacks normally took place
while he was travelling around the country on business but one particular crime occurred
at his daughter's apartment in Shakhty. It had been empty since the daughter had divorced
her husband and moved back with her parents. After Chikatilo lured sixteen-year-old
Tatyana Ryzhova inside, he gave her vodka and seduced her. After stabbing her and
violating her body, he realised that he could not leave her body at the house. Taking a
kitchen knife, he decapitated her and sawed off her legs before wrapping her in rags and
articles of clothing. He then tied the bundles to a sled belonging to a neighbour and
dragged it through the streets to the area where he dumped her remains.

Another victim was killed while Chikatilo was on his way to his father's birthday party.
Seeing nineteen-year-old Yelena Varga at a bus stop, he offered to walk her home but
instead lured her into the woods and stabbed her. After cutting out her uterus and slicing
off part of her face, he wrapped the remains in her clothing and left for the party. The last
victim for the year was a ten-year-old boy that Chikatilo had met in a Rostov video shop.
He died of multiple stab wounds and was buried in Rostov cemetery by his killer.

When police recovered the bodies, many of them were missing body parts. Many females
were missing their uterus and nipples and the males had genitals and occasionally tongues
sliced or bitten off. The next murder did not take place until January 1990 with nine more
committed before November. In his last year of freedom, Chikatilo seemed to move away
from his usual preference for females, with seven of the nine victims being young boys
aged seven to sixteen. One of his last known victims was the oldest boy, Vadim
Tishchenko, whose body was found on November 3 near Rostov's Leskhoz railway
station, a location that had been under heavy scrutiny for months. Ironically, the day that it
wasn't patrolled, owing to a manpower shortage, was the day that Chikatilo struck.

After Tishchenko's body was found, a twenty-four hour surveillance of all train and bus
stations in the district was implemented. Police wearing night vision goggles observed
commuters looking for anyone that didn't fit. To entice the killer, several young attractive
policewomen, dressed in provocative clothing, walked the platforms and bus queues
hoping to attract attention. Another squad of police questioned the ticket sellers at the
various stations in the district, looking for the person who had sold Tishchenko his ticket,
the stub of which was found near his body.

Finally, an attendant at Shakhty station recognised the boy's picture and recalled that he
had bought the ticket in company with a tall neatly dressed grey-haired man who wore
glasses. The attendant also told police that her daughter had seen a similar man the year
before. He had been on a train talking to a young boy and she overheard the man trying to
talk the boy into getting off the train with him, but the boy had refused and run away. The
police asked the attendant if they could interview her daughter. She agreed and the
daughter later provided police with a detailed description of the man and told them that he
was a regular traveller on the trains and spent a lot of his time trying to pick up young

The net was closing in on Andrei Chikatilo but not before he took another victim.
Twenty-two-year-old Svetlana Korostik went with him to the woods near Leskhoz station
and was beaten, stabbed and mutilated. Chikatilo removed the tip of her tongue and both
nipples and ate them at the scene before he covered her naked body with leaves and
branches. As he returned to the station he saw four women and a man standing on the
platform. The man, Sergeant Igor Rybakov, a policeman attached to the "Forest Belt"
taskforce, noticed Chikatilo walking beside the platform wiping sweat from his face.

When he stepped closer, he noticed that the man had spots of blood on his cheek and
earlobe and wore a bandage on a finger of his right hand. He asked Chikatilo for his
identity papers, which revealed that he was a senior engineer in the Rostov locomotive
factory. He was about to ask more questions when a train arrived and Chikatilo insisted
that he be allowed to board it. Having no real reason to hold him, Rybakov allowed him to
leave and later filed a report of the incident.

When the body of Vadim Tishchenko was found, the investigators called for any reports
of persons acting suspiciously in the area. At that time, Rybakov's report was tabled and
police again focused on the man called Andrei Chikatilo. Chief Investigator Kostoyev
suggested that they check Chikatilo's whereabouts on May 14 1988, the day that one of
the victims, Alyosha Voronka was murdered in the city of Ilovaisk. After checking
Chikatilo's work records, they discovered that he had been in that city on business on the
same day. It was decided that a squad of plain-clothes police would follow Chikatilo and
try to catch him in the act.

On Tuesday, November 20 Chikatilo was at work. As his bandaged finger, which had been
bitten by one of his victims, was aching badly, he left work and went to a nearby clinic for
x-rays. After receiving treatment for the finger, which was broken, he went home. Shortly
after arriving home, he went out to buy beer. On the way he attempted to talk to a young
boy but was scared off when a woman approached. He walked further until he met
another boy that he engaged in conversation until the boy was called away by his mother.
As he continued on, three men in leather jackets approached him and identified themselves
as police officers. One of the men then handcuffed him and told him that he was under
arrest. He was transported to the office of Mikhail Fetisov at the regional headquarters of
the Department of Internal Affairs. Chikatilo, who had made no attempt to resist the
arrest, did not speak for the entire trip.

On the day that Chikatilo was arrested, he had with him a briefcase containing a knife, a
length of rope and a jar of Vaseline. They were exactly the same items that he had been
carrying the last time he had been apprehended six years earlier. Obviously when Chikatilo
left his house on the day that he was arrested, he had planned on picking up more than just
beer. A search of his apartment found twenty-three knives, a hammer and a pair of shoes,
that were later found to match the footprint next to the unidentified victim found in

For years the police had sought the notorious "Forest Belt" killer, convinced that they
were searching for an extremely violent and dangerous criminal. After the arrest however,
they had trouble believing that the gentle, softly spoken man that sat before them was
responsible for the brutal series of crimes that had struck fear into the hearts of over four
million people.

Soon after his arrest, Chikatilo was photographed and briefly interviewed before being
placed in a KGB isolation cell. The next day the interrogation started in earnest. Issa
Kostoyev was given the task of questioning the prisoner, but any hopes he had of an early
confession were dashed when Chikatilo refused to be led on any questions dealing with
rape and murder. He did, however, point out that he had previously been arrested and
jailed for a crime that he did not commit, the theft of the car battery. Not only did he
profess his innocence of any crime, he went to great pains to point out to Kostoyev that he
had already been questioned in relation to the "Forest Strip" murders and had been cleared
of any involvement.

One week after the interrogation began, Chikatilo wrote a letter addressed to the
Prosecutor General of Russia in which he stated: -

"I felt a kind of madness and ungovernablity in perverted sexual acts. I couldn't control my
actions, because from childhood I was unable to realise myself as a real man and a
complete human being."

While falling short of a true confession, the statement gave Kostoyev a valuable insight
into the mind of the man he was dealing with. The following day, Chikatilo confessed to
the sexual assaults on his former students. One day later in another letter to the Prosecutor
General, he wrote: -

"My inconsistent behaviour should not be misconstrued as an attempt to avoid
responsibility for any acts I have committed. One could argue that even after my arrest, I
was not fully aware of their dangerous and serious nature. My case is peculiar to me alone.
It is not fear of responsibility that makes me act this way, but my inner psychic and
nervous tension. I am prepared to give testimony about the crimes, but please do not
torment me with their details, for my psyche would not be able to bear it. It never entered
my mind to conceal anything from the investigation. Everything which I have done makes
me shudder. I only feel gratitude to the investigating bodies for having captured me."

By November 29, unable to break through the mental barrier that Chikatilo was hiding
behind, Kostoyev asked Dr. Bukhanovsky, the psychiatrist, to assist with the
interrogation. Bukhanovsky agreed to help on the understanding that any tapes or notes
that he took while interviewing the prisoner were for his personal use only and not to be
used as evidence. Kostoyev agreed and the interview began on November 30.

Bukhanovsky began the first session by assuring Chikatilo that, because he considered his
actions were caused by a mental disorder, he would not only be prepared to explain the
process in court, but would be prepared to explain to Chikatilo's family. After organising a
meeting between Chikatilo and his wife, during which the prisoner burst into tears,
Bukhanovsky turned to the subject of the murders. It wasn't long before Chikatilo began
to relate the true story of his involvement in the murders.

Later the same day it was Kostoyev's turn. From that time until December 5, Andrei
Chikatilo described in chilling detail how he had tracked, raped and brutally killed
thirty-four of the thirty-six victims whose murders he had been charged with. Two more
were solved at a later date. As the days progressed he continued to confess to additional
murders, detailing how he had raped, murdered and brutalised his victims, sometimes
removing body parts and eating them and drinking their blood. In all he described the
murders of fifty-two victims, mostly young children.

In the months following his confession, Chikatilo was transported across the country to
visit the scenes where he had committed the crimes. He was uncannily accurate, not only
in locating the dumpsites, but in his recall of times, dates and places, what the victims had
been wearing at the time and what knife he had used on them. On most occasions, he
demonstrated his method of attack, using a dummy, showing the detectives how he stood
to one side to avoid being splashed by blood. While on one such trip, Chikatilo
remembered yet another victim, a twenty-year-old Latvian girl that he had killed in 1984.
The final count, an astonishing fifty-three victims, making him one of the most prolific and
brutal serial-killers in recorded history.

The trial began on April 14, 1992. Chikatilo was led into the courtroom and locked inside
a specially designed cage, surrounded by armed guards. The reason for this additional
security measure was not so much to contain the prisoner but rather to prevent the
relatives and friends of the victims from approaching him. The judge appointed to the
case, Leonid Akubzhanov, opened the proceedings by reading out the list of indictments
against the accused. That process alone took two full days. The judge had earlier set a
precedent by allowing members of the press full access to the court, a move that was
unusual by Russian standards. The move eventually backfired on him when the press
printed stories publicly declaring Chikatilo as the murderer long before the evidence was

On April 16, the judge allowed Chikatilo to address the court. What followed was two
hours of rambling, maniacal monologue, seen by many as an attempt by the accused to
simulate madness. As the case continued, Chikatilo became more and more outrageous.
He constantly interjected and complained loudly about the rats and the "levels of
radiation" in his cell. At one point he removed his clothes and waved his penis at the
crowd shouting, "Look at this useless thing, what do you think I could do with that?" He
was later removed from the court in handcuffs.

Despite the interruptions the trial continued. So too did the outbursts. Chikatilo
complained that the judge was biased, as were the prosecution. He insisted that the judge's
female secretary be removed as she was inciting his lust. Sometime later he told the court
that he was pregnant and the guards had been hitting him in the stomach to "harm his
baby." Despite his pleas, he was judged competent to stand trial, but he became so
disruptive that most of the evidence was heard in his absence.

By mid July, the trial was drawing to a close. The final comments in the trial were those of
Marat Khabibulin, Chikatilo's defence attorney. The basis of his defence was that the
police had laid the charges based solely on his client's confession. He argued that there
was no material evidence linking Chikatilo with any of the crimes, including the knives,
which had never been proven as being the murder weapons. When Marat had concluded
his remarks, the judge asked Chikatilo if he wanted to address the court. Despite his
continual outbursts during the proceedings, Chikatilo refused to comment. With no further
evidence to consider, the judge announced that the court would adjourn for two months
for sentencing. As the judge stood to leave the courtroom a man lunged towards the cage
and threw a short iron bar at the prisoner, missing Chikatilo's head by a few inches. The
man, a brother of one of the victims was overpowered by guards and led away but was
later released.

The court reconvened on October 14 to a packed gallery. Chikatilo was led to his cage,
smiling in response to the shouting and jeering that erupted from the crowd. The judge
called for silence and began to read the verdict. As he read, Chikatilo constantly
interrupted until he was led away, only to be brought back to hear the rest of the verdict.
Curiously at one point, the judge agreed with one of Chikatilo's objections when he stated
that it was the refusal of the Soviet Union to acknowledge that such crimes existed that
had contributed to Chikatilo's years of immunity.

On October 15, 1992, Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo was found guilty of fifty-two counts
of murder, one charge having been dropped owing to insufficient evidence. Chikatilo was
then removed from his cage and bought forward to stand before the judge to receive his
sentence. As fifty-two individual death sentences were handed down, and the crowd
cheered their approval, the last words of the trial were spoken by the accused when he
turned to the judge and shouted, "Fraud! I'm not going to listen to your lies!" before he
was forcibly removed.

Sixteen months later on February 14, 1994, Andrei Chikatilo, the man referred to as "The
Butcher of Rostov" and "Russia's Hannibal Lecter," was executed by a single shot to the
back of the neck.

Eddie Gein
Buffalo Bill and Psycho

On November 17, 1957 police in Plainfield, Wisconsin arrived at the dilapidated
farmhouse of Eddie Gein who was a suspect in the robbery of a local hardware store and
disappearance of the owner, Bernice Worden. Gein had been the last customer at the
hardware store and had been seen loitering around the premises.
ed gein was psycho modeled by hitchcock into norman bates

Gein's desolate farmhouse was a study in chaos. Inside, junk and rotting garbage covered
the floor and counters. It was almost impossible to walk through the rooms. The smell of
filth and decomposition was overwhelming. While the local sheriff, Arthur Schley,
inspected the summer kitchen with his flashlight, he felt something brush against his jacket.

When he looked up to see what it was he ran into, he faced a large, dangling carcass
hanging upside down from the beams. The carcass had been decapitated, slit open and
gutted. An ugly sight to be sure, but a familiar one in that deer-hunting part of the
country, especially during deer season.

It took a few moments to sink in, but soon Schley realized that it wasn't a deer at all, it
was the headless butchered body of a woman. Bernice Worden, the 50-year-old mother of
his deputy Frank Worden, had been found.
eddie gein

While the shocked deputies searched through the rubble of Eddie Gein's existence, they
realized that the horrible discoveries didn't end at Mrs. Worden's body. They had stumbled
into a death farm.

The funny-looking bowl was a top of a human skull. The lampshades and wastebasket
were made from human skin.

A ghoulish inventory began to take shape: an armchair made of human skin, female
genitalia kept preserved in a shoebox, a belt made of nipples, a human head, four noses
and a heart.

The more the looked through the house, the more ghastly trophies they found. Finally a
suit made entirely of human skin. Their heads spun as they tried to tally the number of
woman that may have died at Eddie's hands.

All of this bizarre handicraft made Eddie into a celebrity. Author Robert Bloch was
inspired to write a story about Norman Bates, a character based on Eddie, which became
the central theme of the Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller Psycho.
psycho. buffalo bill was also modeled after ed gein.

In 1974, the classic thriller by Tobe Hooper, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, has many
Geinian touches, although there is no character that is an exact Eddie Gein model. This
movie helped put "Ghastly Gein" back in the spotlight in the mid-1970's.

Years later, Eddie provided inspiration for the character of another serial killer, Buffalo
Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. Like Eddie, Buffalo Bill treasured women's skin and
wore it like clothing in some insane transvestite ritual.

How does a child evolve into an Eddy Gein? A close look at his childhood and home life
provides a number of clues.

Edward Theodore was born on August 27, 1906, to Augusta and George Gein in La
Crosse, Wisconsin. Eddie was the second of two boys born to the couple. The first born
was Henry who was seven years older than Eddie.

Augusta, a fanatically religious woman, was determined to raise the boys according to her
strict moral code. Sinners inhabited Augusta's world and she instilled in her boys the
teachings of the bible on daily basis. She repeatedly warned her sons of the immorality and
looseness of women, hoping to discourage any sexual desires the boys might have had, for
fear of them being cast down into hell.

Augusta was a domineering and hard woman who believed her views of the world were
absolute and true. She had no difficulty forcefully imposing her beliefs on her sons and

George, a weak man and an alcoholic, had no say in the raising of the boys. In fact,
Augusta despised him and saw him as a worthless creature not fit to hold down a job, let
alone care for their children. She took it upon herself to not only raise the children
according to her beliefs but also to provide for the family financially.

She began a grocery business in La Crosse the year Eddie was born, which brought in a
fair amount of money to support the family in a comfortable fashion. She worked hard and
saved money so that the family could move to a more rural area away from the immorality
of the city and the sinners that inhabited it. In 1914 they moved to Plainfield, Wisconsin to
a one-hundred-ninety-five-acre farm, isolated from any evil influences that could disrupt
her family. The closest neighbors were almost a quarter of a mile away.

Although Augusta tried diligently to keep her sons away from the outside world, she was
not entirely successful because it was necessary for the boys attend school. Eddie's
performance in school was average, although he excelled in reading. It was the reading of
adventure books and magazines that stimulated Eddie's imagination and allowed him to
momentarily escape into his own world.

His schoolmates shunned Eddie because he was effeminate and shy. He had no friends and
when he attempted to make them his mother scolded him. Although his mother's
opposition to making friends saddened Eddie, he saw her as the epitome of goodness and
followed her rigid orders the best he could.

However, Augusta was rarely pleased with her boys and she often verbally abused them,
believing that they were destined to become failures like their father. During their teens
and throughout their early adulthood the boys remained detached from people outside of
their farmstead and had only the company of each other.

Eddie looked up to his brother Henry and saw him as a hard worker and a man of strong
character. After the death of their father in 1940, they took on a series of odd jobs to help
financially support the farm and their mother. Eddie tried to emulate his brother's work
habits and they both were considered by townspeople to be reliable and trustworthy. They
worked as handymen mostly, yet Eddie frequently babysat for neighbors. It was
babysitting that Eddie really enjoyed because children were easier for him to relate to than
his peers. He was in many ways socially and emotionally retarded.

Henry was worried about Eddie's unhealthy attachment to their mother. On several
occasions Henry openly criticized their mother, something that shocked Eddie. Eddie saw
his mother as pure goodness and was mortified that his brother did not see her in the same
way. It was possibly these incidents that lead to the untimely and mysterious death of
Henry in 1944.

On May 16th Eddie and Henry were fighting a brush fire that was burning dangerously
close to their farm. According to police, the two separated in different directions
attempting to put out the blaze. During their struggle, night quickly approached and soon
Eddie lost sight of Henry. After the blaze was extinguished, Eddie supposedly became
worried about his missing brother and contacted the police.

The police then organized a search party and were surprised upon reaching the farm to
have Eddie lead them directly to the "missing" Henry, who was lying dead on the ground.
The police were concerned about some of the things surrounding Henry's death. For
example, Henry was lying on a piece of earth that was untouched by fire and he had
bruises on his head.

Although Henry was found under strange circumstances, police were quick to dismiss foul
play. No one could believe shy Eddie was capable of killing anyone, especially his brother.
Later the county coroner would list asphyxiation as the cause of death.

The only living person Eddie had left was his mother and that was the only person he
needed. However, he would have his mother all to himself for a very brief period.
On December 29th, 1945, Augusta died after a series of strokes. Eddie's foundations were
shaken upon her death. Harold Schechter in his book Deviant, explained that Eddie had
"lost his only friend and one true love. And he was absolutely alone in the world."

He remained at the farm after his mothers death and lived off the meager earnings from
odd jobs that he performed. Eddie boarded off the rooms his mother used the most, mainly
the upstairs floor, the downstairs parlor and living room. He preserved them as a shrine to
her and left them untouched for the years to follow. He resided in the lower level of the
house making use of the kitchen area and a small room located just off of the kitchen,
which he used as a bedroom.

It was in these areas that Eddie would spend his spare time reading death-cult magazines
and adventure stories. At other times, Eddie would immerse himself in his bizarre hobbies
that included nightly visits to the graveyard.

After the death of his mother, Eddie became increasingly lonely. He spent much of his
spare time reading pulp magazines and anatomy books. The rooms he inhabited were full
of periodicals about Nazis, South Sea headhunters and shipwrecks. From his readings
Eddie learned about the process of shrinking heads, exhuming corpses from graves and the
anatomy of the human body. He became obsessed with these weird stories and he would
often recount some of them to the children he babysat. Eddie also enjoyed reading the
local newspapers. His favorite section was the obituaries.

It was from the obituaries that Eddie would learn of the recent deaths of local women.
Having never enjoyed the company of the opposite sex, he would quench his lust by
visiting graves at night. Although he later swore to police that he never had sexual
intercourse with any of the dead women he had exhumed ("they smelled too bad"), he did
take a particular pleasure in peeling their skin from their bodies and wearing it. He was
curious to know what it was like to have breasts and a vagina and he often dreamed of
being a woman. He was fascinated with women because of the power and hold they had
over men.

He acquired quite a collection of body parts, some of which included preserved heads. On
one occasion a young boy that he sometimes looked after visited Eddie's farm. He later
said that Eddie had showed him human heads that he kept in his bedroom. Eddie claimed
the shriveled heads were from the South Seas, relics from headhunters.

When the young boy told people of his experience, his story was quickly dismissed as a
figment of the young boy's imagination. Then somewhat later, the boy was vindicated
when two other young men paid a visit to Eddie Gein's farm. They too had seen the
preserved heads of women but thought them to be just strange Halloween costumes.
Rumors began to circulate and soon most of the townspeople were gossiping about the
strange objects Eddie supposedly possessed.

However, no one took the stories seriously until Bernice Worden disappeared years later.
In fact, people would often joke with Eddie about having shrunken heads and Eddie would
just smile or make reference to having them in his room. No one thought he was telling the
truth or maybe they just didnt want to believe it was true.

During the late 1940s and 1950s, Wisconsin police began to notice an increase in missing
persons cases. There were four cases that particularly baffled police. The first was that of
an eight-year-old girl named Georgia Weckler, who had disappeared coming home from
school on May 1, 1947. Hundreds of residents and police searched an area of ten square
miles of Jefferson, Wisconsin, hoping to find the young girl. Unfortunately, Georgia would
never be seen or heard of again. There were no good suspects and the only evidence
police had to go on were tire marks found near the place where Georgia was last seen.
The tire marks were that of a Ford. The case remained unsolved and wouldnt be opened
again until years later when Eddie Gein was convicted of murder.

Another girl disappeared six years later in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Fifteen-year-old Evelyn
Hartley had been babysitting at the time she had vanished. Evelyn's father repeatedly tried
to phone the girl at the house where she was babysitting and there was no answer.

Worried, the girls father immediately drove to where she was babysitting. Nobody
answered the door. When he peered through a window, he could see one of his daughter's
shoes and a pair of her eyeglasses on the floor. He tried to enter the house, but all the
doors and windows were locked. Except for one -- the back basement window. It was at
that window where he discovered bloodstains. Petrified, he entered the house and
discovered signs of a struggle.

Immediately he contacted police. When police arrived at the house they found more
evidence of a struggle including blood stains on the grass leading away from the house, a
bloody hand print on a neighboring house, footprints and the girl's other shoe on the
basement floor.

A regional search was conducted but Evelyn was nowhere to be found. A few days later
police discovered some bloodied articles of clothing that belonged to Evelyn, near a
highway outside of La Crosse. The worst was suspected.

In November of 1952, two men stopped for a drink at a bar in Plainfield, Wisconsin before
heading out to hunt deer. Victor Travis and Ray Burgess spent several hours at the bar
before leaving. The two men and their car were never to be seen again. A massive search
was conducted but there was no trace of them. They had simply vanished.

In the winter of 1954, a Plainfield tavern keeper by the name of Mary Hogan mysteriously
disappeared from her place of business. Police suspected foul play when they discovered
blood on the tavern floor that trailed into the parking lot.

Police also discovered an empty bullet cartridge on the floor. Police could only speculate
about what might have happened to Mary because like the other four missing people, they
had no bodies and little useful evidence. The only other common tie among these cases
was that all of the disappearances happened around or in Plainfield, Wisconsin.

On November 17, 1957, after the discovery of Bernice Worden's headless corpse and
other gruesome artifacts in Eddie's house, police began an exhaustive search of the
remaining parts of the farm and surrounding land. They believed Eddie may have been
involved in more murders and that the bodies might be buried on his land, possibly those
of Georgia Weckler, Victor Travis and Ray Burgess, Evelyn Hartley and Mary Hogan.

While excavations began at the farmstead, Eddie was being interviewed at Wautoma
County Jailhouse by investigators. Gein at first did not admit to any of the killings.
However, after more then a day of silence he began to tell the horrible story of how he
killed Mrs. Worden and where he acquired the body parts that were found in his house.
Gein had difficulty remembering every detail, because he claimed he had been in a dazed
state at the time leading up to and during the murder. Yet, he recalled dragging Worden's
body to his Ford truck, taking the cash register from the store and taking them back to his
house. He did not remember shooting her in the head with a .22 caliber gun, which
autopsy reports later listed as the cause of death.

When asked where the other body parts came from that were discovered in his house, he
said that he had stolen them from local graves. Eddie insisted that he had not killed any of
the people whose remains were found in his house, with the exception of Mrs. Worden.

However, after days of intense interrogation he finally admitted to the killing of Mary
Hogan. Again, he claimed he was in a dazed state at the time of the murder and he could
not remember exact details of what actually happened. The only memory he had was that
he had accidentally shot her.

Eddie showed no signs of remorse or emotion during the many hours of interrogation.
When he talked about the murders and of his grave robbing escapades he spoke very
matter-of-factly, even cheerfully at times. He had no concept of the enormity of his crimes.

Gein's sanity was in question and it was suggested that during trial he plead not guilty, by
reason of insanity. Gein underwent a battery of psychological tests, which later concluded
that he was indeed emotionally impaired. Psychologists and psychiatrists who interviewed
him asserted that he was schizophrenic and a "sexual psychopath."

His condition was attributed to the unhealthy relationship he had with his mother and his
upbringing. Gein apparently suffered from conflicting feelings about women, his natural
sexual attraction to them and the unnatural attitudes that his mother had instilled in him.
This love-hate feeling towards women became exaggerated and eventually developed in to
a full-blown psychosis.

While Eddie was undergoing further interrogation and psychological tests, investigators
continued to search the land around his farm. Police discovered within Eddie's farmhouse
the remains of ten women. Although Eddie swore that the remaining body parts of eight
women were those taken from local graveyards, police were skeptical.

They believed that it was highly possible for the remains to have come from women Eddie
may have murdered. The only way police could ascertain whether the remains came from
women's corpses was to examine the graves that Eddie claimed he had robbed.

After much controversy about the morality of exhuming the bodies, police were finally
permitted to dig up the graves of the women Eddie claimed to have desecrated. All of the
coffins showed clear signs of tampering. In most cases, the bodies or parts of the bodies
were missing.

There would be another discovery on Eddie's land that would again raise the issue of
whether Eddie did in fact murder a third person. On November 29th, police unearthed
human skeletal remains on the Gein farm. It was suspected that the body was that of
Victor Travis, who had disappeared years earlier. The remains were immediately taken to
a crime lab and examined. Tests showed that the body was not that of a male but of a
large, middle-aged woman, another graveyard souvenir.

Try as the police did, they could not implicate Eddie in the disappearance of Victor Travis
or the three other people who had vanished years earlier in the Plainfield area. The only
murders Eddie could be held responsible for were Bernice Worden and Mary Hogan.

When investigators revealed the facts about what was found on Eddie Gein's farm, the
news quickly spread. Reporters from all over the world flocked to the small town of
Plainfield, Wisconsin. The town became known worldwide and Eddy Gein reached
celebrity-like status. People were repulsed, yet at the same time drawn to the atrocities
that took place on Eddie Gein's farm.

Psychologists from all over the world attempted to find out what made Eddie tick. During
the 1950s, he gained notoriety as being one of the most famous of documented cases
involving a combination of necrophilia, transvestism and fetishism. Even children who
knew of the exploits of Eddie began to sing songs about him and make jokes in an effort
to, as Harold Schechter suggests in his book Deviant, "exorcise the nightmare with
laughter." These distasteful jokes became known as "Geiners" and were quick to become
popular around the world.

Back in Plainfield, residents endured the onslaught of reporters who disrupted their daily
life by bombarding them with questions about Eddie. However, many of them eventually
became involved in the mania surrounding Eddie and contributed what information they
had. Plainfield was now known to the world as the home of infamous Eddie Gein.

Most residents who knew Eddie had only good things to say about him, other than that he
was a little peculiar, had a quirky grin and a strange sense of humor. They never suspected
him of being capable of committing such ghastly crimes. But the truth was hard to escape.
The little shy, quiet man the town thought they knew, was in fact, a murderer who also
violated the graves of friends and relatives.

After Gein spent a period of thirty days in a mental institution and was evaluated as
mentally incompetent, he could no longer be tried for first degree murder. The people of
Plainfield immediately voiced their anger that Eddie would not be tried for the death of
Bernice Worden. Yet, there was little the community could do to influence the court's
decision. Eddie was committed to the Central State Hospital in Waupun, Wisconsin. Soon
after Eddie was sentenced to the mental institution, his farm went up for auction along
with some of his other belongings.

Thousands of curiosity seekers diverged on the small town to see what possessions of
Eddie's would be auctioned. Some of the things to be auctioned off were his car, furniture
and musical instruments. The company that handled the business of selling Eddie's goods
planned to charge a fee of fifty cents to look at Eddie's property. The citizens of Plainfield
were outraged. They believed Eddie's home was quickly becoming a "museum for the
morbid" and the town demanded something be done to put it to an end. Although the
company was later forbidden to charge an entrance fee to the auction, residents were still
not satisfied.

In the early morning of March 20, 1958 the Plainfield volunteer fire department was called
to Eddie's farm. Gein's house was on fire. The house quickly burned to the ground, as
onlookers watched in silent relief. Police believed that an arsonist was responsible for the
blaze because there was no electrical wiring problems with the house. Although police
carried out a thorough investigation, no suspect was ever found.

When Eddie learned of the destruction to his house he simply said, "Just as well."

Although the fire destroyed most of Eddie's belongings, there were still many things that
were salvaged. What was left of Eddie's possessions would still be auctioned off, including
farm equipment and his car. Eddie's 1949 Ford sedan, which was used to haul dead bodies,
caused a bidding war and was eventually sold for seven hundred and sixty dollars. The
man who purchased the car later put it on display at a county fair, where thousands paid a
quarter to get a peek at the Gein "ghoul car." It seemed to the people of Plainfield that the
publics fascination with Eddie would never end.

After spending ten years in the mental institution where he was recovering, the courts
finally decided he was competent to stand trial. The proceedings began on January 22,
1968, to determine whether Eddie was guilty or not by reason of insanity, for the murder
of Bernice Worden. The actual trial began on November 7, 1968.

Eddie looked on as seven witnesses took to the stand. Several of those who testified were
lab technicians who performed the autopsy on Mrs. Worden, a former deputy sheriff and
sheriff. Evidence was heavily stacked against Eddie and after only one week the judge
reached his verdict. Eddie was found guilty of first-degree murder. However, because
Eddie was found to have been insane at the time of the killing, he was later found not
guilty by reason of insanity and acquitted. Soon after the trial he was escorted back to the
Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

The families of Bernice Worden, Mary Hogan and the families of those whose graves were
robbed would never feel justice was served. They believed Eddie escaped the punishment
that was due to him, but there was nothing more they could do to reverse the court's

Eddie would remain at the mental institution for the rest of his life where he spent his days
happily and comfortably. Schechter describes him as the model patient:

Eddie was happy at the hospital -- happier, perhaps, than he'd ever been in his life. He got
along well enough with the other patients, though for the most part he kept to himself. He
was eating three square meals a day (the newsmen were struck by how much heavier
Eddie looked since his arrest five years before). He continued to be an avid reader. He like
his regular chats with the staff psychologists and enjoyed the handicraft work he was
assigned -- stone polishing, rug making, and other forms of occupational therapy. He had
even developed an interest in ham radios and had been permitted to use the money he had
earned to order an inexpensive receiver.

All in all, he was a perfectly amiable, even docile patient, one of the few in the hospital
who never required tranquilizing medications to keep his craziness under control. Indeed,
apart from certain peculiarities -- the disconcerting way he would stare fixedly at nurses or
any other female staff members who wandered into his line of vision -- it was hard to tell
that he was particularly crazy at all

Superintendent Schubert told reporters that Gein was a model patient. 'If all our patients
were like him, we'd have no trouble at all.'

On July 26, 1984, he died after a long bout with cancer. He was buried in Plainfield
cemetery next to his mother, not far from the graves that he had robbed years earlier.

"Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez: From the Bowels of Hell
Crescendo of Terror

Late in the 20th Century, Hell glutted on humanity. Its first bloodletting of that season of
the Devil occurred on the warm evening of June 28, 1984, when an earth-bound Lucifer
found his way into the small Glassel Park apartment of 79-year-old Jennie Vincow.
Throughout the Los Angeles area a damp humidity had oppressed the air that day, and
when the evening came and the temperature slightly cooled, Jennie left her window open
to invite what little breeze there might be into her flat. Like a fallen leaf, decayed and
tossed from its source, a fallen angel, dark, angry and also decaying, blew across the sill of
that open window. When the demon departed through that same window, he left behind
Jennie Vincow, raped, beaten and nearly decapitated.

"Her body was found by her son, who lived above her ground-floor apartment, just south
of...Forest Lawn Park," reports the Los Angeles Times. "Her throat had been slashed and
she had been stabbed repeatedly."

The police were baffled. But, in the months to come, they were to encounter a madman
whose lust for killing and depravity equaled, if not surpassed, that of Jack the Ripper or,
more contemporary, the Hillside Strangler. Soon to be named the "Night Stalker" by the
press, this madman bore, according to true crime author Richard L. Linedecker, "the
horror in his soul of a Stephen King or a Clive Barker fright novel and more." A Freddy
Kruger. For real.

Less than a year later, the monster reappeared. This time, he waited in the shadows of an
upscale condominium outside LA. The date was March 17, 1985, time 11:30 p.m., when
pretty-faced Maria Hernandez pulled her auto into the security garage, unaware the
monster was watching her from behind a pillar. When she alighted from her car, the killer
stepped from the darkness, gun upraised and, despite her pleadings, he pressed the trigger.
She stumbled. And the killer, thinking she was dead, stepped over her to enter the side
door of the condo. But, Maria had been lucky very lucky for the bullet had deflected
off the car keys she held in her hand, causing a hand wound, but nothing more.

Inside the building, Maria's roommate was less fortunate. For, when Maria finally made
her way to the safety of her place, breathless, she discovered that her friend, Dayle
Okazaki, had also encountered the killer. And this time, his bullet had found its mark.
Thirty-three-year-old Okazaki lay in a pool of her own blood, her skull smashed by a
missile fired at extremely close range.

The demon vanished just as quickly as he had appeared. The police were stumped.

All they knew of him was what Hernandez was able to tell them: He was tall, gaunt, dark,
maybe Hispanic.

This time, the killer didn't wait nearly a year to murder again. He struck within the hour.
His next victim that same evening was petite Taiwanese-born Tsai-Lian Yu, who, driving
her yellow Chevrolet down North Alhambra Avenue in nearby Monterey Park, withered
when someone with the eyes of a madman forced his way into her car and shot her. He
had thrown his own car into idle, simply entered hers, pushed her onto the pavement,
called her bitch, then blew her into eternity at point-blank range.

Fast. Neat. Clean.

Then dematerialized into the darkness from whence he came.

Child's play.

The police were beginning to realize they might have a problem on their hands, but they
remained stumped. Eyewitnesses who thought they had seen the killer described him as
tall, gaunt, dark, maybe Hispanic.

Ten days later, this elusive phantom -- whose physical description could fit any one of
thousands of males in the Greater Los Angeles area -- required more blood. This time,
shooting his prey didn't quite satisfy the urge; the demon must have been hungry, he must
have been frantic, for when he entered the home of the sleeping Zazzara couple, he
produced a bloodbath.

The couple's bodies were discovered by their son the following morning. Vincent Zazzara
had been shot in the head as he dozed on the sofa. He had died quickly -- unlike his wife
who suffered the percussion of the killer's frenzy. On her face he had carved the
embodiment of his hate, molding her physicality into something representative of how he
viewed humankind as something made to splice and cut and gouge, to bend, to twist, to
reshape to suit his own wantonness.

Clifford L. Linedecker, in his well-researched Night Stalker, describes what the police
found at the crime scene: "They (the police) would never forget the sight of Maxine
Zazzara's mutilated face. Her eyes were gouged out, and the empty sockets were ringed
with blackened gobs of blood and tissue...The killer had plunged a knife through her left
breast, leaving a large, ragged T-shaped wound. There were other cruel injuries to her
neck, face, abdomen, and around the pubic area. She had been butchered..."

Investigators found footprints visible signs of a tennis shoe -- in the service area and in
the flowerbed indicating his means of entry into the Zazzara home. There were no
witnesses this time around, but a modus operandi was becoming loosely apparent.
Nevertheless stumped, the law determined to put an end to this savage that had crawled
up from the mud up and within their midst. That they believed this latest crime to have
been committed by the same creature that had slain Vincow, Okazaki and Yu was, at this
point, not much more than a hunch. But, if they were correct, the madman was becoming
bolder and more sanguine; an inner lust seemed to be growing and, now fed and
apparently well fed, who knows what would come next! Scouring the neighborhoods
where he had already struck, blue uniforms questioned strangers, stopped midnight
strollers, clambered for witnesses. But, there proved little to go on.

Deep inside, the police feared, he It! would strike again.

Tension of the wait was short. Elderly Harold and Jean Wu did not hear the intruder
slipping into their residence through a window at pre-dawn, May 14. The first intimation
Mrs. Wu had of his presence was the loud bang that stirred her awake. She woke to find
the figure, smoking gun in hand, standing over her. Beside her, husband Harold groaned,
shot in the head. Then the killer's huge fists unloosened on the woman. He pummeled
her, slapped her, kicked her, and demanded that she turn over loose cash to him. Binding
her hands together behind her with thumbscrews, he tossed her across her bed over her
dying spouse, then rampaged through the home's drawers and cabinets for money.
Terrified, lying on her mattress, Jean Wu could hear three things Harold's furtive gasps
for life, furniture being invaded, and the madman's curses as he found nothing of great

Having rampaged through their belongings, the tall, thin, dark man returned to the Wu's
bedroom and, as she lay across her fading husband, violently raped the 63-year-old
woman. Satisfied, he zippered up, grinning. Then left. Another trophy his.

Mrs. Wu, after recovering from shock, told police her attacker was tall, gaunt, dark,

The symphony of terror played on, its next discordant notes sounded in the dark hours
before May 30, at the home of attractive 41-year-old Ruth Wilson. The woman awoke in
her bed to the blinding beam of a flashlight and the distinct silhouette of a pistol barrel
across her gaze; behind the illumination a gruff voice demanded, "Where's your money?"
Before she could muster words, the intruder yanked her by the sleeve of her negligee off
her bed and led her to her 12-year-old son's room down the hall. Using the frightened boy
as bait, he insisted that she produce something of value. She told him where an expensive
piece of jewelry was hidden. He seemed satisfied as he studied the diamond necklace in his
hands, and Wilson figured he would abscond without harming her or her boy.

She was wrong.

Locking her son in a closet, he took his pent-up emotions out on the woman in the pink
negligee who stood before him. Shoving her back to her own bedroom, he tore her gown
off her and, despite her protestations, had his way with her. First he bound her hands
behind her with a pair of pantyhose, then fell upon her. As he raped and sodomized her,
his foul breath and body odor overcame and sickened her, adding to the humiliation.

Miraculously, he let her live. He was gone...all but in her night dreams that would haunt
her over and over and over for months to come.

When the police later interviewed her, she gave her description of the devil:
He was tall, gaunt, dark, definitely Hispanic.

Police composites had been produced of the killer, compiled from descriptions from those
few who lived to tell of their attack and from witnesses who had seen the shooting of
Tsai-Lian Yu on Alhambra Avenue. With minor variations, the suspect was of Hispanic
descent, about 25 to 30 years old, wore long, unkempt black hair that hung in greasy
strands over a high forehead and which straggled down across a skeletally thin,
pock-marked face; cheekbones were sunken, lips thick, chin square. According to Ruth
Wilson, his teeth were jagged and rotten. The description wasn't a pretty one, and it fit the
face of the monster he was. Each testimony had him dressed in all-black.

Squads continued to roll throughout the city and accompanying suburbs; policemen
watched steadfastly night and day for anyone even closely fitting that description but
didn't find their man. And, in the meantime, his crimes continued without a sign of let-up,
his ferocity building.

The nature of the next attack, which occurred on June 1, the day after the assault on
Wilson, added another and an alarmingly new perspective to the suspect. He suddenly
took on the role of a Satanist and his deeds as sacrificial rituals to the Lord Master of Evil.
It would be his most aggressive and horrific action to date.

Retired schoolteacher Malvia Keller and invalid sister Blanche Wolfe, 83- and 79-years
old respectively, were viciously beaten in their small house in suburban Monrovia, off one
of the central state freeways. When found by their gardener the following morning, both
elderly women had been beaten across the head with a hammer. Wolfe lay near the point
of death, oozing blood from a head wound; she had been raped. Keller, who had
succumbed, had had her legs and arms bound and had been crushed by a heavy table which
the killer had turned over across her ribs.

"Police found a pentagram an encircled five-pointed star often linked to Satanic worship
drawn in lipstick on Malvia Keller's thigh," writes Clifford L. Linedecker in his Night
Stalker. "Another pentagram had been crudely scrawled in lipstick on the bedroom wall
where Blanche Wolfe lay in a comatose state. The tip of the pentagram was inverted,
pointing down, an indication of evil. Of Satan."

This indication of devil-worship was no surprise to Los Angeles County Sheriff Sherman
Block who had, for some time, suspected the crimes to be of that origin. A black
baseball-style cap bearing the emblem of the hard-rock group AC/DC found at the scene
of Dayle Okazaki's murder had given him that impression. That music group was known
for having produced some lyrics with cultist overtones.

Reads the Los Angeles Times, "Authorities focused on AC/DC's 1979 Highway to Hell
album and its six-minute 'Night Prowler' cut, which says, in part, 'What's the noise outside
your window? What's the shadow on the blind? As you lay there naked like a body in a
tomb, suspended animation as I slip into your room.'"

Block had seen enough murder in his years as a police officer to recognize the differences
between homicides of various degrees drug-related, love-triangle, cultist, and so on.
This string of killings was the most bizarre in his years of law enforcement experience.
Dispiritedly, all he and his men had to go on at this stage of the game was a generic
description of the assailant and the flimsy roots of motive. The devil's own remained
elusive, and that's all that mattered, unfortunately. It had now become apparent that, like a
vampire of folklore, the demon had grown and was growing stronger by the moment,
more degenerate with every sip of blood.

Over the next six weeks, the Los Angeles area would endure a series of killings so brutal
that the city was thrown into a panic that took on the appearance of a cataclysm. Many
sleepless nights were had by citizens, especially by women who lived alone. No lock was
sufficient in the minds of the frightened public. No door bolt thick enough. No window
latch secure enough.

Because the killer's victims ranged all ages, no one, man or woman, child or spinster, felt
safe. Some of his victims were of Oriental culture, others were Caucasian, and the city
wondered: Who the hell next? Some writers claimed that the killer, who by all eyewitness
testimony was believed to be Hispanic, had not picked on his own -- yet they forgot Maria
Hernandez whose key ring had saved her life on a mid-March morning. The killer had not
exhibited a rabid preference for any particular culture, age group, sex or even geographic
area (his killings spanned a forty mile range encircling Greater LA). He was, as Linedecker
observes, "an equal opportunity killer".

His modus operandi remained consistent and his motives inexplicable. His break-ins, while
well-orchestrated, even ritualistic, had, at the same time, earmarks of sexual spontaneity --
as if a single spark of impure thought caused havoc so hot in his brain that, to ease the
torture, he needed to torture others.

Between June 1 (immediately following the Monrovia affair) and mid-August, 1985, nine
more bloody rampages were attributed to what the newspapers were calling, for lack of a
better name, the "Valley Intruder". The toll of his victims included:

* Patty Higgins, 32 years old, Arcadia. (June 27) Killed in her home, her throat
* Mary Louise Cannon, 75 years old, Arcadia. (July 2) Found in her home, beaten,
throat slashed.
* Diedre Palmer, 16 years old, Arcadia. (July 5) Beaten at home with a tire iron.
* Joyce Lucille Nelson, 61 years old, Monterey Park (July 7) Bludgeoned to death and
mutilated in her house.
* Linda Fortuna, 63 years old, Monterey Park (also July 7) Survived rape and sodomy
attempts when attacker could not get an erection; he robbed her home and, fortunately, let
her live.
* Maxson and Lela Kneiding, husband and wife, 66 and 64 years old respectively,
Glendale (July 20) Shot in their beds while they slept; mutilated after death. Maxson's
head was nearly decapitated.
* Assawahem Family, Sun Valley (also July 20) Husband Chitat (32 years old) shot in
bed at point-blank range, his 29-year-old wife Sakima dragged from bed, beaten, twice
raped and made to perform oral sex. While bound, Sakima was forced to listen as killer
slapped her eight-year-old son in his bed. Afterwards, intruder departed with family cash.
* Christopher and Virginia Petersen, husband and wife, 38 and 27 years old
respectively, Northridge (August 5) Both shot in head while they were in bed; both
somehow survived despite a bullet that penetrated a section of Christopher's brain and
another that blew away Virginia's face.
* Ahmed and Suu Kya Zia, husband and wife, 35 and 28 years old respectively,
Diamond Bar (August 8) Ahmed shot in the temple and killed in the couple's bed; wife
Suu handcuffed, slapped, punched, raped, and forced to perform fellatio on intruder. She


Horrified columnists had been referring to the mystery murderer in a number of ways;
nicknames abounded, all of them colorful, the "Valley Intruder" and the "Walk-In Killer"
enjoying the longest run. But, it was not until the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner started
calling him the "Night Stalker" that the city had found his true idiom. The moniker, simple
and sharp like a knife stabbed the bull's eye. It frightened, and it numbed. And the
name stuck. Like a lump in the throat.

It penetrated like a shiv in the guts of those who heard it, especially those who lived in the
communities where the Stalker stalked.
Los Angeles was terrified.

In Los Angeles County, both the county and municipal police were anything but idle. They
recognized and admitted to the enormity of the problem they had as long as the Night
Stalker was free to roam. No one was safe but how, they wondered, leash a mad dog
that seems to be invisible?

More than any other lawman, Detective Sergeant Frank Salerno of the county
department's homicide squad was the man most apropos to answering that riddle. He
knew how tricky the mind of a homicidal maniac could be to box and tag, having played a
large role in tracking down LA's Hillside Stranger a decade earlier. He was, for that
matter, the first to sense that the valley had another serial killer on the loose.

In June, 1985, not long after the killings began, Salerno took it upon himself to list
similarities in the up-to-then six murders in suburban Los Angeles. Certain things matched.
Collected fingerprints, recovered cartridge shells (.22 caliber) and even a distinct method
of breaking and entry all the same. Imprints of the same design tennis shoe (identified as
Reebok high-tops, size 11) told a startling tale. But, more revealing still, the description of
the killer himself was nearly identical in each case where a living person had been left to
talk: tall, gaunt, dark, Hispanic, in his late 20s/early 30s. Downright ugly.

And now signs of devil worship were surfacing in many of the killings. Apart from the
pentagrams discovered at Malvia Keller's house, the murderer had, according to survivors
such as Ruth Wilson, demanded that they mouth such phrases such as "I vow to Satan" or
"I love Satan" or he would kill them. Nor had Salerno forgotten the baseball cap with the
rock group AC/DC's emblem, found after the Okazaki murder. He recalled that one of the
band's songs hinted at Satanism.

He took this evidence to his superior, Captain Robert Grimm, who was impressed. From
Grimm, Salerno sought, and gained, permission to check with the LA city forces to
compare notes. Perhaps, he thought, they had been encountering like cases, unsolved,
which might compare to the elusive killer's track record.

"Grimm recognized the wisdom in Salerno's suggestion to check with LAPD," reports
Clifford L. Linedecker in Night Stalker. "No one wanted a situation similar to the Hillside
Strangler case, when both the LAPD and the Los Angeles sheriff's deputies worked their
investigations alone and independent of each other. The result for the police agencies had
been missed opportunities, confusion and embarrassment."

Salerno and Grimm envisioned a task force comprised of the top police investigators
throughout the county and the city of Los Angeles. After discussion with the LAPD, the
latter decided that it would invest in its own separate task force but promised to work
around-the-clock and closely with Salerno, who had already been given a squad of
detectives dedicated to finding the Night Stalker. While separate entities, both
investigative teams operated, as committed, as one, feeding information back and forth
and partnering in any activities to maintain a single direction.

Salerno, in the meantime, conferred with two of his top men who had directed the
investigative efforts in two of the Stalker's previous crimes. They proved invaluable in
formatting the investigative team and in keeping its work strategic.

Detective Gil Carillo had been one of the first plainclothesmen introduced to the Night
Stalker's handiwork when he was assigned to the Okazaki shooting. Besides being familiar
with the history of this latest serial killer, Salerno called on Carillo's intrinsic knowledge of
computers, a technical expertise Salerno lacked, to create a database for incoming and
outgoing information.

On the other hand, Detective Russell Uloth helped Salerno determine the kind of
psychopath they were dealing with. His study of the Zazzara butchery showed that the
mutilations ravaged on Mrs. Zazzara were done after she was dead. The gouging out of
the eyes the eyes that the killer evidently took with him was enacted as a sort of
Satanic cult act.

But, while his formidable adversaries were seeding the roots of war against him, the Night
Stalker managed to slip by them in the cover of darkness to commit the murders of
Higgins, Cannon, Nelson, Kneiding and Assawahem.

This series of tragedies necessitated that, by early August, the task force more directly
include the suburban law enforcement agencies around Los Angeles where the devil
continued to hunt. With a manpower of 200 investigators, it was the largest operation of
its kind ever created. Beside the full-time force, Salerno called in subject experts from the
Federal Bureau of Investigation's criminal-profiling unit who presented their views of
known types of serial killers, then narrowed the types to which the Night Stalker came
closest. Not leaving a stone unturned, the task force even consulted personalities with
knowledge on devil worship and cultist torture rituals.

Investigators, following the Satan cult theory, fell on places where such groups assembled.
They questioned followers of these leagues about their membership, hoping that they
might uncover the identity of the killer in their company. While they could not uncover a
suspect, they did find something very interesting on the floor of an East Los Angeles cult
hall. They found a shoe print that matched the imprint of the Reebok tennis shoes size
11 -- located at many of the murder scenes.

Salerno wanted the killer to feel the heat, to panic and blunder into the open through his
own hysteria. The detective had seen it happen many times; criminals, feeling the pressure,
leap before looking and announce their guilt hands-up by doing something stupid. To meet
this end, he made sure that the task force started feeding the media pieces of evidence they
uncovered, large and small, even unfounded information, to give the killer the impression
they were closing in.

Simultaneous to the big squeeze -- in August -- the task force announced its formation at a
press conference, keynoted by representatives from the County Sheriff's office. At the
conference, which was heavily attended by an anxious press, the speakers officially
confirmed the existence of a dangerous serial killer wandering at will in the Los Angeles

"We are concerned there is an individual who is responsible for more than one murder,
multiple murders," admitted Robert A. Edmonds, Los Angeles County assistant sheriff.

County Sheriff Sherman Block assured the public, however, that all surrounding police
agencies were combing the streets to end the spree. Authorities asked for the public to
keep calm, to keep doors locked, and to report any suspicious activities or persons in their
neighborhoods as soon as they manifested.

The press conference kicked off a campaign to make the public more aware of and to
make it more active in the apprehension of the Night Stalker. Salerno's task force
distributed flyers, leaflets and wanted posters bearing the composite sketch of the killer.
Posters soon hung in every visible passage in every public byway and thoroughfare and
market within and around Los Angeles. A citizen couldn't take a stroll to the corner store
or drive their kids to school without coming face to face with the large sketched ugly face
of the Night Stalker.

And things began to pop. Telephone calls from men and women, some calling
anonymously, poured in; faceless voices and unsigned letters of concern led police to
strange goings-on in their neighborhood or to oddball neighborhood characters who fit the
Night Stalker's description. Not a lead was overlooked. Transients, vagrants and
vagabonds were questioned, as were those "oddball neighborhood characters".

Terror that had gripped the people of Los Angeles had now, prompted by the police,
turned to obstinacy. The populace transformed from a group of frightened individuals into
a committee of daring hunters, begging for their chance to catch the night-time ghoul. If
he wanted to prey on them, well, they cried, let him prey because now they were
waiting. The family man and the businessman and the housewife they had bought guns,
and loaded them. Or they had as their weapons shovels, or pickaxes, or kitchen knives, or
any one of dozens of homemade utensils pointing their way to a night stalker's heart.

Suddenly, the Night Stalker realized that things had changed. He found their lights burning
at night, a silhouette in the window. Suddenly he found apartment buildings with hired
guards pacing the lobby. Suddenly he found citizens' committees strolling roundabout and
in and out in the alleys, the parks, the streets. Suddenly he found their windows nailed
shut, porch lights left on, back yards illumined by safety beams. Suddenly he found

The civic forces, too, were out in droves. Patrol cars were everywhere, marked and
unmarked vehicles. Townsfolk volunteers had been deputized, as well, to drive in the
dark, licensed to throw their search beams at anything that moved or crept or crawled
and if it resembled the Night Stalker, to step on it.

The devil, the ghost, the ghoul, the phantom, the stalker. It was time for him to leave Los
He shrugged. After all, no matter. He would go elsewhere. He could kill anywhere.

As the sun descended over San Francisco on the evening of August 17, 1985, a beat-up
brownish-red 1978 Pontiac Grand Prix pulled off Highway 80 and began to cruise the
adjacent suburbs that bordered it. Within the next couple of hours, the car found its way
into the upper-scale neighborhood of Lake Merced. It was well after dark, the time of evil.
Parking his car in the darkest spot he could find, the Night Stalker emerged and, checking
for the .22 calibre handgun in his belt, headed to one particular two-story home where, he
felt, the devil was directing him.

Tall, gaunt, dark, ugly 25-year-old Richard Ramirez paused. He turned to look back at the
Pontiac he had been driving these last few weeks. He ruminated a moment, and decided
after tonight he'd better play it safe and ditch this auto. It was time to steal another one,
perhaps before the sun rose. But first things first he drew the revolver so tight, so
hard, so metallic in the moonlight and strolled nonchalantly to the unlit gangway beside
the home of elderly Chinese couple, Mr. & Mrs. Pan.

Houses like these were so easy to penetrate, Ramirez low to the ground,
removable screens...a snap, a slight push, and he was in. Of course, Satan was guiding his
every move, he knew that! Why fret about getting caught? All these homes, all these
homes, and yet not once had the resident heard him entering. The devil silenced their ears
while they slept. And he, Richard Ramirez, then took it a step further: He silenced them,
forever. More blood to feed Hell, to keep its furnaces burning.

Inside the house, Ramirez looked at his watch: Midnight. A good time to kill. He checked
his weapon once more yes, cylinder loaded. These homes were all laid out pretty much
the same; he knew where the bedrooms were by instinct. Without pause, he walked to
where the couple slept, found them snoring, and pulled the trigger. He loved the way their
bodies jerked upon impact.

His senses tingled...watching them rattle in death, hearing their throats beg for air,
watching as their pillows darkened with life's liquid underneath what was left of their
skulls. But, there was no time to admire his latest artwork; there was much more work to
do here before he left. Time now for a little home decorating so that the police would
know that the Night Stalker was far, far from trapped.


When the Pans' son visited his parents the next morning, he walked into the aftermath of
doomsday. His father was dead in bed, his mother next to him, seriously injured. The walls
of the home were etched with lipstick diagrams of devil worship, cursing and alien
messages such as "Jack the Knife." Drawers were ransacked. A side window had been
pried open and dirty footprints, bearing a Reebok design, trailed hastily from the
windowsill across the carpet, in and out of the parents' bedroom.

Mrs. Alberta Pan survived, but remained an invalid; her husband Peter was pronounced
dead at General Hospital.

San Francisco police knew immediately that the Horror of Los Angeles, the Night Stalker,
had come to their city. Certainly, the modus operandi bore his logo: breaking and entry,
the assassination of the male first where a couple was involved, and the cultist signatures
left on the scene.

Bullets retrieved from the victims, when matched with those in the possession of the Los
Angeles task force, confirmed it. So did the shoe prints. Comparing notes with Detective
Salerno, San Francisco homicide detective Frank Kowalski also learned that a brown 1978
Pontiac, which had been reported prowling the streets of Lake Merced the night of the
Pan killing, matched the description of an auto seen in the vicinity of the most recent
murders in the LA area. Undoubtedly, the same car, the same maniac.

Authorities began wondering if the same man who perhaps traveled between LA and San
Francisco might have committed four other recent unsolved homicides in San Francisco.
In retrospect, they now seemed to have been.

"On February 1, police discovered the mutilated bodies of Christina Caldwell, 58, and her
sister, Mary, 70. They were stabbed dozens of times," reports the San Francisco
Chronicle. "A coroner's report said a window of their ransacked flat was left open. Bloody
fingerprints, palm prints and shoe prints were left behind, although (Detective) Kowalski
said most of the prints turned out to be those of neighbors.

"Another slaying being checked is that of Masataka Kobayaki, 45, part owner and chef of
Masa's, a fashionable restaurant on Nob Hill," the Chronicle continues. "The fourth
murder involved Edward F. Wildgans, 29, who was shot June 2 through the right temple
by a late-night intruder. He died two days later. His girlfriend fought off the attacker (but
was raped)."

After interviewing the girlfriend, Nancy Brien, her description of her tormentor coincided
with the image of the Night Stalker.

Without delay, law enforcers in the City by the Bay disseminated wanted posters and
leaflets. "The whole department has been mobilized to apprehend the suspect," promised
Richard Klapp, police commissioner. Patrols were doubled at night, particularly in
Hispanic neighborhoods where one of that nationality might easily blend in. According to
the Los Angeles Times, investigators quickly learned that a male resembling the Night
Stalker had stayed at the Bristol, a transient hotel at 56 Mason Street, during the week of
the Pan murder. Manager Alex Melnikov remembered the lodger as dressing in all black
and reeking of body odor. The stranger had signed out the afternoon of the said crime.
Melnikov, said the paper, "had found an inverted five-pointed star, known as a pentagram,
inscribed on the door of a room adjacent to one occupied by (the boarder)... A similar star
was found in the Pans' home."


Richard Ramirez had abandoned the Pontiac; and he had abandoned San Francisco. In
haste. He chuckled, huddled behind the wheel of a stolen 1976 orange Toyota, thinking
about why he had to make a quick departure: How that mayor of San Francisco what's
her name? Dianne Feinstein mouthed off to those news station people about the police
feeling like they were closing in on the Night Stalker; then how that county sheriff had a fit
because she had screwed up the whole dragnet! Locos! Crazy people they! Now, turning
the Toyota's grille off the Golden State Freeway towards the entrance to the community
known as Mission Viejo, he determined to show them locos just who is the smartest one!
The devil protected him! But, they had no one! Tonight, someone would die not in San
Francisco as the police suspected but here in this rich-boy community so near to Los

The date was August 25, just after midnight.

William Carns and his fiancée Renata Gunther dreamed well tonight in the home on
Chrisanta Drive. Parking his car in shadow, Ramirez entered their fine stucco home and
sought out the bedroom to see who slept there. He smiled when he saw the couple sound
asleep. Both looked young, in their late twenties, and the beautiful Renata tingled his
senses. Beauty for the sacrificial altar! For Lucifer! Out came his revolver, the .22, and he
flashed its barrel toward the cranium of the male. Carns twitched, and gagged.

Renata awoke to the dark, skinny, grinning Ramirez who leaned over her, panting, calling
her bitch, shaking her and laughing in her face. His breath stank, his teeth she could see
them in the umbragewere crooked and stained. His eyes blazed.

Forcing her from her bed, he threw himself over her and raped her. Snarling in her face, he
promised to shoot her unless she "Swear to Satan". Begging for her life, she did as he
asked. But, before he released her from his grasp, he thrust her head to where he unzipped
his trousers. Having performed, he left her alive, but in pain and nauseated.

He had repaired back into the darkness from whence he came.


A middle-aged woman named Donna Myers and her friend, Serafin Arredondo, who lived
in the El Sobrante district of San Francisco had come forth in the meantime with a
fascinating tale. Myers, who let out her home occasionally as a boarding house, had from
time to time rented a room to a man she knew only as "Ricky". She told police he was tall,
gaunt, Hispanic and, in a word, strange. What's more, he closely resembled the police
sketch of the Night Stalker that appeared in the Chronicle. Ricky was from El Paso,
Texas, she explained, and traveled throughout California -- mostly between San Francisco
and Los Angeles. To her he often addressed his interest in the black arts.

She related that one day, during a recent stay, she happened to come into her TV room
when Ricky was viewing a news report about a Night Stalker victim. He seemed greatly
interested in the program. Noticing her behind him, Ricky suddenly turned to her from his
chair, grinned with a mouthful of crooked teeth, and whispered, "Now wouldn't you be
surprised if I turned out to be the Stalker?" She thought at the time it was just a sick bit of
whimsy, until she noticed the composite in the newspaper shortly thereafter. The memory
chilled her.

Arredondo, a friend of the Myers family who often visited the woman, displayed some
men's jewelry a diamond ring and cufflinks -- he had bought from this Ricky one
afternoon not long ago. Ricky had claimed he was strapped for cash and was selling these
items at a discount; he gave Arredondo a good deal. Since then, the buyer had read that
the Night Stalker was known for robbing his victims as well as slaying them, and
wondered if...well, just maybe...

The police nodded; they understood completely. Taking the goods that Arredondo
offered, they in turn handed them over to the investigative team for possible identification.
That evening, the ring and links were labeled as stolen property that once belonged to one
of the killer's male victims.

Never knowing when this Ricky might turn up at Myers' doorstep, plainclothesmen began
surveillance on her home night and day.

A rhythm of lucky breaks was in full tempo. While this was occurring in the Bay area,
eyewitnesses in the Mission Viejo neighborhood near LA had reported seeing an orange,
older make of Toyota prowling their streets immediately prior to the attack on Carns and
Gunther. On April 27, the book Night Stalker tells us, "the orange Toyota station wagon
was found in a parking lot in the Rampart area of Los Angeles. Detectives watched the car
for almost twenty-four hours before deciding it had indeed been abandoned and the
Stalker was not going to return for it."

But, the discovery of the auto would prove fruitful. Dusting the car for fingerprints, city
investigators delivered the prints to the Orange County Sheriff's Office whose forensic
laboratory was testing a brand new Department of Justice-created system for tracking
prints in record time.

The prints matched those of a small-time thief and miscreant from Texas named Ricardo

Lauded the Los Angeles Times, "(The system picked) Ramirez's fingerprints out of
380,000 other sets, only three minutes after the system was fed a partial print lifted from
(the Toyota)...The need to capture the Night Stalker was so urgent that the installation of
the new 'Cal-ID' computer system, which is still in progress, was interrupted so the system
could be reprogrammed to search for the Night Stalker's prints."

The police had a name. Now they needed to research the suspect, to find out more about
him. And, most importantly, they needed to find him before he slew again.


Ricardo Ramirez was born in the barrio (Hispanic section) of El Paso, Texas, on February
28, 1960. His childhood was one of poverty and of hanging with youth gangs. Parents
Julian (an illegal alien who worked in the rail yard) and Mercedes had, in all, seven
children; Ricardo who later Americanized the name to Richard was the youngest.
Roman Catholics, Mercedes tried as best she could to lead her familia onto a straight and
God-like path. She succeeded with six of her brood. But, Ricardo went astray.

Grade school teachers claimed he could have been a good pupil, had he proffered a little
interest. He failed ninth grade twice, spending more time in the video arcades than at
school. At an early age, he took to breaking into homes. Police caught him in the act of
burglary several times, each time being shipped off to a work program until the oft-time
loser was sentenced in his youth to a disciplinarian hall.

He had but three interests in junior high and cared about little else martial arts,
marijuana and heavy metal. "He loved Black Sabbath and Judas Priest," remarks a friend
from his teen years.

Another interest grew from, say boyhood friends, the sort of music he listened to that
which glorified cultist practices. He seemed preoccupied with Satanism and stories about
black magic, demons and dragons. While his mother sent him to Bible studies, hoping he'd
learn the Christian ways of life, Richard took the lessons to heart but learned them in
reverse. That is, after class he would go to the library and read up on Satan and the fallen
angels, the characters that his teachers merely skipped over while exemplifying Jesus
Christ and the twelve apostles.

Richard, in his teens, had been suspected of thievery, but the police could not prove their
accusations. His first formal arrest as an adult was for possession of marijuana. Slapped
with a small fine, he was then hit with another when pinched months later for the same
offense. On his third arrest -- for reckless driving (a friend's car) he avoided prison by
agreeing to do neighborhood youth work while on three years' probation.

At 20 years old, his probation ended, Richard Ramirez left El Paso.

Between the time he departed his native Texas and the time he took up killing innocent
people, Richard Ramirez encountered minor run-ins with the law. In 1984, he was taken
into custody and photographed while suspected of driving a stolen car, a charge that came
to nothing.
"Ramirez is known to have gone by several aliases," accounts a retrospective article in the
Los Angeles Times, "including Richard Moreno, Noah Jimenez, Nicolaus Adame, Richard
Munoz and Richard Mona." But, in all, aside from simple infractions, he did little more
than waste away slowly in the drug and booze bars of southern California wearing black,
always black -- salivating over Satan and freaking out on the flimsy, filmy veils of burning
dragon weed.

No matter how evil, no matter how hideous, all things can be destroyed. Caliban shrinks
from his own reflection; Prometheus scalds from the fire he created; warlocks recoil from
the Druid stone; werewolves perish with a silver bullet; and vampires whither under
sunlight. Richard Ramirez, closest to the latter, should have known better than to step out
from under the blood-moon into the broad daylight. He was a creature of the night. But,
the shadows would no longer hide him.

On the bright morning of Saturday, August 31, 1985, Ramirez stepped from a Greyhound
bus that had just pulled into the Los Angeles depot from Phoenix, Arizona. He had gone
there immediately following the Carns killing to buy cocaine from a seller he knew there.
Still somewhat depleted from its effects, he returned to LA, the scene of his crimes
probably already scheming his next foray into depravity. He did not know that the police
in the meantime had learned his identity nor that his face and name appeared for the first
time in print in that morning's newspapers across the nation. He strutted past the depot's
newsstand, oblivious to his own black and white visage scowling into the world, and
grabbed a rapid transit to the East Side barrio.

"The man suspected of (so many) atrocities was first spotted clad in black jeans and a Jack
Daniel's T-shirt at about 8:30 a.m. Saturday when he entered a small liquor store at 819 S.
Towne Avenue and picked up a newspaper that had his picture on the first page," the Los
Angeles Times relates. According to the store clerk, Ramirez, who was waiting for the
cashier to ring up his purchase of whisky, panicked when he realized what he was looking
at. He threw the paper down and hotfooted from the store. Citizens in the market had
already recognized him and pursued him. They yelled out, "Stop, killer! Halt, el matador!"

Weaving through the Spanish-speaking neighborhood that he knew so well, but which had
suddenly turned so foreboding, he made his way circuitously corner after corner to the
800 block of Mott Street. It was the beginning of the Labor Day weekend and residents
were out this sunny morning; streets and porches brimmed with early risers, with strollers
and shoppers on their way to shopping, and dog-walkers being yanked by their pets to the
nearest fire hydrant. All their heads turned in his direction; there seemed to be a neon sign
above him, directing their attention to the gaunt, ugly, pock-marked face they had just
seen over their cup of java at the breakfast table. And they cried again, "El matador! It's
him, the killing one! The killing machine!" When he ran, several of them waved down a
passing police car and pointed out the direction of the Night Stalker's flight. When other
residents phoned in a few moments later, claiming to have seen the fugitive a few blocks
away, at Euclid and Garnet, seven squads were dispatched to the scene. Street after street,
the squads fanned out, following residents' leads along a zigzag course.

One, maybe even two or three people might be wrong, the police ascertained, but not an
entire neighborhood. The cops knew they had their man, and, he was turned in by his own

It was Ramirez's turn to live a nightmare. Finally. About him, the brownstone and slat
board walls of the barrio were closing in, so tight that the lack of space squeezed his chest
to take his breath away. Under the dirty Jack Daniel's logo he wore on his chest, his heart
hammered his bones, and it ached like the devil that had deserted him. No escape from the
world now, no escape from this bad dream. He had manufactured this mania, after all, in
the night, and in the day it came back to, at last, haunt the hell out of him. Pointing fingers
and jeers and twisted faces and taunts and open palms blocked his every move; detours led
to other detours; the place he had for so long used to blend in had broken lose, overused
and indignant. He had shamed his own people and they were hurling him through a gamut.
Police sirens screamed from everywhere, and Richard Ramirez began to sob. His world
came tumbling down, blurred in tears and perspiration.

He paused briefly at one woman's screen door. "Por favor, help me!" he implored. She
saw the mob of neighbors assembling below her stoop, pointing at the hombre estupido.
"Your him!" she shrieked, and slammed the inner door shut in his face.

"Desperate and near exhaustion, Night Stalker Richard Ramirez made a wrong turn when
he dashed onto Hubbard Street unknowingly he had stumbled into a neighborhood of
heroes," the Los Angeles Times continues. "Four citizens grabbed and subdued the
suspected murderer after a 20-second footrace, one of them pounding at him with a steel

"The heroes who captured Ramirez were Manuel De La Torre, 32, and three of his
neighbors across the street, Jose Burgoin, 55, and his sons Jaime, 21, and Julio, 17.
Another hero was Faustino Pinon, 56, next-door neighbor of the Burgoins, who had
fought off Ramirez when he tried to steal his daughter's car."

By the time the first squad arrived screeching onto the scene, the Burgoin boys had the
Night Stalker pinned to the curb; what fight remained in him was subdued with both boy's
fists and the steel whip; he was bleeding from the whelps. The man who had killed,
maimed and raped without mercy whimpered now, and trembled now, like a scared puppy,
dazed by the detonation of events. (Wasn't it only a few moments earlier he had stepped
off the Greyhound, independent and carefree?)

Cuffed and shoved into the backseat of the squad car, the Night Stalker, brushing filthy
tears from his cheek, made a strange request of the arresting deputy.

"Shoot me now, man! I don't deserve to live."

For once, Los Angeles and Richard Ramirez were of one mind.

The nation, in particular the prosecuting District Attorney's office, expected Senor Night
Stalker's case to be open and shut, adios, and go to the death chamber quick. After all, the
evidence was there and more details were zipping in as collected by the prosecution team's
crack head-hunter units.

Little did anyone expect after the Night Stalker's dramatic arrest that his trial was not to
commence for nearly two-and-a-half years. Legal manipulations and manoeuvrings would
play the largest part in postponing justice. Other factors would be interference from
outside sources, such as Ramirez's El Paso family, from hard-headed personal antagonism
rampant amongst defense lawyers, and from Ramirez's own behavior and inability to cope
with the reality of the judicial system. The defense would chase every loophole. Bias
would be shouted, as well as prejudice, and the defense would parade them before a
national grandstand, annoying press and public that knew better than to fall for the delays.

"The case appeared to be off to a running start," wrote Clifford L. Linedecker in Night
Stalker, "(Los Angeles County District Attorney Ira) Reiner appointed veteran Deputy
District Attorney P. Philip Halpin to prosecute the case within hours of Ramirez's arrest."

On Tuesday, Sept. 4, the suspect appeared in court to hear initial charges. "Standing with
head bowed, Night Stalker suspect Richard Ramirez was arraigned on a single murder
count and seven other charges stemming from two late-night attacks in early May in the
San Gabriel Valley," reported the Los Angeles Times. "(He) was charged with murder,
burglary, robbery, rape, sodomy and forced oral copulation in the May 14 shooting death
(of Harold Wu) and an attack on (Wu's) wife...(He) could face the death penalty."

Simultaneously, San Francisco authorities charged Ramirez with the deaths of Mr. & Mrs.
Peter Pan (August 17), and Orange County officials slapped him with murder and rape
charges on the attacks on William Carns and Renata Gunther (August 25).

Of the other Los Angeles-area crimes of which he was alleged to have committed, DA
Reiner told Times reporters, "Understand that the suspect was arrested just over the
weekend. There is a mountain of evidence that has to be collated, has to be analyzed, has
to be investigated; there is scientific investigation that is still going on. Within the next
couple of weeks, I expect it will all be pulled together and decisions will be made as to
which cases will be filed."

As Reiner predicted, during the following month Ramirez garnered 14 allegations of
murder, which were accompanied by numerous allegations of attempted murder, robbery,
burglary and sexual assault of varying degrees. Investigators had collected physical
evidence in the cases involving murder, assault and/or rape on these victims:

* Jennie Vincow (June 28, 1984);
* Dayle Okazaki & Maria Hernandez (March 17, 1985);
* Tsai-Lian Yu (March 17);
* Vincent & Maxine Zazzara (March 27);
* Harold Wu (May 14);
* Ruth Wilson (May 30);
* Malvia Keller & Blanche Wolfe (June 1);
* Patty Higgins (June 28);
* Mary Louise Cannon (July 2);
* Diedre Palmer (July 5);
* Joyce Lucille Nelson (July 7);
* Linda Fortuna (July 7);
* Mason & Lela Kneiding (July 20);
* Chitat Assawahem (July 20);
* Christopher & Virginia Petersen (August 6); and
* Ahmed Zia (August 8).

Additional allegations were filed against Ramirez for crimes that he had not been
previously suspected of, but which were recently traced to him: the robbery of an Eagle
Rock resident, Thomas Sandova (March 2, 1985); the kidnapping and rape of an
eight-year-old child in the same community (March 20); and the burglary of the Monrovia
home of Clara Hadsall.

Again, the prosecution expected a lead pipe cinch, but their strategy to move the process
along on an even keel was constantly interrupted by professional and not-so-professional
shenanigans. What occurred was what Linedecker calls, "a legal circus...a nightmarish
marathon that would last four years, cost the state almost $2 million in trial and other legal
costs, involve a half-dozen defense attorneys, and almost 3,000 jury interviews."

To begin, there was the series of pyrotechnical relationships between Ramirez's defense
lawyers, and between the lawyers and the Ramirez family. Municipal Judge Elva Soper
had designated public defender Allen Adashek counsel for the defense, but this move was
contrary to the Ramirezes of El Paso who wanted their son and brother to be defended by
another attorney, one Manuel Barraza. Adashek claimed he had been appointed chief
defense and refused to relinquish the position. After haggling caused delays, Barraza
finally backed off, announcing he was not prepared to stay with a trial that he expected to
last years.

Lost time.

With that matter settled, Ramirez began balking that he did not like Adashek and refused
to accept him as his lawyer. It seems to have been a clash of personalities: Adashek was a
no-nonsense type who refused to put up with his client's mood swings and bad-boy
behavior in court. (At his arraignments, Ramirez threatened the judge, fingered the
prosecution, and proved to be an unruly, unacceptable, socially harmful defendant,
drawing pentagrams on the palms of his hands and flashing these Satanic symbols into the
faces of the media there to cover the proceedings.)

In an effort to keep things rolling and to grant the defendant all the liberties allowed a man
on trial especially a minority -- Judge Soper in October hesitantly accepted Ramirez's
request for termination of Adashek and welcomed into court a new counselor hired by
Rosa Flores, Ramirez's sister. This latest was a man named Joseph Gallego, a 56-year-old
Californian with two decades of legal experience but, the court discovered, with a very
minor police record years earlier. By all indication, he was a talented man who sincerely,
personally believed in his client and, very importantly, understood the Latino culture. If
given a chance, he probably would have proven quite capable. If given a chance. Flores
fired him.

Lost time -- again. In the interim, the defendant still had not answered the court's charges
on the alleged felonies, a process that should have occurred immediately after the venue of
charges was announced in early September. Months passed and the prosecution was
forced to play hold-your-breath until the process could resume.

Flores' new choice of counsel to defend her brother was the team of Daniel and Arturo
Hernandez, unrelated despite the matching surnames. Both lawyers had seen little
experience in murder trials and certainly had not the grit comparable to upholding the
weighty responsibility requested of them by the Ramirez family. Judge Soper herself
mediated the court's concern and openly announced her reticence; she clearly pointed out
the dangers of procuring inexperienced lawyers to the Ramirez family, but they wouldn't
budge. In late October, Soper hesitantly but officially appointed Hernandez & Hernandez
as counselors for the defense.

One of their first moves was to try to postpone the preliminary hearing from December,
1986, to April; 1987, vying for six months to adequately prepare their initial defense. The
court felt that their request was exaggerated, but not inflexible, postponed the hearing to
February 24, after the new year. The prosecution, who felt they had an airtight case and
had been raring to go for some time, grumbled. Expressing their disappointment, however,
they politely conceded.

In the meantime, the press had noticed the shifting of lawyers, the postponements and,
what it considered, the weakness of the court to bend to the new defense counsel's every
time-wasting whim. The year 1986 had come and gone and taxpayers were paying for the
Night Stalker's bread and board. When Judge Candace Cooper, who would preside over
the preliminary hearing, issued a gag order on the hearings, which barred the media from
the courtroom, hell broke asunder and the journalism turned blue with curses. The
syndicated press appealed the ruling with fervor. As time neared, however, the
responsibility of the preliminaries was shifted from Cooper's court to that of jurist James
T. Nelson, who, considering the factors, amended all previous decisions and decided to
allow the reporters into the courtroom. The media applauded Nelson's recognition of their
rights while the Hernandez's, who claimed that their client would be hung by a pack of
bloodthirsty newshounds, yelped but to no avail

Finally -- the preliminary hearing opened in February, 1987. The purpose of this hearing
was to identify which of the many allegations presented against Ramirez should actually
come to trial or, to quote author Linedecker, those charges where "sufficient evidence of
crimes had been presented to establish a prima facie case".

Of the 30-plus witnesses who testified during the three-week hearing, they included Jack
Vincow, who found his mother's corpse after her brutal slaying in June of 1984; Joseph
Duenas, an eyewitness to the Tsai-Lian Yu attack in March, 1985; Maria Hernandez,
roommate of the murdered Dayle Okazaki that same night; Ruth Wilson, who was raped
on May 30; Renata Gunther, rape victim of August 25; and Esparanza Gonzales, whose
boyfriend had unwittingly purchased one of the murder weapons from Ramirez.
Throughout, the defense and prosecuting lawyers often became inveigled in vocal
squabbles apart from the formal proceedings; the defense accused the court of bias and the
prosecution claimed outwardly that the defense's demeanor in court was anything but
respectful to the bench.

The defendant himself was totally void of comportment. Judge Nelson repeatedly was
forced to warn him to subdue his erratic behavior, his incessant displays of contempt
towards opposing counsel and witnesses. Messrs. Hernandez, the court noted, were not
supportive of the court, for they often joked and jibed along with Ramirez at the counsel

"Ramirez...laughed a lot, and joked with his attorneys, even cackling loudly, during crucial
testimony," states Linedecker. "Once he laughed loudly during a young widow's testimony
had caused several spectators to cry as she tearfully described how her assailant had raped
and beaten her while her slain husband lay nearby...Sometimes, Ramirez sneered openly at
the prosecution. (Studying photographs of crime scenes) he smirked...when he came
across a death-scene photo he especially liked."

The suspect seemed to enjoy staring down witnesses at the podium in an effort to fluster
them, for he realized the power of fear in his Rasputin dark eyes. At one point, the
wearied judge, who had had enough of mind games, warned him to stop stop now!
Ramirez tested the warning and once again set his black pupils on the next witness to take
the stand. The judge nodded to the bailiff, and the bailiff physically yanked the defendant's
head in the other direction. Ramirez grunted and, leaping to his feet, attacked the bailiff.
Within seconds, he was overcome by courtroom guards who dragged him from the
chambers back to his holding cell.

Hernandez & Hernandez cried unfair, but everyone else, including the judge, gleefully
closed their ears. The press loved the confrontation finally a little justice was exhibited
and they made the most of it.

The preliminary session ended on May 7. Ramirez would be tried on a total of 41 specific
criminal charges 14 for murder, five for attempted murder, 15 for burglary, four for
rape, three for forced oral copulation, and four for sodomy. Ramirez pleaded not guilty to
all charges. Trial was set for September 2, 1987.

But again, the defense sought postponement and the trial was pushed back to
December 2. More delays were forthcoming.

Suffering a workload and backup of cases by this time, the original trial judge relinquished
the case to conservative Superior Court Judge Michael Tynan. This move, though
necessary, provoked more delays. And, when the Hernandez's suddenly sparked an
argument out of the clear blue to have the trial removed from the Los Angeles area
where they said their client would not get a fair hearing another postponement loomed.
Eventually shot down, the Hernandez-initiated filing nevertheless wasted many months.

Trial was rescheduled for February 1, 1988.

And the beat went on. Hollering that they had not been given full access to the LAPD files
for scrutiny, Hernandez & Hernandez sought and won more time to browse the police
records that they claimed had been shut to them.

Trial was re-set for July, 1988, when jury selection finally began.

For the first time, the lawyers from both sides of the table agreed on something: that,
because of the media's attention to the ghastly nature of the crimes, it would not be easy to
find impartial jurors. A pool of 3,000 prospective jurors was dwindled to half that number,
they were then carefully interviewed by both counsels. Cut by cut, slice by slice, twelve of
whom both factions approved were at last chosen. Six of the jurors were Latino. It had
been an enormous, monumental, historical example of the American right to fair trial at
The trial of Richard Ramirez began on January 29, 1989, the Night Stalker's terror almost
a dim memory to the American public -- except for those who lived it. They would always
remember. And they were hungry for justice.

"Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez: From the Bowels of Hell

Judge Tynan's courtroom hummed with excitement the day the trial opened in late
January. Estimated length of the trial, claimed reporters, was four to six months.
Television cameras, allowed to shoot portions of the trial, remained unobtrusively behind
the reporters scratching their observations in steno pads; on the public benches lawmen
who had taken part in the capture of Ramirez, including Detective Frank Salerno, sat
intermingled with random spectators lucky enough to have obtained a seat. Defendant
Richard Ramirez sat calmly at the counsel's table; his lawyer had dressed him in a
conservative suit and had seen that his stringy hair was styled; sunglasses covered his
menacing gaze. A gavel announced the commencement of the proceedings and, as the
bailiff called for quiet, only the whir of the ceiling fan could be heard. Then Prosecutor
Philip Halpin spoke.

He addressed the jury, reminding them that they were there to try a vicious monster who
had no regard for human life or decency, a ghoul who had torture-killed many and had left
many alive to face days of pain and deformity. He reminded them that this monster
worshiped the devil and fed to him innocent people as sacrificial lambs, their own beds
being the chosen bloody altars.

There was no doubt, he said, that Ramirez was guilty. Four different small-caliber
handguns that belonged to him were traced down as far away as Texas; ballistic tests
already proved they killed the victims. Jewelry belonging to several other victims was
located at his sister's home in El Paso where the woman unwittingly accepted them as
gifts. Then there were Ramirez's finger and shoe prints found at the crime scenes. And
then, of course, there were witnesses many of them -- ready to come forward to identify
Ramirez as their rapist, their assailant, and the killer of their husbands and boyfriends.

He concluded: "We have alleged these murders are in the first degree, were premeditated,
and occurred during burglaries or other crimes. We are asking for the death penalty."

Defense lawyer Daniel Hernandez waived his opening remarks until the prosecution fully
concluded its forum later in the trial. Halpin had made such a dent that it was obvious that,
at this point, there wasn't much one could say in rebuttal. In fact, as the trial progressed,
Hernandez's weak start became weaker; not only because the prosecution's evidence was
so strong, but because his partner Arturo suspiciously proved to be a no-show. Going it
alone against a Goliath, Daniel Hernandez was overwhelmed and exhausted. A month into
the trial, Hernandez announced he required medical leave.

In view of all the costly delays that had already occurred, Judge Tynan refused to grant a
suspension, but commandeered help for Hernandez. He replaced the invisible Arturo with
criminal lawyer Ray Clark, an attorney of merit.

Clark virtually took over the case of the defense with alacrity. He was a well-meaning and
clever lawyer who reshaped the defense's platform by trying to show that Ramirez in many
instances was a victim of mistaken identity. But, it was all too late for that, and to no avail.

Of the 165 witnesses who addressed the court, most of them brought damaging testimony
against the defendant. Witness after witness for the prosecution had sworn under oath,
identifying Ramirez; they remembered his exact words, his cursing to the devil, and they
were simply unable to forget those pair of dark eyes that, despite the masquerade of
sunglasses, were Richard Ramirez's.

The shades, for that matter, concealed absolutely nothing, especially the negatively kinetic
Thing that dwelt beneath them. As during his preliminary hearing, Ramirez remained his
uncontrollable self throughout the court, defying the judge's orders to keep quiet,
muttering under his breath at witnesses and bursting into idiotic laughter during damaging

"At the trial, the killer played to the press," declares Jay Robert Nash in his crime
anthology, Bloodletters and Badmen. "He flashed the palm of his hand where he had
drawn a livid sign of the pentagram. On other occasions, as he sat listening to the
prosecution condemn him for his crimes, he placed two upturned fingers on either side of
his temples to indicate horns and intoned: 'Evil...Evil...Evil...'"

Not the way to befriend a jury.

Closing arguments having ended in July, it was now the jury's turn to summon a verdict.

Delays, a trademark of the Ramirez case, occurred even during jury deliberation. One
juror was fired for sleeping and replaced with an alternative. Frighteningly, another was
murdered by a jealous boyfriend. She, too, was replaced. But, both these occurrences
drew time. Months crawled while the nation awaited a verdict.

On September 20, 1989, Richard Ramirez was brought from his cell to hear what the jury
members ultimately decided: Guilty on all counts.

Despite pleas from the defense, the jury recommended death.

When Judge Tynan asked the prisoner if he had anything to say on his own behalf,
Ramirez, in true Night Stalker mien, cursed the court, cursed the jurors, cursed the world.
"I need not look beyond this room to see all the liars, haters, the killers, the crooks, the
paranoid cowards truly trematodes of the Earth," he rambled. "You maggots make me
sick one and all...I am beyond your experience, I am beyond good and evil..."

But, the nation cared not what he had to say. All it cared was that he was not beyond the
gas chamber. In the end, that's all that mattered most.

But, there was one more side to consider, that of the victims who lived, and the victims'
families. On November 11, 1989, USA Today quoted Don Nelson who had found the
mutilated remains of his mother Joyce in July of 1985. Asked what he thought of his
mother's killer's death sentence, Nelson replied, "It doesn't bring my mom back, but he can
no longer threaten anybody. I still see what my mom looked like as a result of what he did,
and that's something I'm going to have to deal with over the remainder of my life."


Today, Richard Ramirez sits in San Quentin's Death Row, where he was deposited more
than a decade ago. Having been tried for the crimes he is known to have committed in Los
Angeles, he still has not been tried for the alleged murders that occurred in the San
Francisco/Orange County area. In 1995, the then-10-year-old case against Ramirez for the
killing of Mr. & Mrs. Pan in Lake Merced, Orange County, was put on indefinite hold
pending further investigation.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "The delay in the San Francisco case was
sought while appeals of his previous murder conviction are heard...Los Angeles
prosecutors have opposed a San Francisco murder trial, fearing it would undermine the
earlier convictions and death sentence."

But, there is no way Ramirez will ever again see the light of day.

Dayton Leroy Rogers: Portrait of a Serial Sex Killer
One That Got Away

As Oregon lawmen drew a bead on this violent wacko, they found out that he preferred
prostitutes as his prey, had an appetite for kinky sex, and liked to start things rolling with
vodka and orange juice. During the course of their investigation they also learned that he
was Oregons worst serial killer to date, a murderer whose blood lust knew no bounds.

July 7, 1987, a Tuesday, was another hot, sultry summer day in Oregon. Heather Brown,
31, a prostitute, had worked the night before in her area along Portland's Union Avenue, a
high-crime area dominated by prostitutes, pimps, and drug dealers. Several other hookers
had been in place that night, but despite the others, Heather, dressed in a skintight outfit
that left nothing to the imagination, never had to wait long for a customer to come along.
It had been a busy night for her, and as a result she had slept in until nearly noon.

When she climbed out of bed, she reached for her pack of cigarettes but found that it was
empty. Needing a smoke, she left her two small children with her roommate and began
walking toward a nearby 7-Eleven store, again dressed in the skintight outfit that she had
worn the night before. About halfway to the store, a man in a blue Nissan pickup stopped
and offered her a ride. Figuring that she could make a few quick bucks, Heather accepted
and climbed inside. The driver headed out of the city toward a wooded area known as the
Molalla forest.

The john introduced himself as Steve, and explained that he was a professional gambler
from Nevada. They drove along for some time, and at one point stopped at a convenience
store so that Heather could buy a pack of cigarettes and a Coke and so that Steve could
purchase a six-pack of beer. Afterward they continued driving until they reached the
wooded area, when their conversation turned to business. He said that he was going to
drive into the hills, and that he wanted to tie someone up and fuck them. He moved to
touch her thigh, but she pushed his hand away and demanded that he take her back to
Portland. However, he refused and turned off onto an unpaved logging road where he
sped up to about forty miles per hour.

Heather grabbed her shoes off of the floor, ready to make a break for it when the time was
right. But the john caught her eyeing the door handle, and he reacted instantly. He
swerved the pickup recklessly, so she would lose her sense of balance, and reached toward
her, placing his hand over her chest to prevent her from jumping out of the truck. He then
stepped on the accelerator and was soon speeding to more than sixty miles per hour.
Nearly out of her mind with fear, Heather struggled violently and managed to break free of
the mans hold. In one swift move she opened the door and jumped from the speeding
truck. The john slowed his vehicle a little but, apparently aware that a log truck was close
behind, kept on going.

When the logger rounded the curve, he saw Heather lying in the road and slammed on his
brakes. Seeing that she was injured and grateful that he hadnt hit her, he helped her into
the cab of his rig. One of her eyes was bleeding, which he helped her to cover, and she
had other scrapes and cuts. She told the logger that she had to jump out of the mans
pickup because she feared that he was planning to kill her. Since she was obviously very
shaken up, the logger didnt probe her with questions. Instead, he arranged to have her
driven to a medical clinic in Molalla, where it was determined that she had suffered a
concussion and multiple abrasions to her left temple area, right forearm, and hand.

The matter was reported to the Clackamas County Sheriffs Department and was written
up as case number 87-20998. The incident report would become the first clue of the
horror that was already well underway to veteran Detective John Turner, 44, a
distinguished-looking man of Anglo-Saxon descent.

Turner had no way of knowing it yet, but the evil outrage that was taking its toll on
Portlands streetwalkers would virtually consume his life for much of the next two years
and would eventually lead him to the most vicious and remorseless killer with whom he
had ever dealt or would likely ever face again.

Dayton Leroy Rogers: Portrait of a Serial Sex Killer

Stepping Out

It has been said that blood lust is an aberration unique to the human animal, that when it
occurs, it does so without purpose and has no reverence for the normal needs intrinsic to
humankind survival. The aberration--for that is what it really is--is clearly sexual violence
and all evil, and it rears its diabolic head when its host fails to achieve sexual gratification
in any other way. As a result, many--particularly women and children--who unwittingly
come into contact with such an individual, die needlessly and without mercy at his hands.

Dayton Leroy Rogers, 33-years-old when his blood lust neared its peak, was fearsomely
known to many of Portland, Oregons prostitutes as "Steve the gambler" and has been
afflicted by bloodlust since his late teens, perhaps longer. It usually materialized in the
form of a headache, inflicting on him a splitting, blinding white pain, and perhaps he was
always subconsciously aware that only the sight of another's pain, the sounds of her
anguish, or, ultimately, the spilling of her blood would relieve his own suffering. When the
headaches began, the only way to make them go away was to let his dark side fully

Dayton seemed personable enough on the surface, as long as he wasn't in the midst of one
of his mood swings. He was well known in the small communities of Woodburn and
Canby, and people seemed to like him. A mechanic by trade, a skill he had learned in
prison, Dayton ran a small successful engine repair business, was married, and had an
eighteen-month-old boy who was a mirror image of him. Few people saw the evil that lay
beneath the thin veneer, and many of those who were unlucky enough to witness his dark
side firsthand did not live to talk about it.

Dayton's headaches seemed to worsen during the summer of 1987 and for that reason he
was away from home much of the time. He claimed that he was working at his shop
during his absences, which ranged from a few hours to all night, and his wife, Sherry, saw
little reason, at first, to doubt him. When she would call to check up on him in the early
evening, he usually answered the telephone. On the occasions that he didn't, he always had
an excuse. He would explain that he had been in the middle of a project and hadn't wanted
to leave it to pick up the phone. Or, more commonly, he would tell Sherry that he had
gone out to get coffee, perhaps a bite to eat, anything that would convince her he was only
taking a break to get away from the shop for a while. Often, however, he waited until it
was very late, until he was certain that Sherry was in bed and fast asleep, before beginning
the prowl. Soon his working late became routine, a way of life, and Sherry's phone calls
became less frequent. Although she began to hear stories about him frequenting the local
taverns and bars, she tried very hard to maintain the faith she had always had in him. She
might have become suspicious of his activities sooner if only she had taken the trouble to
check the mileage on his pickup. But she hadn't, and he put more miles on the truck in a
single week than most people drive in a month.

August 6, a Thursday, started out for the Rogers family like most other days. Dayton got
up early, showered and shaved, had a light breakfast, and drove to his small engine repair
shop in Woodburn before 8 a.m. Outwardly, he seemed happy. Business had picked up
during the summer to the point where he had to hire a man to help him, and several new
repair orders were coming in every day. Soon, however, he began to feel the pressures of
the backlog despite the new help, and his headaches became more frequent, as did his
nocturnal outings. At times Sherry found herself wondering what had come over him,
seeing him sitting quietly and staring into space, but she never said anything. Even though
she had heard rumors about him carousing the nightspots and secretly feared that he may
have been seeing other women, she somehow convinced herself that the pressures from his
business had become too great, and she didn't want to do or say anything that might add
to his troubles.

It wasn't until later that afternoon that the pounding inside Dayton's head became more
than he could bear. He had to do something to stop the headache. He left his assistant in
charge of the shop and drove to the liquor store at the North Park Plaza in Woodburn,
where he purchased a ten-pack of Smirnoff vodka miniatures to replace the depleted stock
he normally kept behind the seat of his pickup. He also purchased a couple of bottles of
orange juice, the type in the disposable plastic bottles that he liked so well. He drank one
of his crudely mixed screwdrivers quickly, and the headache subsided a little. Afterward,
he returned to his shop and waited, thinking and planning the rest of the evening. He
needed something more effective than the alcohol for his headache. The remedies were
there, he knew, out in numbers on Portland's streets, his for the asking and a $50 bill. It
had all been so easy with all of the others that there was no stopping him now.

At 8:30 p.m. Dayton drove home, where he had dinner with Sherry and his son. He
explained that he had to return to the shop and work very late, perhaps into the early
morning hours, to catch up on some of the overdue work. Sherry, an attractive
curly-haired silver brunette at five feet four inches tall, 120 pounds, and three years
younger than Dayton, didn't protest. She never did. Devoutly religious and somewhat
naive, she always trusted her husband and rarely questioned his activities.

Half an hour later Dayton was gone. He stopped off at his shop, had a couple more drinks,
and tinkered with some of the easier repair projects to kill time. Shortly after midnight he
changed into his stepping-out clothes that he kept inside his special closet, and waited
inside the shop a little longer until he was certain that Sherry had gone to bed. By 12:30
a.m. he was heading toward Portland.

On August 7, 1987, by 1:00 a.m., the man who called himself Steve the gambler was
back on Union Avenue, which was known as Portlands Prostitute Row, looking for
some kinky action.

After a short cruise, he stopped a blonde near the corner of Northeast Union Avenue and
Wygant Street. He recognized her as a hooker he'd picked up before during Portland's
1987 Rose Festival. She was a somewhat large woman but, from a distance, appeared
attractive. She knew how to dress and held her weight well. He pulled over and invited
her inside. Recognizing him as a former customer, the woman didn't hesitate.

No one, except for the john, knows the precise details of what happened between the
couple from 1-3:00 a.m. But at some time prior to 3:00 a.m., they pulled into the parking
lot of a Dennys restaurant on the 16200 block of Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard in
Oak Grove, a Clackamas County suburb of Portland. With the taverns and bars having just
closed, business was brisk there; it was the only restaurant open in the area at that time of
the morning.

Michael Fielding, 32, who lived in an apartment nearby, had gone to bed a couple of hours
earlier and was sleeping soundly when he suddenly heard the muffled screams of a woman
in intense pain.

"Help me!" screamed the woman. "Please help me! Rape! I'm being raped!" As Fielding
climbed out of bed and headed for the window that overlooked the parking lot, the
screams became louder, no longer muffled. He arrived at the window in time to see a man
run beneath a streetlight.

Moments earlier, James Dahlke, 50, had just arrived at Dennys. He was alone as he
parked his 1983 Ford van and started walking toward the restaurant. He heard a woman
yelling and screaming, but couldnt quite make out what she was saying. But he could see
two human forms in the parking lot in the direction from which the screams had come.
Although it was dark, he could see two people, a man and a woman, who appeared to be
struggling with each other. After his eyes adjusted to the darkness of the parking lot,
Dahlke could not believe what he saw. There, near the middle of the parking lot, lay a
completely naked woman! A man was kneeling over her, but Dahlke could not
immediately determine why.

Charles Gates, a handicapped customer, had just arrived and had barely situated himself in
his wheelchair when he heard the screams. Already outside in the parking lot, he was on
his way over to the woman, as was Dahlke. When the man kneeling over the woman saw
Dahlke and Gates approaching, he jumped to his feet and ran in the opposite direction.
Gates reached the woman first.

"My God! He slit her throat!" exclaimed Gates, falling from his wheelchair. Experienced in
first aid and emergency medical treatment, Gates noted that the woman was not breathing
and would not respond to questions. Finding no carotid pulse and undaunted by all of the
blood, he immediately began CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

As a crowd gathered, Dahlke instructed restaurant personnel to call for medical and police
help. Then he returned to the parking lot only to discover that Gatess gallant attempts
had not revived the woman. Dahlke could see why. The woman was covered with blood
and stab wounds.

A couple of minutes later, Dahlke again spotted the man he'd seen only moments before
kneeling by the nude victim. The man was coming around the side of a building adjacent
to the restaurant and was headed for a small foreign pickup parked nearby.

Thats him! Someone shouted. Thats the son-of-a-motherfucker!

By that time two other bystanders, Stan Conner and Richard Bergio, had rushed over to
see what was happening. After learning of the incident, Conner and Bergio ran for their
own vehicles. They attempted to block off the exits from the parking lot with their cars,
but the man with the pickup drove out over the sidewalk.

Bergio, determined not to let the guy get away, sped out of the parking lot in his own car
in hot pursuit of the pickup, which was by now heading south on McLoughlin Boulevard
toward Gladstone. Bergio chased the pickup through Oak Grove and into nearby
Gladstone, at times at speeds over 100 miles an hour. Then, Bergio got close enough to
the pickup to copy down its license plate number. Satisfied that he'd done all that he
could, Bergio gave up the chase and returned to the crime scene, where he now found a
team of Clackamas County sheriff's deputies and a rescue team from the Oak Lodge Fire

The rescuers valiantly tried to revive the woman, but to no avail. A short time later, she
was loaded onto an ambulance and taken to Emanuel Hospital and Health Center in
Portland, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Meanwhile, several deputies rounded up witnesses and took a statement from each.

Six of those interviewed said they'd heard the woman's screams for at least two minutes
before her body was found. One of the witnesses, Michael Fielding, told the deputies how
the woman's screams had awakened him.

It had sounded as though her screams had come from inside a closed vehicle, through the
glass, at first, said Fielding, because her shrieks were muffled. She was obviously in
intense pain and had cried out that she was being raped. When Fielding got to the window,
though, all he saw was the man who ran beneath the streetlight.

"It was like a spotlight," said Fielding. "If he hadn't run underneath it, I wouldn't have seen
anything." He told the deputies that he had gotten a good look at the man, and that he
could likely recognize him if he saw him again.

Deputies found several articles of clothing not far from where the victim's body had lain.
The clothing, believed to be hers, included blue jeans, a hooded blue sweatshirt with white
trim, and a single tennis shoe. But, the deputies wondered, where was the other shoe?

No identification, either in the clothing or on the parking lot, was found. But after
additional searching, the deputies found a double-length pair of shoelaces, tied together
with loops at both ends, prompting some to speculate that the woman had been hogtied at
one point.

A short time later, Clackamas County Sheriff's Detectives John T. Turner and Mike
Machado arrived at the crime scene. After being briefed on that morning's events, Turner
took the license plate number (Oregon CYW 194) provided by Richard Bergio and ran it
through the Oregon State Department of Motor Vehicles computer. Moments later,
Turner learned that the pickup's registered owner was 33-year-old Dayton Leroy Rogers,
whose address was listed as being in the 10500 block of South Heinz Road in Canby,
Oregon, about 20 miles south of the crime scene.

Turner and a team of deputies reached Rogers' home at approximately 5:00 a.m. They saw
no sign of the pickup on the property, and they were subsequently told by a relative that
Rogers was not at home but could likely be found at his auto-repair shop in the 11600
block of Pacific Court in Woodburn, a few miles south of Canby. The relative told the
sleuths that Rogers sometimes worked odd hours at the shop.

It was 5:35 a.m. when Detective Turner arrived at Rogers' shop. After a cursory glance
around outside, he knocked on the door of the shop until a man with bloodshot eyes
answered. Smelling of alcohol, the man identified himself as Dayton Rogers. After Turner
told Rogers that he and the deputies were there as part of a homicide investigation,
Rogers allowed them inside.

Although Detective Turner noted that Rogers' pupils were dilated, he observed that the
man had no difficulty walking and that his speech was not slurred, prompting him to
conclude that Rogers had been drinking but was not drunk. When asked, Rogers told the
detective that he'd been at the shop all night and had been drinking bourbon and
strawberry mixer.

"Mind if I take a look around?" asked Turner.

"Go ahead and search the place," said Rogers. "Search the truck, too, if you want to."

Rogers told the detective that his pickup had been at the shop all night. Turner shot him a
dubious glance, walked over to the truck and raised the hood.

"Been here all night, huh?" asked Turner as he attempted to place his hand on the engine's
valve cover, which was too hot to touch. "You haven't gone out at all, have you?"

Rogers, or somebody, had recently run the engine hard, thought Turner, as he pulled his
hand away from the hot engine.

"What happened to your hand?" asked Turner, observing that Rogers' right hand was
bandaged. "Cut yourself?"

Rogers explained that he'd been using a hacksaw a few hours earlier, when it suddenly
slipped and cut his hand. Turner asked if he had left the shop for first aid; Rogers
responded that he'd gone to Willamette Falls Hospital in Oregon City that same morning
to have the wound treated.

So he had left the shop, reflected Turner, who also wondered why the man had initially
lied about it. If he didn't have anything to hide, why was he acting so suspiciously?

There was no doubt that Rogers' pickup was the one seen fleeing the scene of the crime. It
matched in appearance and the license plate identification was the same. Because of that
and his suspicious demeanor, Rogers was arrested a few minutes later and taken to the
Clackamas County Jail in Oregon City, where he was held on suspicion of murder.

Meanwhile, the detectives identified the dead woman as 25-year-old Jennifer Lisa Smith,
mother of two. Her last known address was in the 4800 block of North Albina Avenue in
Portland, not far from Union Avenue. Additional background on Smith revealed that she
had an arrest record for prostitution and indecent exposure.

Background on Rogers revealed that he was no stranger to law enforcement, either. In
1972, when he was 18, Rogers picked up a 15-year-old girl who had been hitchhiking in
Eugene, Oregon. He had convinced her to go to a remote area to have sex with him,
detectives learned. Risking a charge of statutory rape, Rogers picked the girl up again a
few days later and they went together to a park to gather wood to make whistles for
neighborhood kids. But he took her into a wooded area to again have sex with her.

After lying down on the ground, Rogers leaned over as if to kiss the girl. Instead,
according to police reports, he stabbed her in the abdomen with a hunting knife. After
pulling the knife from her stomach, the girl, bleeding profusely and in intense pain,
convinced Rogers to take her to a hospital for treatment. She survived and later told
authorities about the attack. On February 13, 1973, Rogers pleaded guilty to
second-degree assault and was placed on four years' probation for that attack.

Less than six months later, the detectives learned, Rogers assaulted two 15-year-old girls
with a soft-drink bottle. Although charged with one count each of second- and
third-degree assault, Rogers was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect,
Oregon's equivalent to an insanity plea; he was sent to the Oregon State Hospital by Lane
County Circuit Court Judge Helen Frye. He was released from the hospital on December
12, 1974.

These incidents prompted Darryl L. Larson, Lane County Deputy District Attorney, to
write an after-sentence report on Rogers: "This man is an extreme danger to the
community, particularly to young women. He is both sexually and physically violent and,
without question, is a murder case looking for a place to happen.

In January 1976, Rogers was indicted on a charge of first-degree rape in Clackamas
County, but he was eventually acquitted of the charge. In February 1976, however, while
the Clackamas County rape charge was still pending, Rogers picked up two Keizer,
Oregon high school girls, and at knifepoint allegedly raped one and threatened to rape the

According to John L. Collins, Yamhill County District Attorney, the two girls had skipped
school and were walking down a Keizer street when Rogers saw them and convinced
them to go with him.

"He was a good talker and his method at the time was to pick up girls, particularly blonde
girls," said Collins. "They got into the car with him, and they went to get some beer."
After drinking beer and smoking marijuana together, said Collins, Rogers took a paring
knife from the glove box of the car he was driving and threatened the girls with it. He used
coat-hanger wire to bind the girls' wrists and ankles.

"Afterward he apologized and pretended like it was all some kind of game," said Collins.
Rogers was nonetheless indicted on charges of rape and coercion; he pleaded not guilty by
reason of mental disease or defect. Rogers was convicted only on the coercion charge and
received a maximum five-year prison sentence.

"This was in a less-enlightened time," said Collins, "when juries often felt that if the
woman or girl contributed to the rape in any way, they would not convict him. In this
case, I think it was because they drank beer and smoked marijuana with him."

As the detectives probed deeper into Rogers' background, they learned that he had been in
and out of jail for a variety of reasons, including parole and probation violations and for
kidnapping a local prostitute. All in all, the detectives learned, Rogers spent 27 months in
Oregon prisons. His parole was formally terminated in January 1983.

Meanwhile, acting on a tip from one of Rogers' relatives, investigators returned to the
suspect's Woodburn auto-repair shop, where they sifted ashes from a wood stove in
Rogers' office. There they found what appeared to be remnants of a burned tennis shoe.
Analysis later determined that metal parts found in the wood stove closely matched the
metal parts of the shoe that was discovered in the parking lot where Jennifer Smith was
murdered. They also found pieces of colored glass, rhinestones, and star-shaped
grommets inside the stove, their sources unknown.

Rogers' truck had been impounded shortly after his arrest, after warrants had been
obtained, and it was carefully searched for evidence. According to criminalists, there was
blood inside the cab of the pickup, numerous knife cuts on the dashboard, upholstery,
ceiling, and passenger door. They also found a single fingerprint matching that of Jennifer
Smith's right ring finger on the outside handle of the passenger door. The examination and
search also turned up a small green band in the bed of the pickup; they later determined it
had come from a small container of ready-to-drink orange juice.

Next, in their efforts to build a stronger case against Rogers, the detectives went to
Willamette Falls Hospital in Oregon City to see how much of the suspect's story about his
wounded hand was true. After questioning the emergency room doctor who had attended
to the wounds, the detectives learned that the cuts were not jagged as they would have
been if a hacksaw blade had made them. They had been smooth and clean, more like
wounds that would have been caused by a knife blade.

Although gut feelings told the investigators that Rogers was their man, they nonetheless
assembled a photo lay-down, a group of six photographs of men, including Rogers, who
had similar appearances. They displayed the lay-down to eyewitness Michael Fielding; it
took him less than 20 seconds to identify Dayton Rogers as the man he saw stop briefly
under a streetlight as he fled the Dennys restaurant parking lot.

Because Jennifer Smith was a known prostitute and because of Rogers' continued interest
in hookers, detectives hit Portlands streets and interviewed as many hookers as they
could, focusing their attention on those who knew Jennifer. Not surprisingly, the
detectives found several who knew Rogers, too.

Many of the hookers that the detectives talked to identified Rogers from a photo
lay-down; several said he'd told them his name was Steve. One of the women even told
investigators that she saw Jennifer Smith walk toward his pickup, as if to get inside, three
hours before she was found murdered.

The detectives learned that he nearly always told the girls he was a professional gambler,
usually saying that he was from Las Vegas but sometimes saying that he was from Reno,
and that he typically offered $40 to $80 for a sexual scenario that involved bondage. He
always had the girls completely undress, after which he bound their hands and feet at the
wrists and ankles with rope, dog collars, wire, nylon stockings, shoe laces, and the
like--anything that would hold their arms and feet securely in place. But many said that
Rogers went far beyond bondage, subjecting them to intense physical pain, torture, even

One prostitute told the detectives that Rogers had a foot fetish and found women's arches
sexually arousing. An interesting point, the detectives noted, considering that Jennifer
Smith was barefoot when her body was found. 0ther prostitutes said that all of the "dates"
occurred in the cab of Rogers' pickup, and Rogers usually began by drinking vodka and
orange juice. He usually stopped at a convenience store, said the hookers, where he
bought ready-to-drink juice in small plastic containers.

One of the prostitutes accompanied a detective to a convenience store and picked out the
brand of orange juice Rogers usually bought, in small plastic containers with green plastic
caps security-sealed with green bands, just like the one found in the bed of Rogers' pickup.
He usually bought the vodka in the individual serving, one-and-a-half-ounce bottles, like
those served by airlines.

One hooker told the detectives that Rogers picked her up and agreed to pay her $50 for
straight sex. Instead, he tied her hands and feet and tortured her for hours by biting her on
the breasts, buttocks, and feet, hard enough to draw blood. Another prostitute said she
was subjected to the same type of treatment, except that he threatened to cut off her
breasts with a knife. Yet another hooker told the detectives that Rogers cut off her clothes
with a machete, and another said he cut the heel of her foot with a carving knife. One of
the women said that he had subjected her to so much pain during a six-hour ordeal that
she'd asked him to kill her. All of the women said that Rogers liked to masturbate during
the encounters.

From the definitive autopsy of Jennifer Smith's body, Dr. Karen Gunson, Deputy State
Medical Examiner, determined that there were at least 11 knife wounds to the victim's
body, 10 of which were very deep. The medical examiner said that there were eight stab
wounds to the front of Jennifer's body, one of which severed a major artery on the left side
of her chest and was likely the cause of death.

Jennifer also sustained slashing wounds to both of her breasts, two deep stab wounds to
her abdomen that pierced her stomach, and a V-shaped stab wound in her back that
pierced her liver. Dr. Gunson explained that the V-shaped wound might have been caused
by two stabs that had overlapped.

The victim also had slash wounds to both of her hands that cut all the way to the bone,
wounds which Dr. Gunson described as defensive injuries caused when the victim tried to
grab the knife blade from her attacker or otherwise tried to prevent him from stabbing her.
Jennifer's throat had also been slit.

"There were other wounds," said Dr. Gunson, including two quarter-inch-wide bruises
around both wrists. These bruises indicated that Jennifer had been tied up, perhaps with
the shoelaces found at the crime scene. Gunson said that "a significant amount of
pressure" must have been applied to Jennifer's wrists for such bruising to occur.

After the investigators presented their case to a Clackamas County grand jury, Dayton
Leroy Rogers was indicted on a charge of aggravated murder in the death of Jennifer
Smith. The indictment alleged that Rogers murdered Smith during the course of rape,
kidnapping, sexual abuse, and torture. It also alleged that Rogers killed Smith to cover up
the other crimes.

Rogers retained Attorney Arthur B. Knauss of Oregon City to represent him, and he
pleaded innocent to the charges. He was held without bail.

In the meantime, on Monday, August 31st, Everett Banyard, 46, a crossbow hunter in
pursuit of prey on a private 90,000-acre timber farm southeast of Molalla, Oregon, nearly
stumbled over the nude, partly buried body of a young woman. The body, in an advanced
state of decomposition, was partially covered with brush. Unnerved by his gruesome
discovery, the hunter left the forest as quickly as possible and reported his find to the
Clackamas County authorities.

When investigators arrived at the remote site--a recreation area near the Molalla River that
is popular with fishermen, swimmers, hunters, hikers, and other outdoors types--the bow
hunter led them up an old dirt logging road through the rugged mountain forest, mixed
with evergreens and deciduous trees, to a nearly vertical slope where he'd discovered the
body. Even though it was a little difficult to get to, the investigators had no trouble finding
the corpse.

At first glance, the detectives couldn't tell if the body had been buried by the forces of
nature or if someone had attempted to conceal it. But one thing was certain--she was a
murder victim.

Due to the lateness of the hour, no attempt was made to search the crime scene that
evening. Instead, deputies were posted nearby as sentries to protect the scene until
criminalists arrived the next morning.

Shortly after a search for evidence began the next day, searchers found two more corpses
within 50 feet of each other, in the same general area as the first. The scene appeared to be
a "cluster dump" similar to those used by the Green River serial killer in Washington State.
Unsure of what they were dealing with here, the investigators temporarily halted the
search while Colt, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Department's tracking dog, was
brought in to assist in the search for more bodies.

Over the next five days, a total of seven female corpses were brought down from the
forest ridge. All were nude when found, and all bore signs of stabbing, torture, and
mutilation. Some of the victims feet had been crudely removed at the ankle with what
appeared to be a blade with a serrated edge, like that of a hacksaw. One victims foot had
been cut approximately two-thirds of the way through the bone, with the remainder
broken off. This prompted the detectives to consider that the perpetrator had sawed these
womens feet off while they were still alive and conscious in an attempt to elicit additional
pain and sufferinghowever, the one victim whose bone had only been partially sawed
through and then broken the rest of the way likely had gone into shock, and the breaking
of the bone had likely been a last-ditch attempt at breaking through the shock barrier to
elicit one final response to pain. Each of the victims were in varying degrees of
decomposition, but two were markedly more advanced, having been there considerably
longer than the others.

Despite the striking similarities between the female victims on the Molalla forest slope and
Jennifer Smithnudity, signs of stabbing, torture, mutilationthe detectives didnt, at
least at first, focus on Dayton Leroy Rogers as a possible suspect. He was in jail, charged
with a different murder. However, as Detective Turner walked around the forest site he
soon spotted miniature vodka bottles, an old package that they had been purchased in, and
disposable orange juice bottlesthe same kind found in the back of Dayton Rogers
pickup. As a result, it didn't take long for Turner to begin focusing on Dayton Rogers as
the prime suspect in the Molalla forest murders. He also reasoned that, when all was said
and done, many if not most of the Molalla forest victims would turn out to have a history
of prostitution arrests.

The dead, it turned out, were identified over the next several months as Lisa Marie Mock,
23; Maureen Ann Hodges, 26; Christine Lotus Adams, 35; Nondace Kae Cervantes, 26,
a.k.a. Noni Kae Austin; Reatha Gyles,16; Cynthia Diane DeVore, 21. One victim remains
unidentified to this day. And just as Turner had figured, most of the victims had either
worked as prostitutes at the time of their deaths, or they had arrest records for prior
prostitution offenses. Some were heroin addicts. Only one had no links to prostitution or
Lisa Mock Maureen Hodges Christine Adams Nondace Cervantes Reatha Gyles Cynthia

At the time of the gruesome discovery in the Molalla forest, the investigators wouldn't say
what they had for evidence against Rogers. However, one source close to the
investigation maintained that he was the prime suspect in the forest murders and that they
had enough evidence to bring him to trial in those killings, but they wanted to wait and see
how his trial for the murder of Jennifer Smith turned out before charging him with the
Molalla forest murders.

At Rogers' trial, which began in February 1988 in the courtroom of Clackamas County
Circuit Court Judge Patrick D. Gilroy, Deputy District Attorney Andrejs I. Eglitis told the
jury that Rogers murdered Jennifer Smith by design, following a pattern he'd established
with prostitutes. Eglitis called Rogers a "vicious predator" who killed for a "sexual thrill.''

"You'll find that the reason he went to downtown Portland satisfy what you will
find to be his bizarre sexual appetite," said Deputy D.A. Eglitis.

"You'll find that his sexual appetite included bondage, masturbation, and intent to inflict
intense physical pain."

Rogers' attorney, Arthur Knauss, told jurors that they would not like his client, but insisted
they were there to decide whether what Mr. Rogers did was tantamount to a criminal act
and not to judge his sexual mores. Knauss admitted that Rogers killed Jennifer Smith, but
contended that he did so in self-defense.

There it was, the preposterous claim of self-defense. Eglitis had known that it was
coming, and he had prepared himself to accept that such a defense would be presented.
He couldnt believe it, but he accepted it. He knew he would convince the jury otherwise.
The evidence would show them the truth.

Knauss maintained that Smith spotted more than $200 in Rogers' wallet when they
stopped at a convenience store to buy orange juice and she decided to rob the defendant at
knifepoint. Later, when Rogers got out of the truck to urinate, Smith pulled a knife from
the glove compartment and brought it close to Rogers' throat and demanded his wallet,
declared Knauss. A struggle followed and turned into a wrestling match for the knife, in
which Jennifer Smith was stabbed several times and killed purely by accident.

Early in the trial, the jury heard testimony from several witnesses who said they heard the
victim scream in intense pain for approximately two minutes before her body was
discovered. Prosecutor Eglitis also said that there were deep cuts to Jennifer's breasts,
which indicated that she'd been tortured; and he presented testimony from the medical
examiner who displayed graphic photos of Jennifer's wounds.

At one point in the trial, jurors heard testimony from the woman Rogers had stabbed in
1972, when he was 18 and she was 15. She explained how she had met Rogers when he
picked her up while she hitchhiked in Eugene, and how he took her into a remote area to
have sex on that day and on a subsequent date.

"We'd hold hands and swing around and talk and smile," said the prior victim, who came
close to tears at several points. "Then we sat down, and we were talking and he tickled my
legs and told me to close my eyes...Then I felt the plunge."

She explained that Rogers had stabbed her in the belly, just left of her navel. She stopped
momentarily and showed jurors a six-inch vertical scar.

"I thought a rattlesnake had bit me--if it wasn't that, I thought a horse had kicked me,"
said the woman. "I looked down and saw the knife in my abdomen and the blood coming
out." The woman testified that Rogers told her he just couldn't trust her any more and was
afraid that she might turn him in for having sex with her while she was underage. Fearing
that he would finish her off, she lied to him and told him she loved him.

"I said, 'Dayton, I love you.' He began to tell me he would marry me and do anything," she
said, if she promised to tell the police she stabbed herself accidentally. She agreed to his

But doctors at Eugene's Sacred Heart Hospital told her they didn't believe the wound was
self-inflicted. "I was afraid he would come there and kill me," she said. Then, she added,
she changed her mind and told police the truth.

Another witness told the jury about an incident that occurred between her and Rogers on
February 20, 1976. According to the witness, who was 19 at the time of the incident,
Rogers picked her up as she walked toward Salem to visit her boyfriend, who was
incarcerated at the Oregon State Correctional Institution.

The woman was in the back seat of Rogers' car when he suddenly pulled over and took a
knife from the glove compartment. She said he "hogtied" her and then cut off her clothing
with the knife.

"I was scared he was, you know, he was going to kill me," said the woman. "He said he
had to kill me because he was afraid I'd go to the police." She testified that Rogers
eventually let her out of the car near her grandmother's home in Oregon City.

Janet K. Anderson, a Clackamas County corrections officer who supervised Rogers while
he was on parole for the 1976 coercion conviction in which he tied up two other high
school girls at knifepoint, testified that she interviewed the defendant in September 1982.

"I asked him if he were to do this all over again, if he would do anything differently,"
Anderson testified. "He indicated...there would not be a witness next time."

When cross-examined by Defense Attorney Knauss, Anderson told the jurors that she
took Rogers' statements seriously, but hadn't included them in her report.

"Mr. Rogers' intentions appear sincere to maintain counsel and to remain crime-free,"
Anderson wrote in a letter to the State Board of Parole, part of which was read to the
jury. "Mr. Rogers does not appear to be a threat to the community." The parole officer
added that the language used in the letter and her report was typical of language used
when terminating parole supervision. She said her personal notes on Rogers, however,
"indicated that the suspect appears well-adjusted, but because of the crime and the
surrounding circumstances, one never knows."

At another point in the trial, Rogers testified in his own defense before the seven-man,
five-woman jury. He told them he paid Jennifer Smith $40 for a sexual encounter that
involved bondage. He explained that when he got out of the truck to urinate, after having
bound Jennifer's hands and feet with shoelaces, the prostitute slipped out of her bindings
and took a knife from the glove box. When he got back inside the truck, "that's when she
attacked me."

Rogers said that Jennifer, while still nude, held the knife to his throat and ordered him not
to move and to give her his wallet. "Do it or die," he said Jennifer told him. He refused
and fought back. Fearing for his life, he said he knocked her arm away and wrestled her
for the knife, which he eventually obtained.

"I got a hold of it and used the knife on her...I was just going back and forth in virtually
any direction I could," testified Rogers, explaining how Jennifer received so many cuts.
She eventually jumped from the truck, and he chased her across the parking lot. He
eventually grabbed her, he said, and she fell to the pavement.

"Both of our feet entangled," he said. "She went down backward, and I fell down on top
of her. On the way down, that's when I stabbed her in the upper area here," he testified,
indicating the right side of his chest, near the shoulder.

"No one wants Dayton Leroy Rogers released," Knauss had said only minutes before the
jury left the courtroom to decide his client's fate. "I don't want him released. You don't
want him released. I question whether Mr. Rogers even wants himself released. What is
needed is permanent isolation of this man. In his fantasyland, he's become the sexual
monster you've heard about from these girls. He's developed and nurtured these feelings
into a ritual. It's a pattern you can't ignore. He's a sick man.

"But do we kill him? Do we have a death sentence for people who are as sick and
depraved as this?" continued Knauss. "Look at the evidence. After the killing of Miss
Smith, he goes back to work and thinks about going out to a coffee shop. The state has
proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he's a sick man." But, argued Knauss, he doesn't
deserve a death sentence.

Four hours later, the twelve jurors returned and announced that they had unanimously
voted that the murder of Jenny Smith was deliberate. They also unanimously voted that
Jennys murder was an unreasonable response to any provocation from the victim.
However, after one juror adamantly opposed the death penalty, all twelve agreed that
Rogers would not pose a continuing threat to society because he would be imprisoned for
life. Judge Gilroy immediately sentenced Dayton to life in prison.

Detective John Turner and his colleagues were devastated by the sentence. The jurors
apparently thought that a life sentence meant that Dayton would never be released, but
they had been wrong. Under a life sentence he would be eligible for parole someday, even
if it was twenty or thirty years down the road. They had inadvertently given Dayton Leroy
Rogers yet another chance to escape his just punishment, another chance to slip through
the cracks of the system.

With the Molalla forest case looming in the future, the prosecution had another chance to
get a death sentence for Dayton. It was the good guys' ace in the hole, and they would
play it. For the next two months, Turner and his colleagues worked closely with the
D.A.s office and presented the worst serial murder case in Oregon's history to a grand
jury. On May 4, 1988, Dayton was indicted on several charges of aggravated murder
under various theories of law for the deaths of Reatha Gyles, Lisa Mock, Noni Cervantes,
Cynthia DeVore, Christine Adams, and Maureen Hodges. He was not charged in the death
of the unidentified victim, although the investigators were certain that he had murdered
her, too. As before, Dayton pleaded innocent. This time around Christopher E. Burris, not
Arthur Knauss, was hired to represent him.

Turner and his fellow detectives spent the next eight months rounding up additional
witnesses to interview, as well as reinterviewing many of the others. They carefully went
over the evidence, and they put their case books in order. By the time the trial began, they
knew the case frontward and backward.

Jury selection, which began on February 6, 1989, took nearly two months to complete.
Ironically, considering the types of crimes Dayton was being charged with committing, an
all-woman panel of twelve was seated, with an additional female as an alternate.

When the trial finally opened on March 30, 1989, this time in the courtroom of Clackamas
County Circuit Judge Raymond R. Bagley Jr., Eglitis outlined his case for the jurors,
contending that a knife identical to the one that was used to kill Jenny Smith was found
near the Molalla forest victims' bodies. He described the torture, the grisly details of
victims having their feet sawed or cut from their bodies, and how one, Noni Cervantes,
had been eviscerated from a machete having been inserted in the area of her vagina and
subsequently sliced up the middle to the sternum. By the time Eglitis was finished with his
presentation of what the jury would be considering, there was little left for the

For the next five weeks, the jury heard horrifying testimony from many of the women
whom Dayton Leroy Rogers had violated and tortured at one time or another but who had
miraculously survived. Each explained in graphic detail, often tearfully, the atrocities that
Dayton had committed against them.

One former prostitute testified about her fifth and final date with Dayton, an encounter
that lasted in excess of six hours after he picked her up on Southeast 82nd Avenue and
drove her to the Molalla forest.

"He got out of the truck," she testified, "and went over to the side where you could see
over the forest. He said how beautiful it was. I went back to the truck and started to get
undressed. He came up behind me and started to put the bondage devices on. When I told
him they were too tight, that they were cutting into my wrists, he said that's what he
wanted to do.

"He started biting on my breasts," she continued. "He was biting and tearing. I told him to
please stop. 'That's too rough! This isn't right!' I cried and I begged for him to stop. And
the more I pleaded and begged, the worse the abuse got. When I screamed too loudly, he
became concerned and put something up against my neck, which I assumed was a knife.
He told me to be quiet, or else I'd really have something to cry about. I didn't say anything,
and I tried to stifle the sobs as much as I could."

"Did you say anything to the defendant?" asked Eglitis.


"What were you doing then?"

"Just existing."

One of Daytons relatives also testified, telling the jurors how he helped Dayton establish
his business and then closed it down after Dayton's arrest. He told of how he found all of
the suspicious items in the wood stove inside Dayton's shop, including items that appeared
to be the metal inner portions of shoes. He burst into tears twice during his testimony and
diverted his eyes away from Dayton most of the time he was on the witness stand.

In tears and in tones that were barely audible, Floria Adams, the fifteen-year-old daughter
of victim Christine Adams, testified that decorative studs, star-shaped grommets that were
found in Dayton's wood stove, came from her mother's pants. Sobbing, she told the jurors
that she recognized the studs.

Bob Thompson, the Oregon State Police criminologist who worked closely on the case,
explained how he had found pieces of colored glass in Lisa Mock's hair and how, although
he hadn't been able to determine their source, they were similar to glass parts found inside
Dayton's wood stove. He also testified that hairs found inside Dayton's pickup were
macroscopically and microscopically similar to head hairs he compared from the remains
of Lisa Mock, Noni Cervantes, and Cynthia DeVore.

"This man," said Eglitis in his closing argument, pointing at Dayton, this man is obsessed,
totally consumed in a sexual way with a woman's feet and dominance. What is the ultimate
act of dominance? It is to remove that foot. We submit that is what happened in the
Molalla forest."

Eglitis also reminded the jurors about all of the orange juice containers and miniature
liquor bottles found at the Molalla forest crime scene, insisting that they made up a part of

"If there is a signature to a crime, under those circumstances you can look at the
signature," said Eglitis, "and see the identity of the killer. This evidence is the mark of
Zorro. It's the signature. The defendant, ladies of the jury, not only committed these
murders, but he might as well have written his name on the victims' corpses."

As in the Jenny Smith case, there had been little doubt at the trial's outset that Dayton
would be convicted of the Molalla forest murders, which is precisely what happened on
May 4. After barely six hours of deliberation, the jury found Dayton guilty of aggravated
murder on all counts. For the first time in public, Dayton, dressed in a conservative
dark-blue suit, displayed emotion by covering his head with his hands. Shaking his head,
he could be heard saying "No" repeatedly.

Only the question of his sentence remained. Much of the testimony the jury would hear to
decide his fate centered on Dayton's character, his worthiness to remain alive, and
psychological arguments about his past violence.

James B. Hupy, a vocational instructor at the Oregon State Correctional Institution,
explained how he had taught Dayton the skills he needed to become a mechanic when
Dayton was in prison for the 1976 attack on the two Keizer, Oregon high school girls he
had picked up when the girls skipped school. Dayton learned fast, said Hupy. In barely
two years he went from being a person with little or no mechanical skills to someone with
high skills. Hupy said he selected Dayton to be his apprentice a few months before Dayton
was due to be released from prison.

James E. Miller, another vocational instructor at the prison, testified that he knew Dayton
before he was arrested for the 1976 offenses. The two of them, he said, played table tennis
together at Seventh-Day Adventist social gatherings. Miller explained that he was
surprised when he ran into Dayton in prison, but despite his offenses, he was determined
to help him. In fact, Dayton helped organize Adventist church services at the prison, which
attracted about a dozen inmates. Dayton always played guitar at the services and seemed
sincere in his religious convictions.

When the psychological testimony was presented, psychologist James R. Adams explained
that Dayton committed violent acts only under particular circumstances, such as when he
was intoxicated and sexually aroused in a scenario that included bondage and foot
fetishism. For him to become violent he also must possess a feeling that he had been
cheated, either emotionally or sexually, and he must always have a helpless woman as his
victim. He also needed to maintain a reasonable certainty that he wouldn't be caught for
his crimes, and his victim must be someone he can dehumanize, such as a prostitute.
Adams's contention was that Dayton needed all of these factors present for him to become
violent. In prison, said Adams, those factors would not be available to him, and he would
not be a threat to men.

On the other hand, said John B. Cochran, senior forensics psychologist at the Oregon
State Hospital, Dayton would in fact pose a continuing threat even in prison. Cochran
detailed a homosexual relationship that Dayton had been engaged in and contended that,
without availability of women as victims, it would only be a matter of time before he
began selecting male victims.

Cochran, who has studied many serial killers over the course of his career and has served
as a consultant to the Green River Task Force, explained that the very act of murder can
be very pleasurable for sexually sadistic serial killers such as Dayton.

"If you compare it with normal, everyday sexual experiences," he said, "there just is no

Cochran elaborated by explaining that most serial killers fantasize about murder so
frequently that killing becomes second nature to them. Some even develop a sexual bond
to the murder weapon they use.

In arguing that Dayton's life be spared, Christopher Burris said that his client was a sick
man who should be locked away forever, not put to death. He cited Dayton's good prison
record, that he was a model prisoner who helped establish church services and had
experienced no conflicts with other inmates. Burris suggested that the murders and other
crimes Dayton committed were not carried out in a deliberate state of mind.

Eglitis, on the other hand, characterized Dayton as a walking time bomb. He said it was
only a matter of time before he began his pattern of deceit all over again. He described
Dayton as clever, one who was capable not only of luring and then deceiving his victims
but of deceiving and manipulating the psychologists who had examined him. He had done
it time and time again and would continue in the same pattern if given the opportunity.

"He can in every respect," said Eglitis, addressing the jury in his bid for the death penalty,
"including his appearance, walk among you without giving any indication of the horrors
that are within him. Dayton Leroy Rogers is a walking time bomb. He is an act of criminal
violence looking for a place to happen. He's capable of fooling psychologists. He's capable
of fooling psychiatrists. I hope to God he's not capable of fooling you."

On Wednesday, June 7, 1989, after more than seventeen hours of grueling deliberation,
the jury voted unanimously that Dayton had murdered his victims deliberately and without
reasonable, if any, provocation, and that he would be a continuing threat to society
whether behind prison walls or on the outside. Judge Bagley sentenced Dayton Leroy
Rogers to death by lethal injection.

"It was righteous justice," said Turner, solemn-faced but obviously pleased after hearing
the verdict and sentence. "Righteous in the sense that an all-female jury convicted him and
decided his fate."

Although John Turner, his colleagues, and Andy Eglitis couldn't have been happier with
the outcome, they knew that the bizarre case of Dayton Leroy Rogers was not over. It
would never be over in their lifetimes, even if Dayton's appointment with the executioner's
needle was, in fact, ever carried out. Dayton had left behind too many deaths, too many
scars, too many shattered lives, not only among his own family but, especially, among the
families of his countless victims, whether dead or alive, for his rampage to be quickly

Aside from testifying at his first trial, Dayton Leroy Rogers has not spoken to authorities
since invoking his rights against self-incrimination shortly after his arrest for the murder of
Jenny Smith, and again when Detective Machado tried to question him about the Molalla
forest murders. He has shown no remorse for his crimes. The Oregon Supreme Court
upheld his convictions, but his sentence of death was overturned by the Oregon Supreme
Court in the spring of 2000 for the second time. Dayton will at some point, likely in the
year 2001, go back to court for yet another sentencing phase. If he is resentenced to
death, he will die by lethal injection. Otherwise, he will be sentenced to life in prison with
no possibility of parole, an option now available due to the enactment of recent legislation.
For now, Dayton sits in a single cell on Death Row at Oregon State Penitentiary. He is
allowed twenty minutes out of every twenty-four hours to shower, shave, and exercise.

Many of Dayton Leroy Rogers's surviving victims have started new lives, working to
overcome drug habits and become productive citizens. A few have died as a direct result
of their life-styles, and others are still working the streets.

Molalla Victim #6 is still unidentified, and there are no new leads to her identity.

One burning question remains in the case of Dayton Leroy Rogers: How many other
bodies, victims of Dayton's blood lust, are still lying in Oregon's forests awaiting
discovery? Unfortunately, unless Dayton decides to talk, that question may never be

H. H. Holmes: Dr Death, America's First Serial Killer
Deadly Charm

In the summer of 1886, evil stepped into the Englewood community. A growing suburb of
Chicago, Englewood flourished with business opportunities due to its proximity to the

Mrs. Holton, wife of the local druggist, moved her overweight 63-year-old body up and
down the counter filling orders. Hot and tired, her dress rustled from too much starch
every time she moved, bent or stretched to reach a bottle of tonic. Her gray hair, matted
and limp fell across her flushed face. Her customer Mrs. McNamara had flashing red hair
and good teeth. "Its my boy, Johnny. Hes feeling poorly, complains of a bellyache.
Would you have something?" she asked.

"Be with you in a second, ma'am", said Mrs. Holton. Busy, her back turned; she checked
the shelves for a stomach cure, unaware of a person entering the store. Mrs. Holton
wrapped up a mixture in a small paper envelope and handed her the order. Every now and
then shed stop and look up toward the ceiling. Closing her eyes with every moan from her
sick husband, his pain became part of her. The pain from the prostate cancer worsened
every day. Even the morphine would not hold the pain at bay.

Although not a doctor, Mrs. Holton tried to fill the prescriptions she knew well enough,
otherwise, she would run upstairs and ask her husband for help.

Turning, she saw a young man, handsome and fashionably dressed, standing near the door
looking over the store. Gold cufflinks adorned his starched white cuffs. His vested suit
tailored to fit his small frame gave him an air of elegance and grace. Immediately, he took
off his derby and nodded when Mrs. Holton noticed him. She nodded back. "May I help
you?" She asked.

"I am here concerning the position of pharmacist you posted in the daily newspaper. Im
Dr. Holmes."

"My husband is very ill.... he is no longer able to function as a pharmacist", her voice
trailed off as a customer entered the store, pale and in pain. He held his left side, then,
handed the prescription to her. Mrs. Holton read it and started to go toward the stairs to
ask her husband for help. Hesitating, she turned, and gave the prescription to Dr. Holmes.
He laid his walking stick against a shelf, stepped behind the counter, quickly taking bottles
moving up and down, gathering the materials, grinding powders with the mortar and
pestle, nimbly shifting the powder in a small envelope completing the order.

Impressed, Mrs. Holton hired him on the spot never checking his credentials, never
knowing how he mixed a prescription poisoning a woman in Philadelphia several months

Within a short time, the suave, handsome Henry H. Holmes increased business in the
drugstore. He had a way with the ladies that made them come back too often. This
delighted Mrs. Holton, who could spend more time with her dying husband. Holmes took
over the books. He understood the lucrative business of selling medicine.

When Mrs. Holtons husband died, Holmes saw the opportunity to approach the old
woman. "You need to rest...retire from this business", said Holmes.

"Yes...but the store...there is so much to do...I cant abandon it." Always tidy, Mrs.
Holton busied herself dusting the shelves.

"Madame, I can buy the business and pay you every month.... You would have an income
for life without all the work and worry", Holmes said.

"I could never leave the rooms, I feel Mr. Holton is still in, Mr. Holmes I cant

"My dear woman", he took her hand and put the duster on the counter. "I never want you
to leave your rooms. My interest is in the business."

"I can stay, and you will pay me money?" She smiled and nodded her head. "Yes, Mr.
Holmes you can buy my business." She shook his hand, pleased at the great deal she made.
Unfortunately it was her last deal.
When Holmes failed to pay Mrs. Holton the agreed-upon payments, she took him to
court. Before the case closed, she disappeared. Customers asked about her whereabouts
but Holmes told them she moved to California, too distraught after the death of her
husband to live in his rooms. No one knew where she went and her body was never found.

Shortly after Mrs. Holtons disappearance, Holmes married Myrta Z. Belnap, a young,
pretty woman with an innocent face framed by blond curls. Her sweet brown eyes and shy
manners contrasted with Holmes self-assured flirtatious charm. Myrta's devoted
demeanor soon changed as she worked side by side with Holmes. His romantic interest in
other women made Myrta angry. Yet this shy woman protested meekly to Holmes. People
noticed that after a year of putting up with her husbands behavior, Myrta's gentle protest
became angry outbursts in front of customers. Divorce was not possible because she had
become pregnant. Holmes made an effort to divorce himself from his first wife Clara A.
Lovering Mudgett of Alton, New Hampshire. Mudgett was his real name and Holmes one
of his many aliases. Finally, Holmes sent Myrta to his parents. Now rid of a nosy wife,
Holmes had an open field to pursue his needs.

Benjamin Pitezel, of Galva, Illinois married Carrie Canning after impregnating her at
eighteen. Handsome, over six feet tall, with big shoulders and muscular arms, Benjamin
cut a good-looking figure in those days. His face was fine featured with light blue eyes,
dignified angular nose, black hair and a neatly trimmed mustache. A large warty growth on
the back of his neck was his only physical flaw. His other flaw was a weakness in
character. An early marriage, five children and a slew of jobs that dragged his family from
town to town and a particular affection for liquor would change the handsome young man.

Benjamin worked as a janitor, lumber mill worker, railroad worker, circus roustabout and
had done several stints in jail for petty crimes. No one knew when Benjamin met Holmes.
Their symbiotic relationship began in November 1889. Benjamin bound himself to Holmes
like a parasite. He fed off Holmes' bigger than life persona, gave himself up to his bidding
without question and in the process lost his soul.

At 63rd and Wallace, Holmes began the construction of his castle. The 50-foot x 162-foot
corner lot took on a mystery of its own. When the workers started to ask questions, they
were replaced, usually within a week or two. In fact, by the end of the construction over
500 carpenters, laborers, and other craftsmen had been employed. An amazing fact
considering the building was only three stories.

Holmes took advantage of the workers. After they worked a week or two, he had accused
them of inferior work, fired them, and did not pay a penny in wages. If they sued, he
would ask for one continuance after another until out of frustration, the worker gave up.

Holmes had installed an enormous walk-in safe in his office but stalled in paying. When the
safe company sent over a couple of workers to remove the safe, Holmes threatened to sue.
He built a room around the safe and warned them that they would pay for any damage.
His tactic worked, the safe stayed.

Not only did Holmes cheat the workers out of their wages, but also he kept them in the
dark about the building's design. He did not want anyone to question the enormous kiln
with its cast iron door, or the vats of corrosives like quicklime and acid, or iron-plated
rooms, secret passages, hidden chutes that ended in the basement directly above zinc-lined
tanks, sealed rooms with gas-jets, stairways that led nowhere, and a secret room only
Holmes could enter. Fifty-one doors and corridors snaked around like some mad house,
trapdoors, closets with secret passages, dissecting table, surgeons' tools and even an
invention Holmes said could stretch a human to twice their height. Truly, the modern
looking building was a Castle of Horrors inside.

A year later, the castle was finished. Holmes sold the drugstore and opened another in the
castle. The new drugstore captured the whole communitys attention with its elegant
design; roman columns, gold-lettered signs, polished wood paneling, frescoes, and arched
ceilings. Next to the drug store he had a jewelry shop, restaurant, and barbershop. An
astute businessman, Holmes invested in one of the first copier companies and even
manufactured glycerin soap. In 1890, Holmes was 30 years old. His empire grew at a
tremendous rate and he put an ad in the newspaper for more help.

Ned Conner had the same lifestyle as Benjamin, foundering from job to job, dragging his
wife and daughter along. When he answered the ad for manager and got the job, Ned
thought all his problems ended. He had married Julia Smythe, a 6-foot-tall, green-eyed
woman with reddish brown hair piled in curls on her head. Holmes noticed her talent for
detail and quickly fired his cashier, giving the position to Julia.

Thrilled about her good fortune, Julia invited her sister Gertie to Chicago. Gertie, all of
18, with a captivating innocence that caught Holmes at his first meeting, was flattered by
the older mans attention. He wined and dined the young woman, showing her all the
exciting sights of the big city. However, when Holmes professed love for her and told her
he would divorce his wife, she was appalled. Rebuking his offer, she immediately
confessed to her brother-in-law Ned. Ned helped her high tail it out of the city back to the
small town of Muscatine.

Rejected by Gertie, Holmes turned his attention to Julia. In a short time, it was noticeable
to the people around them that the two had become lovers. Ned seemed to turn a blind
eye to his wife's infidelity and took comfort in the fact that he was working a good job and
had a place to stay, after a stream of failures. One day everything changed when several
friends cornered Ned to let him know about his wifes behavior. In a saloon down the
street from the castle, Ned slugged back a few after work. This day, some of his bar
buddies decided to let him know what everyone else knew.

"My wife saw them kissing from the window. They didnt even close the door to the back
room," Ned said to his friend.

"Why I saw him touching her bottom as she stood to get some them there liver pills I use,"
said another man.

"Last week when you were downtown, he closed the shop. I saw both of them get into a

By the time Ned heard everything, he was pretty liquored up. Slamming down his drink,
sending the whiskey splashing all over the bar, he stormed out.

Julia opened the door to her room, reached to light the gas lamp on the wall. She wore a
navy blue dress that curved around her body ending in a bustle. Her jacket, trimmed in red
piping gave her a smart professional look; it matched her navy and red hat. Turning
around, she was startled to see Ned sitting in the chair near the window. A cloud of smoke
obscured his face. Julia walked over to the bed and removed her hatpins placing them on
the night table.

"Had a talk with some people today", he said.

"Oh", said Julia, who began unbuttoning her jacket, "about what?" She walked to the
closet and hung her jacket.

"About my dear, sweet, beautiful wife", he spit out as he put down his pipe, and walked to
the bed, "being bedded by my employer!"

"I dont believe I like your tone, Ned ... people gossip, ignore them."

"No one had to tell me what I already suspected ... I wanted to believe it was just innocent
flirting ... Holmes is a destroyer of marriage ... he wanted to divorce his wife for your
sister ... you were just second best."

She whipped around the bed and faced Ned. "He loves me...hes handsome, successful,
intelligent caring...everything you arent. You couldnt shine his shoes, Ned Conner."

"I forbid you to see him again ... you will quit the job and be my wife. You dont have to
work. Never see Holmes again."

"I will not quit my job. I will not stop seeing Holmes."

The fighting went on for hours and resulted in Ned packing and sleeping on the floor of
the barbershop downstairs.

Julia continued her affair with Holmes and inevitably became pregnant. By that time, Ned
had moved out of the castle, filed for divorce, and was about to marry another woman.

Julia had entrenched herself into Holmes business so deeply she had become a threat. He
convinced her she was the love of his life and wanted to marry her only if she had an
abortion. When she thought of her daughter, Pearl, she could not bring herself to do it.
Holmes persisted and assured Julia he had performed many such procedures during his
time as a medical student. Julia kept putting it off. Finally, on December 24, 1891, Julia
agreed to an abortion. Too upset to put Pearl to bed, she asked Holmes to do it.
Afterwards, he led her down to the dark basement and makeshift operating room.
Gripping his arm and sobbing she had no idea she would never see another Christmas
again, and neither did Pearl.

Charles M. Chappell worked for Holmes doing a variety of jobs around the castle for
about two years. His previous job was in the same building that housed the Bennett
Medical School. Curious by nature, and good with his hands, Chappell picked up a rather
unusual skill -- articulating skeletons. He first observed the procedure and, after a short
time, he actually did the work. In the winter of 1892, a few months after the disappearance
of Julia, Holmes summoned Chappell to his office.

"Charles, would you like to pick up some extra money?" asked Holmes.

Charles stood in front of his desk and smiled. "Of course, Mr. Holmes."

"I would like to use your special articulate a skeleton."

He led Chappell to a second floor room with poor lighting. On a table, a cadaver of a
female lay. Chappell told authorities that the body looked like a jackrabbit that has been
skinned by splitting the skin down the face and rolling it back off the entire body. He also
said, considerable flesh had been taken off. Chappell thought Holmes was doing an
autopsy on one of his patients. After stripping the flesh off and articulating the bones the
body was prepared. Chappell was paid $36 for his work.

The skeleton was sold to Hahnemann Medical College for $200. Dr. Pauling, a surgeon,
had the skeleton placed in his private offices in his home. Looking at the skeleton, he often
wondered what had taken her life, consumption, childbirth, a bad heart? Fascinated with
the skeleton he often would show visitors his unusual female skeleton that was over six
feet tall.


Emeline Cigrand was a stenographer in her hometown of LaFayette, Indiana at the County
Recorder Office. In July 1891, she began working in Dwight, Illinois, home of a
sanitarium for alcoholics. Dr. Keeley, the director, had discovered a treatment for
alcoholism by giving injections of bichloride of gold, a mixture of gold salts and

Emeline's stunning beauty caught the eye of Benjamin Pitezel, a patient in for "the Cure."
Tall, blond, with piercing blue eyes and a captivating smile, she fascinated Pitezel. Emeline
enjoyed conversations with Pitezel about his job and his interesting, wealthy employer, Dr.

Intrigued with Pitezels description, Holmes wrote Emeline, enticing her with a job paying
over 50% more than the sanitarium. She accepted the job working for Holmes and lived in
a boarding house one block from the Castle.

Holmes began his seduction: sightseeing, flowers, dinner, jewelry and compliments. By
summer they were lovers and Emeline had written back home about her fiancé, Robert E.
Phelps, an alias Holmes told her to use so as not to jeopardize his eminent divorce from
Myrta. Emeline wrote her sister Philomena, that they might be moving to England to share
an estate with her beloveds father, an English lord.

In the fall, Emelines relatives arrived. Holmes, conveniently busy, did not meet with them.
One of them pointed out the poor workmanship of the building and the inferior quality
lumber that was used. But Emeline did not want to hear any disparaging remarks about
her perfect love, so she ignored the suggestions that Holmes was not what he appeared to

Holmes planned the wedding for December -- a civil ceremony with just his witness.
"Simple, quick and then a long trip abroad, so I may spend all my time with you, only
you", Holmes said.

"It will be beautiful no matter where we wed because Ill be with you", Emeline said. Her
eyes traced his face; Holmes pulled back from their embrace, reached in his inner pocket
and presented her with 12 envelopes.

"Address these my dear, with your beautiful handwriting to all the family and friends back
home.... I have ordered printed announcements of our wedding etched in gold."

Holmes planned to kill her, not for money, but for lust. Only in a dead state could he
achieve the ultimate sexual thrill. In early December, probably a few days before the
wedding, Holmes summoned Emeline. He sat at his desk, papers stacked, looking busy.
"My dear, can you fetch me the white envelope in the vault marked property deeds?"

"Of course," Emeline said. She unspun the lock and stepped into the vault. Standing on
her tiptoes, she slid her hand back and forth along the shelf as she looked for the envelope.
The light from the other room dimmed. She did not hear Holmes walk up to the vault
door. She did not notice the door slowly begin to close until darkness surrounded her.
Then, Emeline froze, as the vault door shuddered close, the lock spun, and the room
became her tomb.

Holmes stood near the vault excited at what he had done. He pressed his cheek against the
metal, feeling the coolness and the tiny thumps on the door as Emeline pounded for her
life. Emelines screams were deep and guttural. Holmes felt their vibration against his
groin as he pressed against the door. Aroused, by the power of life and death, he exposed
himself and masturbated as he listened to Emelines screams. His eyes glazed in ecstasy as
he chewed on his lower lip and jerked vigorously to his ultimate climax.

Holmes went back to work, occasionally listening to Emelines screams, which according
to Holmes, "continued for hours."

Several weeks after the incident, the LaSalle Medical School bought a skeleton from Dr.
H.H. Holmes -- a young female.

One of the requirements of employment with Holmes was a life insurance policy for $5000
naming Holmes as beneficiary. This was money in the bank in case his other swindles
slacked off.

When Jennie Thompson, 17, blond, blue eyed, small-town girl from Eldorado, Illinois
came to work in the Castle, Holmes saw another opportunity. Jennie confided in Holmes
that she had not written her family. Originally, she told the family she was going to New
York to live. They had no idea she landed such a good job in Chicago. Again, he used the
vault trick. Jennie suffocated in the vault; her body was stripped of flesh, skeletonized and
sold to University of Illinois Medical School.

Another victim, Mrs. Pansy Lee, a widow from New Orleans, took a room in the Castle.
Holmes used his usual charm after learning Pansy had $4000 in a false bottom of her
trunk. He asked her to let him put it into his vault for safekeeping. Pansy refused, insisting
she could take care of the money as she had done travelling all over the United States.
Holmes killed her and cremated her body in his custom built oven.

Holmes ever-faithful dog, Pat Quinlan, got a girl that worked at the Castle in trouble. His
wife lived in Ohio, but she planned on joining her husband at the Castle sometime in the
future. Heated arguments with his mistress made Quinlan confide in Holmes about his

"Can ya deliver the baby, Dr. Holmes? I need to keep this quiet so the missus dont find
out", said Quinlan. His eyes were tired; his thin nose flared, lifting his moustache with each
heavy breath. Quinlans agitation grew as Holmes stroked his chin, and stared at the
distraught man before him.

"Ill do anything I can", said Holmes, smiling and patting him on his back.

Shortly after Holmes offered to help, Pat again found himself in a state of panic. Clutching
a telegram, Pat paced back and forth in front of his bosss desk. Handing Holmes the
telegram, he stepped back, hands in his pockets, waiting for the response.

"Theres something else, sir besides my missus coming today...the girl knows and
threatened to tell my wife."

"You know what must be done, Pat?" Pat hung his head and said, "Yes."

Quinlan unable to look Holmes in the eye cleared his throat. "One more problem...the girl
told her sister."

"That makes one for each of us to take care of...doesnt it, Pat?"

Quinlan looked up. "I cant possibly..." Holmes icy stare made Quinlans words dissolve
in fear. "I mean whatever ya say, Mr. Holmes."

That day, Quinlan brought the two women to a small room in a remote part of the
building, explaining to his mistress and her sister that the room would be better for the
baby so the childs crying would not disturb the other tenants. He left the two women and
met Holmes in the basement. The two men turned on the various gas jets to the room.
Within a few minutes the two sisters were dead. Their bodies disposed of in the usual

In the early 1890's, Chicago became the site of a kind of world's fare celebrating the four
hundred year anniversary of Columbus's voyage to America. Holmes's castle was a perfect
place to lure tourists, steal their money and murder them. There were gas jets in the
rooms to asphyxiate the victims and the kilns below to cremate the bodies. Fifty tourists
who visited the Columbian Exposition and took rooms in the Castle never returned home.
Many of those who met their doom in the "Castle of Horrors" were young women.

In the midst of his murderous pursuits as a hotelkeeper, Holmes fell in love with a young
woman named Georgiana Yoke. To keep her interest, Holmes told Georgiana lies upon
lies. First, he told her both his parents were dead as well as his brothers and sisters. His
only family left was a bachelor uncle, Henry Mansfield Howard, telling her this to justify
the reason he sometimes used two names H.H. Holmes or H. Howard -- his adopted name
as opposed to his birth name.

When he asked her to marry him, she accepted him and his two names. Little did she know
he was considered married to Myrta, who continued to live in Wilmette with their child
Lucy. Technically, he was married to his first wife, Clara Lovering, who lived in Tilton,
New Hamphsire where Holmes parents lived.

Holmes and Georgiana decided to wed in the winter of 1893, but the stress of his
murderous and larcenous past began to take its toll. Creditors caught up to Holmes,
threatening to take the Castle.

Harold Schechter in Depraved says of Holmes: "Deception was so deeply ingrained in
H.H. Holmes's character that he was incapable of telling the truth about the simplest
matterNothing he said could be trusted or taken at face valueIronically, Holmes
possessed the sort of boldness, savvy and boundless ambition that might well have earned
him the financial success he so frantically craved. His colossal energies (when they weren't
being misspent on his countless frauds, scams, and far more sinister pursuits) were
devoted to outwitting his creditors."

Holmes, always several jumps ahead, planned a quick retreat with Georgiana. A few
weeks after Georgiana accepted Holmes proposal, Pat Quinlan set the Castle on fire. The
fire destroyed the top floor. As usual, he had insured the building with several companies
for a total of $25,000. An astute investigator noted the fire started in several places. After
investigating Holmes, his report that Holmes tried to defraud the insurance companies did
not pan out. Holmes was not charged and was free to go. However, he did not collect the

The biggest scheme brewed in Holmes mind long before the Castle swindles fizzled and
proved to be his downfall. He convinced Ben Pitezel to take a $10,000 life insurance
policy with Fidelity Mutual Life of Philadelphia and fake his own death. A corpse with a
badly disfigured face would be Bens double. Holmes assured Ben he would find a corpse
to match his physical characteristics. "With my connections the corpse will be no trouble",
he told Ben.

The plan was for Ben to go into hiding and not tell his family anything. Ben could not just
disappear without saying something to his wife Carrie, so he went against Holmes'
instructions. He told her about the scheme. Carrie, distraught that something could go
wrong, begged her husband to reconsider. He did not. He told his older daughter Nessie
not to believe anything she read in the newspaper about him. Ben Pitezel left Chicago and
never returned.

Meanwhile, Holmes creditors got wind of the arson at the Castle. They banded together,
got an attorney, and threatened Holmes with criminal charges. November 22, according to
witnesses, was the last time anyone saw Holmes in public, although, he did make a few
clandestine visits to his wife and daughter.

On January 9, 1894 Homes married Georgiana Yoke in Denver. She became Mrs. Henry
Mansfield Howard. From Denver, they moved to Ft. Worth, Texas and met Ben. Holmes
told his new wife he had business to take care of in Ft. Worth. Again he changed his
identity. The couple became Mr. and Mrs. H.M.Pratt. He, as Pratt, along with his assistant
Ben formulated schemes to bilk wealthy Texas businessmen from money, property and

His psychopathic arrogance made him reckless in decisions. Instead of skipping town like
any other embezzler, Holmes stayed in Ft. Worth. They stole a freight of horses and
shipped them to Chicago. Texans did not take horse theft lightly. The crime was found out
and the law latched onto their trail.

They worked their way across the country to New York, Philadelphia, Memphis, Denver,
and St. Louis. Continued carelessness and greed landed Holmes in jail for the first time.
He tried to defraud the Merrill Drug Company using a scam like the one in Chicago. The
drug company found out and had him arrested. Georgiana, bemoaning the indignity of his
husband's arrest, eventually bailed him out.

During his stay in jail, Holmes met Marion Hedgepeth, a very bad man, according to the
Pinkerton Detective Agency. Marion was a celebrity criminal. Perhaps that was why
Holmes felt comfortable. Comfortable enough to let his guard down and reveal his
swindle. Marion gave Holmes the name of a lawyer, for a promise of $500. The lawyer
would help him in the insurance scheme involving Ben. Now everything was in place for
the insurance fraud.

Ben went on to Philadelphia, opened a phony patent office, rented the room in the back,
and waited for the plan to unfold.

Holmes stay in prison was short. He met with Jeptha Howe, the lawyer to whom
Hedgepeth referred Holmes. Howe would take care of the details of the insurance fraud.
Holmes returned to his wife Georgiana and they left for Philadelphia for business.
Georgiana had been feeling poorly for a few days and was distressed Holmes could not
wait until she felt better. "Its a great opportunity...Ill make $10,000 dollars for you", he
said. His wife agreed and off they went on another journey.

Upon arriving in Philadelphia, he set up an appointment, and then cancelled it when he did
not like the meeting place. Ben was disappointed. Holmes asked Ben if they could meet at
his room. Ben agreed. It was the last agreement Ben would ever make to his trusted

The next night, Holmes watched Ben from the shadows drink himself into oblivion at a
local tavern. He followed his drunken friend back to his room, checking his pocket for the
tools of his murderous plan and waited for the right moment. When Ben opened his door
after several tries, Holmes jumped from the shadows, chloroformed his colleague, gently
allowing the body to slip to the floor. Working quickly, he took a vial of chemicals from
his pocket, poured it on Bens face. A small explosion ensued, obliterating Bens features.
He arranged the body so that the face would get the full glare of the sun, thus ensuring
quick decomposition. Holmes medical training came in handy once more.

Ben had missed an appointment with one of his potential inventors. The man had come by
the shop a few times and felt concern for it was always closed. Finally, he pushed the door
of the shop and it opened. He called out for Ben several times. Cautiously, he went toward
the back of the store and reached the stairs to the upper rooms. He noticed a foul odor.
Up, up he went until he arrived at the top floor. He opened the door slightly, saw a body
on the floor, shot down the stairs, and ran four blocks to the police station.

Holmes lost no time at all. He returned to Georgiana at the rented rooms, told her the deal
had gone through, and they should make $10,000.

Next morning, they boarded a train for Indianapolis and spent a short time in the city. He
checked newspapers to see if Ben's death was discovered. A few days after arriving, he
saw the notice. Holmes was delighted his scheme was working. He said good-bye to his
wife and headed back to St. Louis.

Carrie Pitezel bordered on hysteria when she read the story about Ben's death in
Philadelphia. Her daughter Dessie tried to calm her down by reminding her what her father
said -- not to believe what was in the newspapers. Holmess arrival at that moment could
not have been timed better. Finding Carrie in a state of collapse, he pulled her into a
private room, and chided her for believing Ben's death notice.

"He's hiding must play along...this is what Ben wants...he is not dead."

After a while, she believed his smooth talking manner and calmed down. Holmes was
worried Carrie would crack. Also, she and the baby had been terribly ill for several days.
He knew that in this state she might blow the whole scheme. He convinced her to let him
take Alice, even though she was only 15 years old. Dessie, the oldest, had to stay to take
care of the baby while her mother was ill. Alice would be needed to identify the body in
Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Holmes and Alice went to the insurance company. Carrie Pitezel
gave the "power of attorney" to Holmes. The problem with the insurance company was
that Ben had used a ficticious name. So, they needed a more positive identification.

Days had passed since Ben's death. He was already buried. An order for exhumation was
filed to allow the positive identification. Fidelity insurance agents felt something
suspicious, but chose not to pursue it at that time. According to the police report, the
death was an accident. What alerted the agents had to do with the fact that Ben made his
payment two days before he died by wiring it into the office last minute. Alice looked so
impoverished and pitiful when she arrived at the office, the agents didn't have the heart to
pursue an investigation.

The coroner had laid out the exhumed body of Ben Pitezel, covering his badly disfigured
face. Alice frightened and nervous clutched Holmes for moral support. "Any distinguishing
marks", asked the coroner of Alice.

"My father had a scar on his knee", Alice said, the coroner pulled back the cover to
expose his knees, "and a mole on his neck." Both times she nodded yes. "That's my
papa...I can tell by his hands", she cried.

Holmes lifted the covering on Ben's face, "Yes, that is Ben Pitezel, who has worked for

When the identification was over, Holmes took Alice to Indianapolis leaving her there
while he returned to St. Louis.

Now it was Carrie's turn to finish the scheme. She accompanied Holmes to Jeptha Howe,
the lawyer he got from his cellmate Marion Hedgepeth. After the paper work was signed
at the insurance company, Holmes told Carrie there would be a lawyer's fee, and money
Ben owed him on an investment in Texas. In the end, Carrie walked away with $500
dollars out of Ben's $10,000 insurance policy.

He also convinced Carrie to let him take Howard and Nellie to join Alice in Indianapolis
so they could stay at a wealthy lady's home. Carrie returned to Galva, Illinois at her
family's home and waited for Ben to contact her.

The insurance company received a letter from Marion Hedgepeth outlining the insurance
fraud. Did Holmes merely forget to pay Marion? We'll never know, but it caused his
ultimate downfall. Although Marion told the insurance company that Holmes had
substituted a cadaver, the agents were convinced it was the real Ben Pitezel. They hired
the Pinkerton Detective Agency to investigate. The Pinkertons gathered a great amount of
information about Holmes' past schemes from Chicago to Texas. They decided to follow
Holmes from city to city as he dragged the three children along in a sojourn that was made
to confuse anyone trying to follow him.

Finally, in Boston with the help of 20-year police veteran Frank Geyer, they were able to
arrest Holmes. They intercepted a letter with Holmes' code sent to Carrie asking her to
remove a bottle of expensive chemicals from the basement to the attic. Unbeknownst to
Carrie, the bottle was filled with nitroglycerin. Holmes made arrangements on a steam ship
to Europe. The Pinkertons had to move fast. Frank Geyer aided the Pinkertons in
surrounding the Adams House, and arrested Holmes for "conspiracy to commit fraud". At
the same time, Carrie Pitezel was picked up and brought to Philadelphia for her part in the
conspiracy. Little did they know that Holmes was a serial killer.

Overnight Holmes became a notorious celebrity. News of his numerous swindles, horse
thefts, and frauds gave people a sense of admiration for the sheer genius of his plots. By
the time Carrie had arrived in Philadelphia, she was ready to confess to anything. Believing
her husband alive and part of the elaborate scheme, Carrie kept faithful to Holmes' story.
She verified that this was fraud not murder concerning her husband. When she had to
identify the body of her husband Carrie, she turned on Holmes, screaming about the
whereabouts of her children -- Howard, Nellie, and Alice. Holmes claimed the children
were with a rich lady in England. Suspicious, Frank Geyer retraced Holmes' journey,
traveling from city to city, from East Coast to Midwest, and even Canada. Dauntlessly, he
pursed his gut feeling that Holmes had killed the children. Back at headquarters, police
gave the real story about Holmes to his young naive wife -- Holmes, as bigamist, as
swindler, as killer. Georgiana, realizing the police were telling the truth, cooperated as
much as she could.

When the bodies of the children were found -- Howard buried beneath a house; Nellie and
Alice suffocated in a trunk -- public opinion called for his death.

Herman W. Mudgett, alias H. H. Holmes was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. In
the end, he thought his facial features had changed to that of a demon. His lawyer asked
him how many people he killed. Holmes told him 133. Even in prison, he made money
selling his story to William Randolph Hearst Corporation for $10,000.

On Thursday May 7, 1896 at 10:25am, H.H. Holmes was hanged.

Fearful of grave robbers, he left explicit instructions for his burial. Ironically, a man did
offer a large sum of money for his body. A grave ten feet deep, eight feet long, and five
feet wide was dug. In the coffin, Holmes' face was covered with a cloth, and cement
poured over every part of his body. Thirteen men dragged the coffin to the grave. The
weight of the coffin caused it to fall into the grave upside down. Instead of facing the
heavens, he faced hell.

The Zodiac Killer

On the night of Sunday, October 30, 1966, long before anyone was to hear of the Zodiac
killer, an 18-year-old student named Cheri Jo Bates was brutally murdered near the
parking lot of Riverside City College's library annex. Neither rape nor robbery seemed to
have been a motive, as her clothes were undisturbed and her purse was present and intact.

After disabling her lime green Volkswagen by pulling out the distributor coil and the
condenser, then disconnecting the middle wire of the distributor, the killer had apparently
waited for Bates to return to her car and try to start it, whereupon he made a pretense of
unsuccessfully tinkering with the engine. After this ruse, and probably with the offer of a
ride, he lured her into a dark, unpaved driveway between two empty houses owned by the
college, where they spent approximately an hour and a half. Exactly what they did during
this time is uncertain, but eventually the man attacked her, slashing her three times in the
chest area, once in the back, and seven times across the throat. 1 Police determined that
the murder weapon was a small knife with a blade about 3 1/2" long by 1/2" wide, 2 but
the wounds to Bates' throat were so deep and brutal as to nearly decapitate her, severing
her larynx, jugular vein, and carotid artery. She had also been choked, beaten, and slashed
about the face. Found about ten feet from Bates' body was a paint-spattered man's Timex
watch with a broken 7" wristband, stopped at around 12:23 [see illustration], which one
source claims was later traced to a military PX in England. The paint was analyzed, and
was found to be common exterior house paint. 3 Also found at the scene were the
heel-print from a shoe that appeared to be close to size 10, 4 as well as hair, blood, and
skin tissue found in the victim's hands and beneath her fingernails. Greasy, unidentified
palm- and fingerprints were also found in and on her car, about 200 feet away. Although
the library closed at 9:00 p.m. (and books found in her car verify that she had been inside
before then), two separate witnesses reported hearing an "awful scream" at around 10:30,
followed by "a muted scream, and then a loud sound like an old car being started up"
about two minutes later. This time matches an estimation given by the coroner, and is
generally accepted as the time of her death. 5

Judging by these details, the murder of Cheri Jo Bates would appear to be nothing more
mysterious than a particularly vicious crime of passion, committed perhaps by a spurned
suitor, an ex-boyfriend, or a subject somehow linked to Miss Bates. Certainly, the simple
fact that Bates spent over an hour in the dark with the man who murdered her suggests
that she knew and trusted him enough to converse more than casually. It was not until
almost exactly one month after the attack that the case approached a bizarre new level.

On November 29, 1966, carbon copies of an anonymous letter were mailed to the
Riverside Police and the Riverside Enterprise. [see Illustration] Typed using a portable
Royal typewriter with either Pica or Elite typeface, 6 it was entitled "The Confession," and
carried a "byline" that consisted of the word "BY" followed by twelve underscores. Both
copies were on low-quality white paper eight inches wide and torn at the top and bottom
so as to be roughly squarish, and had been sent unstamped and with no return address
from a secluded rural mailbox. Presumably, the author planned on the letters being sent by
Postage Due mail. At least one of the details referred to in this letter had not been made
public, and at the time, investigators agreed that it was most likely genuine, though this
opinion has changed over the years.


BY _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _



Neither envelope bore a complete address; they were handwritten with a felt-tip pen in the
following manner.

Daily Enterprise
Riverside Calif
Attn: Crime

Homicide Detail

One fingerprint was found on the envelope sent to the RPD Homicide Detail, but it has
never been matched to a suspect, and whether it was left by the author, a postman, or a
police officer is unknown. 7

The killer's claim that "she did not put up a struggle" was contradicted by the numerous
defense wounds on her hands and arms, as well as by the flesh and hair found beneath
Bates' fingernails. While a contemporaneous newspaper report reflects uncertainty as to
whether the knife actually broke in her body, 8 no evidence of this event is reported in the
autopsy report, and more recent pronouncements from RPD detectives are unanimous that
the knife did not break. 9 Bates' car had indeed been sabotaged in the manner described,
which had not been fully revealed by the news media. The phone call that is referred to
near the end of the letter has never been elaborated on by authorities, though researcher
Tom Voigt suggests that it was placed to the Riverside Press, rather than the police, and
so went misunderstood and ignored.

The letters were delivered on the same day they were posted. The next day, November
30th, both the Enterprise and the local police submitted their copies to the Riverside
County Postal Inspector, who in turn notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Murder is not a federal crime, but extortion through the mail is, and the FBI briefly
considered joining the investigation under this pretense. However, since no specific victim
of extortion was named or alluded to, there would be no federal aid in the investigation.
In an unexplained turn of events, what appears to be a photocopy of the "Confession" was
attached to an FBI report declassified in the 1990s, but the typescript and number of
words per line are different from those in the well-known copy that appears in a
photograph of the letter lying either on a detective's or a reporter's desk.

On the six-month anniversary of Bates' death, the Riverside Press, the police, and the
victim's father (whose name and address had appeared in the local newspaper the day after
the murder) were each sent nearly identical copies of another letter, this one written in
pencil on lined notepaper. Instead of a signature, two of the letters bore a symbol that
resembled a letter Z joined with a numeral 3. In what would become a hallmark of the
Zodiac's epistolary style, the envelopes were franked with excessive postage: in this case,
they each carried two of the necessary four-cent stamps. The letters sent to the police and
Press read as follows:


The copy without the hieroglyph signature, sent to Joseph Bates, substituted "Bates" with
"She". 10 One latent fingerprint was developed on the letter sent to the Riverside Police
Department, but its origins are not known, and it has never been matched to a suspect. 11

In mid-April 1967, a janitor at the RCC Library discovered a poem written on the
underside of a folding school desk. 12 The desk had been in storage for an unknown
period of time, but the contemporary receipt of the "Bates had to die" letters led many
investigators to believe that the poem described Bates' murder and was written by her
killer. Some amateurs, however, have noted that the style and tone of the letter indicate
otherwise: one compelling theory is that that an unrelated student penned it following an
unsuccessful suicide attempt. 13 The handwriting is of debatable resemblance to the three
"Bates" notes or any other Zodiac printing and the date of its origin is unclear, so the
entire issue remains open to interpretation. The poem read:

Sick of living/unwilling to die
if red /
blood spurting,
all over her new
oh well
it was red
life draining into an
uncertain death.
she won't
this time
someone ll find her.
just wait till
next time.

The cryptic signature, "rh," may have been a reference to RCC's President at the time, R.
H. Bradshaw.

* * *

In the wake of Bates' murder, Riverside Police worked the case under the assumption that
Bates knew her killer, or at least that the killer knew her. They even identified a likely
suspect from a pool of viable candidates, an ex-boyfriend bitter over their breakup and
resentful of her blossoming relationship with a football player. (The RPD maintains a local
man as their prime suspect in the murder, and in December of 1998 even went so far as to
secure a warrant for samples of this man's hair, skin, and saliva, which were sent to the
FBI crime lab to be checked against the evidence found at the scene. As of December
2000, the FBI completed this analysis, and the results are being double-checked by state
authorities. An announcement is eagerly awaited by authorities and amateurs alike.)
When the Zodiac case exploded into national news in the fall of 1969, though, RPD Chief
L.T. Kinkead nevertheless sent a 3-page synopsis of the local murder and the events that
followed to investigators in Napa and San Francisco, a letter that seems to have been
largely ignored. It wasn't until Paul Avery of the San Francisco Chronicle initiated a 1970
meeting between these investigators that they began to consider the elusive Bay Area
serial killer as a possible culprit, though even then RPD Captain Irwin Cross "expressed
doubt that the Zodiac [was] responsible". 14

Despite the stylistic similarities between the aftermath of Cheri Jo Bates' murder and the
linked murders that would later take place in the San Francisco Bay Area, the current
opinion of the Riverside Police Department and most other investigators is that the
Riverside and Bay Area episodes were not related. Opinion is split, however, as to who
authored the 1966 and 1967 documents, and whether they were even written by the same

Riverside Footnotes

1. F. Rene Modglin, Pathologist's Autopsy Protocol, 22 December 1966. This report is
exhaustive and contains no mention of the 42 stab wounds alleged by some researchers.

2. Various sources describe the weapon as either 1.5" or .5" inches wide; the California
Department of Justice describes it as both in the same report. The tiebreaker is the
autopsy report, which specifies the dimension.

3. Doug Oswell,, 11 December 2000; Tom Voigt, 17 December 2000.

4. The shoes may have been military in origin, but were not Wing Walkers, as has been
reported by other sources.

5. "RCC co-ed, 18, slain on campus" (Riverside Press, 31 October 1966)

6. FBI Laboratory Worksheet, 15 May 1974

7. While one-time Chief Document Examiner Sherwood Morrill determined that the
typewriter was a portable Royal using Canterbury shaded Elite typeface, researcher Tom
Voigt cites an early FBI report dated 1 December 1966 that identifies it as "most
probably" a Royal Merit using Pica typeface.

8. "Police send murder confession to state's crime experts" (Riverside Press, 1 December

9. Tom Voigt and Mike Butterfield, citing Det. Steve Shumway et al,, 30 November 2000

10. Howard Davis,, 9 March 2001

11. FBI Laboratory Worksheet, 24 April 1974

12. FBI Laboratory Worksheet, 3 May 1974

13. Mike from OK,, 7 April 2001

14. "Lawmen exchange Bates, Zodiac data" (Riverside Press, 19 November 1970)
The Zodiac Killer


Solano County Sheriff's Office Case #V-25564
Vallejo Police Department Case #243146

Vallejo and Benicia lie just north of the San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait, about 20
miles northeast of San Francisco. In the late 1960s, the area abutting the two
rough-and-tumble, working-class cities was practically uninhabited, and even now only a
few paved surfaces cross the barren expanses of southern Solano County above the
Vallejo-Benicia Freeway. One of these is Lake Herman Road, running from eastern
Vallejo to northern Benicia by way of the unincorporated area between them.

As early as 9:00 pm on Friday, December 20, 1968, a light-colored hardtop four-door,
possibly a Chevrolet Impala, was seen parked near the gated entrance to the pumping
station off Lake Herman Road just east of Lake Herman. The same car was also seen
there at about 10:00 by a different witness. Between these two sightings, a young man
and his girlfriend were parked in the same spot when a car heading west toward Vallejo
slowed to a stop several yards past their car, then began to slowly back up toward them.
The car gave them both such a bad feeling that they immediately pulled out of the gravelly
area and drove off toward Benicia. The other car followed them until the first exit, which
they took, watching the stranger continue east on Lake Herman Road.

At 11:10 pm, David Arthur Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen were parked in the same place
when they were shot to death near Faraday's brown Rambler. Having told Betty Lou's
parents that they were going to a Christmas concert, they had instead driven to the
isolated lover's lane and had been there for less than an hour when someone pulled in with
them, exited his vehicle, and began firing into their car. The killer was armed with either a
.22 caliber rifle or, more likely, a handgun loaded with .22 LR ammunition. From light
footprints and ballistic evidence, it appeared that the killer started from behind the car,
shooting out the right rear window, then the left rear tire, then coming around to the front
left. The two teenagers scrambled out the passenger's side door.

Jensen, 16, left the car alive and must have started to run toward the road; her body was
found less than 30 feet from the rear bumper. The shot pattern -- five rounds along the
right side of her back, ranging from the space between the fifth and sixth ribs all the way
down to the pelvis 1-- suggested that the killer was either competent with firearms or had
fired into her body as she lay wounded by a previous shot, as a coroner's report states that
the shots had come from no more than 10 feet away. In any case, the grouping does not
indicate marksman-like accuracy, or even the great degree of skill that is often attributed
to the killer due to this particular murder, especially considering that two rounds missed
the wounded girl as she fled. Faraday was killed by a single close-range bullet to the head;
researcher Mike R. of NJ points out that the position of Faraday's body, with the boy's feet
by the rear wheel and his head pointing away from the front of the car at an angle of about
45 degrees, suggests that he was not killed while climbing out of the door but rather while
standing by the right rear wheel. 2 All told, 10 shots were fired, but only eight rounds
were accounted for.

The entire episode was over in a few heartbeats, and the killer left the scene immediately
upon its conclusion. This was determined by an almost minute-by-minute timeline put
together from the statements of several witnesses driving by the area between 9:00 pm and
11:15 pm. One of these witnesses, Stella Borges, may even have seen the killer's car,
described as a light-colored Chevrolet, headed toward Benicia just before she discovered
Jensen's and Faraday's bodies. 3

Despite the best efforts of Solano County Sheriff's Det. Sgt. Les Lundblad, assistance
from half a dozen local law enforcement agencies, and a reward fund set up by students at
the victims' high schools, no killer was ever identified. As author Robert Graysmith grimly
noted in his seminal book, ZODIAC, "There were no witnesses, no motives, and no
suspects". 4

* * *

Six months later, shortly after 12:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 5, 1969, Darlene Elizabeth
Ferrin, 22, and Michael Renault Mageau, 19, were shot as they sat in Ferrin's car in the
parking lot of the Blue Rock Springs Golf Course. According to Mageau's statements to
police in the days that followed, Ferrin had picked him up at his house about half an hour
earlier, and they were going to get a bite to eat when Darlene said that she wanted to talk
to him about something. At Mageau's suggestion, she turned around on Springs Road and
headed east to Blue Rock Springs Park in Benicia, a spot popular with local teenagers
cruising after dark. 5

Ferrin turned off the car's headlights and motor but left the radio playing. After just a few
minutes, three cars occupied by some young revelers entered the parking lot briefly,
laughing, yelling, and throwing firecrackers. They drove off shortly thereafter, and Ferrin
and Mageau were left alone again until about midnight, when another car, alone this time,
pulled into the lot from the direction of Vallejo. Its lone occupant turned off the car's
headlights and pulled up next to Ferrin's car, six to eight feet away on her left. The car, a
brown 1958 or '59 Falcon, idled there for a moment, and Mageau asked Ferrin if she knew
the driver, to which she responded, "Oh, never mind". 6 Mageau later said that he wasn't
sure whether this meant that she did or didn't know the driver, but before he could inquire
further the car pulled out and drove off at high speed back toward Vallejo.

After about five minutes, the brown car returned to the parking lot and pulled up behind
and to the right of Ferrin and Mageau, about 10 feet back. Leaving his headlights on this
time, the driver exited his vehicle with a bright lamp or flashlight. Obscuring his face by
holding the light at arm's length and shining it directly at them, he walked silently up to the
passenger's side door. From his manner, Mageau thought he might be a policeman, and
was reaching for his ID when the man raised a handgun and fired five 9mm rounds
through the window. He shot first at Mageau, hitting him in the face and body: at such
close range, several of the slugs tore through his flesh and entered Darlene. Fueled by
pain and adrenaline, Michael kicked himself into the back seat, catching another bullet in
his left knee. The attacker then fired at Ferrin, hitting her in each arm and in the back as
she turned away. Mageau thought that the shots sounded quiet, perhaps fired through a
silencer, but nearby resident George Bryant heard both the earlier firecrackers and the
shots, and described the shots as much louder.

The killer was walking back to his car after this volley of shots when he heard Mageau
begin to yell, either in pain or in rage. He returned to Ferrin's car, fired two additional
shots at each of the victims, then turned around casually and got back in his own car.
Mageau was able to catch a look at the man's face in profile, and described him as short,
about 5'8" tall, but extremely heavyset. Though "not blubbery fat" 7 the man was at least
195 pounds and had a large face. In terrible pain but still conscious, Mageau managed to
turn the car's blinkers on in an attempt to summon aid, then opened the passenger's side
door and tumbled to the pavement. From there, he watched the attacker peel out, turn his
car around, and drive back in the direction of Vallejo. Though the Zodiac would later
claim that he remained under the speed limit after the attack, both Mageau and George
Bryant reported that he left the scene at a high rate of speed.

Several police cars and an ambulance soon arrived, summoned by more late-night
teenaged drivers who had discovered the car and victims, but the aid they could offer was
too little and too late for Darlene, who died in the ambulance with Mageau and Officer
Richard Hoffman of the Vallejo PD. Mageau went straight into surgery, but Darlene was
not so lucky: she was pronounced Dead on Arrival at Kaiser Foundation Hospital at 12:38

Despite the killer's subsequent claim that the attack was committed with a 9mm Luger,
this weapon was manufactured with an eight-round magazine, and the killer fired at least
nine shots without reloading. While a 32-round extended magazine for the Luger had
been available for some time, Vallejo police believe the weapon was actually a 9mm
Browning High-Power, which carries thirteen rounds in its factory magazine, although the
weapon could have been one of several 9-round 9mm handguns available at the time. 8

Some of Ferrin's close friends reported that she may have been stalked in the months
preceding her death, or at least the recipient of some unwanted visits; author Robert
Graysmith's account contends that she knew her killer. These views are not shared by
most legitimate investigators, however, nor by Darlene's widower, Dean Ferrin, who was
never interviewed for ZODIAC and in subsequent conversation has stated that he noticed
no unusual behavior or anxiety on his wife's part in the months before her death. The
alleged "stalker" in this case was likely George Waters, a Vallejo man and would-be
paramour who had been rebuffed several times by Darlene and who, by many accounts,
did not take it in a gentlemanly fashion. 9 Waters was soon tracked down and interviewed
by Vallejo detectives, who determined that he had been watching fireworks with his wife
on the night of the Fourth, and had been at home in her company at the time of the
murders. 10 Stories that Ferrin and/or Mageau knew one or more of the other Zodiac
victims are entirely unconfirmed, as are rumors that Mageau may have been hiding some
knowledge of the killers identity or motive. His accounts of the night's events, to both the
police and the press, uniformly describe an unknown man who walked silently up to the
car and started shooting. These and other details were maintained through all recorded
interviews with Mageau, whether in horrible pain after the incident, under heavy
medication at the hospital, or in the spotlight of morbid local celebrity. 11

The lone indication that Ferrin may have known her killer -- or may have been known to
him -- was a pair of calls made to Darlene's home shortly after the murder. When the calls
were answered by Ferrin's friends at the house, there was no voice on the other end. 12
One source close to the family claims that the calls were made by Darlene's brother Leo,
who was waiting to hear from Darlene about an unrelated matter. 13

At 12:40, a pay phone call was made through the Operator to Vallejo Police
Headquarters. According to the police dispatcher, the caller's voice was mature and
without accent, and he spoke evenly and consistently as if reading from a script. At one
point, the dispatcher tried to ask the caller's identity and location, but he would not be
interrupted and said, "I want to report a double murder. If you go one mile east on
Columbus Parkway to the public park, you will find kids in a brown car. They were shot
with a 9mm Luger. I also killed those kids last year. Good bye" .14

Robert Graysmith's ZODIAC contains an apocryphal scene in which the caller hangs up,
but is surprised by a call-back device on the police switchboard that causes the pay phone
to start ringing. This allegedly caught the attention of a chance passerby who watched the
caller take the receiver off the hook, leave the booth, and drive off in a brown car. This
man, described in a subsequent letter from the killer, was sought by both the police and
local newspapers to no avail, indicating that Graysmith may simply have been elaborating
on a bogus detail provided by the Zodiac to create confusion. When the police were able
to trace the call to a pay phone at Tuolumne Street and Springs Road, they found that the
booth in question was just a few blocks away from the Vallejo Sheriff's Office. 15

* * *

A few weeks later, on July 31, 1969, the San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco
Chronicle, and Vallejo Times-Herald each received letters laying claim to the Vallejo
murders. Enclosed with each letter was one-third of a cryptogram, to be published on
each newspaper's front page by August 1. Not only were the author's claims bolstered by
an intimate knowledge of the two crime scenes, he also promised another murder spree if
his request was not met. Though worded slightly differently, each letter shared the same
salient facts, and each was closed with the crossed-circle design that would become the
Zodiac's signature. The first to be transcribed in its entirety was the one sent to the
Vallejo Times-Herald:

The cryptogram sent to the Times-Herald

Dear Editor

I am the killer of the 2 teenagers last Christmass at Lake Herman and the Girl last 4th of
July. To Prove this I shall state some facts which only I+ the police know.

1 Brand name of ammo Super X
2 10 shots fired
3 Boy was on back feet to car
4 Girl was lyeing on right side feet to west

4th of July
1 Girl was wearing patterned pants
2 Boy was also shot in knee
3 Brand name of ammo was Western

Here is a cyipher or that is part of one. The other 2 parts of this cipher have been mailed
to the S.F. Examiner + the S.F. Chronicle.

I want you to print this cipher on your frunt page by Fry Afternoon Aug 1-69, If you do
not do this I will go on a kill rampage Fry night that will last the whole week end. I will
cruse around and pick off all stray people or coupples that are alone then move on to kill
some more untill I have killed over a dozen people.

The killer's letter to the Chronicle was similar, but gave an additional impetus to publish
the code: "In this cipher," he wrote, "is my identity." The 3-Part Cryptogram was solved
in less than a week by a North Salinas, CA, high school teacher and his wife. Despite the
claims of the Chronicle's letter, it did not appear to reveal the killer's identity. Their
solution was submitted to the Vallejo PD on August 8, verified by the Cryptographic Unit
at Skaggs Island Naval Communications Center, and published on August 9 by the San
Francisco Chronicle and the Vallejo Times-Herald. 16

The cryptogram sent to the San Francisco Chronicle


The letters covering the cipher blocks were checked unsuccessfully for fingerprints by the
Vallejo and San Francisco police; they found none, though one print may have been
developed on a cipher-block. As happened after the Bates murder, local police contacted
the FBI for aid in the investigation, and as in the Bates case the federal interest here was
possible extortion. In fact, many FBI reports still classify the case under the original
extortion heading.

A little-known letter containing a key to the cryptogram was sent anonymously to the
Vallejo Police on August 10, one day after the Harden solution was made public. It was
postmarked San Francisco, and the typewritten address was to a VPD sergeant. The key
was handwritten on a sheet of white paper, and was accompanied by a short typewritten
note on a 3x5 index card expressing hope that "the enclosed key will prove beneficial to
you in connection with the cipher letter writer." It was signed " concerned citizen." The
key was described in an FBI report as "generally valid" and "substantially accurate", 17
but this is unsurprising since the author probably read the decryption in the newspaper and
simply made his own key letter by letter. One useful palmprint was found on the
envelope, 18 but it was never matched to any individual.

By August 2, all three cipher blocks had been printed. "We're not satisfied that the letter
was written by the murderer, but it could have been," said the Vallejo Chief of Police Jack
E. Stiltz, requesting another letter "with more facts to prove it". 19 In response, a second
letter was mailed to the San Francisco Examiner 20 on August 1 or 2, and received on
August 4. It was in this three-page letter that the killer first referred to himself as "The

Cryptogram sent to the San Francisco Examiner

This is the Zodiac speaking. In answer to your asking for more details about the good
times I have had in Vallejo, I shall be very happy to supply even more material. By the
way, are the police having a good time with the code? If not, tell them to cheer up; when
they do crack it, they will have me.

On the 4th of July: I did not open the car door. The window was rolled down all ready.
The boy was origionaly sitting in the frunt seat when I began fireing. When I fired the first
shot at his head, he leaped backwards at the same time, thus spoiling my aim. He ended up
on the back seat then the floor in back thashing out very violently with his legs; that's how
I shot him in the knee. I did not leave the cene of the killing with squealing tires + raceing
engine as described in the Vallejo paper. I drove away quite slowly so as not to draw
attention to my car. The man who told police that my car was brown was a negro about
40-45 rather shabbly dressed. I was in this phone booth having some fun with the Vallejo
cop when he was walking by. When I hung the phone up the damn thing began to ring &
that drew his attention to me + my car.

Last Christmass In that epasode the police were wondering how I could shoot + hit my
victims in the dark. They did not openly state this, but implied this by saying it was a well
lit night + I could see silowets on the horizon. Bullshit that area is srounded by high hills +
trees. What I did was tape a small pencel flash light to the barrel of my gun. If you notice,
in the center of the beam of light if you aim it at a wall or ceiling you will see a black or
darck spot in the center of the circle of light about 3 to 6 inches across. When taped to a
gun barrel, the bullet will strike in the center of the black dot in the light. All I had to do
was spray them as if it was a water hose; there was no need to use the gun sights. I was
not happy to see that I did not get front page coverage.

No address

Police were unsuccessful in developing latent fingerprints on the first set of letters;
perhaps as a result, this latest letter was submitted directly to the FBI crime lab, which
determined that the letter was written on Woolworth's "Fifth Avenue" brand paper. The
lab found useful prints on its second and third pages, but they have never been matched to
a suspect.

Vallego Footnotes

1. Autopsy report, Office of the Coroner of Solano County, 21 December 1968

2. Mike R. of NJ, email to the author, May 2000

3. Tom Voigt,, December 1998

4. Robert Graysmith, Zodiac, p.12

5. Ed Rust, Vallejo Police Department report, 6 July 1969

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid.

8. Robert Graysmith, Zodiac, p. 38; Calif. Department of Justice, Special Report: Zodiac
Homicides, 1971.

9. John Lynch, Vallejo Police Department Report, 5 July 1969; John Lynch, Vallejo
Police Department Report, 6 July 1969; Ed Rust, Vallejo Police Department Report, 7
July 1969

10. John Lynch, Vallejo Police Department report, 11 July 1969

11. Richard Hoffman, Vallejo Police Department Report, 5 July 1969; Ed Rust, Vallejo
Police Department Report, 6 July 1969; "Badly Wounded Youth Holds Key to Gun
Mystery" (Vallejo Times-Herald, 6 July 1969); Dave Peterson, "Killer's Sole Survivvor
Talks" (Vallejo News-Chronicle, 19 August 1969).

12. Sgt. Odiorne, Vallejo Police Department Report, 5 July 1969. Contrary to the
account offered by author Robert Graysmith, there is no evidence that calls were made to
Darlene's or Dean's families.

13. Pam Huckaby, February 1998

14. Nancy Slover, Vallejo Police Department report, 8 July 1969

15. The booth was not across the street from Darlene's Virginia Street house, as depicted
in Graysmith's Zodiac. Acoording to researcher Ed N, it was "down the street, around the
corner, and about eight ... blocks north along Tuoloumne at the intersection of Springs,
about half a mile" from the Ferrin residence.

16. "A 'Murder Code' Broken" (San Francisco Chronicle, 9 August 1969)

17. FBI Lab report, 18 August 1969; FBI Lab report 20 August 1969

18. FBI Lab report, 20 August 1969

19. "Coded Clue in Murders" (San Francisco Chronicle, 2 August 1969)

20. Ed N,, September 2000. While researcher Tom Voigt quotes
a California Department of Justice report stating that this letter was received by the San
Francisco Chronicle, the Chronicle never reports receiving it. An article in the competing
Examiner, however, does mention that it was received at the Examiner (Vallejo Threats:
'Cipher Killer's' New Letter," San Francisco Examiner, 4 August 1969), indicating that the
DOJ made a minor mistake. This would appear to be borne out by an FBI Airtel dated 6
August 1969 which lists an "undated three page letter .... sent anonymously to the San
Francisco Examiner."

Lake Berryessa

Napa County Sheriff's Department Case #105907

The next attack came on Saturday, September 27, 1969, on the western shore of Lake
Berryessa, about 60 miles northeast of San Francisco in Napa County. At about 3:00 pm,
three young women from Angwin had just pulled into a parking area near the lake when a
man driving a light blue, two-door Chevrolet with California plates, probably a 1966
model, pulled up beside them, drove forward a short distance, and then backed up so that
he was right next to their car. Without leaving his car, he sat looking downward, as if
pretending to read something.

The women walked down to the lakeshore and had been sunbathing for about half an hour
when they noticed the same man watching them. They later described him as "clean cut
and nice looking". 1 about six feet tall and over 200 pounds, with short dark hair parted
on the side. He wore a black short sleeved sweatshirt over a tee shirt with dark blue or
black slacks. He watched them silently for another 20 minutes or so, smoking cigarettes,
then walked off. When the women returned to their car at around 4:30, the stranger's car
was gone.

The Napa County Sheriffs Department briefly investigated another encounter at the lake.
It occurred at about 6:30, when a local dentist and his son well north of the crime scene
noticed a man walking nearby who met the general description given by the young
women. When this man saw the father and son and realized that he had been noticed, he
turned around and walked away from them. It was initially thought that he might have
been involved in the Zodiacs next attack, but detectives determined that the unidentified
man did not have a car in the area, and it would have been impossible for him to arrive at
the crime scene in time. 2
Cecilia Shepard

Cecelia Ann Shepard and Bryan Calvin Hartnell, two college students who had also made
a spontaneous trip from Angwin, were picnicking at Twin Oak Ridge, 3 a peninsula on the
western shore of the lake, at twilight when they were approached by a man later described
as 5'8" to 6' tall, dark-haired, and heavyset, wearing a dark jacket and dark clothing that
seemed sloppy or dishevelled. Cecelia, who saw the man first, noted that he was wearing
glasses. He seemed to Hartnell at the time to be "in his thirties and fairly unremarkable", 4
though the young man would describe a larger and possibly younger individual after
getting a closer and more dangerous look.

Before getting too close to the couple, he ducked behind one of the two nearby trees, put
on an unusual four-cornered hood, and emerged about 20 feet away. The hood was well
sewn, black, and had a bib that fell almost to the man's waistline. Embroidered on it was
the crossed-circle design that had appeared in the 3-Part Cryptogram and its cover letters
and would serve as the Zodiac's signature in most of his letters to come. Holes had been
cut for the eyes and mouth, and though clip-on sunglasses had been added to further
protect the killer's identity, Hartnell caught a glimpse of greasy brownish hair through the
holes in the mask. On his belt, he wore a long knife in a wooden sheath and an empty
leather holster. A large semiautomatic pistol was in his right hand and he pointed it at
Shepard and Hartnell as he spoke.
Brian Hartnell

"I want your money and your car keys," he said in a calm monotone. "I want your car to
go to Mexico". 5 Hartnell handed him the keys to his Volkswagen and all the change
from his pockets. The man pocketed the coins and dropped the keys on the picnic
blanket, then holstered his weapon. Hartnell made a vague offer of help to the man in
order to escape injury, to which the man responded, "No. Time's running short." The
man then stated that he was an escaped convict from the Pacific Northwest, that he had
killed a prison guard there, and that he had "a stolen car and nothing to lose. I'm flat

Though the town mentioned by the killer is generally given as Deer Lodge, Montana, a
reliable source reports that the state was not Montana but Colorado. An early interview
with Hartnell has the badly wounded student saying that he can't remember the exact name
of the town, but that it "had some double name, like Fern Lock or something." His
interviewer suggests "Lodge," and Hartnell agrees. 6 "Deer Lodge" was then suggested as
a northwest city with a federal penitentiary, and the victim said, "That could be it, I
guess". 7 Subsequent inquiries to the northwestern authorities revealed that there had
been no such jailbreak or murder. Hartnell, who survived the attack, said that the man's
voice was unremarkable, sounding neither educated nor illiterate, and though Hartnell
could not detect an accent, he said the killer did have a slight lilt or drawl to his voice. 8

Still hoping for a peaceful resolution, Hartnell tried to relax the man by talking to him, and
they spoke for a few minutes about his car before the man removed some of the
clothesline from his belt and ordered Shepard to hogtie her friend. Hartnell balked at the
idea, and the man began to shout, "Get down! Right now! 9 Shepard acquiesced, and as
she did so, she took out her wallet and tossed it to the man, who ignored it. When she
was finished, the hooded man tied her up and tightened the knots that she had used on
Hartnell. It was at this point that the young man noticed that his attacker's hands were
shaking, and that he seemed very nervous. "I'm going to have to stab you people," the
stranger told them.

"I couldn't stand to see her stabbed," Hartnell responded. "Stab me first". 10

"I'll do just that," the killer replied.

The knife he used was double-edged and about a foot long, possibly a bayonet. It has
been described as looking made or repaired by hand, with wooden handle slabs, two brass
rivets, and white tape where the guard would normally be. Hartnell was stabbed six times,
and a retired police source confirms a fatal ten for Shepard, who died of her wounds two
days later. Leaving them both for dead, the attacker walked to Hartnell's nearby car and,
using a black magic marker, inscribed his crossed-circle logo and the dates of his Bay Area
attacks on the door.

Sept 27-69-6:30
by knife

Detectives later found a series of clear footprints leading to and from the scene of the
attack. The shoes that formed them were determined to have been Wing Walkers, a style
of low-cut military boot, size 10 ½. Set deep in the sand, the prints suggested a heavy

Just as he had after the Blue Rock Springs attack, the killer later drove to a pay phone and
placed a call through the Operator to the local police. The call came through the Napa
Police Department switchboard at 7:40 pm, a little over an hour after the attack. The call
was traced to a pay phone outside a car wash at 1231 Main Street in Napa. As was the
case in Vallejo, the booth was near the station. Evidence technicians later found a clear
palm-print on the receiver, the print man was so nervous that he smudged it during the
lifting process and any evidentiary value was ruined. 11 In a calm voice, the caller said, "I
want to report a murder -- no, a double murder. They are two miles north of Park
Headquarters. They were in a white Volkswagen Kharmann Ghia." When the
switchboard operator asked where he was calling from, he said quietly, "I'm the one that
did it." Then, perhaps to facilitate a trace or perhaps to avoid the kind of attention he had
recounted in his letter to the Examiner, he simply dropped the receiver and walked away,
never again to refer directly to this attack.

Lake Berryessa Footnotes

1. Ray Land, Napa County Sheriff's Department Report, 29 September 1969

2. Kenneth Narlow & Richard Lonergan, Napa County Sheriffs Department Report, 5
October 1969. This account appears to be the inspiration for a similar but apocryphal
story in Graysmiths Zodiac.

3. The location given by Robert Graysmith as the site of the attack is incorrect. Twin
Oak Ridge, confirmed by Ken Narlow as the true site, is actually a short walk north of the
peninsula diagrammed in ZODIAC (Mike R, 1999)

4. Robert Graysmith, ZODIAC, p.317

5. Ibid., p.68

6. Brian Hartnell, interview with Det. Sgt. John Robertson, Napa County Sheriff's
Department, 28 September 1969

7. Kenneth Narlow & Richard Lonergan, Napa County Sheriffs Department Report, 5
October 1969

8. Brian Hartnell, interview with Det. Sgt. John Robertson, Napa County Sheriff's
Department, 28 September 1969

9. Ibid.

10. Kenneth Narlow & Richard Lonergan, Napa County Sheriffs Department Report, 5
October 1969. Hartnell's oft-quoted statement, "I'm chicken," may have been an
embellishment added by Ranger William White, who used the phrase on television shortly
after the attack. No record of the word is shown in any interview with Hartnell.

11. Tom Voigt,, September 2000. Of all the prints found, the palm
print was "the only one they had confidence in," according to Voigt.
The Zodiac Killer

San Francisco

SFPD Homicide Case #696314
Paul Stine

On the night of Saturday, October 11, 1969, San Francisco cab driver Paul Stine picked
up a fare at the corner of Mason and Geary Streets in Union Square headed for the
Presidio, which lies at the northern tip of the San Francisco peninsula. The destination
that Stine entered in his log and called in to his dispatcher was at the corner of
Washington and Maple Streets in Presidio Heights. The cab was parked one block west,
however, at the intersection of Washington and Cherry Streets, when the passenger shot
Stine point blank in the right side of the head. Whether the killer had made the trip in the
front seat or got in front after the murder is uncertain, but witnesses saw him in front as he
removed the dead man's wallet and keys, and then cut a large piece from the back of his
shirt which he soaked in blood and took with him as he walked slowly north on Cherry

Three teenage siblings on the second floor of 3899 Washington, directly across the street
from the cab, happened to spot the killer as he cut Stine's shirt and suspected foul play.
They watched him exit the cab and wipe down parts of the cab's interior and exterior,
briefly leaning on the driver's side doorframe. They called the police, who logged the call
at 9:58 p.m. and broadcast an incorrect description of the killer as a black male.
Consequently, when patrolmen Donald Foukes and Eric Zelms responded in a radio car
and noticed a heavyset white man sauntering east on Jackson Street, they made no effort
to apprehend him. Despite the intensive search of the area that followed, the killer's head
start allowed him to escape, probably to a nearby getaway car.

Foukes made a statement about his recollection of the incident, recorded in an SFPD
memo dated November 12,1969: "The suspect that was observed by Officer Foukes was a
WMA 35-45 Yrs about 5' 10", 180-200 lbs. Medium heavy build -- Barrel chested --
Medium complexion -- Light-colored hair possibly greying in rear (May have been lighting
that caused this effect.) (Navy or royal blue) Elastic cuffs and waistband zipped part way
up. Brown wool pants pleated type baggy in rear (Rust brown). May have been wearing
low cut shoes.

"Subject at no time appeared to be in a hurry walking with a shuffling lope, Slightly bent
foreward head now. The subject's general appearance to classify him as a group would be
that he might be of Welsh ancestry." 1

During shooting for a documentary on the case in the mid 1980s, Foukes stated that "The
individual I saw that night was a white male adult approximately 35 to 45 years of age, 5
feet 10 inches, 180 to 210 lbs. Since we were looking for a negro male adult, we
proceeded on Jackson Street toward Arguello, continuing our search. As we arrived at
Arguello Street, the description was changed to a white male adult. Believing that this
suspect was possibly the one involved in the shooting, we entered the Presidio of San
Francisco and conducted a search on West Pacific Avenue on the opposite side of the wall
in the last direction we observed the suspect going. We did not find the suspect". 2 Mel
Nicolai, a former Special Agent for the California Department of Justice who worked on
all but the Lake Herman Road Zodiac murders, is quoted as saying that Foukes' and
Zelms' first broadcast description of the man they saw was even taller, between 6' and 6'2",
and over 200 lbs. 3

An apocryphal passage in Robert Graysmith's book Zodiac has the officers going so far as
to stop the man and ask him if he had seen anything strange in the past few minutes, but
this conversation is not noted in any of the subsequent police reports. In no known
interview does either Foukes or Zelms mention any exchange of words with the
unidentified subject, and the story may have been based only on a forthcoming letter from
the killer. While dramatic, the Zodiac's account of the night's events cannot be confirmed,
and may well be a prevarication. On the other hand, such an encounter and its
repercussions would be a tremendous embarrassment to the SFPD on several levels, and if
this incident did in fact occur then a concerted effort would certainly have been made to
keep it under wraps.

The bullet that killed Stine was mistyped at the scene as a .38, but later ballistics tests
determined it to be a 9mm. It was not, however, the same 9mm used for the Blue Rock
Springs attack. The latent impressions of thirty fingers, three palms, and one lower finger
or palm were found in and on the cab. Found on the passenger's side front door handle,
the finger/palm print was relatively clear and crime lab technicians believed it was left by
the killer, though the possibility exists that one of the police, firemen, or lab technicians at
the scene could inadvertently have left it. Certain other prints, none of such clarity, were
actually left in blood, and "are also believed to be prints of the suspect," according to a
San Francisco Police memo. 4 In any event, none of these prints have yet matched any of
the millions filed in the National Crime Identification Computer database maintained by
the FBI. Also recovered from the cab was a pair of men's leather gloves in a size 7
(XXL), though it remains uncertain whether they were left by the killer.5

Two days later, the Chronicle received a letter from the Zodiac claiming responsibility for
the murder. The return address on the envelope was the crossed-circle design, and
enclosed with the letter was a swatch of Paul Stine's bloody shirt. Three latent fingerprints
were developed on the paper by the SFPD crime lab, but remain unmatched to any

This is the Zodiac speaking. I am the murderer of the taxi driver over by Washington St +
Maple St last night, to prove this here is a blood stained piece of his shirt. I am the same
man who did in the people in the north bay area. The S.F. Police could have caught me
last night if they had searched the park properly instead of holding road races with their
motorcicles seeing who could make the most noise. The car drivers should have just
parked their cars and sat there quietly waiting for me to come out of cover. School
children make nice targets, I think I shall wipe out a school bus some morning. Just shoot
out the frunt tire + then pick off the kiddies as they come bouncing out.

The Zodiac would send three swatches of the bloody fabric, but 104 square inches of Paul
Stine's shirt are still unaccounted for.

Thus far, authorities had observed the Zodiac to follow a few vague patterns. He had
always attacked after sundown on weekends, always attacked young couples in or near
their cars, and always attacked in remote suburban areas near water. If he could now
break his pattern by shooting a lone 29-year-old male in downtown San Francisco, they
felt, then there was no reason why he couldn't follow through on his threat to "wipe out a
school bus;" within days, Bay area bus drivers had received special instructions on how to
react if fired upon.

The school bus threat was one that the Zodiac would return to in different forms. At the
urging of the San Francisco Police, the Chronicle suppressed the threat for a week; on
October 18, a police composite sketch based on the teenage witnesses' testimony was
amended according to the descriptions given by the responding patrolmen at Cherry Street
and was distributed with the full content of the letter.

It was during this time that the Zodiac case began to garner exceptional press coverage,
and tips to the killer's identity poured in from points as far as Houston, Atlanta, and St.
Louis. At the same time, homicide detectives along the West Coast began to consider the
Bay Area killer as a suspect in their unsolved cases. Among these were L.T. Kinkead and
H.L. Homsher of the Riverside, CA, Police Department, and they forwarded a summary of
the 1966 Bates murder to investigators in Napa, Solano, and San Francisco Counties. 6
The summary was lost in the shuffle for over a year.

The Zodiac's next mailing was sent to the Chronicle in early November in an envelope
stamped with double the necessary postage and the instruction "Please Rush to Editor."
Inside were a "Jesters" brand greeting card and another lengthy cipher. This letter marked
the first appearance of what appeared to be a body count, a number that rose steadily with
each new mailing. No evidence of any kind, however, suggests that the Zodiac was
responsible for any murders beyond the six commonly attributed to him. The Zodiac also
sent a second swatch of Paul Stine's bloody shirt in November, but it is unclear whether it
was enclosed with this letter or the one that followed it.

This is the Zodiac speaking I though you would need a good laugh before you get the bad
news you won't get the news for a while yet

PS could you print this new cipher on your frunt page? I get awfully lonely when I am
ignored, so lonely I could do my Thing!!!!!!

Des July Aug Sept Oct = 7

A few days later, he sent a longer letter that included a schematic drawing of a "death
machine" that he claimed to have rigged and ready. It was designed to blow up buses.
The Chronicle received both of these letters on Monday, November 10, 1969, and passed
them on to police after making copies for themselves. A source at SFPD was "of opinion
one or more latent prints may be developed" on this letter, but no finding was ever made

This is the Zodiac speaking up to the end of Oct I have killed 7 people. I have grown
rather angry with the police for their telling lies about me. So I shall change the way the
collecting of slaves. I shall no longer announce to anyone. When I committ my murders,
they shall look like routine robberies, killings of anger, + a few fake accidents, etc.

The police shall never catch me, because I have been too clever for them.

1 I look like the description passed out only when I do my thing, the rest of the time I look
entirle different. I shall not tell you what my descise consists of when I kill

2 As of yet I have left no fingerprints behind me contrary to what the police say in my
killings I wear transparent fingertip guards. All it is is 2 coats of airplane cement coated on
my fingertips -- quite unnoticible + very efective

3 my killing tools have been boughten through the mail order outfits before the ban went
into efect. Except one & it was bought out of the state. So as you can see the police don't
have much to work on. If you wonder why I was wipeing the cab down I was leaving fake
clews for the police to run all over town with, as one might say, I gave the cops som bussy
work to do to keep them happy. I enjoy needling the blue pigs. Hey blue pig I was in the
park -- you were useing fire trucks to mask the sound of your cruzeing prowl cars. The
dogs never came with in 2 blocks of me + they were to the west + there was only 2 groups
of parking about 10 min apart then the motor cicles went by about 150 ft away going
from south to north west

p.s. 2 cops pulled a goof abot 3 min after I left the cab. I was walking down the hill to the
park when this cop car pulled up + one of them called me over + asked if I saw anyone
acting suspicious or strange in the last 5 to 10 min + I said yes there was this man who
was runnig by waveing a gun & the cops peeled rubber + went around the corner as I
directed them + I disappeared into the park a block + a half away never to be seen again.
[This section has been marked off with the note "must print in paper."]

Hey pig doesnt it rile you up to have your noze rubed in your booboos?

If you cops think I'm going to take on a bus the way I stated I was, you deserve to have
holes in your heads. Take one bag of ammonium nitrate fertilizer + 1 gal of stove oil &
dump a few bags of gravel on top + then set the shit off + will positivily ventalate any
thing that should be in the way of the blast.

The death machine is all ready made. I would have sent you pictures but you would be
nasty enough to trace them back to developer + then to me, so I shall describe my
masterpiece to you. The nice part of it is all the parts can be bought on the open market
with no questions asked.

1 bat. Pow clock -- will run for aprox 1 year
1 photoelectric switch
2 copper leaf springs
2 6V car bat
1 flash light bulb + reflector
1 mirror
2 18" cardboard tubes black with shoe polish inside + oute

the system checks out from one end to the other in my tests. What you do not know is
whether the death machine is at the sight or whether it is being stored in my basement for
future use. I think you do not have the manpower to stop this one by continually searching
the road sides looking for this thing. + it wont do to re roat + re schedule the busses
because the bomb can be adapted to new conditions.

[Here the Zodiac's crossed-circle has been modified with five Xs drawn along the symbol's
left side]

Have fun!! By the way it could be rather messy if you try to bluff me.

PS. Be shure to print the part I marked out on page 3 or I shall do my thing.

To prove that I am the Zodiac, Ask the Vallejo cop about my electric gun sight which I
used to start my collecting of slaves.

No explanation was given for the marks along the Zodiac symbol's perimeter, but it was
assumed that each one represented a murdered victim. At this time, the Bates murder had
not yet been linked to the Zodiac, and this has been seen as a suggestion that the Bay Area
killer was not responsible for the murder in Riverside. This drawing remained unpublished
until 1996, when Douglas Oswell and Michael Rusconi posted it on the World Wide Web.

Famed personal injury lawyer Melvin Belli, who had been the butt of a Zodiac hoax earlier
in the year, received a Christmas card at his home on December 27. It was forwarded to
his office where a secretary opened it and found yet another piece of Paul Stine's bloody
shirt. The back of the envelope was decorated with the greeting "Mery Xmass + New

Dear Melvin

This is the Zodiac speaking I wish you a happy Christmass. The one thing I ask of you is
this, please help me. I cannot reach out because of this thing in me won't let me. I am
finding it extreamly dificult to keep in check I am afraid I will loose control again and take
my nineth + posibly tenth victom. Please help me I am drownding. At the moment the
children are safe from the bomb because it is so massive to dig in & the trigger mech
requires so much work to get it adjusted just right. But if I hold back too long from no
nine I will loose complet [crossed out] all controol of my self + set the bomb up. Please
help me I can not remain in control for much longer.

Perhaps out of wishful thinking, it was assumed that the killer wrote this letter in a rare
lucid moment, but a cursory examination of the original document and the envelope it
arrived in plainly shows that it was meticulously arranged, with a perfect left margin and
uniformly spaced lines. Even the crossing-out of the word "complet" seems too neat to be
spontaneous. The author can also be seen to deliberately alter his handwriting, though his
natural style appears to show through near the end.

Despite the gratuitous publicity events that Belli staged in the weeks that followed, the
Zodiac never contacted him again. Nothing more was heard from the killer for three

San Francisco Footnotes

1. Robert Graysmith, "Subject: The Zodiac Killer" (, 7 December 1999)

2. Crimes of the Century, HBO, 1988

3. Tom Voigt,, 1999

4. Insp. Toschi or Armstrong, SFPD Intra-Departmental Memorandum, 19 October 1969

5. California Dept. of Justice, Special Report: Zodiac Homicides, 1971

6. Chief LT Kinkead, letter to Sheriff Earl Randol, 20 October 1969

7. FBI Airtel to Identification Division, 10 November 1969

8. The diagram can now be found in their CD-ROM, Dr. Zodiac.
The Zodiac Killer

Highway 132

San Joaquin County Sheriff-Coroner's Office Case #70-7475

Early in the evening of Sunday, March 22, 1970, Kathleen Johns, 23, was driving with her
infant daughter Jennifer on Highway 132 in San Joaquin County, several miles west of
Modesto, when a man in a light-colored American car started honking his horn and
blinking his lights at her. Driving alongside her car, he said that one of her wheels was
wobbling and volunteered to fix it. He followed her as she pulled over at Bird Road, a
turn-off just west of Interstate 5, then got out with a lug wrench and pretended to tighten
the nuts on her right rear wheel. In fact, he removed them, and when Johns tried to drive
off, the whole wheel spun loose. Again, the man offered help, this time in the form of a
ride to a nearby service station.

She accepted, and they continued in the man's car westward on 132 until he pulled into a
Richfield station at Chrisman Road. It was closed, and there followed an hour and a half
or more of silent and apparently aimless driving through the city of Tracy and its rural
environs. As they passed occasional other service stations, she asked a few times "What's
wrong with this station," or "Why can't we go in that station," to which he replied that it
was not the right one. A police report states, "she said she was very scared of this man,
did want to get out, but did not tell him to stop the vehicle or let her out". 1

Ms. Johns soon realized that the stranger wasn't taking her to any service station, and
asked him if he always went around helping people like this. The man responded, "By the
time I get through with them, they won't need my help". 2 From time to time he would
slow down, as if he were about to pull over, and then would speed up again. Finally, he
stopped the car short at a stop sign, and Johns took the opportunity to escape. She held
her baby tightly and jumped from the car, running across a nearby field and up an
embankment where she hid in the shadows. The man turned his headlights off, moved his
car a few feet, and waited silently without leaving the car. After about five minutes, he
turned his lights back on and drove away.

Ms. Johns was soon picked up by a passing Samaritan. When she made it to the local
police station in Patterson, Ms Johns recognized the man who had sabotaged her wheel as
the man in the composite sketch of the Zodiac, which appeared in a Wanted poster that
hung prominently in the office. The desk sergeant, perhaps terrified at the prospect of a
confrontation with a villain on the level of Dr. Octopus or the Joker, had Johns wait alone
in a nearby cafe for several hours until her car could be returned. The sergeant broadcast
the car's last known location, and a Stanislaus County Sheriff's Deputy found it thoroughly
burned and still smoldering -- the abductor had returned to the car and set it on fire,
destroying everything inside. Some sources report that Johns' car was moved to another
location before being torched. However, the car's hubcap was found nearby, meaning that
if the car had been moved then the man responsible had gone to the unlikely trouble of
bringing it with him, if not reattaching the hubcap, driving to the new location, removing
the hubcap again, and discarding it before igniting the car. Given that the police reports
make no mention of any trouble finding the car near the Interstate intersection, it seems
safe to assume that the car was never moved.

Ms. Johns' accounts of the night's events have varied over the years, and differ from
interview to interview. The most dramatic version, and the most familiar, is the one
recounted in a San Francisco Chronicle article by Paul Avery that appeared eight months
after the incident, 3 which has the man overtly threatening both the woman and her baby,
and getting out of his car with a flashlight after her escape. This version of the story is the
one that appears in Robert Graysmith's ZODIAC. It should be remembered that Ms.
Johns told two seperate police officers shortly after her abduction that the man simply
closed the car door and drove away. 4 Moreover, articles published in the Modesto Bee
and San Francisco Examiner in the days after the incident match the police reports. In the
late 1990s, after identifying two different and dissimilar men as her abductor, Johns
admitted that she couldn't even remember if she had been legally married at the time, and
that her memory could not be trusted to make a case against any particular suspect.

Highway 132 Footnotes

1. Officer Bauer, San Joaquin County Sheriff-Coroner's Office report, March 1970

2. Ibid.

3. Paul Avery. "New Clues Link Zodiac to Earlier Killing," San Francisco Chronicle, 16
November 1970
4. Officer Bauer, San Joaquin County Sheriff-Coroner's Office report, March 1970; Jim
Lovett, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department report, 23 March 1970

The Summer of '70

The abduction attempt near Modesto was the last time anyone knowingly saw the Zodiac
in person. His letter-writing campaign, however, was to continue for some time. The
next mailing was sent to the Chronicle on April 20th, and included a short code and the
plans for a modified bus bomb.

This is the Zodiac Speaking By the way have you cracked the last cipher I sent you? My
name is --

I am mildly cerous as to how much money you have on my head now. I hope you do not
think that I was the one who wiped out that blue meannie with a bomb at the cop station.
Even though I talked about killing school children with one. It just wouldn't doo to move
in on someone else's teritory. But there is more glory in killing a cop than a cid because a
cop can shoot back. I have killed ten people to date. It would have been a lot more
except that my bus bomb was a dud. I was swamped out by the rain we had a while back.

The new bomb is set up like this

PS I hope you have fun trying to figgure out who I killed

[crossed-circle] 10 SFPD - 0

Although the word "cerous" in this letter is routinely corrected as a misspelling of
"curious," it is in fact an English word defined by Webster as "Of, relating to, or
containing cerium." Cerium is the most abundant of the rare-earth elements, number 58
on the periodic table. The phrase "blue meanie" is almost certainly a reference to the
uniformed ogres in The Beatles' animated film, The Yellow Submarine, which was
released in 1968; it soon gained popularity as a counter-culture euphemism for police.

The latest bus threat went unreported until later that month, when a note arrived at the
Chronicle demanding its publication. Postmarked 28 April 1970, the note was written on a
"Jolly Roger" brand greeting card featuring a cartoon prospector riding a dragon and the
pun "Sorry to hear your ass is a dragon."
Dragon Postcard

The dragon postcard

I hope you enjoy your selves when I have my Blast

P.S. on back

If you don't want me to have this blast you must do two things. 1 Tell everyone about the
bus bomb with all the details. 2 I would like to see some nice Zodiac butons wandering
about town. Every one else has these buttons like, [peace symbol], black power, Melvin
eats bluber, etc. Well it would cheer me up considerably if I saw a lot of people wearing
my buton. Please no nasty ones like Melvin's

Thank you

An unspecified number of latent fingerprints were developed on this card and its envelope
by San Francisco Police evidence technicians shortly after its receipt. One SFPD
Inspector noted that, while the envelope prints could have been left by a mail carrier, the
prints on the card itself were probably those of the Zodiac 1

The slogan "Melvin eats bluber" may have its roots in an old novelty button favored by at
least one college English professor that read "Melville Eats Blubber." The bomb threat
was finally revealed to the public on April 29, 1970, but the schematics (described as
"dubious" 2) were not published until 1986, when they were reproduced in Graysmith's

The next letter was sent to the Chronicle on June 26. It contained another code and a
Phillips 66 road map of the Bay Area, which was annotated with a stylized clock face
drawn on the summit of Mount Diablo. The design was basically the Zodiac's
crossed-circle with a zero at the top, a numeral three on the right side, a six at the bottom,
and a nine on the left. According to the annotation, the zero " is to be set to Mag. N."

This is the Zodiac Speaking

I have become very angry with the people of the San Fran Bay Area. They have not
complied with my wishes for them to wear some nice [crossed-circle] buttons. I
promiced to punish them if they did not comply, by anilating a full School Buss. But now
school is out for the summer, so I punished them in another way. I shot a man sitting in a
parked car with a .38.

The Map coupled with this code will tell you where the bomb is set. You have untill next
Fall to dig it up.

The only Bay Area shooting in recent memory that had been committed with a .38-caliber
weapon was that of SFPD Officer Richard Radetich, who was shot to death in his car
while writing out a traffic ticket six days before this letter was postmarked. A witness to
the murder identified ex-convict Joseph Wesley Johnson, a black man who bore no
resemblance to any description of the Zodiac, as the shooter, and SFPD officials were
adamant that the letter's claim was false. Most investigators agree that the Zodiac was
capitalizing on Radetich's murder and wrote the letter without the knowledge that police
had already identified a suspect.

* * *

A short note that seemed to confirm Kathleen Johns' claim was sent to the Chronicle on
July 24, 1970. Although several Bay Area newspapers had reported on Johns' abduction,
only the relatively small Modesto Bee included the detail that her car had been burned, and
many cite this as evidence that it truly was the Zodiac that Ms. Johns rode with. Sent with
this note was a lengthy perversion of the song "I've Got a Little List" from Gilbert &
Sullivan's musical, The Mikado. Its postscript refers back to the June letter and its
unsolved 32-character cipher.

This is the Zodiac speaking

I am rather unhappy because you people will not wear some nice [crossed-circle] buttons.
So now I have a little list, starting with that woeman + her baby that I gave a rather
interesting ride for a coupple howers one evening a few months back that ended in my
burning her car where I found them.

As someday it may happen that a victom must be found. I've got a little list. I've got a
little list, of society offenders who might well be underground who would never be missed
who would never be missed. There is the pestulentual nucences who whrite for
autographs, all people who have flabby hands and irritating laughs. All children who are
up in dates and implore you with im platt. All people who are shaking hands shake hands
like that. And all third persons who with unspoiling take thos who insist. They'd none of
them be missed. They'd none of them be missed. There's the banjo seranader and the
others of his race and the piano orginast I got him on the list. All people who eat
pepermint and phomphit in your face, they would never be missed. They would never be
missed And the Idiout who phraises with inthusiastic tone of centuries but this and every
country but his own. And the lady from the provences who dress like a guy who doesn't
cry and the singurly abnomily the girl who never kissed. I don't think she would be missed
Im shure she wouldn't be missed. And that nice impriest that is rather rife the judicial
hummerist I've got him on the list All funny fellows, commic men and clowns of private
life. They'd none of them be missed. They'd none of them be missed. And
uncompromising kind such as wachamacallit, thingmebob, and like wise, well-nevermind,
and tut tut tut tut, and whatshisname, and you know who, but the task of filling up the
blanks I rather leave up to you. But it really doesn't matter whom you place upon the list,
for none of them be missed, none of them be missed.

PS. The Mount Diablo Code concerns Radians + # inches along the radians.

A radian is a specific angular measurement based on the transcendental number pi. It is
equal to a circle (or 360 degrees) divided by 2pi (or 6.23818...). The resulting degree,
whose legs are equal in length to the length of the arc they form, is equal to 57.29578...

Two days later, exactly one month after the Mount Diablo letter, the Zodiac sent his
thirteenth mailing, devoted to the tortures that his slaves would undergo in the afterlife.
The penultimate sentence is another corruption of The Mikado.

This is the Zodiac speaking

Being that you will not wear some nice [crossed-circle] buttons, how about wearing some
nasty [crossed-circle] buttons. Or any kind of [crossed-circle] buttons you can think up.
If you do not wear any type of [crossed-circle] buttons, I shall (on top of everything else)
torture all 13 of my slaves that I have waiting for me in Paradice. Some I shall tie over ant
hills and watch them scream + twich and squirm. Others shall have pine splinters driven
under their nails + then burned. Others shall be placed in cages + fed salt beef untill they
are gorged then I shall listen to their pleass for water and I shall laugh at them. Others
will hang by their thumbs + burn in the sun then I will rub them down with deep heat to
warm them up. Others I shall skin them alive + let them run around screaming. And all
billiard players I shall have them play in a darkened dungen cell with crooked cues +
Twisted Shoes. Yes I shall have great fun in flicting the most delicious of pain to my

Summer of '70 Footnotes

1. FBI Airtel from San Francisco SAC to Identification Division, 8 May 1970

2. Robert Graysmith, ZODIAC, p. 148
The Zodiac Killer

The Riverside Connection

After a few months' silence, October brought two more cards from the Zodiac. One, a
postcard with a collage on its face and 13 holes punched through it, was postmarked on
October 5, 1970. In words and letters cut from magazines and newspapers it was
addressed simply to "San Francisco Chronicle, S.F." and read:

Dear Editor,
You'll hate me, but I've got to tell you.
The pace isn't any slower! In fact it's just one big thirteenth
"Some of them fought it was horrible"
P.S. There are reports city police pig cops are closeing in on me. Fk I'm crackproof, What
is the price tag now?


Though originally dismissed as a hoax, certain phrases from this card are repeated in later
confirmed Zodiac letters, particularly the word "crackproof," which would appear in a
letter to the Los Angeles Times five months later. The juxtaposition of the letters "FK"
also repeat in the Zodiac literature, frequently in the two long ciphers and in the
hieroglyph that closes the "Exorcist" letter of 1974. Literary analysis notwithstanding, the
card was soon judged to be genuine because it announced a body count of 13 -- the
number given in the Zodiac's last letter, which had not been made public.
Halloween greeting card

The Halloween greeting card

The other mailing, sent October 27, was a customized Halloween greeting card, and it was
addressed personally to Paul Avery at the Chronicle, though his name was misspelled on
the envelope as "Averly." Inside the envelope, written twice very lightly in the shape of an
X, was the comment "Sorry no cipher." In addition to signing the card with a "Z" and the
customary crossed-circle, the Zodiac drew an unusual symbol (also used as a return
address on the envelope), 13 eyes, and the message "Peek-a-boo, you are doomed."
Kathleen Johns, the woman abducted on Highway 132, stated in an interview that she had
received a similar card, ostensibly from the Zodiac, at about the same time: she claims to
have forwarded the card to Avery, but no mention of a second card has ever been
reported. 1 Johns attributes the card to a crank, since her name and address appeared in
the newspaper shortly after her abduction, but the timing of the card and description that
she gave of it suggest the strong possibility that it was genuine and somehow lost in the
case's sea of details.

The card to Avery was widely considered a threat on his life, and the Chronicle ran a front
page story about it on October 31. Among the mail that this generated was an anonymous
letter from Riverside urging Avery to investigate a link with the still-unsolved Bates
murder. Graysmith transcribes it in ZODIAC:

Please forward the contents of this letter to the detective in charge of "The Zodiac Murder
Case." I hope this information will also help you, as we would both like to see this case
solved. As for myself, I wish to remain anonymous and I know that you will understand

A few years ago in Riverside, California, a young girl was murdered, just about, I believe,
on "Halloween" evening! I could write a much longer letter, citing the similarities between
Zodiac's case and this murder, which occurred in Riverside but if the police department
cannot see said comparative similarities between these two cases, then I will take a "slow
boat to China," even if these two crimes were committed by two different people! I think,
after all the facts are studied, regarding both of these cases, if police have not already
investigated these possibilities and are not already aware of the "Riverside case," then,
even so perhaps they should look into it....

Letters to newspapers, "similar erratic printing" find out about these two different cases
....Give Captain Cross a call on the phone, he knows that "I do not quit."

Mr. Avery, I will give you a call in the near future, please look into the case, the Riverside
police have a wealth of information, so does San Francisco, let us hope that they are not
too proud to work together, and if they already are, let us hope that there has been an
exchange of information....

After locating a year-old letter from the Riverside Chief of Police to a Napa County
detective that had similarly linked the Bates murder with the Zodiac, Avery visited the
Riverside police and reviewed their evidence. Intrigued by the letters sent to the police
and press, not to mention what appeared to be a "Z" used as a signature in some, he
instigated a meeting between their detectives and detectives from Solano, Napa, and San
Francisco counties, who compared notes on the Bates murder and each of the known
Zodiac attacks up to that point. Authorities from Northern California, particularly SFPD
Inspector Bill Armstrong, felt that there was a link between the Bates murder and the
Zodiac crimes, and that they were most likely committed by the same man. State
handwriting analyst Sherwood Morrill checked the writing on the desk and envelopes
against the killer's letters to the Chronicle and found that they were "unquestionably the
work of Zodiac". 2 Riverside police, particularly Capt. Irvin Cross, were less certain and
"reaffirmed [their] skepticism", 3 probably because they had not released the full details of
the crime to their counterparts upstate -- the number of stab wounds received by Bates,
strongly suggesting what is known as a "rage killing," was not announced publicly until
May of 2000. The Riverside story broke on November 16, 1970, when Avery's article
was printed in the Chronicle.

The official position of the Riverside Police Department and most independent
investigators as of 1998 is that Cheri Jo Bates was not a Zodiac victim. RPD maintains a
local man as their suspect, and considers the Zodiac murders entirely unrelated, though
they do concede the possibility that the Bay Area killer authored one or more of the letters
sent in southern California.

* * *

The next letter came after an uncharacteristically long five-month silence. Posted on
March 22, 1971, with two upside-down 6-cent stamps, it was the only letter the Zodiac
ever sent to the Los Angeles Times, and it was the first to be sent from outside San
Francisco: it had been postmarked in Pleasanton, 15 miles east of the Bay.

This is the Zodiac speaking

Like I have allways said, I am crack proof. If the Blue Meannies are evere going to catch
me, they had best get off their fat asses + do something. Because the longer they fiddle +
fart around, the more slaves I will collect for my after life. I do have to give them credit
for stumbling across my riverside activity, but they are only finding the easy ones, there
are a hell of a lot more down there. The reason I'm writing to the Times is this, They don't
bury me on the back pages like some of the others.

In an interview with researcher Mike Butterfield, an RPD detective stated that there is a
suspicion within his department that the author of the anonymous 1970 letter to Paul
Avery linking the Zodiac to Riverside might also have counterfeited this letter. 4 Adding
to this apparent mystery is the fact that another source has reported that SFPD Inspector
David Toschi was also under suspicion for writing this letter. 5 There are no available
facts to bolster either hypothesis.

A week later, the Zodiac sent another postcard, though an agent of the US Postal Service
recognized and intercepted it before it was delivered. The intended recipient was unclear:
it was marked to Paul Avery's attention (again misspelled as "Averly"), but the address
side bore no specific address -- just the names "The Times," "S.F. Examiner," and "San
Francisco Chronicle" clipped from the respective newspapers. A hole was punched
through the upper left corner in lieu of a return address, above which the author had
written the word "Zodiac." Around the hole itself were four lines drawn in a fashion
similar to the crossed-circle design used by the killer. The entire perimeter of the card had
been notched by a hole-punch. The front of the card was decorated with a sketch of a
condominium complex that had been under development at Incline Village, NV, near Lake
Tahoe, by Boise/Interlake between 1967 and 1970. The same picture had appeared in the
Chronicle three days earlier in an advertisement for the complex, known as Forest Pines.

While the handwriting on this postcard is similar to that on confirmed Zodiac letters, it is
not unmistakably the same, and the possibility exists that it is a forgery. The use of the
hole-punch and the misspelling of Paul Avery's name, however, are both traits of
confirmed Zodiac cards and letters.

If this card was indeed genuine, it marked the last communication from the Zodiac for
almost three years.

The Riverside Connection Footnotes

1. Kathleen Johns, interview with Howard Davis and Johnny Smith, 1 January 1998

2. Paul Avery, "Zodiac Link is Definite" (San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 17, 1970)

3. "Lawmen exchange Bates, Zodiac data" (Riverside Press, Nov. 19, 1970)

4. Mike Butterfield, "My Riverside Activity," February 1999

5. Tom Voigt,, 2000


The Zodiac resurfaced in 1974, when he wrote a series of letters to the Chronicle over a
period of six months and with postmarks from around the Bay Area. Though ultimately
identified through analysis of the envelopes and handwriting, these four letters were
different from the others in that the author had abandoned his usual salutation ("This is the
Zodiac speaking") and signature (the crossed-circle design).

The first was sent on January 29 from San Mateo or Santa Clara, just south of San
Francisco, and referred to the recently released movie The Exorcist as "the best saterical
comidy that I have ever seen." It also included a quote from The Mikado (about a
"dicky-bird" whose "blighted affection" drives it to suicide) and an inscrutable drawing
that resembled a hieroglyph of some sort.

I saw and think "The Exorcist" was the best saterical comidy that I have ever seen.
Signed, yours truley:
He plunged himself into the billowy wave and an echo arose from the suicide's grave
titwillo titwillo titwillo
PS. If I do not see this note in your paper, I will do something nasty, which you know I'm
capable of doing.

In addition to a single 8-cent Eisenhower stamp, the Zodiac had placed on the envelope
two USPS stickers: one bore a picture of a clock set to 12:55 or 11:05 with the advice to
"mail early in the day," and the other was a reminder to use the recently-introduced ZIP
code. Probably from the same packet, the killer also stuck two short paragraphs about the
stamps and their packaging: "Stamps in this book have been gummed with a matte finish
adhesive which permits the elimination of the separation tissues .... This book contains 25
-- 8-cent stamps -- four on this pane and seven each on three additional panes. Selling
price $2.00." Although this letter fell under brief suspicion as a possible forgery in
mid-1978, it was verified as genuine by a panel of handwriting analysts from various
agencies throughout California.

* * *

The next letter arrived at the Chronicle on February 14, 1974, seven days after the
Symbionese Liberation Army had kidnapped Patty Hearst. It was transcribed by the
Chronicle in August 1976. Though its postmark is unclear in published photographs, an
FBI report states that it was sent from San Rafael.1

Dear Mr. Editor,

Did you know that the initials SLAY (Symbionese Liberation Army) spell "sla," [the word
"sla" is written in script] an old Norse word meaning "kill."

A friend

The terms "Old Norse" and "Old Icelandic" refer to the same tongue, but there is debate
among scholars over which is more appropriate. Some use the former in respect to the
language's Norwegian origins, but most use the latter because most of the surviving texts
were written in Iceland. Gareth Penn, a former student of medieval literature and historical
linguistics, points out that the Nordic "sla" in fact means "to strike," and goes on to list the
English language dictionaries which name it as a cognate of the English "slay" without
giving its original definition, and with Norse rather than Icelandic named as the original
tongue: Webster's Third International; Chambers' Dictionary; the Oxford English
Dictionary; the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology; and Eric Partridge's Origins. "All
are scholarly, not popular", 2 writes Penn, who suggests that the gleaning of this
misinformation came as the result of a higher education than the SFPD and armchair
profilers everywhere had attributed to the Zodiac. For their part, the FBI seems less than
certain that this letter was written by the Zodiac.3

* * *

Three months later, on May 8, a postcard was sent to the Chronicle from Fremont, about
25 miles southeast of San Francisco, across the Bay. The message side expressed
"consternation" at newspaper ads for the movie {Badlands}, which was inspired by spree
murderers Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate. The pre-stamped address side
read "Editor, SF Chronicle, 5th + Mission, San Fran". 4

Sirs -- I would like to expression my consternt [this word is crossed out] consternation
concerning your poor taste + lack of sympathy for the public, as evidenced by your
running of the ads for the movie "Badlands," featuring the blurb: "In 1959 most people
were killing time. Kit + Holly were killing people." In light of recent events, this kind of
murder-glorification can only be deplorable at best (not that glorification of violence was
ever justifiable) why don't you show some concern for public sensibilities + cut the ad?

A citizen

* * *

The final letter was postmarked in San Rafael on July 8, 1974. The return address on the
envelope was simply "RP." In a looping, obviously disguised script, it was an attack on
the conservative Chronicle columnist Count Marco Spinelli.


Put Marco back in the, hell-hole from whence it came -- he has a serious psychological
disorder -- always needs to feel superior. I suggest you refer him to a shrink. Meanwhile,
cancel the Count Marco column. Since the Count can write anonymously, so can I --

The San Francisco news media presented these last two letters as genuine, but SFPD Insp.
David Toschi advised the FBI confidentially that he had doubts as to their authenticity. 5
After examination, the FBI Laboratory reported that, while some characteristics of the
"Badlands" and "Count Marco" letters were inconsistent with the writing of the confirmed
Zodiac letters, "these inconsistencies are not sufficient to eliminate the writer of the
Zodiac letters" as the author of the late 1974 letters. The Laboratory went on to state that
"similarities were noted which would indicate that [these letters] were probably prepared
by the writer of the Zodiac letters". 6

San Francisco police have not verified a Zodiac letter since 1974.

1974 Footnotes

1. Report of the FBI Laboratory, 8 March 1974

2. Gareth Penn, TIMES 17, p. 300

3. Report of the FBI Laboratory, 8 March 1974

4. FBI Airtel from San Francisco SAC to FBI Laboratory, 16 August 1974; FBI
Laboratory Worksheet, 6 September 1974

5. Report of the FBI Laboratory, 8 March 1974

6. Report of the FBI Laboratory, 8 September 1974

The 1978 Letter

On April 24, 1978, a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle was mailed from either Santa
Clara or San Mateo County by someone very familiar with the Zodiac case and literature.
Although this letter was initially thought to be genuine, and though some continue to
believe that it was in fact the killer's final message to the citizens of the Bay Area, the
modern consensus among law enforcement agents and most researchers is that the letter
was a counterfeit.

The handwriting on the envelope was recognized by a copyperson at the newspaper, and
the letter made its way almost immediately to journalist Duffy Jennings. Jennings had
taken over the Zodiac beat from Paul Avery, who was now at the San Francisco
Examiner. After immediately preserving his scoop with photographs of both the letter and
its envelope, Jennings phoned Inspector David Toschi, the only detective working San
Francisco's end of the Zodiac case. Toschi was out serving subpoenas, so Jennings
hand-delivered the originals to the Hall of Justice where they were routed instead to
Deputy Chief of Police Clem DeAmicis. The letter read:

Dear Editor
This is the Zodiac speaking I am back with you. Tell herb caen I am here, I have always
been here. That city pig toschi is good but I am bu [crossed out] smarter and better he
will get tired then leave me alone. I am waiting for a good movie about me. Who will
play me. I am now in control of all things.
yours truly:

When Toschi arrived back at headquarters, he was summoned directly to DeAmicis' office
where the two men conferred and Toschi was granted custody of the letter. Sherwood
Morrill, the former state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation handwriting
expert that had authenticated most of the Zodiac letters for Toschi and the SFPD, had
retired in late 1973, and Toschi's first move was to call John Shimoda of the US Postal
Service crime lab to confirm the Zodiac's authorship. It is unclear why Toschi called
Shimoda rather than the current chief of the state's questioned documents section, Robert
Prouty. In any case, Shimoda confirmed it as the Zodiac's handiwork, and Toschi
delivered the letter to a fingerprint expert at the SFPD crime lab, who found no trace of
prints or any other useful evidence on the single page or its envelope.

* * *

In order to fully understand the controversy that still surrounds this letter, we must take a
look at its context. At the time of its receipt at the Chronicle, Inspector Toschi, a 25-year
veteran of the San Francisco Police Department, was probably the most high-profile law
enforcement agent in the Bay Area. While the charismatic Toschi had many supporters in
city government and the local media, he had also made his share of enemies, who felt that
his flashy demeanor and his yen for publicity were unprofessional and could lead to a
conflict of interest. Further, rumor around City Hall had it that Supervisor Dianne
Feinstein would tap him as Police Chief in her bid for the Mayor's seat, and this would
certainly mark him as a threat to SFPD Chief Charles Gain and his deputy, Clem

In the fall of 1976, local author and columnist Armistead Maupin had written a serial for
the Chronicle about a fictitious SFPD detective chasing an unknown killer similar to the
Zodiac. The story's protagonist, Inspector Tandy, received advice and mentoring in the
serial from none other than Toschi. At about this time, Maupin received three notecards
from what appeared to be private citizens complimentary to Toschi and urging that he
appear more often in the story. A good journalist, Maupin attempted to verify the notes
and found that the names did not belong to San Francisco residents. Toschi was well
known for the short notes he sent to various reporters and politicians, and Maupin began
to suspect that it was he who had sent the cards. Seeing them as harmless, if not entirely
honest, Maupin kept the notes under wraps until April 1978, when the only Zodiac letter
to mention Toschi by name arrived at his newspaper, sparking suspicions that Toschi had
graduated to something akin to fraud, counterfeiting a Zodiac letter. Maupin and the
agent he had hired to publicize an unrelated book approached Sergeant Jack O'Shea, head
of the SFPD Intelligence Unit, with their suspicions. O'Shea and Toschi's boss, Lieutenant
Jack Jordan, head of the Homicide Bureau, determined that Toschi had written the fan
letters. Both men would eventually be disciplined, O'Shea more severely, for not
reporting this knowledge immediately.

Chief Gain has said that he was not told of Toschi's phony letters until late June 1978, but
the late April transfer of two detectives from Special Investigations and the Gang Task
Force to the Zodiac case may have been a sign that Toschi was already under suspicion as
the author of the latest letter. Exactly what transpired within the Hall of Justice is
unknown, but on July 10, Chief Gain held a press conference to announce two nominally
disparate events: the discovery that the Zodiac letter might be a forgery, and the transfer
of Toschi to the Pawnshop Detail in light of the phony fan letters to Maupin. At no time
was it explicitly stated that Toschi was suspected of writing the Zodiac letter, but the
implication could not be missed, especially when it was announced that two handwriting
experts were checking Toschi's hand against not just the questioned April document but
also the heretofore accepted "Exorcist" letter of January 1974. The official rationale for
announcing Toschi's embarrassing transfer was to "counter and negate" 1 Maupin's claims
-- as Toschi put it, "not to put the department on the defense, they would go on the
offense"2 -- but despite a brief revival of state and federal interest, no convincing negation
was ever launched.

By August, no fewer than four experts, including Keith Woodward, former chief of the
LAPD's document department; Robert Prouty, the specialist bypassed by Toschi in April;
his BCII colleague Terrence Pascoe; and John Shimoda, the Postal Service expert who
had initially confirmed the letter; had determined that the April letter was a fake, "a
carefully drawn copy of the true Zodiac printing .... constructed by a person that had
access to printed letters of the Zodiac".3 The lone holdout to this finding was the retired
Sherwood Morrill, whose bitter statements to the media revealed a determined loyalty to
Toschi and a great disrespect for Gain. The letter of January 1974, which had also fallen
under suspicion, was deemed to be genuine.

Speculation as to the author of the 1978 letter has focused on three possibilities. The first,
of course, is the Zodiac himself, though even the untrained eye can see that the words and
characters seem to have been meticulously drawn rather than written in the semi-manic
freehand used by the killer in his earlier missives.

Second is Toschi, and rumors have even suggested that he was identified as the author by
DNA testing in the 1990s, though there have certainly been no official pronouncements to
that effect by the SFPD or any other source. An FBI memo from August 1978 states that
analysis of the April letter was discontinued "in light of recent disclosures ... indicating
that David Toschi had authored one or more 'Zodiac' letters" 4 though it must be
remembered that the FBI received this indication from the SFPD, and not through its own
investigation. In fact, Toschi was eventually reinstated to his post as a homicide

Finally, author Robert Graysmith had enough knowledge of the Zodiac literature to forge
such a letter, and even had a motive -- he had been shopping his novel about the case for
two years already in 1978, though it would not see print until nine years later. In this
book, Graysmith describes a photo enlarger setup that he claims could have been used to
write the original Zodiac letters, but would have served quite well to forge the latest one.
It may be worth mentioning at this point that Graysmith had been disciplined for
plagiarism during his time as a cartoonist for the Chronicle. In any event, he has lobbied
quite vocally on Toschi's behalf, maintaining in his book and in subsequent interviews that,
whoever wrote the letter, it wasn't Toschi. San Francisco Police remain tightlipped on the
issue, saying in 1999 that "The Police Department has never made a statement on
[accusations that Toschi faked a Zodiac letter] one way or another. We will confirm that
not all the Zodiac letters are authentic". 5

The 1978 Letter Footnotes

1. Mike Weiss, "New Zodiac Disclosures" (SF Chronicle, 14 July 1978)

2. Ibid.

3. "Four experts term Zodiac letter fake" (SF Examiner, 3 August 1978)

4. FBI memorandum, 23 August 1974

5. Jim Edwards, "Was Zodiac Killer Given Time to Cover Tracks?" (, 7
December 1999)

A Look at Lake Berryessa

The Lake Berryessa attack offered several examples of odd behavior on the part of the
Zodiac. There is, for instance, the four-cornered hood that he put on just before
approaching the couple: its design is rare, if not unique, and the killer made no attempt to
explain it either to the students or to the press. Presumably, he wished to conceal his
identity, but this could have been accomplished less ostentatiously with a ski mask or
similarly common item. As a reason for attacking Shepard and Hartnell, he had a
fabricated story about escaping from prison in the northwest, yet signed the car door with
his easily recognizable crossed-circle logo and murder chronology. It should be noted that
he omitted from this chronology the Riverside murder, which was not attributed to him
until 1970, leading many to view this omission as evidence that the Zodiac was not, in
fact, responsible for the murder of Cheri Jo Bates. He told the students that he wanted
their money and car keys, but took only Hartnell's pocket change and left the keys and the
girl's wallet on the picnic blanket, and tied them up and stabbed them rather than simply
shooting them with the pistol he had pointed at them earlier. Finally, he never took credit
for this attack in a letter as he had for the Vallejo and San Francisco attacks.

The FBI's Crime Classification Manual describes three forms of offender behavior at the
crime scene. "Modus Operandi" is defined as the actions necessary to commit a crime and
ensure a successful escape. The two Vallejo attacks, for instance, show a consistent
blitz-style MO using a handgun and followed by a quick, controlled retreat. The MO at
Lake Berryessa is superficially closer in style to the Riverside attack, which was executed
with a knife and preceded by some kind of verbal interchange between killer and victim,
but the differences are apparent on examination: Bates' killer was ill-prepared for his
attack, using only a small pocketknife on a young woman who fought back vigorously,
whereas the Zodiac went to great lengths to immobilize his victims at the lake. In fact, it
seems that the man who killed Cheri Jo Bates wasn't even sure that he would kill her,
having conversed with her for over an hour before he lost control and stabbed her -- at
Lake Berryessa, there can be little doubt as to the Zodiac's intentions. Modus Operandi is
learned, pragmatic behavior, and can be improved upon with experience, as shown by the
foresight evinced by the killer when he foiled a potential call-back from the Napa police
switchboard by leaving the phone off the hook. The Zodiac also became more audacious
in attacking at dusk in an open area, though he was careful to choose one that was fairly
isolated. Willful alteration of the crime scene in order to confuse or mislead investigators
is called "staging," and is usually seen in cases where the killer and victim are acquainted
with one another: oftentimes, the offender will attempt to make the crime appear to be a
random rape or robbery gone wrong. This phenomenon does not seem present in the
Zodiac case, unless one counts the letters as a form of staging, having been deliberately
crafted to give an impression of their author as a dyslexic Gilbert and Sullivan fan. Any
action taken by the offender that is unnecessary to the crime's completion, or is performed
solely to gratify his own psychological needs, is called "personation." The elaborate hood,
the jailbreak lie and the demand for money and car keys are examples of personation.
Repeated examples of the same personation by the same offender are called a "signature,"
and this occurred both clinically and literally on the car door: the crossed-circle design
appeared at the foot of every letter from the Zodiac between 1969 and 1971. The phone
call was another aspect of the signature, mirroring calls made to police in Riverside and
Vallejo, and totally unnecessary to his escape.

The killer's choice of the knife over the pistol, in conjunction with his use of the unusual
hood, is generally cited as evidence that the Berryessa attack was one of ritual significance
to the killer. This may be true -- the hood remains unexplained except insofar as it was
probably meant to instill terror in his victims, and by Hartnell's account the Zodiac seemed
to lose control during the assault on Shepard. However, the fact that he had this time
chosen a location as open as the lakeside may have led to the tactical decision to use the
knife, a silent weapon perhaps brought along for such a contingency.

There are some who remain unconvinced that the Berryessa attack was an authentic
Zodiac incident, citing numerous deviations from the general pattern of the other Bay
Area attacks. There is, in truth, no conclusive evidence tying the Zodiac to this incident as
there is for the Vallejo and San Francisco murders. The handwriting on Hartnell's car is
identifiably similar to that in the Zodiac's letters, but the door-writer's posture rules out a
definitive authentication by the layman. Regardless, the differences between the lakeside
incident and the other Bay Area attacks -- which include the time of day, the lingering, the
weapon, and the absence of a follow-up letter offering proof of the author's culpability --
are to most investigators outweighed by the circumstantial evidence of similar
handwriting, weight, and general description, not to mention the phone call after the
incident. Behaviorally, the variations in MO and signature can be ascribed to the growing
boldness, calculation, and self-gratification of a developed serial killer. Moreover, if the
true Zodiac were not in fact responsible, his drive for publicity would almost certainly
compel him to deny the charges or offer a false confirmation as he did for the Riverside
murder of Cheri Jo Bates. A Zodiac copycat at Lake Berryessa would have to have been
the right height and weight; he would have had to study and superbly forge the killer's
handwriting; and he would have had to exhibit an understanding of the killer's need for
situational control, at the same time being careful to leave none of his own personation at
the scene. Meanwhile, the true Zodiac would have had to suppress his most identifiable
character trait. While intriguing, this hypothesis requires a suspension of disbelief that is
simply too great for most investigators.

Fingerprint Evidence

One aspect of the legend that has grown like moss on the long-unsolved Zodiac case is
that the killer was meticulous in his efforts to deprive the police of any physical evidence.
Often, the Zodiac's claim in November 1969 that he wore "transparent fingertip guards"
made of airplane cement is cited as evidence that he was clever enough to foil what was
then law enforcement's most conclusive evidence against a suspect. That boast, however,
is repeated in contradiction with the facts reported by numerous investigators and
recorded in dozens of local, state, and federal documents.

An examination of reports filed by the San Francisco Police Department, the Vallejo
Police Department, the Napa County Sheriff's Department, the California Department of
Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation reveals that the Zodiac may actually have
been rather sloppy both in the construction of his letters to the press and at the scenes of
some of his attacks. At least two lifts were taken from the July, 1969, letter to the Vallejo
Times-Herald, and it appears that an additional print was found on the cipher-block sent to
the San Francisco Examiner, both part of the killer's very first mailing. Additionally, two
"fingerprint[s] of value" were developed on the second and third pages of the killer's next
letter, his August 1969 missive to the Examiner. These were developed by the FBI
Laboratory, whose Latent Fingerprint Section would perform almost all of the ensuing
print work for the case and store it under Latent Case #A-10042.

The Napa County Sheriff's Department found several finger- and palm-prints following the
attack at Lake Berryessa. While the numerous impressions found on Bryan Hartnell's
Kharmann Ghia were mentioned only in passing and are probably unrelated to the attack,
four prints of note were found among 35 developed in the phone booth where the Zodiac
placed his call to the Napa Police Department. Of particular interest was a clear palm-print
found on the receiver - it was still off the hook, and the print was still wet, indicating that
it had been left by the last person to use the phone, presumably the killer. To evidence
technician Harold Snook's great shame, however, the print was not given enough time to
dry, and it was ruined in the lifting process.

The three youths who witnessed the immediate aftermath of Paul Stine's murder watched
as the killer proceeded to wipe down certain areas of Stine's cab. He was, no doubt, trying
to obliterate any prints he may have left - an action that would be pointless if his fingertips
had been covered with guards. Further, while the witnesses were specific in their
description of a wiping action, they saw nothing that could be interpreted as the planting
of false prints from the time the killer exited the cab to the time he left the area.
Regardless, SFPD crime lab technicians developed dozens of prints in and on the cab.
Among these were several that, according to an SFPD memo, "show traces of blood [and]
are believed to be prints of the suspect". Most of these came from the post between the
driver's side front and rear doors. In addition, wrote an SFPD Inspector, "latent prints
from right front door handle are also believed to be prints of the suspect". It should be
noted that these prints featured the loops, whorls, and textures that would be missing if
the killer's fingers were coated in airplane cement or any other medium.

The letter that followed this attack, claiming Stine as a victim, also bore fingerprints:
another FBI report says that SFPD "stated that latent prints were obtained from the
[10/13/69] letter".

Only in the next letter, sent November 9, 1969, did the Zodiac make any claim about
masking his fingerprints. Again, this claim would be counterproductive if, as some
theorists maintain, the Zodiac had left false prints in the cab: after all, why would the killer
go to the trouble of leaving such a red herring only to deny that it existed? A more
reasonable explanation is that the Zodiac knew the police had not only handwriting and
fingerprints, but now a good physical description, as well, and the "transparent guards"
claim was a desperate bid to instill doubt in the SFPD. Nonetheless, prints were found on
the killer's greeting card of April 28, 1970, and according to a San Francisco detective,
"the latents were not made by persons handling the card after its receipt".

A 1969 FBI report categorized SFPD's prints into "thirty latent fingerprints, three latent
palm-prints, and one latent impression (fingerprint from lower joint area of a finger or
palm print)". Only two, belonging to Paul Stine and an unidentified police officer or
newspaperman, were ever identified. The number of fingerprints submitted to the FBI Lab
by San Francisco and Vallejo Police was later raised to 38, a figure that does not include
the lifts made by the Napa County Sheriff's Department. While the great majority of these
prints are probably unrelated to the case, there is a high degree of probability that some of
them do belong to the killer, and that he could be identified through a match with one or
more of them.

Law enforcement confidence in the prints appears to be high. Literally hundreds of
suspects were checked against them, including Arthur Leigh Allen, the most widely
known. In Allen's case, Vallejo Police requested that the FBI "expeditiously compare" his
prints to the two latents developed on the August 1969 Examiner letter, and "further
requested [the FBI] to compare Allen's fingerprints with all latent prints developed in the
Zodiac investigation as time permits." There was no match and Allen was "dismissed as a
suspect", shedding light on the faith that both local and federal authorities maintain in their

The Case Against Arthur Allen

In the years since Robert Graysmith's seminal book ZODIAC touted "Robert Hall Starr"
as the top suspect in the unsolved murders of five San Francisco Bay Area residents, it has
become increasingly difficult to discuss the Zodiac case without also discussing Arthur
Leigh Allen. Allen, the Vallejo resident and convicted child molester who served as the
inspiration for the pseudonymous "Starr," died in 1992 under a cloud of speculation that
he was the notorious serial killer who put five bullets in the back of a teenage girl as she
ran for her life. He was never charged for those murders, however, and despite the best
efforts of some investigators, not a single piece of evidence was ever developed that could
tie him to the Zodiac crimes. In fact, Allen's alleged links to the case have been found time
and again to be false, coincidental, or attributable to Allen's deviant personality.

Arthur Allen first came to the attention of the Vallejo Police Department in early October
1969, though the circumstances of his candidacy are unclear. Detective John Lynch's first
and only report on Allen does not mention how Allen became a possible suspect, but a
cursory look at VPD reports from the time shows that even the shakiest accusations were
considered grounds for a police interview in conjunction with the murders of Betty Lou
Jensen, David Faraday, Darlene Ferrin, and Cecelia Shepard. For a time, rumor held that
Allen had received a speeding ticket near Lake Berryessa on the night of Shepard's
murder, but it was later determined that this event never occurred. Whatever lead
instigated Lynch's interview, it can safely be assumed that it was not accompanied by any
significant evidence, as the conversation was quite brief and the detective was not
particularly aggressive. 1 In all likelihood, Arthur Leigh Allen was simply one of dozens of
Vallejo locals who had been fingered by a friend, an enemy, an acquaintance, or a relative
based on little more than a hunch. Too tall and too bald to match the Zodiac's decription,
he was quickly forgotten.2

The tip that launched Allen to the top tier of possible Zodiac suspects came almost two
years later. On July 15, 1971, southern California businessman Santo Panzarella
approached the Manhattan Beach Police Department with the information that Allen had
made incriminating statements to Donald Cheney, Panzarella's partner, that would seem to
indicate that Allen was the Zodiac killer. Intrigued, two MBPD detectives visited Cheney
and Panzarella at their place of business, and were told a remarkable story.

Cheney, who had been friends with Allen for years until he moved to southern California,
told the detectives that he and Allen had had a conversation in Allen's Fresno Street
basement in December 1968 that started on the topic of recreational hunting but soon
took a turn for the bizarre. Allen brought up Richard Connell's classic short story The
Most Dangerous Game, the tale of a mad count that hunts shipwrecked travelers on his
private island for sport, which has been published in dozens of fiction anthologies and is
popular at the grade school level. Allen is said to have greatly enjoyed the story, and
allegedly identified with the count.

After broaching the idea of hunting humans, Allen is said to have given a hypothetical
account of how he would commit a series of murders in lovers' lanes. He allegedly
described how he would "use a revolver or pistol with a flashlight attached to same for
illumination and an aiming device, [and] would walk up and shoot people . Allen also
talked about shooting the tires of a school bus and picking off the 'little darlings' as they
came bouncing off the bus", 3 and went on to say that he would send harassing notes to
the police. If this was not enough, Allen also allegedly stated that he would call himself

According to the MBPD report, "Cheney replied, 'Zodiac why that, why not something
else?' Arthur Allen at this time became very emotional and stated, 'I like the name 'Zodiac'
and that's the name I'm going to use'". 4

On its face, Cheney's account appears damning - after all, if Allen made these comments in
December 1968, then he had displayed knowledge of the Lake Herman Road murders that
no one but the Zodiac would have until August 1969. The Zodiac's threat to shoot at a
school bus did not come until even later, in October of that year. We can forgive minor
quibbles, such as the misquote of "little kiddies" as "little darlings;" the police, rather than
the newspapers, being named as the recipients of the forthcoming letters; and the missing
definite article that the killer unfailingly used as part of his moniker. There is, however, the
question of Cheney's timing: why did he wait two years to come forth with this

Cheney moved to southern California in January 1969, and it is possible that he did not
hear about the second Vallejo attack and the letters that followed it. However, the Zodiac
case exploded into national attention following Paul Stine's murder in downtown San
Francisco, and it is unlikely that anyone in the state of California could have avoided
hearing about the unknown killer who stalked lovers' lanes, wrote taunting letters to the
newspapers, and called himself "the Zodiac," and apparently Cheney was no exception. By
their own admission, "Mr. Panzarella and Mr. Cheney had read and seen articles in the
newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, concerning the 'Zodiac' killings". 5 Ignorance, then, is
no explanation for his silence. We must infer from his account that none of the Zodiac
reports registered with Cheney, and that he never again thought of Allen as a possible
killer until 1971, when he heard about an obscure and totally unrelated series of unsolved
murders in Grass Valley, CA, a small town about 150 miles north of San Francisco and
Vallejo. According to Cheney and Panzarella, it was "the recent killings in the Grass
Valley Area by an unknown suspect [that] brought the suspicions to a focus."

We must wonder how the Grass Valley murders would jog Cheney's memory as regards
Allen and the suspicious conversation, when the almost daily reports out of San Francisco
detailing a killer identical to the one Allen described did not. We must also wonder why, if
Allen was indeed the Zodiac, he would reveal the identifying details of his murderous
exploits within days of their commission. Certainly, he could not expect Cheney's memory
to be as bad as it appears to be; the slaying of Jensen and Faraday on December 20, 1968,
dominated the Vallejo media for weeks. The Zodiac did take certain risks, but situational
control was one of his hallmarks. Such a concern would almost certainly rule out anything
as foolish as overtly detailing his crimes, especially to someone who might have suspicions
about him already - Allen had touched Cheney's young daughter inappropriately on a
camping trip years before, and Cheney had complained to Allen's brother about it. (In one
report, a VPD detective wrote, "This might be a motive why Cheney would make such an
accusation against Arthur Allen") 6

Arthur Allen, by most accounts, was something of an eccentric. Described as
"anti-establishment", 7 he was rejected as a VPD applicant at age 19 and received a
discharge other than honorable from the US Navy at 25. He owned several handguns and
allegedly kept one in his car at all times. He was also a pedophile, and had lost jobs,
alienated friends, and would be committed to Atascadero State Hospital because of this
disorder. Cheney was not the only person to whom he had spoken about the Zodiac
murders: Allen made no secret of his 1969 interview with Det. John Lynch, and bragged
openly that he was a Zodiac suspect. He also appeared to have an interest in abnormal
psychology, studying Mental Hygiene and working at Atascadero before his incarceration
there. It is not too great a stretch of the imagination to think that Allen, with his interest in
guns, law enforcement, and the criminal mind, might simply have been interested in the
shocking local murder and brought the topic up one night with Cheney. He may even have
recognized the apparent lack of motive in the case, and commented on "The Most
Dangerous Game" to explain it as sport.

The Chief of Manhattan Beach Police contacted the San Francisco Police Department
soon after the interview, and SFPD Inspector William Armstrong spoke to Cheney on July
26. During the eleven intervening days, Cheney began what has become an interesting trait
of recovering memories that are increasingly elaborate in their indictment of Arthur Allen.
He began by backdating the conversation by one year, telling Armstrong that it took place
in December 1967, rather than 1968. 8 He then remembered that Allen had asked about
how one could disguise one's own handwriting, and claims to have offered Allen advice on
that subject. 9 In subsequent interviews, Cheney has also remembered that Allen had not
initiated the conversation by bringing up Connell's short story, but by declaring that he was
looking to change careers, and would like to become a police officer. In the event that this
plan fell through, Cheney said, Allen allegedly stated that he could become a criminal
instead, and would elude detection by committing murders that had no motive. 10 This
story was changed yet again when Cheney stated that Allen couched his statements in
plans to write a crime novel. 11 Then he added Allen's alleged idea to disable a woman's
car by removing the lug nuts from one of her wheels. 12 (This story is an obvious allusion
to the abduction of Kathleen Johns in March 1970, which has not been confirmed as a
genuine Zodiac incident. Johns has positively ruled Allen out as the man who disabled her
car and took her on a frightening ride through rural San Joaquin County. 13) Finally,
Cheney has said that his inspiration to notify the police came not from the Grass Valley
murders as previously stated, but from reading a newspaper article about the Zodiac's
threat to kill "little darlings" - not even the Zodiac's actual phrase - which he linked with
Allen's similar words. 14 It has become clear over time that Cheney's account cannot be
relied upon for accuracy. A number of likely explanations come to mind, not the least of
which is that his memory of events had simply become mixed up over the years,
incorporating one or more genuine conversations with news accounts he had read or
heard. The one explanation that does not seem credible is the one offered by Cheney

Armstrong put these issues aside and notified the Vallejo Police Department. After some
background investigation, it was agreed that detectives from both jurisdictions would
contact Allen together and interview him as a suspect.

The interview took place at Allen's place of employment in early August, and was an
almost humorous example of a suspect running circles around the detectives interrogating
him. Allen displayed a great knowledge of the pop culture references used by the Zodiac
as well as the media reports about the killer, but nothing about the crimes themselves. He
denied the incriminating conversation that Cheney described, but did acknowledge reading
"The Most Dangerous Game" and stated that it had made an impression on him. He
offered an alibi for his whereabouts on the day of the Lake Berryessa attack in the form of
a serviceman from Treasure Island - this may have been an oblique reference, lost on the
investigators, to the 1933 film Charlie Chan at Treasure Island, in which the Chinese
detective matches wits with a San Francisco villain named "Doctor Zodiac." He claimed to
have spoken with his neighbor, Mr. White, upon returning home that afternoon - a
possible reference to Ranger William White, who had appeared on television the day after
the lakeside murder to discuss the crime scene. Allen also mentioned "the two knives I had
in my car with blood on them" without any prompting from police: the blood, he said,
"came from a chicken I killed". 15 There has been speculation that this is a reference to
Brian Hartnell's words just before he was brutally stabbed by the Zodiac: according to
Ranger White's statements, quoted liberally by the local media, Hartnell asked to be
stabbed before his friend because he was chicken and couldn't bear to see her in pain. It
has become clear with the declassification of Napa police reports that these were not
Hartnell's words, and that they were attributed to him for the media's benefit. Finally,
when asked for his whereabouts in October 1966, Allen responded, "You mean about the
Riverside killing?" 16 Had this statement come any time before November of 1970, it may
have carried weight as evidence, but the Riverside murder of Cheri Jo Bates had been
linked to the Zodiac for almost a year, and made front page news around California when
the story broke.

The detectives commented on Allen's wristwatch at some point during the interview. It
was an expensive Sea Wolf model, made by the Swiss manufacturer Zodiac, whose logo is
a crossed-circle. Allen responded that he received it as a gift in the summer of 1969.
Allen's brother was later asked about it and said that his mother gave it to him for
Christmas in 1967. In a parting shot at the detectives and police in general, Allen stated
with doubtless irony that "he wished the time would come when police were no longer
referred to as 'pigs'". 17 The Zodiac had used the epithet on occasion, notably in his
seven-page letter of November 1969, and it was dutifully publicized by the San Francisco
Chronicle on November 12, 13, and 26, garnering front page status twice.

In every case, Allen can be seen to exploit the media reports of the crimes and letters in an
effort to tease his interviewers. While this behavior and the taunting letters that the Zodiac
sent to the newspapers have been compared, Allen can just as easily be seen to speak from
the comfortable knowledge that he would never be tied to the crimes because he was not
the killer. Only the brand of Allen's wristwatch suggested knowledge of the Zodiac events
before they took place, and even this item was assigned undue suspicion by Allen himself,
who told police that he had received it just before the killer took his name. None of his
remarks - or remarks attributed to him by any reliable source - betray knowledge of the
crimes beyond the common understanding held by anyone who had followed the news
accounts of the case. In 1971, the number of people with such understanding numbered in
the hundreds of thousands.

In the absence of any other promising leads, however, San Francisco and Vallejo police
saw Allen as the most viable of their Zodiac suspects. On September 14, 1972, a search
warrant for his Santa Rosa property was issued, and detectives were soon combing
through his trailer and cars looking for firearms, ammunition, clothing, and any other
evidence that could link him to the crimes or letters. Nothing of the sort was found. 18
Major case prints - inked impressions of the entire hand, fingertip to palm - were taken, as
were samples of his left- and right-handed writing. All were tested by state experts against
the Zodiac evidence. In no case was there a match. California handwriting analysts even
went so far as to state that Allen's writing "definitely was not that of the Zodiac killer". 19
He was given a polygraph test and passed it.

The matter seemed resolved until 1986, when author Robert Graysmith leveled his pen at
Allen in his groundbreaking case study, ZODIAC. Once a best seller and now in its 29th
printing, ZODIAC has been cited as a source by almost every subsequent work on the
case. Graysmith was tipped to Allen's suspect status by local authorities, and carried on an
unofficial investigation of him in the early 1980s without significant findings. Nonetheless,
Allen remained the favorite of San Francisco detectives, and Graysmith followed suit,
exaggerating the marginal links between Allen and the Zodiac case and mixing rumor with
fact to convince the reading public that there was no doubt as to the killer's identity. The
world knew him as "Robert Hall Starr," but to anyone who had met him, there could be no
mistaking Allen.

In December 1990, when Ralph Spinelli was arrested for armed robbery in Lake Tahoe,
NV, his bid for leniency included a tip to the Zodiac's identity: none other than Arthur
Leigh Allen. Facing 30 years in prison, Spinelli claimed that Allen had told him in 1969
that he was going to San Francisco to kill a cabdriver. Perhaps not coincidentally, Allen's
only arrest before his child molestation charge was for a fight with Spinelli. Under
pressure following the success of Graysmith's book, and with the knowledge that Allen's
Vallejo property had not been searched in 1972, VPD took advantage of Spinelli's
negligible tip and searched Allen's Fresno Street basement. Seized were bomb-making
materials, newspaper clippings, several firearms, a knife, a typewriter, and Allen's Zodiac
watch. Of these, the knife and one handgun could have been Zodiac evidence (it is widely
believed that the Zodiac was not responsible for the murder of Cheri Jo Bates or the
typewritten confession that followed it), but neither led to charges or an arrest, and it can
be assumed that they were unrelated. Allen's prints were submitted to the FBI Laboratory,
and again the comparison came back negative. According to one newspaper report, "Allen
was dismissed as a suspect". 20

The wealth of factors pointing to Allen's innocence has led many armchair investigators to
approach the record looking for loopholes in the truth. When Allen's fingerprints didn't
match the crime scene prints, doubt was cast on their legitimacy despite law enforcement's
confidence in them. When his handwriting didn't match the Zodiac's, a photo-enlarger
setup was proposed. When Allen passed a grueling 10-hour polygraph test, he was labeled
a sociopath who could beat the machine. One wonders what it would take to get around
an exclusion based on DNA evidence, should such evidence arise.

In proposing incriminating circumstantial evidence, Allen's accusers add their own
loopholes. Allen can be "placed" in Riverside in 1966 - but can just as easily be "placed" in
Santa Rosa. Cheney's account is often cited - but not his egregious timing or the numerous
changes in his story. Spinelli's story is also given credence - but his acrimonious
relationship with Allen, imminent prison time, and 20-year silence are played down. Allen
is said to have had access to a car like one seen by a victim - but the truth is that Allen had
lost access to that car when he was fired from a job three months before the attack. 21
Allen had mysterious coded letters in a strongbox - but they were sent to him by a patient
at Atascadero. The Zodiac letters are said to have stopped while Allen was at Atascadero
- but the letters stopped eight months before Allen was incarcerated, and the one received
upon his release was a phony. A convicted child molester, Allen was, like the Zodiac,
interested in "little kiddies" - but pedophiles that kill outside of their target group are
incredibly rare. In the aggregate, the coincidences are compelling, but when each is
scrutinized, the case against Allen becomes a ball of string: pull on it, and it falls apart.

In the final analysis, only one article exists that could serve to tie Allen to the Zodiac case,
and this is the Sea Wolf wristwatch given to him by his mother. She died January 10,
1989. Hardly a conclusive link to the murders, or evidence of anything except a mother's
generosity, it was seized by Vallejo police during their 1991 raid on Allen's apartment.
Despite his repeated requests, it was never returned. Legally blind, stricken with diabetes
and kidney failure, the target of a campaign of innuendo that dogged him to the last,
Arthur Leigh Allen died without it 18 months later.

The Case Against Arthur Allen Footnotes

1. Det. John Lynch, Vallejo Police Department report, 6 October 1969

2. Sgt. Jack Mulanax, Vallejo Police Department report, 9 August 1971

3. Charles W. Crumly, Manhattan Beach Chief of Police, in a letter to Insp. David Toschi,
19 July 1971

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Sgt. Jack Mulanax, Vallejo Police Department report, 11 August 1971

7. Charles W. Crumly, Manhattan Beach Chief of Police, in a letter to Insp. David Toschi,
19 July 1971

8. Insp. William Armstrong, affidavit for search warrant, 14 September 1972

9. Ibid.

10. Tom Voigt, interview with the author, 15 December 2000

11. Tom Voigt,,8 January 2001

12. Ibid.

13. Tom Voigt,, 18 February 2001

14. Tom Voigt, interview with the author, 15 December 2000

15. Sgt. Jack Mulanax, Vallejo Police Department report, 9 August 1971

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid.

18. Capt. Roy Conway, affidavit for search warrant, 21 February 1991

19. Ibid.

20. "Signs point to Vallejo man," Vallejo Times-Herald, 1 August 1991

21. Sgt. Jack Mulanax, Vallejo Police Department report, 11 August 1971

Green River Killer:
River of Death

From its source, high on the slopes of Mount Rainier, Washingtons highest peak, Green
River winds its way slowly westward, tumbling down through wooded valleys,
meandering through farmland and residential areas before finally emptying into Puget
Sound, just south of the thriving metropolis of Seattle.

In the 1880's, heavily laden barges, navigated their way through the rivers numerous
sandbars and submerged boulders, carrying supplies for the scattered farming communities
along its length. As well as carrying goods upstream to the early settlers, the river also
carried their refuse downstream, the eddies and currents, trapping much of it against its
banks. A hundred years later, after providing a community with a constant source of life,
Green River was to become better known as a place of death.

On July 15th, 1982, a lazy summer day, two young boys rode their bicycles across Peck
Bridge, an ugly metal structure that spanned Green River close to the town of Kent,
Washington. As they peered over the railing, they were shocked to see the unmistakable
shape of a womans naked body, caught on a snag, directly below them.

When the Kent County police officers attempted to examine the find, they noticed that she
had a pair of jeans knotted tightly around her neck

green river murders
Wendy Coffield pulled out of Green River

The white female was later identified as sixteen-year-old Wendy Lee Coffield, a known
prostitute, who had last been seen on July 7th, 1982 in the Tacoma area, fifteen miles to
the south of Green River. The county medical examiner officially listed her cause of death
as ligature strangulation.
Green River murders

Less than a month later, at a meatpacking company just south of Peck Bridge, a worker
on his afternoon break, saw what he thought was an animal carcass lying on a sand bar.
After walking down a narrow track on the riverbank to take a closer look, he noticed that
the "carcass" was in fact, the nude body of a woman. Alarmed, he hurried back to the
factory to call the authorities.

Dave Reichert, a young detective from the King County Major Crimes Squad, took

Reichert, one of the brightest men in the robbery and homicide team, compared the
incident with what was known about Wendy Coffields murder.

Both women were young, white and tattooed. Not only that, but six months earlier the
body of prostitute Leann Wilcox had been dumped several miles from Green River.

Reichert knew that if the third victim was also a prostitute and the manner of death was
similar, they probably had a serial killer on their hands.

Autopsy showed that the victims lungs contained no water. She had not drowned, but
had been strangled or suffocated.

Fingerprints identified the victim as prostitute Deborah Lynn Bonner, 23. Deborah
Bonner's parents told Reichert that she had disappeared three weeks earlier. At that time,
Deborah had contacted them to raise bail for herself and boyfriend Carl Martin.

According to Carlton Smith and Thomas Guillen in their book The Search For The Green
River Killer, a drug dealer in Tacoma had threatened Carl Martin's life. Reichert looked
into the tip immediately.

Sunday, August 15 1982, Robert Ainsworth spent the morning on his raft, drifting along
the Green River on his inflatable raft. As he drifted near Peck Bridge, he noticed a couple
of men on the bank.

One of them asked Ainsworth if he'd found anything in the water. Shortly after, the two
men left in their truck and Ainsworth saw a black woman, laying face up on the bottom.
Then as he looked over the far side of the raft, he saw another dead woman just below
the surface.

Unsure of what to do, he waited someone to come by. Finally someone did and the police
were called and, eventually, Reichert was notified.

King County Sheriff Barney Winckoski was out of town so Major Richard Kraske, the
head of the criminal investigation division, took charge of the investigation.

For Kraske, this case was becoming uncomfortably familiar. Only eight years earlier, he
had seen how inexperience had caused serious mistakes in the handling of the Ted Bundy
investigation. It was not going to happen again, not on his watch.

Kraske personally supervised divers in their search for the bodies, while Reichert examined
the tall grass on the embankment. All of a sudden, he found a third female body, half
naked and recently killed.

At 6 pm that evening, Chief Medical Examiner Donald Reay, arrived at the scene to
examine the bodies "in situ." Approaching the river, noticing that the bodies had been
weighted down with rocks, he asked that they be removed and saved as evidence. The first
body he examined was entirely nude and seemed to have been in the river for several days.
The victim was a black girl in her early twenties. Reay found no jewelry on the body or
other identifying marks and noted that the manner of death was not readily apparent.

The second victim, also black, showed advanced signs of decomposition that suggested
that she had been in the water for over a week. No obvious wounds were found on the
body but a blue short-sleeved top was still attached to the body and a front fastening
brassiere had been undone, presumably to expose the breasts, and was caught behind the

The third victim may have been on the river bank for less than a day. "About the neck, a
pair of blue slacks are wound with an over and under type knot on the right side of the
neck, " Reay reported.

Kraske returned to his office to prepare a statement for the press, knowing that, as soon as
it was released, the media would have a "field-day" with his department. They would
never let him alone until this serial killer was found.

According to Smith and Guillen, Kraske had always prided himself on doing things "by the
book." But, after working on the Ted Bundy case, he realized that the book didnt cover
what seemed to be a series of random, motiveless crimes. Of the many lessons that he and
his staff had learned on the case was the importance of information management. Wide
reaching crimes of this nature invariably meant that the investigators would be flooded
with a deluge of seemingly unrelated information.

While working on the "Ted" case, one of the young detectives on Kraskes team had built
a solid reputation for himself with his unconventional approach. Bob Keppel, a brash,
intelligent, well-educated young man had made more progress in the Bundy investigation
than any other detective.

Keppel devised the method of compiling lists of people who had come in contact with the
victims leading up to their deaths, looking for a pattern. When that failed to yield a result,
he compiled a list of owners of the type of vehicle that "Ted" supposedly used in some of
the abductions, a Volkswagen "Bug." He then cross- checked the information with a list of
everybody named Ted who was similar in age and description to the suspect.

Eventually, after months of painstaking work, Keppel had compiled a list of twenty-five
"possibles." When Theodore Robert Bundy, was arrested in Utah and eventually charged
with several of the murders, his name had been next on Keppels list.

If one thing from the Bundy investigation was etched forever in Kraske's mind it was the
need to cooperate as much as possible with other jurisdictions by sharing information.
There was no room for ancient feuds in a high-profile serial murder case.

Already very understaffed, Kraske carefully assembled his special team, then he called for
some assistance from the FBI in working up a profile of this killer.

Reichert took all three sets of fingerprint cards to be analyzed and only one came up with
a match. One of the women was tentatively identified as Marcia Faye Chapman.
Fingerprint record checks of the other two victims yielded nothing.

Later the same afternoon, Kraske called a meeting of King County detectives assigned to
the case. Also present, at his invitation, were detectives from Kent, Tacoma and Seattle
police departments. Bob Keppel, who was working for the Attorney General's department
at the time, was also there.

Each of the departments in turn briefed the group on homicides against young women in
their areas. There were quite a few with only one thing in common -- they were all
unsolved with very little evidence to go on. The detectives disagreed about the possibility
of the crimes being the work of a serial killer. The only point of agreement at that stage
was the fact that the same person probably murdered both of the recent victims found in
the river.

Bob Keppel drew their attention to the facts:

The victims were of similar age and background.

They were dumped in or near the same stretch of river.

Two of the victims had similar rocks inserted in their vaginas.

Two victims, Wendy Coffield and the woman found by Reichert, were both strangled with
their own pants, using the same knot.

Two factors, namely the inserted rocks and the knotted clothing about the neck, he
believed, were clearly the work of a sexual psychopath. Keppel theorized that the killer
had probably been at the river dumping another victim, when police were recovering
Debra Bonners body, which would account for the body being left on the bank, probably
after the killer became "spooked" by the police activity.

In summation he said:

"I tell you one thing, this is not the first time that this guy has killed, and not only that,
hes not going to stop until he is caught or dies."

Keppel believed that the killer was probably aware that bodies dumped in water were
harder to identify. Based on this assumption, he reasoned that the killer would return to
the dumping site, not only to relive his sexual fantasy, but also to dump additional victims.
He suggested a stakeout of the riverbanks, to which Kraske agreed.

The following Sunday, August 22, medical examiners positively identified the remaining
victims. The woman that Reichert had found on the riverbank was a sixteen-year-old
prostitute named Opal Mills. The other was Cynthia Hinds, otherwise known as "Cookie."
In light of the complaints of media interference, Kraske refused to release the names to the

Detective Reichert, knowing that it would only be a matter of time before the media
learned the victims identities, went to interview Opal Mills' family. They told him that
they had last seen Opal on August 11, when she had left the house with her friend
"Cookie," to go to a job they had found painting apartments. Reichert found it interesting
that the girls had disappeared just one day before Deborah Bonners body was found.

Opals last contact with her family had been a collect phone call from a phone booth to
advise them that she was unable to find a painting job for her brother. The call was later
traced to a booth on Pacific Highway South near the Three Bears Motel, close to the area
where Deborah Bonner and Marcia Chapman were last seen. The call had been placed at
12:55 pm, just forty-five minutes before Deborah Bonners body was found, a fact that
supported Keppels theory of the killer dumping the body on the bank because of the
police presence at the river.

Meanwhile, other detectives interviewed the Hinds family and were given the names of
some of Cynthias friends. After talking to the friends, they learned that Cynthia had been
seen at a convenience store on the night of August 11. The store was just sixteen blocks
from the Three Bears. A later check of police files indicated that Cynthia Hinds had a
record for prostitution and assault.

On August 23, Kraske changed his mind and released the names of Mills and Hinds to the
press. Not long after the release of the information, the Mills family told reporters that a
family friend had seen Opal on Pacific Highway south, with a man in a red Cadillac.
Shortly after, she was seen to get out of the Cadillac and get into a black jeep with another
man. Reporters believed that the man in the Cadillac was probably Opals pimp and the
man in the jeep may have been a "customer," possibly the killer. In an attempt to follow
their latest "lead," reporters cruised the highway looking for red Cadillacs and black jeeps,
but quickly lost interest when they found that there were many such vehicles, most of
them around the area they called "the strip."

Prior to the construction of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 1942, houses and
farms with very few commercial properties bordered the Pacific Highway. As the air
traffic increased, motels, diners, saloons and a variety of other commercial enterprises
littered both sides of the highway, many staying open for twenty-four hours. By the
1970s, prostitution in the area was flourishing. A small percentage of the girls worked the
bars and lobbies of the strips many hotels, motels and massage parlors.

The larger percentage, however, were hundreds of street prostitutes, plying their trade to
passing motorists. Most were young, hardly more than teenagers and a large percentage
were using drugs.

Because of the proliferation of young prostitutes on the street and their ingrained distrust
of police, the strip was perfectly suited to the needs of a sexual psychopath looking for
victims. A report of a missing prostitute would go virtually unheeded and in most cases
would be quickly forgotten.

Kraske knew the odds, but sent investigators into the field regardless. His team of
detectives found it increasingly difficult to get worthwhile information from the girls on
the strip, being hampered both by mistrust and what they saw as the growing incidence of
media interference.

Another factor that hampered the investigation in the earlier stages was the lack of
organization in processing the information that came in from the field. Most detectives
were writing reports down on paper, but the growing amount of data was too much to
handle. Kraske acquired a mini-computer to correlate the reports but they were coming in
too fast for the data to be entered into the system.

As publicity surrounding the murders grew, so too did the line of people who volunteered
their services to assist the police in their investigations. Many of them were no more than
nuisance value and Kraske was reluctant to waste valuable time evaluating them. One
person in particular was Barbara Kubik-Patten, a self-proclaimed psychic and private

Kubik-Patten contacted the King County police and offered to use her psychic abilities to
aid police to find her killer. She told police that after reading about the discovery of Debra
Bonners body, she and a friend had gone to the river the night of August 14, the day
before the discovery of the latest victims.

She told police that she had seen a man walking near the river and acting suspiciously. As
they watched, the man had walked along the waters edge looking in the water, then
climbed up the bank and got in a small white car and drove off.

Not far from the bridge, she found a bloodstained shirt and a piece of bone. She took the
items to the Kent police who took her back to the scene and interrogated her. She claims
that she told police that there would be a third victim but police later denied that they had
taken any such report or gone to the river to investigate a claim at that time. Undeterred,
Kubik-Patten was convinced that she could locate the killer and began talking to
prostitutes on the strip.

She claims that many of the women she spoke to told her that they believed the killer was
either a policeman or someone who was pretending to be one. A few of the girls had
spoken about a man who had flashed a police badge in an attempt to coerce them into his
car. Most of them were too wise to fall for such a trick but commented that a lot of the
girls weren't, particularly the younger ones. Kubik-Patten faithfully recorded her findings
and passed on copies of her notes to the police. With little feed back forthcoming from the
police, Barbara took her findings to a more receptive audience, the press.

As in many heavily populated centers of the world, large numbers of people in the
Seattle-Tacoma area were reported as missing every month. Limited by resources, police
departments in the district focused on missing children and any disappearance that
appeared to involve foul play.

From experience, police knew that when adults went missing, they usually did so of their
own volition. Juveniles were a low priority as many of them had left their family homes
voluntarily and had no intention of returning. Police, therefore, saw the investigation of a
report of a missing juvenile prostitute as a complete waste of time, a factor that was to
severely hinder the Green River investigation.

James Tindal, a young taxi driver, reported to the Seattle police that his 17-year-old
girlfriend, Gisele Lovvorn, had left their apartment on Saturday afternoon, July 17, to
"turn a few tricks" on the strip. When Gisele had failed to meet him later that evening, as
arranged, he became worried and called the local hospitals and police stations looking for
her, thinking she had been involved in an accident.

Tindal didn't get much help from the police, so he cruised the strip in his cab, talking to
other prostitutes and showing Giseles picture. He offered a $500 reward to anyone who
would help him find her and even called a television reporter hoping that she would
publicize Giseles disappearance.

When the reporter refused, Tindal contacted a psychic who, after examining a vest that
had belonged to Gisele, told him, "Shes dead. Shes lying facedown in mud. Theres a big
tangle of bushes next to her. I think theyre like briar bushes. Somethings around her neck
and shes not in water." When Tindal asked for a more accurate location, she told him,
"Shes not far from home."

For days after the visit with the psychic, Tindal look for an area matching the description.
Later, Detective Reichert paid a visit to Tindal to question him about Gisele and ask
whether he knew any of the dead girls. Tindal thought that it was just a follow-up on his
report of Gisele's disappearance and didnt realize that Reichert saw him as a possible

By late August, the detectives on the case had established that Coffield and Mills were
friends, as were Bonner and Chapman. They later connected Hinds with Mills and also
Hinds with Chapman. The girls all knew each other either as friends or work
acquaintances and had often been seen working the strip together.

Police believed that the killer was known to all of the victims and as such was probably a
regular customer who frequented the same area. Two undercover vice-squad detectives
cruised the bars along the strip, in the hope of picking up information about a particular
"john" who was violent. Others were sent out to interview street prostitutes for similar

One girl claimed that she had been picked up by a uniformed policeman in a patrol car and
driven to Green River, where she was handcuffed and raped in the back seat. After the act,
the "cop" had told her he was keeping the used condom as evidence of her prostitution.

21-year-old prostitute Susan Widmark gave another report to the police. She claimed that
on the evening of August 22, she had been working the corner of 144th Street and Pacific
Highway South when a man in his thirties driving a blue and white pick-up truck
approached her. The man asked Widmark for oral sex and, after payment was agreed, she
got into the vehicle and directed the man to an abandoned house nearby. As soon as she
was in the truck, the man drove off at high speed and headed north on Pacific Highway

When Widmark objected, the man drew an automatic pistol and pointed it at her head and
told her that if she did as she was told, she would not be harmed. Shortly after, he turned
off the highway and drove down a deserted road. He stopped the car, ordered Widmark to
strip, and raped her while holding the gun to her head. After the attack, as Widmark
started to get dressed, the man told her not to bother, as she wasnt going to be working
anymore. When she asked what he meant, he asked her if she had heard about the bodies
in the river. When she told him that she still didnt understand, he laughed and drove back
towards the river, holding the gun on her the whole time.

As they pulled up at a stoplight, the man let his gun hand drop slightly and Widmark took
the opportunity to leap from the vehicle and run, half-naked, down the street. The man
then drove of at high speed, but Widmark managed to memorize the registration number
of the truck.

Five days after hearing Widmarks story, they received a report of a missing prostitute,
16-year-old Kase Ann Lee. What sparked police interest was that the report was made by
the girl's pimp and husband, Anthony "Pretty Tony" Lee. Tony told police that he hadnt
seen Kase since she had gone out three days earlier to buy dinner.

One day later, another young prostitute was reported missing by her pimp. Terri Rene
Milligan had worked the strip near 144th Street for several hours before returning to the
motel where they lived. She left the room telling him that she was going to the local
Wendys several blocks away, but she was never seen again.

Tom and Carol Estes, the owners of a small trucking business on Pacific Highway south,
had earlier reported to police that their daughter Debbie, who they called "Muffin," had
run away from home. As with most runaway reports, police took the details and filed
them, telling the Estes that there was little they could do. Meanwhile Debbie, calling
herself Betty Lorraine Jones, had become a street prostitute, dyed her hair to change her
appearance and moved into a motel with her pimp, directly across the highway from her
parents' business.

For weeks afterwards, the Estes maintained contact with the police, hoping for news of
their wayward daughter. Soon after the discoveries of the bodies in Green River, they
became alarmed and asked the police if one of the dead girls was Debbie. The police asked
them for the girls dental records for comparison but found that none of them matched
with their daughter's.

Debbie meanwhile was plying her trade only yards from her parents' work. Had her
parents known her "working name" was Betty Jones, they would have found her easily, as
police had arrest files under that name which also included her address. On August 30,
"Betty" came to the attention of the police for a different reason. Just after 4:00 pm, while
walking south along the highway, she was offered a ride from a man driving a blue and
white pick-up truck. She accepted.

Shortly after driving off, the man pointed an automatic pistol at her head and ordered her
to take off her blouse. When she refused, the man cocked the hammer of the gun. Debbie
complied. After turning off the highway onto a dirt road, the man stopped the truck and
told her to take off her jeans. After she had obeyed, the man told her to give him oral sex.
When she refused, he hit her with the gun. Again she obeyed. When he was finished with
her, he handcuffed her arms behind her back and led her to a wooded area and left her
there, telling her not to move. Debbie did as she was told and later heard the truck drive
away. After she was sure the man was gone, she ran to a nearby house and asked the
occupants to call the police. A detective from the sex-crimes unit arrived and took her
statement. She told him her name was Betty Lorraine Jones. The report was later passed
on to detectives working on the Green River case, who checked the details against past
files and found that there had been four similar instances reported. Thus, the man in the
pick-up became the most positive lead since the arrest of Larry Mathews.

One week after the "Betty Jones" incident, Allen Whitaker, acting on Kraskes "official"
request, flew to Washington D.C. en route to the FBIs training facility in Quantico,
Virginia. The purpose of his trip was to get the FBIs Behavioral Science Unit to provide
a psychological profile of the Green River killer.

Whitaker met with John Douglas who, along with Robert Ressler, had pioneered the use
of profiling in serial crimes. Whitaker gave Douglas a package of information, which
contained crime and autopsy reports, photographs of the victims and crime scene
information. From his experience and research, Douglas had found that serial killers
tended to fall into two broad categories, the organized and the disorganized. The
disorganized were killers who were more impulsive in the execution of their crimes, often
leaving behind clues in their haste to leave the scene. Douglas believed the reason for this
was that the "fantasy process" that fuelled most serial killers was in its earliest stages of

The organized killers, on the other hand, were those that had a higher skill level when
committing murder. They were more meticulous in both planning and execution, often
bringing the necessary equipment with them and taking great care to avoid detection.

Douglas offered the opinion that the Green River killer showed elements of both
categories. The fact that the victims seemed to have been chosen at random and the use of
the victims' clothing as murder weapons suggested impulsiveness. However, the fact that
the bodies of Chapman and Hinds had been weighted down with rocks, suggested that the
killer had felt comfortable enough to spend additional time at the scenes. Multiple victims
having been dumped at the same spot, which also suggested that the killer was confident
enough to return to the original location, not only to deposit additional bodies but also to
relive the fantasies of his previous crimes.

The location of the bodies further suggested to Douglas, that the man responsible was
probably a fisherman or hunter who was familiar with the area. Having chosen prostitutes
as victims meant that the killer might have felt moral justification for his deeds, with the
casual dumping of the bodies suggesting a complete lack of remorse. The placement of the
bodies in a river suggested that the killer might have been a religious person, committing,
what he saw, as a cleansing ritual or macabre baptism.

Douglas also felt that the "macho dominance" aspects of the crimes indicated that the
killer could be a man with a history of relationship problems with women that had caused
him a high level of humiliation. In conclusion, Douglas told Whitaker that, because of the
"macho" aspect, the police should look for a man with a strong interest in police work,
possibly a civilian helper who may already have contacted the police and offered his
assistance. Douglas then compiled his analysis into a report for Whitaker to take back to

Authors Note:

For various legal reasons, the real name of the taxi driver has been withheld. For the
purposes of this story, references to this person will be replaced with the initials TD, for
taxi driver. N.B. The taxi driver in question is not to be confused with John Tindal, also a
taxi driver, who was mentioned earlier in this story.

In September 1982, Detective Reichert and his partner Bob LaMoria, inspired by John
Douglass profile, focused their attention on any civilians who had offered any assistance
to the investigation team. One such man was TD, who had contacted the investigators on
several occasions to offer his help. He told the detectives that, having worked as a taxi
driver in the Seattle area for several years, he had gotten to know most of the prostitutes
that worked the strip.

Reichert ran a check on TD, and found that he lived just outside of Seattle with his two
sons and his father. A criminal record inquiry revealed that, as a young man, he had served
two separate prison terms. Now in middle age, TD considered himself a responsible citizen
who just wanted to help. Reichert was suspicious of the man, particularly when TD
suggested that the investigators should be interviewing cab drivers in relation to the

When asked if he was talking about anyone in particular, TD suggested a man by the name
of Smith. The detectives knew Smith who been mentioned by Seattle detectives the day
before. Two weeks later, Detective Larry Gross saw Smith in his cab and wrote down the
registration number. A later check of criminal records showed that Smith had no criminal
history. Several days later, a volunteer YMCA worker brought three "street kids" to the
detective's office and told Bob LaMoria, that the teenagers had some information
regarding TD and Smith.

The teenagers told LaMoria that TD had warned them about Smith. When asked how they
knew about TD, the teenagers said that he was known as a guy who looked after street
kids and occasionally gave them money. They also said that he was known to have had sex
with some of them. LaMoria later told Reichert about the meeting and both of them began
to suspect that TD might be a stronger suspect than Smith.

On September 9, Reichert contacted TD and invited him to his office to "discuss the case."
When he arrived, TD was shown a photograph of Smith and positively identified him as
the man he had mentioned. He told Reichert that he believed that Smith was responsible
for turning several street kids into prostitutes. TD was then shown photographs of the
murdered girls. He told them that he recognized Bonner but didnt know the others.
Reichert then asked him about his sexual involvement with the street kids. TD rejected the
suggestion, telling Reichert that anyone that had sex with teenagers was a "pervert."
Asked why he hung around with street kids, TD replied that he had just wanted to help
them. The final question was in relation to his criminal record. TD freely admitted that he
had been in jail, but stressed that he had not been in any further trouble with the police
since 1965.

The next day, Smith was brought in for questioning. When Reichert showed him the
photographs of the victims, Smith said that he didnt recognize any of them. After an hour
of further questioning, Smith agreed to a polygraph test, which he passed. Satisfied that
Smith was telling the truth, Reichert and LaMoria focused their attention on TD.

One day later, police officially announced that they were looking for two missing
prostitutes who may have fallen victim to the Green River killer,. The names of the two
women, Kase Ann Lee and Terri Rene Milligan, were withheld from the media with the
excuse that the police did not want to alarm the families of the women.

Three days after the missing persons' announcement, a patrol car stopped a blue and white
pickup truck that they had observed cruising slowly along the strip. The driver was
Charles Clinton Clark, a meatcutter at a local supermarket. Later checks revealed that
Clark was the registered owner of two handguns. Police then assembled a montage of
photographs, including Clarks license photo, and asked Susan Widmark if her attacker
was amongst them. Widmark positively identified Clark, as did a second victim.

Police searched Clarks house for evidence, where clothes and footwear described by the
victims was seized. Clark was arrested at work and brought back to his house. His truck
was then searched and an automatic pistol recovered.

Clark freely admitted that he had kidnapped and raped several women but had never
murdered anyone. He was then taken back to the station for a polygraph test, which he

Later, "Betty Jones," was bought to the office to identify Clark in person. Then police
drove her to the spot where the rape had occurred. Later the same evening, Betty went
out and never returned. Police only learned of her disappearance when they returned to
the motel to drive her to a court appearance. Thinking that she had decided not to testify,
the police issued a warrant for her arrest as a material witness against Clark. She was
never seen again.

Even though Clark seemed like a viable suspect and obviously had committed violent
crimes against prostitutes, some doubts existed as to whether he was responsible for the
Green River murders. For instance, why would he murder some victims and let others go.
If he had a gun, why would he strangle his victims? In addition, when Reichert checked
the times of the disappearances and found that Clark had been working on most of the
occasions. The final test would be when the fibers taken from Clarkes truck were

While detectives were booking Clark for the rape attacks, Mary Bridget Meehan left the
motel where she was staying, with her boyfriend, to go for a short walk. She was a
runaway but had never been involved in prostitution. When she did not return to the
motel, her boyfriend Ray called the police to report her missing, telling the police that she
couldnt have gone far as she had no money and was eight months pregnant. The report
was passed on to the Green River investigators.

Reichert did not believe that Clark was the Green River Killer. He came to the conclusion
that TD was a much more viable suspect and focused most of his attention on TD.

Reichert wanted to get TD in for questioning, but knowing that the method of
interviewing him was critical to their success, decided to ask Douglas for advice.
However, Douglas was out of town. Reichert had already set up the interview and
couldnt wait.

On September 20, TD voluntarily attended the detective's interview with the
understanding that he was to provide additional information to aid the investigators. The
interview started pleasantly enough with Reichert producing a stack of photographs for
TD to identify. After identifying several of the girls, TD was questioned extensively on his
relationship with the prostitutes and their pimps. The questioning continued for several
hours. TD was getting agitated, now it seemed as though they suspected him.

TD insisted that he had nothing to do with the murders. Reichert then suggested he take a
polygraph test. Anxious to prove his innocence, TD agreed. Curiously, the test was
stopped after 30 minutes, when most tests go much longer. While the test was analyzed,
TD was taken back to the interview room and questioned all over again. Reichert told TD
that he had failed the test because he had "lied" on four occasions.

TD was incensed, insisting that he was innocent. Reichert then suggested that the best way
to prove his innocence was to agree to a search of his house and car. TD readily agreed.
Later that evening, the detectives searched the house, outbuildings and car. They then
drove TD back to their office, where Reichert openly accused TD of the Green River
murders and arrested him, not for murder, but for unpaid parking fines.

TD was then asked to provide hair and blood samples, to which he agreed. Questioning
continued on into the night with Reichert going over the same questions again and again.
Later, TD learned that his father had posted his bail six hours before, but no one had
informed him.

After a second day of almost continual questioning, TD was released on bail, but he was
to endure constant surveillance for months.

On Saturday 26 1982, a trail bike rider found the decomposing body of a woman south of
the Sea-Tac airport. She was nude and had a pair of men's socks knotted around her neck.
Police later identified her as Gisele Lovvorn. James Tindal was notified of the discovery,
questioned extensively and subjected to a polygraph examination. As he was a possible
suspect, he was not given details of the manner of death or the body's location. If he had,
he would have found that Gisele had been found close to home near a tangle of brush, just
as a psychic had predicted. After confirming the identification by dental records, the police
announced the find and amended the official death toll to six.

Meanwhile, the daily surveillance of TD had continued unabated. On October 8, anxious
to clear his name and make the public aware of the level of harassment that he was
experiencing, he contacted Hilda Bryant at KIRO. Bryant was sympathetic and covered
the story, which caused great embarrassment for Kraske and his staff, as they were forced
to admit that TD was only one of several suspects in the case. The coverage further
suggested that the surveillance may be illegal and in violation of TD's constitutional rights.
The police made no official reply to the claims and continued the surveillance. Several
days later, TD complained to reporters that police had tampered with his mail and he
threatened to get a court order to stop the harassment. Kraske's answer, on behalf of his
department, was to organize yet another search. After literally tearing TD's house apart for
over five hours, police attempted to question him further but he refused to answer any
questions without his attorney present. The police backed off. The new search had yielded
nothing of any importance and later the "round-the-clock" surveillance was reduced.

While TD was making his stand, a young prostitute by the name of Denise Bush was living
with her pimp in a motel near 144th street and Pacific Highway south. Just after receiving
a phone call from her friend Jody, Denise left the motel to buy some cigarettes

Some days later, another young prostitute, Shawnda Summers, vanished while working
the Strip. When her family realized that she was missing, they contacted the Seattle police
who did nothing to investigate Shawnda's disappearance.

In early December, two weeks after the second search of TD's home, 18-year-old,
Rebecca Marrero left her mother's home to go to a motel on the Strip, the same motel
from which Mary Meehan had disappeared three months earlier. Rebecca was a part-time
prostitute. That night she went to work on the Strip and went missing.

From December 1982 until March 1983, the Green River team pursued TD exclusively.
Even though the samples of hair and fiber that the police had taken from TD had not
matched any of the samples taken from the crime scenes, Kraske and Reichert were still
convinced that he was their prime suspect.

Apart from their unrelenting pursuit of TD, the rest of the Green River investigation was
not only grinding to a halt, but was going backwards. The major crimes' office was rapidly
filling up with of piles of leads and information that had not been correlated. A power
failure caused them to lose all the information that had been input into their one computer.
Two more detectives were attached to the team. Then Vernon Thomas replaced Sheriff

In an attempt to get the investigation back on track, Bob Keppel was asked to review the
situation. When Keppel went to the Green River office, he was found that none of the
evidence had been organized into a useable format. Evidential information was mixed with
files on suspects and there were no separate files for information on the victims. To
Keppel it was total chaos. He told Reichert how to organize the mass of information and
told him that he would be back when it was done.

More than a month later, Keppel returned and began the laborious task of sifting through
volumes of information. Three weeks later, he had compiled a confidential report on the
entire investigation. The report was heavily detailed, pointing out the faults and
weaknesses and suggesting ways to improve them. When Kraske read the report he was
shocked. Not only had the department wasted a lot of time and money on the investigation
with very little result, but to remedy the situation would take all the manpower of the
entire department and a huge budget. Reichert and his team saw the report as unwarranted

As the months ticked by and the Green River detectives struggled to bring their
investigation under control, more young women disappeared without trace. On April 17,
1983, Sandra Kay Gabbert had dinner with her mother and after reassuring her that she
would stay safe, left to turn a few tricks and was never seen again.

Less than two hours later, seventeen-year-old, Kimi Kai Pastor was working the streets in
downtown Seattle with her pimp. When the driver of a green pickup truck, with a camper
on the back and a primer spot on the door, showed interest in her, she waved to the driver
and signaled him to turn the next corner. The last her pimp saw of her was when she got
into the truck and drove away.

Two weeks later, on the evening of April 30, before Pastor or Gabbert had been reported
as missing, Marie Malvar and her pimp, Bobby Woods, were working Pacific Highway
south, near the Three Bears motel. A man in a green pickup truck approached Marie,
complete with camper and primer spot. She got in the truck that pulled on to the highway
and headed north. Bobby got into his car and followed them.

Shortly after, he pulled alongside the truck and noticed that Marie and the man were
arguing. The truck then pulled into another motel. While Bobby was making the turn to
follow them, the truck sped off up the highway at high speed. Bobby followed but lost the
truck in traffic near South 216th street. He never saw Marie again. A week later when
Marie failed to return, Bobby reported the matter to the Des Moines police. Bob Fox, the
detective who took the complaint was suspicious and believed that Bobby was responsible
for Maries disappearance.

Several days later, Maries father, Joe Malvar, picked up Bobby Woods in his truck and
drove to the area where Marie was last seen. They drove around the streets in the area for
several hours until finally, in a small cul-de-sac, they saw a green pick-up that matched
Bobbys description exactly. They watched the house for some time, noticing two men
inside. Later Joe went to a nearby house and called the police. Not long after his call, Bob
Fox and his partner arrived. The police went to the house and had a short conversation
with the occupants but did not enter the house. Fox told Joe that there was no woman in
the house and left the scene. Joe accepted the detective's word primarily because he didnt
trust Bobby either and believed that he had concocted the story in the first place.

In the first week of May, a family hunting for mushrooms in a rural area several miles east
of the strip, found the body of a young woman a short distance from a dirt road. The
police were summoned and arrived at the scene shortly after. The first thing that the
investigators noticed, was that, unlike the previous victims, this one was fully dressed.
Several other strange differences were apparent. The victim had a paper sack over her
head, a fish placed across her throat and above her left breast. The hands were crossed
over the abdomen with a bottle in the right hand and freshly ground raw meat on top of
the left.

Another curious difference was the fact that the victim's drivers license, in the name of
Carol Ann Christensen, was still in her jacket pocket. All of the other victims had been
stripped of their identification. The manner of death was also curious. She too had been
strangled. Not manually or with an article of clothing like the previous victims, but with a
thin cord, similar to clothesline. Police began to wonder if there was a second killer
preying on prostitutes.

The next day at the autopsy, the victim's brassiere was found to be inside out and her
shoes untied. The opinion of the pathologist was that the woman had been dressed by her
attacker after the murder. Because of the fact that the body still showed signs of
rigor-mortis and faint wrinkling to the skin of the hands and feet, indicated that the body
had not only been immersed in water, she had been killed only the day before she was
discovered. Even though much of the evidence was different to the previous killings, one
item found on the body seemed to connect it to the other Green River murders. The paper
sack that was found on the victims head had come from the Seven-Eleven store on South
144th street, almost in the middle of the strip and close to where several of the victims
were last seen.

As the police were attempting to unravel the mysteries surrounding the latest victim, more
young women disappeared. On May 22, 1983, eighteen-year-old Martina Authorlee was
working the area in the center of the strip, near the Red Lion bar when she picked up a
trick and was never seen again. The next day, another eighteen-year-old, Cheryl Wims,
disappeared from the same locality. Yvonne Shelley Antosh was the next when, on May
31, she picked up her first trick of the night near South 142nd street and vanished. None
of the three were ever reported as missing.

Prior to the disappearance of Yvonne Antosh, a discovery was made that, if properly
handled, could have provided a means of apprehending the Green River killer. At midnight
on May 27, 1983, a cleaner at the Sea-Tac airport found a drivers license belonging to
Maria Malvar, behind some chairs next to departure gate B4. An hour later, he handed it
over to the Port police office at the airport. The Port police then ran a check on Maria
Malvar and discovered that she had been reported missing. A notation on the file indicated
that the case was under investigation by Bob Fox of the Des Moines police. The following
morning, the port police contacted Foxs office and informed them of the find. The
information was noted on Malvars file but the license was never retrieved from the
airport. The fact that the license may have been left at the departure gate by the killer,
complete with fingerprints didnt occur to the investigators until 1985. By then, not only
had the license been destroyed, but also the flight records.

Contrary to police opinion, not all of the missing girls were prostitutes. On June 8, 1983,
20-year-old, Constance Elizabeth Naon, left work in Seattle and drove to the Red Lion
bar. After she arrived at the bar, she phoned her boyfriend and told him that she would be
home in approximately twenty minutes. She never returned. Five days after a fruitless
search, her boyfriend reported her as missing.

The following day, sixteen-year-old prostitute, Tammy Liles picked up a customer near
Pike Place in downtown Seattle and was never seen again. Likewise, Keli Kay McGuiness
left the Three Bears motel to work the strip near South 216th street and never returned.
Two days later, her pimp rang the Des Moines police and reported her missing. The
investigator assigned to her case was Bob Fox.

As July approached, the effectiveness of the investigation was rapidly diminishing. One of
the prime causes was the lack of cooperation between the Green River investigators and
the rest of the departments. The situation became so bad that, when members of the vice
squad were assigned to control the number of prostitutes working the hot-zone, in the
centre of the strip, they spent most of their time sitting in their vehicles watching as
prostitutes brazenly waved down customers and drove off. Rarely were any of the
registration numbers of the vehicles recorded and when they were, the information was
not relayed to the investigators on the case. Occasionally when one of the girls was
arrested for prostitution, they were never questioned regarding the murders.

In growing frustration with the lack of interest that police were showing in the case,
several members of the missing girls families patrolled the length of the strip talking to
other prostitutes and their pimps, in the hope of finding any shred of information regarding
their loved ones.

While the police idled and the parents searched, other strange reports were being made to
police. Gina Serret made one such report. She reported to police that, while walking from
her house, east of the strip in South 150th street, towards her parent's house on the far
side of the airport, she noticed a foul smell near a dirt track known in the area as Rapers
Road. The track was notorious as a hangout for pimps, drug users and prostitutes, who
often used the dark and lonely stretch to entertain their customers. At one end of
Rapers Road was a shack used by the telephone company. It was in the area near the
shack that the smell was more noticeable.

After reporting the matter to the police, they accompanied her to the spot and told her that
they would investigate it further. Several days later, Gina was informed by the police that
the smell was from a pile of rotting fish that had been dumped in the area. Later that
month, players and spectators at a Little League field close to the area where Gina had
been walking detected another disgusting odour. Even though the smell was strong
enough to prevent many of the teams from using the area, the matter was never reported

On the afternoon of August 11, 1983, a man picking apples discovered a skeleton under a
pile of brush just off Rapers road. The man reported the find but because the remains
were found close to airport property, a jurisdictional argument arose over which district
the body was found in, the Port Authority or King Countys. Later, after a surveyor
determined that the skeleton lay in King County, the investigation proceeded.

The skeleton was examined and found to be in poor condition, with many of the bones
broken or missing. Near the body a small gold chain was recovered. This, along with the
distinctive feminine pelvic shape, led the investigators to believe that the remains were of a
young woman. Later, the teeth were X-rayed and compared with those of the missing girls
but failed to provide a match.

In late September, a man searching for a lost chicken, found another skeleton near Star
Lake road and 54th Avenue South, eight miles from the centre of the strip. The remains,
another female, were found lying facedown in a wooded area to the north of Star Lake
road. Following the discovery, the investigators attended the scene with a group of
Explorer boy scouts and scoured the area looking for further remains or additional clues
to what was obviously another murder. When the search failed to yield further clues, the
remains were removed to the morgue and examined. As before, dental X-rays failed to
provide any clue as to the identity of the latest victim.

On October 15, another skeleton was found near a creek off 140th Avenue and
Auburn-Black Diamond road, twelve miles from the strip. Just as Bob Keppel had
predicted, the killer was finding new dumping grounds further away from the river.

The two new skeletons were later identified. The first, found near Rapers Road, was
Shawnda Lee Summers missing since October 1982 and the second was Yvonne Antosh
missing since May 1982.

As Yvonne Antosh was being identified, another skeleton was discovered, partially buried,
in a vacant lot to the south of the airport. As the new find was within airport property, the
Port police had jurisdiction. As the police carefully uncovered the skeleton, they noticed
that, lying in the centre of the pelvic region was a pyramid shaped rock, similar to the ones
found wedged into the vaginas of two of the first bodies. The day after the find, a massive
search of the area was organised utilising Pioneer scouts and police.

Not long after the search commenced, a scout found another skeleton lying in a pile of
brush just fifty yards from the first body. Unlike the first, this body had not been buried but
rather dumped in the brush and partially covered with tin cans and other rubbish. Because
the newest body was the third that was found in or near airport property in less than a
year, the Port police commissioner decide to organise a search of the entire two thousand
acres of port property. In addition, he announced that the search would be conducted with
the cooperation of the King County police investigating the Green River killings.

Meanwhile, prostitutes continued to work the strip as though nothing had happened. One
of them, Paige Miley, went out one morning, with her friend Kim Nelson, to cruise for
tricks. The pair sat on a bench near South 142nd street, waiting for some action. Shortly
after, Paige picked up a trick. She was just eighteen-years-old and four months pregnant.
Nelson began to fear for her safety. She had good reason to worry as, one night the
previous September; a man driving a tan ford had picked up Nelson. As the man stopped
the car in a dark parking lot, he pulled a length of iron rod from under the seat and bashed
Nelson on the arms and the legs. He told her that they (prostitutes) were all bitches and
he was going to kill her just like he had killed all the others.

Nelson tried to unlock the door but found that there were no internal handles. Instead she
managed to wind down the window and scramble through it on to the ground. As the man
sped away, she tried to read the numberplate but it was obscured by mud. She contacted
the Green River detectives, believing that the man could have been the killer. The police
took her statement and asked her to let them know if she ever saw the man or the vehicle

Back at the bench, as Nelson waited for Paige to return, she picked up a trick of her own.
Fifteen minutes later, Paige returned to the bench to wait for Nelson but she never
returned. A few nights later, a man in a pickup truck saw Paige Miley at a store near the
bench. The man, who was a spray painter in a local truck factory, asked Paige about her
tall blond friend, meaning Nelson. Miley replied that she didnt know. The man spooked
Miley. She wondered how he had he been able to notice them together when they had only
been on the bench for such a short time. Two days later, Miley left the area.

Ten days later, the search of the airport continued. A search dog had been brought in to
assist the police and the scouts. To the south of the first finds, the dog stopped in an area
and growled at the ground. The dog's handler summoned the detectives and shortly after
the area of interest was excavated. Several inches below the surface, they found another
skeleton. The following day, pathologists examined the remains. As he reconstructed the
crumbling bone fragments, he noticed that in the lower abdominal region of the skeleton
were the partial bones of another, much smaller skeleton, obviously the remains of a
foetus. The pregnant woman was later identified as Mary Bridget Meehan, who on
September 15, 1982, had disappeared while out taking a stroll.

By October 1983, the new Sheriff, Vernon Thomas realized that, if his department were to
have any hope of catching the Green River killer, they would need to commit to a larger
and more expensive investigation. Even though the body count was increasing with
alarming regularity, Thomas knew that he was going to have to lobby the countys
politicians heavily to get the resources that he required.

Thomas drew up a proposal for a new task force and submitted it to Randy Revelle, the
County Executive. The proposal outlined a plan to reallocate most of the countys
detectives to the investigation full time, thereby effectively stripping the rest of the
department to the bone, a move that was to alienate Thomas from the other department
heads. Thomas also requested that the FBI provide on-site assistance in the investigation.

Through the last weeks of October and into early November, Thomas held numerous
meetings with county officials, pushing for the allocation of additional funds to launch a
major investigation. Finally, at the end of November, alarmed by the escalation in the
number of bodies that were turning up, the committee approved the application. In
addition, he was also given approval to enlist the services of the FBI, who agreed to send
John Douglas and his team to act as advisers to the investigation.

Within days of the approval, Douglas and his team arrived to brief the detectives on the
handling of information, suspect interview techniques and the pro-active methods required
to force the killer into the open. Shortly after his arrival, however, Douglas became
seriously ill with viral encephalitis and was hospitalized for several months.

Even though Major Kraske had done a credible job in heading up the previous
investigation, Sheriff Thomas felt that he was not suitably equipped to command the new
task force and decided it would be best to give the job to someone else. Even though
Thomas was taking overall responsibility for the investigation, he needed an able
commander to oversee the day-to-day operations. The man he chose for the task was the
head of the departments Internal Affairs Unit, Captain Frank Adamson.

Adamson was a popular choice with the detectives in the department, as he was well
known for his abilities as an organizer and a motivator. A quiet, purposeful, intelligent
man, Adamson had proven credentials as a patient and persistent investigator who had the
ability to give focus and purpose to, what had become a messy and disjointed

In the middle of January 1984, Thomas called a press conference and announced the
formation of the new Green River Task Force. Under the leadership of Captain Adamson,
the team included two lieutenants, four sergeants, twelve detectives and twenty-two
plain-clothes officers. Bob Keppel was also seconded to the team as a full-time consultant.

One of Adamsons first tasks was to devise a system to handle the reams of information
that the previous investigation had amassed and collate it into a useable system that any
member of the team could access effectively. Another factor that limited the group's
effectiveness was location. Being headquartered in downtown Seattle meant that they
were too far away from the strip, where most of the crimes were centered. To remedy the
situation, Adamson arranged for the task force to be relocated to new premises at the
Burien County precinct located a mile west of the airport.

A large meeting room in the precinct building was taken over and equipped with
additional telephones and the furniture necessary to house the forty plus members of the
task force. Once the new force was rehoused, the next step was to assign the members of
the team to their individual tasks. Adamson was in full agreement with Keppels previous
report that suggested that one team of detectives be assigned to the victims and
concentrate their efforts on the movements and associations of the victims prior to their
disappearance. Another team would concentrate on suspects, but unlike normal
investigations where the detectives job was to prove a suspects guilt, the Green River
team would work in reverse, trying to prove each of the suspects innocence. That way,
Adamson and Keppel believed, the investigation would not become bogged down
attempting to prove one persons guilt, but rather would focus on eliminating those
suspects with alibis and lack of association with the victims. To achieve this, the two
teams would have to work closely together to match victims with suspects.

Two teams of seven detectives were chosen and a sergeant appointed to each as a team
leader. Three other detectives were assigned to a crime analysis section. Their job was to
correlate and link the information into an efficient and accessible matrix.

The remainder were street cops who would comprise the groups pro-active squad. Their
task would be to patrol the strip and develop contacts with pimps and prostitutes and
carry out surveillance of suspects. The vice police were relieved of their usual duties and
placed on the strip as undercover units to decoy possible suspects to pre-arranged motel
rooms for interrogation.

Not long after the inception of the new force, Adamson realized that the investigation was
not going to run as smoothly as he had hoped. The first hurdle that he encountered was
caused by resentment within his own department. Almost as soon as the task force had
been assembled the commanders of the departments other sections were complaining
about the preferential treatment the task force detectives were receiving. They complained
that while they had to make do with restricted funding to cope with the ongoing daily
crime rate in the area, the task force had no such restriction. They were given leased
vehicles, cellular telephones and priority access to the department's resources.

The matter came to a head when the task force were issued with specially made
windbreakers with Green River Task Force emblazoned on the back. The police who
were not picked for inclusion, accused the task force of being secretive and elitist and
quickly became resentful and refused to cooperate with its members.

Regardless of the ill feeling, Adamson and his team were confident that the killer would be
found and apprehended quickly. At the time, they had no way of knowing that their
confidence would be short-lived.

By mid February 1984, Adamson became painfully aware of the enormity of the task that
he had undertaken. To even have a hope of finding a viable suspect, the task force had to
reconstruct the chain of events that led to each victims disappearance. To achieve this it
was necessary to delve into the subculture that existed in and around the strip. To gain any
useable information from the prostitutes and their pimps, the police had to first win their
confidence, which took valuable time. Eventually as the investigation continued the
information began to flow which resulted in the suspect list growing to the point where it
consisted of nearly a thousand names. Daily briefings were arranged so that the different
sections could share the information as it became available.

To assist the detectives to sift through the large amounts of data, the suspect files were
arranged into three main groups. The suspects, who were in close proximity to the strip
and had a record of violent offences against women, were filed in the top priority or A
group. Any suspects that seemed capable of committing the crimes but had no connection
to the strip were filed in the B group. All the others were noted in the less important
C list. As the detectives worked their way through the lists, new information would
come to light that would either result in the upgrading of some suspects to a higher
priority group or the downgrading of others. TDs name found its way to the top of the
A list. Regardless of the continuing surveillance of him and his family and numerous
polygraph examinations that revealed nothing to indicate his involvement in the murders,
several of the investigative team, including Reichert, still believed that he was the prime

Another problem that Adamson faced was how to enlist the aid of the press without giving
them too much information. Originally he had been secretive with the media, even refusing
to release the names of the task force members. Eventually, he devised a system where the
media were given selected information, on the proviso that they would provide responsible
and unbiased reporting of the task forces progress. It was a good plan in theory but the
media found it hard to comply with a system that they considered one-sided.

While the detectives assigned to the suspects appeared to be making some headway, the
team assigned to the victims found that, because of an inadequate missing persons system
and the apathy of police, they were unable to ascertain how many prostitutes had been
reported missing. The only way to determine the number of possible victims was to go
through the records of prostitution arrests and determine which ones had not appeared at
court. This was made doubly hard by the fact that many prostitutes, when faced with
multiple offences, changed their names and moved to another district to avoid

By the time the detectives had sorted the records, they had a list of over one thousand
prostitutes that had not appeared for trial for one reason or another. The only way to
ascertain if one of the girls was truly missing was to check each file and verify the true
identity of the person and the circumstances surrounding their disappearance. When all
other avenues of tracking down the girls were completely exhausted, the investigators
would call for the dental records of the suspected victims and compare them with the
remains of any new victims.

While the suspect and victim teams sifted through their files, the pro-active squad
continued to cruise the streets in the hope of getting a lead on the perpetrator or
preventing him from taking further victims. One lead the street cops managed to track
down came from Kimi Kai Pitsors pimp.

The man told police that the last time he had seen Kimi had been one evening in April, but
he wasnt sure about the date. On that night, he recalled, he and Kimi had been working in
downtown Seattle and a man had driven past them in a pickup truck and waved to Kimi.
She waved back and indicated to the man that he should drive around the corner. When he
did as she had indicated she walked around the corner to meet him and that was the last
time he saw her. Police questioned him further to ascertain the exact date. After going
through the movements of the pimp before and after the event they were able to narrow
down the date to April 17, 1983, the same night that Sandy Gabbert had disappeared from
the strip.

Police pressed the man for details on the vehicle. He described it as an older model green
pick-up with a silver camper on the back with a fold-down tray. He also remembered that
the door had a spot on it, as though a sign had been sanded off the paintwork. The driver
he described as being big, white, twenty to thirty years old with dark curly hair and a
pockmarked face. The man was later taken back to the task force headquarters where he
described the man to a police artist. The resulting sketch seemed familiar, almost like
Detective Reichert with curlier hair and bad skin. Later, the pimp volunteered to undergo
hypnosis, in the belief that a relaxed mind may be able to recall additional details. During
the examination, he recalled that the man had a tattoo on his arm. The truck, he
remembered had large side mirrors and a bar across the back of the camper. Unfortunately
he couldnt recall any registration details. The details of the vehicle and driver were later
circulated throughout the department in the hope that a patrolman would recognize them.

As the new investigation gained momentum, not all of the information received was
helpful. Across the country in Florida, two men, Henry Lee Lucas and his partner Ottis
Toole had been arrested in relation to a series of vicious murders. While being questioned,
Lucas had claimed responsibility for most of the Green River killings. The Lucas case
made headlines across the nation, which prompted reporters to ask Adamson if he was
investigating the claims. Adamson told the media that inquiries had been made but
dismissed when it was established that the two men had been in another part of the
country when the Green River murders were committed.

On Tuesday, February 14, 1984, a man searching for moss, found some human skeletal
remains near a park just off the I-90, nearly forty miles east of Seattle. The information
was relayed to the local police who informed the task force. A search was made of the
area but no other bodies were found. The remains were later confirmed to be those of a
young woman, but, until dental records were checked, no other identification was
possible. Even though the newest remains were of a young woman, because they were
found so far away from the other victims, the task force detectives did not consider the
find part of the Green River investigation.

Soon after the skeleton was found, Adamson decided to organize a public meeting, in the
hope that concerned citizens would be able to come forward in a public forum and discuss
the events with police. He hoped that it would provide more information and may also
bring the killer into the open. To be ready for such an occurrence, Adamson organized a
team to record the names and vehicle details of everyone who attended. The meeting was
a disaster. Apart from the police, members of the media and even County Executive
Revelle, only four members of the public attended.

On March 13, 1984, a convoy of U.S. army trucks on their way to maneuvers in the
Cascade Mountains, stopped for a break. Not long after they stopped, a soldier from the
convoy walked off the road into a wooded area to relieve himself. About twenty yards
from the road, he discovered a human skeleton. The soldier ran back to his superiors to
raise the alarm and the police were called. The area where the convoy had stopped was off
I-90, just 300 yards from the remains found the previous February.

Just over a week later, a man was working on the Little League field, north of the airport
when his dog found a bone. On closer inspection, the man realized that the bone was
human. He called the Port police who in turn contacted the task force. Shortly after the
police reached the site, they followed the dog into some brush and discovered a skeleton,
minus the leg bone that the dog had retrieved. Detectives later deduced that the body had
obviously been the source of the bad smells that had been reported in the area.

The following day, another search was organized and soon after it began, a searcher with
a dog, found a second skeleton in some brush. The new find was in some brush, right next
to the telephone company shack where Gina Serret had reported the disgusting smell. So
much for the theory of rotting fish. The second skeleton was later identified as Cheryl
Lee Wims. Curiously she and three other missing prostitutes had been excluded from the
list of possible Green River victims. The reasons for the omission are not known.

As the locations of the newest victims were plotted on a map, it became apparent that the
killer was using several distinctly different dumping grounds and was not dumping his
victims at random, as was first thought. Two things became apparent when the location of
the areas was examined. The first was that the killer had obviously traveled between the
sites using the network of back roads that linked the areas. Secondly he must have a
working knowledge of the area, as some of the roads were not marked on any maps.
Based on this assumption, the police believed that the man they were looking for was a
local resident. In addition, the locations where the killer had obtained his victims were
plotted on the map that indicated a triangular shape from which roughly resembled the
area where the bodies were found. The killer obviously lived somewhere inside the
triangle. Further correlation of the dump sites revealed that they were all on isolated roads
where the killer would have a clear view of any vehicle approaching. The fact that most of
the sites were used for the illegal dumping of garbage also indicated that the killer might
have been a yardman of some sort who may have become familiar with the areas after
using them to dump household refuse that he had accumulated in his work. Bob Keppel
later pointed out that the selection of the sites also confirmed one facet of the profile that
John Douglas had provided. By dumping his victims in such areas, the killer was telling
them that he considered that the dead girls were just human garbage.

On March 31st 1984, the theory was tested when a man, out walking in woodland near
Highway 410, found a human jawbone. The area was over 35 miles south of the center of
Seattle. Just hours later, further north, another man, searching for wild mushrooms, found
a complete human skull in an area off Star Lake road. It seemed that the triangle was
getting even bigger.

At first light on April 1, 1984, members of the task force were assembled at the Star Lake
road location in preparation for yet another search. The narrow road had been blocked off
at either end and uniformed police were assigned to the barricades to keep the public out
of the area. The media were allowed in to the general area but were kept some distance
from the search site. The wooded area had been marked out with lines of string, forming a
giant grid. Several detectives and Explorer scouts were assigned to search each individual
grid. The task was not an easy one, as most of the wooded area was covered in thick
brush and thorn bushes. Drizzling rain made the going treacherous and slow as the
searchers maneuvered around the mass of branches and logs that littered the forest floor,
so thick in places that it was difficult to see the ground.

Two hours after the search began, two new skeletons were found to the south of the road,
not far from the first. The scouts were given a break as the detectives and pathologists
made further examinations. The second skeleton was only a hundred feet away from the
one found by the mushroom hunter. The third was on the side of a hill, a short distance
from the first two. All three had been covered with cut branches. Lying head-to-toe beside
the third victim was the skeleton of a large dog. The two bodies had obviously been
carefully arranged.

After the discovery, a professional tracker from the U.S. Border Patrol was brought in to
examine the gravesites in the hope that he could find additional evidence that the other
searchers had missed. The plan was a good one as, shortly after his arrival, he discovered
faint shoe prints near the bodies. He told the detectives that he believed that the prints
were made at the same time as the brush covering the remains had been cut. His estimate
was that the bodies had been dumped a year earlier.

He studied the shoe prints closely and determined that they were made by a shoe with a
composite sole with no distinct heel, possibly a specialist walking shoe in size 10 or 11.
The investigators were elated, finally they had some tangible evidence of the killers

The tracks and skeletons were not the only things present at the gravesites. The isolation
of the area had transformed it into one of the largest illegal dumping sites in the district.
Did any of the refuse connect to the killer? The only way to be sure was to examine it, all
of it! It was a task that was to consume many months of sorting, collating and careful
examination in the hope that it contained some form of trace evidence that would lead to
an arrest.

Priority was given to any items found in or around the graves themselves. Ironically, the
best method of searching for clues was for an investigator to get down on his hands and
knees to search the area thoroughly. The same method that Bob Keppel had been
criticized for years before.

The next day the search continued, this time on the north side of the road. It wasnt long
before the scouts found a new skeleton, another female. Adamson was stunned. How
many more were there?

The following day, the first of the new skeletons was identified as Terri Rene Milligan,
missing since August 1982. Her identity raised the death toll to twenty-two. Two days
later, the skeleton with the dog was identified as that of Sandy Gabbert. In mid-April,
another body was found on the side of a logging road near I-90. When news of the latest
find was broadcast on the radio, one listener paid particular attention. Barbara
Kubik-Patten, the psychic, was cleaning her house as the details were being broadcast. She
told reporters later that after hearing that the location of the body was near the I-90, she
had a vision that there was another body close by.

Anxious to follow-up on her vision, she loaded her children into her car and drove to the
area. As she approached the location, she saw a patrol car parked under the I-90 overpass.
She approached the officer in the vehicle and told him about her vision of another body.
The officer replied that if she did find another body then she should contact the task force,
who were working close by.

Barbara then returned to her car and drove back the way she had come. A short time later
she came to a service road that led into a wooded area. She parked her car and walked
into the woods with her children. The first thing she noticed was the piles of refuse that
had been dumped in the area. After changing direction she found the skull of an animal. As
she was studying it, she noticed that her daughter was staring at a plastic tarpaulin that
had been dumped nearby. Stepping towards it, she lifted one edge and saw the partially
decomposed remains of what looked like a woman.

Alarmed, she ran back to her car and drove to where the task force detectives were
working. A uniformed officer guarding the perimeter of the search area, refused to let her
pass. She explained that she had just found a body but he didnt believe her and warned
her that if she persisted he would arrest her for obstruction. Barbara, angry and frustrated,
drove further down the road to where a group of reporters waited. She told them her story
and they asked if she could show them where the body was. She agreed, but before they
had a chance to return to the body, one of the task force detectives pulled up beside her in
his car and asked her to show him the body. Barbara agreed and they returned to the site.
The detective took one look at the remains and returned to his car to radio the rest of the
team that they had another one. The next day a name was given to the latest victim,
Amina Agisheff. The discovery was important for one particular reason. Unlike the
previous victims, Amina had been in a stable relationship and had two sons. She had never
been a prostitute and had last been seen at 11.30 p.m. on July 7, 1982 while walking home
from a restaurant in downtown Seattle, where she worked as a waitress.

Her discovery raised some new questions. Had she been abducted as she walked home or
had she known the killer and got into his vehicle willingly? The other fact that alarmed
Adamson and his team was that Amina had disappeared a month before Wendy Coffield.
They began to wonder just how long the killer had been operating. Several weeks later, in
late May, two children building a fort in Jovita Road, Pierce County, found another
skeleton. Medical examiners identified it as that of a young female. The braces on her
teeth led to the identification of the remains as being those of Colleen Rene Brockman, a
runaway from Seattle. She was just fifteen-years-old. As the month of May drew to a
close, the toll of identified victims stood at nineteen, including the unknowns, the total
number had grown to twenty-six.

In early August 1984, a sensational newspaper article was released claiming that two
violent criminals, who were imprisoned in a San Francisco jail, had confessed to the Green
River murders. The story told how the men, Robert Matthias and Richard Carbone, had
called a reporter from the jail and admitted to killing sixteen or more victims across the
Pacific Northwest during the summer of 1983. When Adamson was interviewed in relation
to the story, he told reporters that his office had been made aware of the claims in early
July and had discounted the two mens involvement. Apparently, an acquaintance of the
men had telephoned a Seattle newspaper and told how Carbone and Matthias had been
bragging about the killings. The police were informed and investigated the claims but
treated the story as a hoax. The media pressure increased, however, forcing the police to
review their earlier opinion.

At the time of the release of the story, a member of the task force, Detective Paul Smith,
was vacationing in San Francisco, and was asked by Adamson to go to the jail and
interview the men. Within a few short hours, Smith had determined that the men had
nothing to do with the murders and didnt even have the most basic knowledge of the
area. In addition he found that the acquaintance who had started the story was actually
one of the men. Smiths information was confirmed when a later check of the mens prison
records showed that they had both been in Californian prisons when most of the murders
had been committed.

By December 1984, another prisoner, serving time in a Florida jail, was also beginning to
take an interest in the Green River case. His name was Theodore Robert Bundy. Bundy
had read about the case and thought that he could help the police to catch the killer. In a
letter to his old protagonist, Bob Keppel, Bundy offered to supply a unique insight into the
mind of a serial killer, a curious offer indeed, considering that Ted had never confessed to
any of his own crimes.

Ted offered his assistance on the condition that all correspondence and communications
between himself and the members of the task force be kept from the press. Keppel was
wary of the offer, as he could not work out why Bundy would want to involve himself.
Intrigued, Keppel wrote a response that explained his own conditions. Ted responded with
a long and detailed letter in which he gave his opinions on the habits and motivations of
the "Riverman," as he called the killer.

Bundy believed that the key to finding the killer was the locations where the killer had
placed the bodies. He suggested that they provided strong insights into the motivations of
the man responsible. The selection of the sites, related directly to the way the killer had
selected, lured and killed his victims. His main strategy for catching the man was to place
the latest dumpsite under constant surveillance, in the belief that the killer would return to
it. A further suggestion was that the killer had a sound knowledge of the lifestyle of his
victims and was probably involved in their "scene," to the point where he was able to
move freely among them.

Ted then outlined the reasons why the murders were difficult to solve. Speaking from the
killer's point of view, Bundy believed that the ready access to a wide variety of victims, the
delays in reporting the girls missing and the initial apathy of the police and media to the
number of missing prostitutes, all contributed to the killers level of confidence. Another
contributing factor was that information about the victims and their associates was difficult
for the police to trace.

In describing the method the killer used to lure his victims, Bundy suggested that the killer
was probably posing as a cop. He explained how easy it was to get a "police style" badge
and use it to persuade a potential victim to get into a vehicle, particularly a woman with a
history of prostitution. Once the killer had lured the victim into his vehicle, it was a simple
matter to convince her that he was taking her to a quiet spot for a talk. When he had her
where he wanted her, the rest was easy.

Ted also believed that the killer probably presented an image of being a "nice guy" when
talking to the women he targeted, which would put them at ease and make them more
vulnerable to his advances, a method Bundy described as the "front end" of the operation.
The "back end," were the events leading up to, and including, the murders and placement
of the bodies. Keppel realized from reading the letter that Ted was actually imagining
himself as being the Riverman and, in so doing, was leading them into an area that only a
killer could understand and interpret. For the Bundy analysis to be of any practical value,
Keppel knew he would have to interview him face to face.

Several weeks after receiving the letter, Keppel, together with Dave Reichert, traveled to
Starke, Florida, where Bundy was imprisoned in the Florida State Penitentiary. Prior to
the interview, Pete Turner, the prisons' assistant warden, briefed the two men. He warned
them to be careful because Ted had his own personal agenda and would probably try to
manipulate them. The meeting took place in a small interrogation room off Death Row,
where Bundy was housed.

Ted was led into the room with chains around his wrists, waist and arms. Keppel and
Reichert quickly took charge of the situation and asked Bundy detailed questions in
relation to his theories. How had the Riverman selected and approached his victims? Ted
expanded on the opinion expressed in the letter but did not offer any additional insight.
Where was he from? Bundy believed that the killer probably lived near Pierce County.
When asked why, he replied that he believed that the killer was dumping bodies further
and further to the south probably getting closer to his "home." He added that they would
probably find more bodies in the area where they had found the last ones.

He believed that the killer had been operating for some time and had been improving his
skills with each murder. When asked if the killer would stop, Bundy said he thought not,
but did not rule out the possibility of him moving to a new location when the pressure
became too intense. The reason the killer was dumping bodies in different areas, he told
them, was to prevent the police from detecting any pattern in his behavior. Curiously,
during his response to questions, Bundy often switched from answering in the third person
to the first person as though he was the Riverman.

When talking about the "pick-up method" of the killer, Bundy touched on an area that the
task force had not contemplated, when he suggested that the killer might not have been a
customer of the prostitutes but rather a person known to them for a different reason

He believed that the killer had done his homework and got to know most of his victims
before he approached them. When asked what actual method the killer might be using to
approach his victims, Bundy replied that, because the killer still appeared to be taking
victims from the strip while the area was under surveillance, probably meant that the man
was parking his vehicle out of sight, close to the strip and approaching the girls on foot.
He was then using some ruse to attract them back to his vehicle. Bundy was adamant that
the killer did not behave like normal "johns," but rather was just a "regular guy" who took
the time to befriend and help the girls in some way before he took them.

When asked if he thought the killer was further motivated by the media attention his
crimes had attracted, Ted replied that it was unlikely. He thought that the Riverman was
the type to cease his activities completely if he came under police scrutiny and would
rather not draw any attention to himself. As Ted warmed to his subject, his demeanor
changed from speculator to educator, often lecturing Keppel and Reichert on how to
conduct their investigation. However, when Keppel asked him what "things" the killer was
doing to his victims before and after he murdered them, Bundy showed signs of
embarrassment and lapsed into silence until that particular line of questioning stopped.

Bob Keppel was to make several more visits to Bundy in the coming years, not only in
relation to Green River, but also in an attempt to get Ted to confess to his own crimes.
Bundy managed to use the situation to delay his execution in the hope that his appeals
would be upheld and his death penalty overturned. Finally, in January 1989, just as he
seemed on the verge of a full confession, he ran out of time and the sentence was carried

From September 1984 until May 1985, the task force continued to search through their
burgeoning files for patterns and solid leads. Hundreds of interviews were conducted with
associates of the victims and possible suspects. Following up on reports from several
prostitutes, and the suggestions of Ted Bundy, a number of police officers, stationed in
Seattle and the surrounding districts, were investigated but no links to the murders were

In the meantime, new skeletons were still being discovered. In October 1984, the remains
of Mary Sue Bello were found off Highway 410. A month later, a second skeleton, later
identified as being that of Martina Authorlee, was found by hunters a short distance from
the first. Identification of some of the previous remains continued with police adding the
names of Lisa Yates, Kelly Ware, Delores Williams and Gail Lynn Mathews to the list of
known victims.

By February of 1985, the amount of physical evidence, obtained from the grave sites, was
growing to the point where the state's crime lab was unable to cope with the 3,995
individual pieces of "evidence," that required scientific examination. Anxious to speed up
the long laborious process, Adamson made arrangements for the FBI to help with the
analysis. One item, although it hadn't come from a crime scene, was given top priority.
The task force, still anxious to prove TD's' involvement, had obtained his car by having an
undercover officer buy it from him. The vehicle was then handed over to the FBI lab for a
detailed examination.

A month later, as the analysts were striving to gather damning evidence to use against TD,
the body of fifteen-year-old Carrie Rois was discovered near Star Lake road. As the body
had obviously been overlooked in the previous search, another one was scheduled for the
following day but no new bodies were found.

Since the formation of the task force, Adamson and Thomas had been telling the media
that the investigation was "going well," however, a confidential review of the investigation
compiled at the end of March, by Thomas's own staff, told a completely different story.

The main point of criticism was the handling of scientific evidence and fingerprints. From
the time the task force began sending items to the Washington State Crime Lab for
analysis, only one percent of the items had been examined. The report suggested that if
that rate of analysis continued, it would take fifty years to complete the task. More
alarming was the possibility that a key piece of evidence may be amongst the samples but,
because of the backlog, might never be found. Another factor that impeded the progress
of the investigation was the method of fingerprint analysis and comparison. Without the
assistance of computers, the fingerprint section had to physically compare the six hundred
samples, that the task force had collected, with prints from the departments offender files.
Another task that was taking considerable time.

The report suggested that the prints be sent to either the Anchorage, Alaska or San
Francisco police departments, as both had a sophisticated computer system capable of
processing all the prints in a very short time. Another point the report addressed was
Adamson's suggestion of bringing in a team of "murder experts" to further enhance the
work of John Douglas and his team. The report vetoed the idea and expressed the opinion
that, although the team had already called on the services of two criminal psychologists,
several forensic dentists, an anthropologist and a professional tracker, the use of additional
consultants would hinder, and possibly harm the progress of the investigation, mainly due
to the increased publicity their involvement would attract.

After studying the report, Adamson took steps to remedy the situation but was hampered
by the enormity of the investigation. One factor he did manage to correct was the
processing of the fingerprints, but when the prints were later analyzed in California and
Alaska, no matches were found.

In May, while speaking at a Rotary club function, Adamson told his audience that, even
though it seemed as though the murders had stopped, their was no reason to believe that
they wouldn't begin again at a later time or in a different area. He also told them that an
examination of unsolved murder cases in the district, had uncovered thirty-eight murders,
very similar to the Green River killings, since 1973.

When asked if the task force had any suspects under consideration, he replied that they
had several possibilities. What he didn't tell them was that after having thoroughly
examined TD's car, the FBI had been unable to find a single piece of evidence that linked
him with any of the victims or crime scenes. The results didn't seem to daunt Adamson or
his team, as they continued to treat TD as their number one suspect.

In a search for further clues to support their assumption that the killer had moved on, the
task force began to look at other areas outside of their own. One city that was targeted
was Portland, which, not only had a thriving community of street prostitutes, was also just
three hours drive from Seattle. A more important reason for the interest was the fact that
seven prostitutes had been found murdered in the area, four of which had occurred before
1984 and showed striking similarities to the Green River victims.

The Portland police were reluctant to share information with the task force, as they did
not believe that the Green River killer was responsible for murders in their area. Not only
did they refute the suggestion that it was the work of the same man, they refused to
acknowledge that any of the murders were linked to each other. As the weeks went by,
Adamson did his best to avoid the bickering between the two departments, the last thing
he needed was a jurisdictional dispute.

On June 11 1985, the matter came to a head when a bulldozer driver, clearing land
southwest of Portland, uncovered a partial skull. The local police were summoned and a
search of the area revealed additional remains, including another skull. The Portland police
notified the task force but before they could travel to the site, the bulldozer driver was told
he could continue with his work, effectively eradicating any further evidence.

Some time later, the skull was sent to Bill Haglund, the King County Chief Medical
examiner, and was later identified as all that remained of Denise Darcel Bush, who was
last seen on the Sea-Tac strip three years before. A review of Bush's movements prior to
her disappearance indicated that she had left her hotel room to buy cigarettes and had left
all of her belongings behind. Obviously the killer had either kidnapped her from the strip
and driven her across a state line to kill her, or had killed her first and then carried her
body into the neighboring state. The remains of the second body were not identified.

Shortly after the discovery, the FBI contacted Vernon Thomas and advised him that,
because the evidence indicated that the killer was operating in two states, they now had
jurisdiction. Several days later an FBI team traveled to the Portland site to meet with the
task force and local authorities. They conducted a new search that revealed a pelvic bone
and other smaller bones that were later also matched to Bush. In addition, they studied a
report of the discovery of two unidentified female skeletons that had been found several
months earlier in the town of Tualatin, just south of Portland. Dental charts and X-rays
were taken and sent to King County for comparison with the list of missing girls.

Two days later, the second skeleton was identified as the remains of Shirley Sherrill, a
nineteen-year-old prostitute who was last seen when she was arrested while working the
strip on August 12, 1982, the same day that Deborah Bonner's body was found near the
meat works. Ironically, when she was released, she indicated that she was moving to
Portland to get away from the murders.

On the evening of June 14, while the Portland investigation continued, a young prostitute
in South Tacoma, was picking up a "trick" that she would remember for the rest of her
life. The woman, known as Lottie, had flagged down a man driving a silver van and had
agreed to perform oral sex on him in a bowling alley car park. She climbed into the back
seat of the vehicle and was about to begin when the man produced a long knife and held it
at her throat. The man then pulled several pre-cut lengths of rope from his pocket and
bound her hands. She started to struggle and attempted to scream out to a passing vehicle
but the man pressed the knife hard against her throat and told her that if she did not be
quiet and do as she was told he would kill her. She was then ordered to lie down on the
rear floor. The man then reached under his seat and retrieved a plastic bag full of rubber
tie-down straps with hooks on the ends. After tying one end around Lottie's feet, he
hooked the other to a post inside the rear of the van. Several more straps were tied around
her chest and strips of duct tape were plastered over her eyes.

After covering her with a blanket and an air mattress, the man resumed his seat and drove
off along the highway. Lottie struggled to free her hands as the van drove for what seemed
like several miles. Eventually, Lottie felt the vibrations under the floor change and realized
that he had driven off the highway. Fearing for her life, Lottie increased her efforts to get
loose. A short time later, she managed to release her legs and turned her attention to the
ropes binding her wrists.

Finally the ropes parted and she was free. Jumping to her feet she picked up the knife next
to the driver's seat and attacked the driver. Seeing the attack coming, he managed to
deflect the blow but not before it had gashed him above one eye. While he was attempting
to wrench the knife from Lottie's fingers, he lost control of the van and crashed into a
ditch, throwing both of them to the floor. After he had recovered from the impact, the
man managed to wrestle the knife away from her and cut her. Lottie screamed and abused
the man as she tried desperately to disarm him.

Shortly after, another man opened the door of the van from the outside and told them to
stop fighting. Seeing the knife and the blood, the second man then attempted to flag down
another motorist to assist him. The driver seized the opportunity to shove Lottie out the
door and onto the ground, where she quickly recovered and ran to some nearby trees.
Several motorists stopped to help but as they approached the driver to restrain him, they
noticed him throwing something into the bushes.

A female motorist took Lottie to a phone to call the police. They arrived at the scene
shortly after and arrested Richard Terry Horton. Lottie was conveyed to hospital and
treated for her injuries. The motorists who had stopped to help told the police that they
had seen Horton throw something into bushes near the crash site. A brief search was
conducted and a brown duffle bag was recovered. When they opened it, police found an
assortment of surgical instruments, syringes, a packet of douche solution and a
bone-handled knife with an eight-inch blade.

A search of the van revealed a pellet gun, a book titled Fatal Vision, and a bible. The latter
was obviously well used. Horton had marked the following chapter in the book of Ezekiel:

But you trusted in your beauty, and played the harlot because of your renown, and
lavished your harlotries on any passer-by

And I will give you into the hands of your lovers, and they shall throw down your vaulted
chamber and break down your lofty places; they shall strip you of your clothes and take
your fair jewels, and leave you naked and bare

They shall bring up a host against you, and they shall stone you and cut you to pieces with
their swords

And they shall burn your houses and execute judgments against you in the sight of many
women; I will make you stop playing the harlot, and you shall also give hire no more

So will I satisfy my fury on you, and my jealously shall depart from you; I will be calm,
and will no more be angry

After reading the extract, the police contacted the Green River task force, who advised
them that they would arrive the following day to interview Thurston. In the meantime, the
local detectives took it upon themselves to question him. Horton, a flabby man in his
forties who was married with three children, agreed to talk. While conversing with police,
he seemed quiet and polite, with above average intelligence. He told them that he was a
medic in the U.S. navy for twenty-two years including two tours in Vietnam.

Asked about the attack, he claimed that he had initially picked Lottie up for oral sex but
shortly after, changed his mind and demanded his money back. Unsure of how to achieve
his objective, he decided to kidnap her, after which Lottie attacked him and he fought
back in self-defense! What Horton failed to explain was why he carried a bag full of ropes,
tape and weapons and had made no attempt to take back the thirty dollars, which was still
in Lottie's possession after the attack.

The next day, Detective Mike Hatch from the task force, arrived and obtained search
warrants for the hired van and another vehicle that Horton had left in Tacoma. Before
Horton was charged with first-degree kidnapping and assault, Hatch wanted to question
him regarding the Green River killings. Initially, Horton agreed to the interview as well as
a polygraph test, but changed his mind after consulting with his attorney. Hatch then
returned to Seattle and began a search of Horton's background.

Phone records and credit card slips that were obtained and examined, which revealed that
Horton had stayed at the Marriott Hotel on the strip on May 28. One day after Marie
Malvar's drivers license was found at the airport. The navy was contacted and instigated
an investigation into Horton's movements for the previous three years. Three weeks later,
the results were sent to the task force. Horton had been at sea at the times that most of the
murders had been committed. Even though he may have committed other crimes,
including murder, he obviously wasn't the Green River killer.

Some months later, Horton pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree kidnapping and
was sentenced to two years jail.

In early September, as the jurisdictional battles continued, a fifteen-year-old Portland
prostitute had a near brush with death. The girl had been working an area on North East
Union Avenue when a man driving an old, blue taxicab picked her up. Several hours later,
the girl was found lying on the side of a road with her throat slashed. Luckily, she survived
and, after recovering, was able to give police an accurate account of the event. She told
them that between 2.00-4.00am on September 6, a young, pock-faced man with blond hair
and a moustache had stopped to pick her up. As soon as she had climbed into the cab, the
man produced a knife and forced her to lie on the floor.

Shortly after, he pulled to the side of the road and tied her with ropes. The man then drove
out of Portland, heading east on the freeway. Half an hour later, he pulled of the freeway
and drove into some woods in an area called Horsetail Falls. The girl was then dragged
out of the car and punched several times in the head, before being lain across the hood of
the vehicle. After tearing of her clothes and raping her, the man stabbed and slashed her
with a knife. Weakened by loss of blood and in shock, the girl passed out, but came to as
she was being dragged into the woods where she was rolled down an embankment.
Fearing further attacks, the girl lay still. The man, obviously believing she was dead,
climbed down to where she lay and covered her with brush and leaves.

She then watched through the branches as the man calmly lit a cigarette and smoked it
while standing over her. Again she passed out. Just before dawn, she woke up and,
realizing that the man had gone, crawled up the embankment to a road where a motorist
found her naked and bleeding and drove her to hospital.

The task force detectives were elated. Finally they had an eyewitness account of a man
who could be the Green River killer. A description and sketch of the offender was
prepared and circulated, along with a detailed description of the vehicle. Taxi companies
were checked, as were the records of anyone holding taxi licenses. One man who roughly
resembled the offender was questioned at length and polygraphed but was later released.
After a month without results, the composite sketch was released to the public, but the
search for the man in the blue taxi yielded nothing.

In mid September, John Douglas, having recovered from his illness, returned to the
investigation. After reviewing the report of the Horsetail Falls attack, he drafted a profile
of the attacker and found that the modus operandi of the Portland taxi driver was similar,
but not the same as the Green River killer. He asked the Portland police for further
information on their unsolved homicides and, unlike the members of the task force, was
given free access.

After examining all of the Portland evidence and comparing it with the Green River
crimes, he compiled a report and returned to Seattle to present it to Adamson and his task
force. Douglas told them that he believed that there was more than one killer responsible
for the murders. Not an accomplice, but a separate killer with no relation to the first. His
reasoning was that the man who had killed and deposited the victims in the river had done
so to ensure that the bodies would be found, hence they were reasonably "fresh" when
found. The victims found inland, on the other hand, had been killed by a man who had
gone to great lengths to hide them, which was the reason that most of them were

The profiles of both killers was similar, he told them, in that they were both risk-takers,
often returning to dump sites after they had been investigated. The river bodies however,
had shown more aspects of "staging" than the inland victims had.

He assured Adamson that both killers had the same type of personality and could still be
caught. They just had to keep trying, using any method they could find to sift for clues.
Like Keppel, Douglas believed the answer lay somewhere in the mountains of information
that they were continuing to collect on a daily basis. The real challenge was finding it.

In an attempt to bring a fresh perspective to the investigation, Thomas invited Pierce
Brooks, a retired Los Angeles Homicide detective, to consult to the Green River Task
force. Apart from being an experienced detective, responsible for solving numerous
homicides, Brooks had been the pioneer of a national computer system used to catalogue
data relating to the perpetrators and victims of serial crimes. The program, called VICAP,
for Violent Criminal Apprehension system, would enable every police department in the
country to enter data on previously unsolved homicides in their area and compare it with
similar data in the system in an attempt to track an offender as he moved around the
country. The system was a joint project with the FBI and was housed at their headquarters
in Quantico, Virginia.

At the time that Brooks was asked to consult to the Green River task force, VICAP was
still in its infancy. One factor that was slowing its growth was the reluctance of some
police agencies to fill out the forty page questionnaires necessary to catalogue data on
their unsolved crimes. They feared that if they complied, they would have to share
jurisdiction and eventually lose control of their own investigations.

Brooks traveled to Seattle and spent two weeks going over the information and meeting
with members of the team. He compiled a detailed report and presented it in person, to a
group comprising Thomas, Adamson, Keppel and a representative from the County
Executives office.

Aware that political pressure was mounting to reduce the size of the task force, Brooks
addressed the issue in his first point stressing that such a move would seriously jeopardize
the effectiveness of the investigation. His recommendation was to increase rather than
decrease the size of the force. He told the group that the only way that the killer was
going to be caught was by painstakingly checking and re-checking every single piece of
data collected.

The second point addressed, what Brooks saw, as the most important aspect of the
murders, the selection of dump sites. He dismissed the notion that the killer was selecting
his sites at random and stressed that the choice of localities suggested that, the person
responsible, knew exactly where he was going to dump each victim's body before he killed

He believed that the killer considered his victims "valuable" because of his relationship to
them and went to great pains to hide them in areas that gave him a feeling of safety and
security. Obviously, the areas that he chose were places he had been to many times before,
which suggested that he lived or worked in the area. Brooks cited the bodies in the river
as an example of just how confident the killer felt in dumping a victim in an area where the
possibility of detection by someone fishing or boating was very high.

Brooks then moved on to his personal profile of the killer. He felt that, because of the
different times the victims had disappeared, the killer was probably only partially
employed, perhaps a shift worker. He thought that, because of the level of discipline and
confidence the murders demonstrated, the man may be a member of the military, possibly
even a trained killer or special forces operative, still serving in one of the many such
installations in the area.

He felt generally, that the killer had acted alone, but did not dismiss the possibility of an
accomplice on some of the murders. His final opinion was that the man was probably
introverted and socially inept, hence his preference for prostitutes as victims. As to sexual
motivations, he believed that the man derived his greatest gratification from the act of
killing itself, not from the sexual acts associated with it.

As to catching the killer, Brooks suggested that the task force should concentrate on
generating its own leads, rather than wait for them to be phoned in. He thought that the
detectives should interview anyone that had any connections with, or lived close to the
numerous unofficial rubbish dumps where the bodies were found. Following his belief that
the killer worked somewhere in the Seattle area, he suggested a search of all male persons
that worked close to the dump sites.

Thomas was overwhelmed. The plan that Brooks had suggested would drastically increase
the work load, not to mention the enormous amounts of data that such an investigation
would generate. The task force was unable to cope with the information they already had
and were totally dependant on volunteer labor to enter and collate the data. To adopt the
Brooks plan would mean a larger budget and additional salaried staff. Thomas would need
to ask for more money.

By the end of October 1985, the Green River investigation was under review. Thomas had
previously sought additional funding but County Executive, Randy Revelle, was unable to
commit to any changes as he was in the midst of a bid for re-election. Some weeks later,
Revelle failed in his attempt and was replaced by Tim Hill, an experienced politician who
was well known for his strict cost cutting policies. Following Hill's appointment Thomas
became doubly concerned. Not only was the future of the investigation in doubt, there was
also the distinct possibility that, having been appointed by Revelle, Thomas would be
asked to step down in favor of a new sheriff appointed by Hill.

After Hill settled into office he consulted the heads of his departments and was told that,
given the level of media attention that the investigation had generated and the public
awareness of the costs involved, it would be unwise to make any changes to either the task
force or its leadership. Hill agreed and shortly after summoned Thomas and asked him to
stay on as sheriff. The task force, he told Thomas, was to remain at the present staffing
and funding level on the understanding that should the investigation fail to show any
further results, the budget would be cut and a large proportion of the staff reassigned.
Thomas agreed and made plans to implement part of the Brooks report.

At the end of December, as Thomas strived to reorganize his staff, a wrecked car was
found dumped in a ravine near the Mountain View Cemetery, close to the location where
Kimi Kai Pastor's skull had been found two years earlier and just two miles south of Star
Lake road. The wreck was inspected by the local police and identified as having been
stolen from the strip two days earlier. Later the same afternoon, two workers from the
cemetery reported having found a human skull near where the car had been dumped. The
police returned to the site and later informed the task force.

A new search was organized and commenced the next day. Most of the area was covered
with ferns and blackberry bushes which made searching difficult, but searchers were soon
able to find the rest of the missing skeleton. The day after New Years Day, the search was
resumed and a second skull was found not far from the first. The skull was later matched
with a jawbone that had been found in the area in 1984. Adamson attended the scene and
was convinced that the remains were also the victims of the Green River killer.

Adamson directed the searchers to thoroughly comb the entire area, on hands and knees if
necessary. TV news crews later attended the site and filmed the search in progress.
Adamson was asked his opinion on the latest discoveries and told the reporter that he was
confident that by the end of 1986, they would have the killer in custody. The following
day, the papers ran the story under the headline, "Serial Killer Hunter Predicts Capture in
1986." The untimely announcement succeeded in attracting unwarranted attention to both
Adamson and his investigation, at a time when it would have been more prudent to play
down their activities.

Hill was not impressed with the news and summoned Thomas to demand an explanation.
Thomas explained that even though the investigation was progressing well, Adamson had
made an error of judgment by speculating on the possible outcome. They decided that the
best course of action was to ignore the increased media interest and keep any new
announcements to a minimum. Unfortunately, this decision coincided with the arrival of
ten additional FBI agents, sent to help with the investigation. When the press became
aware of their presence they saw it as another positive sign that the police were close to an
arrest, just as Adamson had predicted.

Meanwhile, the newest search had succeeded in uncovering the final remains of Kimi Kai
Pastor, but the other skeletons did not match with any of the dental records from the
missing girls. As January drew to a close, the search wound down and reporters shifted
most of their attention toward Adamson. While he talked to them an listened to their
theories, he gave no indication of an event that was about to unfold. An event that he
hoped would give substance to his earlier predictions.

Late in the afternoon of February 6 1986, three cars containing FBI agents converged on a
house on South 139th street in Riverton Heights, just off the strip. A short time later,
Ernest W. "Bill" McLean was arrested. As the arresting agents read him his rights he
asked them, "What took you so long?" A rush of reporters and TV news crews descended
on the scene to cover the story. As they watched from the street, additional police arrived
and entered the house only to reappear a short time later carrying paper sacks of what
could only be evidence. After dark, they watched as a man with an article of clothing
covering his head, was led to a police car and driven away. After the car drove away, the
reporters fired a barrage of questions at the police who remained at the scene but were
unable to obtain any information regarding the man or the search. Media speculation was
rife. Had they just witnessed the arrest of the Green River killer? Only time would tell.

At the same time as McLean was being prepared for questioning, another group of
reporters and cameramen were assembling outside of the precinct building. Some time
later Detective Fae Brooks gave a brief interview, admitting that the task force had served
a search warrant, and had detained a "person of interest" for questioning. Other than that
she had no further comment.

While Brooks fended off the press, McLean was making himself familiar with his new
surroundings. On the walls of the office where he was seated, was an enlarged photograph
of himself and numerous smaller pictures of young girls, all connected together by red
string. It seemed that everywhere he looked in the room, he saw his name. When a
detective placed a plastic bag containing two odd-shaped rocks on the table in front of
him, McLean commented, "I sure hope you guys have been known to make mistakes."

What followed was an intensive barrage of questions and accusations by Detective Jim
Doyon and an FBI agent. As they confronted him with the evidence that they hoped would
lead to a confession, McLean said, "It looks like you guys have been busy, but I'm not the
guy!" While they questioned him, John Douglas, who was responsible for the way that the
interview room was arranged, waited in another room. It had all been his idea. The rapid
arrest, the photos, names on files and even the red string had been placed in such a way as
to indicate to McLean that they considered him their prime suspect.

Unfortunately the ploy didn't work. Over an hour later, Doyon told the rest of the team
that McLean wasn't the man they were looking for. Douglas asked Doyon to describe
McLean's behavior. Doyon then outlined the details of the interview. More questions
followed. Did he seem fearful when confronted by the evidence? No. Did he show any
signs of guilt or remorse when told of the details of the offenses? No. McLean had showed
nothing other than the normal apprehension anyone would feel when dragged into a police
station for questioning. After Doyon had finished his report, Douglas was in agreement, it
was the wrong guy!

Since the arrest, the media had been building their stories, just waiting for the official
announcement that the man in custody had been charged with the Green River killings.
One paper, the Post Intelligencer, had already released a full coverage of the story
complete with maps and photographs of the victims. They were so sure that McLean
would be charged, that they named him in the article and implied that he was responsible
for the murders. Their speculation was to back-fire however, when Detective Fae Brooks
stepped outside of the precinct building to brief the media representatives that were
present. "The person of interest has been released," she told the shocked reporters, "He is
free to go."

The announcement sent a shock wave throughout the community. The media, anxious to
distance themselves from any responsibility, released stories to counteract their previous
implications. One paper, The Times, printed a cartoon that labeled the Green River task
force as a "task farce." Shortly after McLean's release, the special FBI squad assigned to
the case, including Douglas, left town to resume their normal duties. Morale within the
task force plummeted to an all time low.

Thomas and Adamson came under heavy criticism as did Hill, for "letting the investigation
run out of control." Rollin Fatland, Hill's closest adviser, wanted to transfer the blame to
Adamson and have him reassigned. Hill, mindful that such actions would only bring further
criticism, refused. He chose instead to decrease the size of the task force. In compensation
for the decrease, he offered to relocate the task force from Burien to larger premises at an
unused junior high school facility nearby. The cost of the move would be offset by cutting
three positions from the task force. Thomas reluctantly agreed.

Meanwhile, McLean was back in the press, only this time it was to criticize the task force
and the FBI for their bungle in arresting him and subjecting himself and his family to
ridicule. He complained that they had trashed his house and treated him and his family,
particularly his wife as "common criminals." He announced that he had consulted with an
attorney and hinted that a heavy law suit would be forthcoming.

By mid June 1986, Hill had organized a committee to assess the effectiveness of the task
force. The members of the panel were, Richard Kraske, Chief Jim Nickle and Major Terry
Allman, the man who had replaced Kraske as the commander of criminal investigations.
Their findings would decide the future of the task force and its members and their
involvement in an investigation that was now seen as nothing more than an expensive

As the review committee were finalizing their findings, three more skeletons were
discovered. Two were found off I-90, east of Seattle and one on the banks of Green River.
The latter was not a full skeleton but rather the partial remains of a female spine,
collarbone and shoulder joint. The discovery bought the number of known victims to
thirty-six. Owing to the lack of a skull and its poor condition, the Green River skeleton
was not identified. The other two, being complete, were later identified as being those of
Maureen Feeney and Tina Tomson. Feeney had not been included on the suspected
victims list as police were unable to link her with prostitution. Investigators later turned up
a pimp who knew the woman as "Kim Ponds," a known prostitute who had successfully
hidden her real profession from members of her family.

Initially, police were unable to link the second victim, Tina Tomson to the killings. It was
only after they had correctly identified her under her real name, Kim Nelson, that they
added her to the victim list. Kim Nelson had been the friend that Paige Miley had last seen
at the bus stop in early November, 1983. Just after the new remains were discovered, an
organization called, the "Women's Coalition to Stop the Green River Murders," organized
a "sit-in" outside the new task force headquarters. The protest was arranged for July 15,
exactly four years after Wendy Coffield's body had been found in the river. The organizer,
Cookie Hunt, told the press that they intended to stay in place for forty-six hours, one
hour for every victim, including those that were still unidentified. They insisted that the
police and the public had been totally apathetic about the murders, simply because the
victims were prostitutes. They were particularly angered over the rumors regarding cuts to
the task force, it wasn't long before they realized that their anger had been justified.

In September, the review board findings were presented to Vernon Thomas in a
confidential forty-page report. The main thrust of the report was the committee's
recommendation that staffing be cut by forty percent. Next, they suggested that Adamson
be demoted and placed under the control of Major Allman. They believed that such moves
would control the spiraling costs of the investigation and relieve the fiduciary and political
pressures on the state.

The reason given for the cuts wasn't so much that the task force had failed in its objective,
but rather that the killings had appeared to have ceased. Obviously the committee was
more concerned with the political backlash caused by the task force, rather than its
effectiveness in the prevention of further murders. In real terms, the committee wanted to
halve the size of the investigation at a time when the team had over 18,000 information
sheets which had yielded 4,100 persons to be questioned, 978 of which were considered
"A" suspects. Somewhere in those files was the real killer, but there weren't enough
detectives to question all the suspects as it was.

With the team reduced to the levels that the committee suggested, who was going to
process all of that information? The committee's answer was simple. The computer, which
had been loaded with thousands of pieces of information, could now do the work of many
of the detectives. They further suggested that the task would be made easier if Adamson's
definition of what constituted a Green River suspect, were more clearly defined. That way,
they reasoned, the amount of information regarding "possible" suspects would be greatly

The report also suggested further staffing cuts. One of Adamson's lieutenants was to go,
as was a sergeant and four members of the proactive squad. The fingerprint identification
expert was also marked for removal, as was Detective Fae Brooks, in her role as publicity
officer. The panel considered the position unnecessary and cited the McLean debacle as
evidence of the fact. The report came as a shock to Thomas who, prior to the review, had
been drawing up requests for 29 additional officers to help with the processing of the
increasing number of leads. After the tabling of the report, Thomas had no other option
than to agree to the cuts in the hope that the murders did not start again. To Hill, the cuts
were necessary as he knew the county could not afford to fully fund the task force without
collecting additional revenues. The only way of achieving that was to raise taxes and he
wasn't about to do that during his first year in office.

When the cuts were made public, Hill was accused of putting political penny-pinching
before the safety of the general public. Regardless of the criticisms, the die was set. The
Green River task force, which had already been struggling under the enormous strain of
one of the biggest murder investigations in American criminal history, was about to be
brought to its knees.

The changes in the task force affected many, but two in particular are worthy of additional
mention. The first was Detective John Blake, a crucial member of the task force who had
worked day and night to find the person responsible for the killings. Blake had eventually
become disillusioned when his requests to investigate a local lawyer, who he thought
responsible for the killings, had been refused. The final straw came when Adamson told
him he was being cut from the task force. Blake was unable to come to terms with his
dismissal and was given a leave of absence to rest and recuperate. Unfortunately, some
time later, he was permanently retired on a psychological disability. The Green River killer
had claimed another victim.

The second change was to affect Captain Frank Adamson directly. Soon after the review
board report had been tabled, Thomas approached him and told him that a major in charge
of another district had become embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal and would need
to be reassigned. Thomas wanted Adamson to take his place. The appointment, which was
a promotion, meant that Adamson would have to leave the task force. Thomas stressed
that he was not "kicking Adamson out" of his position but merely offering him a better job
away from the pressures of his task force duties.

The following day, after consulting with his wife, Adamson accepted the new position and
resigned the leadership of the task force. When the news was announced in the press, it
was interpreted as yet another indication that the task force was about to be shut down
completely. When interviewed, Adamson attempted to put a positive spin on the situation
by telling reporters, "It may appear that the task force is disappearing but it's not. I believe
fully that the task force will solve the case. In terms of the task force, I'm just one person.
I think my loss will be minimal."

Adamson's replacement was named by Thomas the following day. Captain James Pompey,
would leave his position as head of the technical services division, to take charge of the
reduced Green River task force. Pompey was an experienced officer who not only had
been in charge of the departments SWAT team and marine patrol unit but was also the
highest ranking black officer in the departments history.

Pompey quickly settled into to his new position and began to organize his team to make
the most of the limited resources that they had been left with. One of the first tasks was to
start work on compiling the index lists as suggested by Pierce Brooks, one of which was a
computer listing of military personnel in the district. Another list was compiled of all
makes and colors of pick-up trucks in the district, in the hope that they could be cross
referenced with other lists and narrow down the search for the vehicle used by the killer.
These tasks alone took many months.

The possible reasons for the cessation of the killings was reviewed in detail. Had the killer
left the district and started up somewhere else? Had he been jailed for another offence?
Was he dead? To find answers to some of these questions, lists of males who had died on
or near the time when the murders had ceased were compiled, as were lists of male
persons incarcerated in prisons around the same time. In case the killer had moved on,
serial crimes in other states were checked for similarities to the Green River murders. In
most cases, the interstate murders were found to be sufficiently different and unworthy of
further attention. One particular case, however, attracted the attention of the task force
more than any other. In December 1986, a man looking for a Christmas tree in a wooded
area north of Vancouver, British Columbia, had found the decomposing body of a nude
woman, partially buried in a shallow grave. A later search revealed a bone that did not
belong to the young woman's body. The size of the search area was increased and another
body was found twenty yards from the first, under a large log. It too was the remains of a
young woman.

The similarities to the Green River murders were interesting. The two bodies had been
found close together. One was partially hidden by a log and both bodies were devoid of
any reasonable means of identification. Later checks of crime records indicated that four
young prostitutes had been murdered in Vancouver over the previous twenty-one months.
Perhaps the killer had gone North? Vancouver was only three hours drive from Seattle.
Hadn't the Green River killer been active in Portland which was three hours to the South?
The task force detectives discussed how easy it would be for a killer to shift his base of
operations to a nearby city, especially when that city had a large contingent of prostitutes
concentrated in one particular area. As the pressure increased in one area, he could have
moved to a new area and begun again.

The two Vancouver victims were later identified as having been friends who had worked
together as topless dancers. Strangely their murders seemed to have occurred a month
apart. Had the killer been at the club where they both worked and selected them? This fact
alone tended to distance them from the Green River victims who had apparently been
selected at random.

As the investigation ran into a new year, the amount of data that had been entered into the
task force computer had increased to the point where comparisons could be made with
some accuracy. Of great help in the analysis were the lists that had been generated at the
suggestion of Pierce Brooks. One suspect in particular, seemed to show up more than
once under different circumstances. The man had previously been investigated after being
picked up while attempting to solicit an undercover policewoman who had been posing as
a prostitute on the Sea-Tac strip in April, 1982. He had been questioned but released after
he successfully passed a polygraph test.

The same man had approached the task force in May, 1984 to offer his assistance. He told
police that he had met one of the victims in mid 1983, but didn't know her name. When he
was shown photographs of the dead girls, he identified Kim Nelson, or Tina Tomson, as
she was then known to police. Feeling that the man warranted more attention, Matt
Haney, a task force detective, kept digging and found that the man had been accused of
choking a prostitute in 1980. The location where the offence had taken place was near the
condemned houses near the Sea-Tac airport. When police questioned the man regarding
the incident he claimed that the girl had bitten him and he had choked her in retaliation.
The police believed his story and released him.

Haney, intrigued by the connections, continued his search and found that the same man
had been approached by police in 1982, while he was parked behind the Little League field
in his truck. He was questioned not far from where the body of Cheryl Wims had been
found. A woman who had been in the truck at the time, was known to police as Jennifer
Kaufmann, a local prostitute. When Haney entered Kaufmann's name into the computer,
he was surprised to find that it was an alias for Keli McGuiness, one of the victims of the
Green River killer.

Haney was starting to get excited. As he continued the search, more information was
forthcoming. An entry in April 1983, indicated that the man was a suspect in the
kidnapping of Marie Malvar four years earlier. The report, provided by the Des Moines
police, named the man as being the owner of a pick-up truck that had a distinctive primer
spot on the door. It was his house that Des Moines detectives had gone to when Maria
Malvar's father and Bobby Woods had reported finding the pick-up truck that Bobby had

Haney, mindful that the same man had been mentioned in regard to three separate victims,
turned his attention to the previous interview and polygraph test. He retrieved the test
results and showed the results to the FBI's polygraph specialists. The expert told Haney,
that he considered that the test was not to be relied on because the man had not been
questioned regarding two of the suspects and as such, was not sufficient to clear the man
of involvement. Based on the new analysis, Haney turned up the pressure. He succeeded
in tracking down Paige Miley, the last person to see Kim Nelson alive, and showed her a
photograph of the man. She identified the man in the photo as the same man that asked her
about Kim at the Seven Eleven store, two nights after she disappeared.

Next, a list was compiled of all the vehicles that the man had owned since the murders had
started. In all, nine separate cars and pick-up trucks were found, some with campers. The
next step was to check the man's background. Detectives tracked down his former wife
who provided them with the information that her ex-husband frequented many of the
illegal dump sites in the district, mainly to search for vehicle spare parts. When asked, she
agreed to take detectives to some of the areas where her husband liked to scavenge. Most
of the areas were very close to where the victims bodies had been dumped.

Other detectives interviewed prostitutes on the strip and showed them photos of their
latest suspect. Several of the girls identified the man that had cruised the strip regularly
during 1982-83. The statements of those witnesses who had reported sightings of pick-up
trucks during some of the disappearances, were checked to compare them with the list of
the vehicles the man had owned at that time. Several closely matched the description.

Further background checks revealed the man was a U.S. Navy veteran and had lived most
of his life in south King county. He was employed as a painter in a Seattle truck plant,
working the night shift. Police served his employer with an inquiry subpoena and obtained
his time sheets. After analyzing them, investigators found that he had been off duty or
absent on every occasion that a victim had disappeared. By using map overlays, the
location of the man's home and workplace were compared with the areas that the bodies
were found. The route that the man would take to work and home went right through the
strip. The location of his house off Military Road South was close to the 216th Street
intersection where Keli McGuiness, Marie Malvar, Debra Bonner and Gail Mathews had
last been seen.

On April 8, 1987, having amassed sufficient evidence to justify questioning the man,
detectives picked him up as he left work and served him with warrants that allowed them
to not only seize him and take hair samples but also to search any vehicles he possessed as
well as his home and that of his parents. When the man was asked if he would submit to
another polygraph test he refused. Unlike the previous McLean debacle, the entire
operation was quick and clean with no media involvement. Even when a few reporters
learned later of the operation, they declined to release any details until they had been
advised officially by the task force. They obviously didn't want a repeat of the circus that
had surrounded the previous "hot suspect."

Later the same day, the police made their "official" statement that they had detained a man
for questioning and had issued several search warrants to assist them in their inquiries, but
went to great pains to stress the man was not under arrest. Again the task force detectives
were confident that they had their man but Pompey was quick to remind them that until
they had obtained hard evidence that positively linked the suspect to the murders, he was
just another suspect. Pompey's caution was well founded as several weeks later, after the
evidence had been analyzed, no link could be found that connected the man to the
murders. Pompey told his men to keep looking.

It was to be the last instruction he gave them as, just two days after the lab results were
received, Pompey got into difficulties while scuba diving and was rushed to hospital
suffering from "the bends." After treatment he began to show signs of recovery but
sometime later went into cardiac arrest and died. His untimely death created shock and
confusion in the department, particularly within the task force.

An official police investigation into his death found that his air had run out before he could
get back to the surface, causing him to panic and rush to the surface without
decompressing. The official cause of death was a massive heart attack. After the
announcement of Pompey's death, several conspiracy theories began circulating that his
death hadn't been an accident. The favorite theory was that the Green River killer was
actually a cop who had killed Pompey in the hope that the task force would be disbanded
before he could be caught.

It was bad enough that such theories circulated in the first place but when two reporters
from the Times picked up the story, the matter got totally out of hand. They went so far as
to name possible suspects within the department and called for an official investigation.
The main focus of the reporters attention was Detective Bob Stockham, a former member
of the vice squad and Pompey's diving partner on the day of his death. It wasn't until
several months later that the charges were proved to be groundless but not before they
had done significant damage to Stockham, the King County police department and the
work of the Green River task force. The entire affair only served to create a bitter feud
between the police and the media at a time when cooperation was most needed.

At the end of June, while Captain Greg Boyle was being appointed to replace Pompey,
three young boys searching for aluminum cans, discovered a skeleton. The remains of a
young woman lay partially covered by leaves and branches, in a deep ravine behind the
Green River Community College. The police were informed and after attending the site,
found several large boxes full of bones. They were later analyzed and found to be animal
bones. Three days later the newest skeleton was described as Cindy Ann Smith, a topless
dancer who was last seen hitchhiking along the strip in January 1984.

As the months passed during the summer of 1987, The Times newspaper launched an
investigation into why the police were unable to catch the killer. At a time when the task
force was coming under increased scrutiny, relations between Thomas and Hill began to
sour. The main reason for the conflict was budgets. Thomas wanted more money, not only
to fund the task force activities but to cover increased expenses for the rest of the
department. Hill refused to allocate additional funds and suggested that Thomas cut back
in other areas to compensate. Finally, the relationship between the two men diminished to
the point where Hill threatened to have Thomas arrested for budget overspending.

They were still bickering in early September, when a new body was found. What alarmed
the police most about the latest discovery was that the body, which had been wrapped in a
tarpaulin and dumped near Military Road and 188th street, was relatively fresh. The small
body was later identified as being Rose Marie Kurran, a sixteen-year-old runaway. She
was known to have been involved in prostitution, usually working the area of the strip
near South 144th street. On the same day, detectives in Oregon were called to an area
outside of Portland where seven bodies had been found, buried close together. The area
was later investigated by task force detectives who determined that, because of several
obvious differences, it was not the work of the Green River killer.

Also in September, The Times released the results of their investigation. A series of stories
suggested that the police were directly responsible for the number of deaths because they
had failed to show sufficient interest in the growing number of reports of missing females
in similar areas, simply because they were prostitutes. One fact that reporters had
uncovered was that out of the forty-six disappearances, forty-one of them had occurred on
days that the vice police were absent from the strip. The question was asked, "How did
the killer know that the police weren't active on those days? The only answer the police
could offer was that the killer was very familiar with the activities of the strip and was
careful to operate only when the vice squad was inactive.

Later the same month the criticism increased when another body was found off
Auburn-Black Diamond Road, close to where Yvonne Antosh and Cindy Smith had been
found. The body, which was partially skeletonized, was female and naked, except for one
pink sock. A week later the remains were identified as being fourteen-year-old Debbie
Ann Gonzales.

To further complicate matters, in mid-October an anonymous letter, typed on the
departments own Criminal Investigation Division letterhead, was sent to Tim Hill and
every representative of the media. The basis of the letter was that Thomas and other
members of the police department had conspired to obstruct the Green River murder
investigations. The letter then listed several incidences to support the theory, including the
"blocking" of Detective John Blake's investigation of the lawyer.

The letter, obviously from someone within Thomas' own department, then went on to
draw comparison between the Green River case and the failure of the Kent County police
to catch Ted Bundy before he moved on to kill more victims. At the bottom of the page
was - "Sorry Mr. Hill, no names, we would like to finish our careers." It was signed -

After receiving the letter, Hill gave a press conference to answer the allegations and told
reporters that he would be meeting with Thomas to discuss the document's implications.
Several days later, the planned meeting took place with Thomas insisting that the
allegations were groundless. Whether Hill shared the same view may never be known but
obviously something was amiss because six days after the meeting, Vernon Thomas
resigned as sheriff of King County.

By January 1988, Thomas's duties had been temporarily assumed by one of his
commanders, Jim Nickle. Nickle, hoping that he would be a serious contender for
permanent appointment to the position, began to reorganize the task force. One of his first
appointments was to make Bob Evans the new task force commander. Evans had
previously served as Adamson's sergeant in charge of the street unit. An experienced
detective who had recently been promoted to lieutenant, Evans was well known for his
abilities as a vice cop and showed an empathy for prostitutes that was rarely found in
street police.

The task force that Evans inherited was in serious disarray. Only twenty-four detectives
remained in the squad and rumors circulated that more cuts were to come. The team was
relocated from the school complex and moved into a converted jail, twelve floors above
the County Courthouse. The major crimes squad was also placed under Evanss command
and jammed into the same offices.

Shortly after the move, the rumors proved correct and five more task force detectives
were reassigned to other duties. Nickle complied with the cuts and began to make plans to
assume permanent command. His hopes were later dashed when Hill informed him that he
had asked a personnel company to conduct a nationwide search for Thomas's replacement.

In January 1988, an analyst in the states crime lab found a small shard of pink glass in
some of the material that had been vacuumed from the interior of the truck painter's
pickup. The glass was very similar to other particles that had been found earlier, on or
near five of the victims. Finally, it seemed that they had found a piece of physical evidence
that could be of some use, but further months of testing would be necessary before they
could be sure.

In early March, one of the two girls found in 1985 at Tualatin, Oregon was identified as
being sixteen-year-old Tammy Liles. The match only became possible when the sister of
the victim, fearing the worst, supplied the task force with Tammy's dental charts. The
detectives managed to trace her movements prior to her disappearance and learned that
the last time she'd been seen was in downtown Seattle on June 8, 1983. This was another
indication that the same killer had been operating in the surrounding districts.

As the remaining members of the task force struggled to piece together any shred of
evidence that would move the investigation forward, Hill had found his new sheriff.

James Montgomery was serving as the chief of police in Boise, Idaho when he was invited
to accept the King County job. He agreed and was officially appointed on May 10, 1988.
His first task was to review the progress of the Green River investigation. Evans told him
that he believed that the killer was somewhere in the list of between fifty and seventy
suspect files that were still waiting to be followed up. When asked about staffing levels,
Evans assured his new boss that the nineteen members that were left on the task force
would be sufficient, as long as nothing else occurred to distract them. In the same briefing,
Evans warned Montgomery that the death toll could be higher than anyone had imagined
as the killer seemed to be getting better at hiding bodies.

Evanss statement became almost prophetic when on the last day of May, a construction
crew, working on a site near Federal Way, found a human bone. The pathology team, led
by Bill Haglund, attended and soon after found a human jaw bone. After a comparison
with dental charts, the skeleton was identified as being Debra Lorraine Estes, also known
as "Betty Jones." She had been found just fifteen blocks from where she'd disappeared six
years before.

In early June, the crime lab that had been examining the glass shard contacted Evans. He
had hoped for positive news but instead learnt that, not only had they failed to find a
match, they had lost the original "truck painter" glass sample. Evans was livid. After many
years and millions of dollars, a tiny sliver of glass was the only real trace evidence that
could have provided a positive link to the killer, now it was gone.

Several weeks later, however, the lab technicians managed to redeem themselves when
they "found" two additional glass particles, supposedly from the truck painters vehicle.
Anxious to avoid a repeat of the previous mishandling of the evidence, Evans arranged for
the samples to be taken to the FBI lab. Even though the bureau's glass expert was unable
to look at the case for two months, Evans was happy to wait.

In the meantime, the task force continued to work over their list of viable suspects. In an
attempt to ascertain why the killing had ceased, they constantly ran comparisons with their
suspect list and the list of persons who were incarcerated or had died during the same
period. The more they eliminated suspects, the more they became convinced that the killer
had moved on to a new area and had started again.

In an attempt to identify other areas where the killer could be operating, the detectives
turned their attention to those police departments that had reported unsolved multiple
homicides against prostitutes. One area that attracted task force attention was San Diego.
Since early 1984, the San Diego police department had been grappling with a spiraling
unsolved murder rate. More importantly, most of the victims were prostitutes.

By the time that the murders came to the attention of the Green River task force in mid
1988, there were at least two serial killers operating in the San Diego area who preyed on
prostitutes. One seemed to be operating in the city center and dumping his victims in the
same area. Another twenty-five women became victims of a killer who picked them up
from the central prostitution area and dumped their bodies in the surrounding rural
countryside. Reichert was given the task of liaising with the San Diego homicide division
and quickly found startling similarities to the Green River murders.

With Detective Tom Streed, from the San Diego office, Reichert examined the crime
scene and pathology reports and quickly realized that they could very well be the work of
the same person. Other factors pointed to San Diego as being the new home of the Green
River killer. Both areas were heavily involved in the aerospace industry; Seattle and San
Diego were also the headquarters of a large shipping and fishing fleet. Both had large
military installations and in addition were located close to International borders.

To follow up on these and other similarities, Reichert requested that he be allowed to
travel to San Diego to closely examine the scenes and the physical evidence for himself.
Evans was in agreement but the recent cuts meant that there was simply no money to fund
the trip. The problem was solved when Evans enlisted the aid of an organization called the
Seattle-King County Crime Stoppers, a non-profit organization that used a television
program to gather public assistance with unsolved crimes.

Evans asked them to consider funding a program on the Green River murders, particularly
the San Diego link. The organization agreed and raised over $150,000 from a local
insurance company to pay for the project, which they hoped, would become a show that
would attract National coverage. Soon after, Reichert traveled to San Diego to begin the
investigation. After meeting Streed and viewing the crime scenes and El Cajon Boulevard,
the local version of the strip, Reichert met with members of the city police and the sheriff's
department. He was not surprised to find that a blatant rivalry existed between the two
departments, which succeeded in undermining the San Diego investigation to the point
where many police refused to believe that the murders were the work of a single killer.
Such an attitude was familiar territory for Reichert.

Apart from the petty squabbling, Reichert saw enough of the information to determine that
the Green River killer may well have moved his operations to California. He returned to
Seattle and briefed Evans and suggested that they work with the San Diego departments
to catch their man in the hope that it would prove to be the same person responsible for
the Green River murders. Evans agreed but after making contact with police officials in
San Diego, he was told that they were not interested in working with the Green River task
force as they did not believe it was the same man. The message was clear, "you do your
work and we'll do ours."

Evans wasn't defeated by the rejection and shortly after briefed reporters from The Times
on the San Diego theory. The reporters later traveled to California to conduct their own
investigation which resulted in a story which not only detailed the similarities to the Green
River crimes but also documented the reluctance of the San Diego police to cooperate in a
joint investigation. Several weeks later the story was picked up by the national television
networks and broadcast across the country. By August 1988, the political furor the
coverage caused in San Diego resulted in a joint task force being formed between the city
and county departments and the establishment of an information sharing network with the
Green River task force.

Two months later the FBI's glass expert, was ready to conduct his analysis. Within half an
hour of receiving the samples, the expert gave the task force the bad news, the supposed
"glass" samples were actually small particles of garnet stone usually found on sandpaper
and roofing and was so common that samples of it could be found in the FBI's own
parking lot. Evans was flabbergasted, what had started to look like a breakthrough was
now totally useless as evidence.

While Evans and his task force pondered their next move, the renewed media interest in
the Green River murders provided the "Crime Stoppers" television project with additional
momentum. Patrick Duffy, one of the stars of Dallas was hired to act as the presenter of
the program and plans were made to set up a studio with telephones and computer banks
to process the flood of information that was expected when the show aired.

The program was written to incorporate reenactments and interviews with relatives of the
victims as well as experts such as the FBI's John Douglas. The members of the task force
gave the program's producers as much help as they could as they believed it could provide
valuable information regarding the identity of the killer.

On December 7, 1988, the program titled "Manhunt Live: A Chance to End the
Nightmare," went to air. Almost from the time the program began, the station's
switchboard was inundated with callers offering information regarding the murders. Two
hours later the program was over but the calls were to continue for weeks.

While many of the calls were from cranks or contained useless and misleading information,
some were interesting. Two calls in particular gave police sufficient information to solve
another murder that had occurred at the time of some the Green River killings but was
believed to have been perpetrated by a different killer. The information pointed to two
separate suspects who were later proved to be responsible for the murder.

By the end of the week following the program, the telephone company had reported that
over 100,000 separate calls had been placed to the advertised toll-free number, but only
10,000 had got through. Some weeks after the program aired, the lines were shut down
and Police began the long and laborious process of following up each call. By January
1989, all of the calls had been checked and the tips collated and entered into the task force
computer for comparison with the information already contained on the database.

While the detectives worked through the new leads, one member of the task force,
Detective Tom Jensen, received a phone call that intrigued him. The call was from an
investigator with the Veterans Affairs Department in Spokane, Washington and had
nothing to do with the Green River case, or so he thought. The caller asked Jensen if he
had any information on one of two men the VA were investigating for alleged claims
fraud. The man's name was William J. Stevens II. Apparently, he and an accomplice had
attempted to make two separate claims to the VA in Steven's name. Both men had been
arrested by Jensen for burglary of police uniforms on Pacific Highway South, in 1979 and
had been sent to prison. Two years later, Stevens had escaped from prison, while taking
out the garbage, and was never seen again. Jensen had wrongly believed that Stevens had
left the area to hide out interstate and was surprised to learn that Stevens had been living
in the Spokane area for almost eight years.

A check of Steven's background found that, at the time of his arrest, he had been a student
of pharmacology at the University of Washington. He also held a degree in psychology
and was a former officer in the U.S. Army military police. Further digging by Jensen
revealed that after leaving the army, Stevens had applied to join the Seattle Police
Department but was refused because of a poor driving record.

After running Steven's name through the task force computer, Jensen found two more
calls that pointed to Stevens as a possible suspect. Jensen reported his findings to Evans
and was directed to contact the Spokane authorities for additional information. Ever since
the escape, Jensen had always wondered what Stevens had been up to, now it seemed he
was about to find out.

When Jensen called the Spokane authorities, he not only advised them that there was a
warrant for the arrest of William Stevens on the escape charge but also that he was a
suspect in the Green River murder case. The Spokane County police offered their
assistance and were able to help Jensen to piece together Steven's movements from 1981
to 1988. One lead that was provided was from a woman in Portland who had rented a
room in a house that Stevens owned. The house was in Tigard, the suburb of Portland
where the skulls of two of the victims, Shirley Sherrill and Denise Bush, had been found.

Additional interviews were conducted with anyone that had known or had contact with
Stevens during his time in the area. Several of them told police that Stevens collected
police equipment and owned several uniforms. They also spoke of his fascination with the
Green River murders and that he had often talked about murdering prostitutes. Further
sifting revealed that Stevens was known under two separate aliases in the Portland area.
Later Jensen learned that Stevens owned his own police car complete with lights, radar
and insignia and had come to the attention of the authorities when he had applied for a
government license plate exemption for the same vehicle. When applying for the plates,
Stevens had attempted to pass himself off as the Emergency Services Director of
"Spangle" Washington, a fictitious suburb.

Convinced that they had found a viable suspect, the police arrested Stevens at the home of
his parents and took him into custody on a charge of escape from lawful custody. In
addition, they also served a warrant to search his premises. In Steven's bedroom,
detectives found thirty-three firearms, several drivers licenses issued to Steven's under
assumed names and credit cards in the same names. A small box was found that contained
over fifty sexually explicit photos of nude women, many of them known Spokane
prostitutes. Other photos found elsewhere in the room suggested that Stevens had taken
the photos himself.

The next day, while detectives attempted to ascertain his whereabouts during 1982,
Stevens was sent to the King County prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

Police soon learned that Stevens had spent the time between 1985 and 1988 attending law
school and at the time of his arrest had been in his final semester. Inquiries at Gonzaga
University revealed that Stevens was known as a pleasant, intelligent and popular student
so much so that Craig Beles, one of Steven's former law professors, offered to defend
Stevens during the investigation.

As the investigation progressed, Evans came under fire from reporters who wanted to
know why Stevens had not been considered a viable suspect earlier. Evans explained that
while Stevens had been on the suspect list, detectives had been unable to find any evidence
that placed him in Seattle at the time of the murders. A strange answer considering that
Stevenss whereabouts were unknown to the task force until the Veteran Affairs
investigator had given them his location. If they didn't know where he was, how did they
know that he wasn't living in the Seattle-Tacoma area at the time of the murders?

By April 1989, task force detectives had interviewed most of Stevenss acquaintances,
including his accomplice. The man told police that Stevens knew a lot about the Green
River murders and had suggested that the victims had been murdered while making "snuff
films." Several other acquaintances told how Stevens had hated prostitutes and had talked
openly about mutilating them. Others told police that Stevens gave the impression that he
was working undercover for the Green River task force and the CIA.

One woman told investigators that Stevens had shown her a secret room hidden behind a
bookcase, telling her that the only reason she could see it was because it had been
"declassified." Other interviews revealed that Stevens often went away on what he called
"missions," which he would return from in an agitated and nervous state, often watching
television for hours on end to wind down.

Detectives then focused their attention on how Stevens had obtained the money to support
himself while he studied, pay for his education and buy a house. The answer was partly
provided by the accomplice who explained that he and Stevens had committed a Post
Office robbery in Florida after which Stevens had used his share to buy the house in
Tigard. By tracking credit card transactions, the detectives were able to determine that
Stevens had been paying most of his expenses with the stolen and fake credit cards. It was
also revealed that he had traveled regularly between Seattle, Portland, Vancouver,
Spokane and Tigard. The same records showed that he had also made purchases with the
cards in all of the murder areas at the time of the offences.

Additional interest in Stevens was generated when an inmate that had shared a cell with
him in the King County lockup, told police that Stevens was fascinated by violence against
women and couldn't stop talking about it. While the task force detectives had learned from
bitter experience not to get too excited about a suspect, the mounting information
regarding William Stevenss alleged involvement in the case had most of them feeling
cautiously optimistic.

The next to be checked were the weapons found in Stevenss room. One of them, a .45
caliber Colt handgun, was traced back to one of Stevenss former law school classmates,
Dale Wells. When detectives interviewed Wells he told them that Stevens had talked
openly of his hate of prostitutes and blamed them for the spread of AIDS. According to
Wells, Stevens frequently hung around the prostitution areas of Seattle.

As well as prostitutes, Wells told them, Stevens hated blacks and often suggested that
violence should be used against them. Another of Stevenss favorite topics was Ted
Bundy. Wells described how Stevens would bring up the subject and talk in detail about
the numerous mistakes that Bundy, whom Stevens considered stupid, had made.

Regardless of the implications, there was still no hard evidence to link Stevens with the
murders. The next step was to talk to Stevens directly in the hope that he might implicate
himself or, better yet, confess. When detectives went to interview Stevens in jail, he was
generally cooperative. The interview progressed well until the line of questioning led to
Stevenss movements and activities from 1982 to 1984. From that point Stevens refused
to answer any more questions and told police that any future questions should be
submitted to his attorney in writing.

Obviously Stevens wasn't about to confess so on July 12, Evans obtained a warrant to
search Stevenss fathers house and a storage facility that Stevens rented in Spokane. In all,
the task force obtained fifty boxes of papers and over a thousand videotapes. The second
search sparked renewed media interest in the investigation but Evans refused to comment
on the progress of the case against Stevens except to say that he was still considered a
viable suspect and the seized property would be examined for a possible link to the

After local newspapers and television stations ran stories suggesting that Stevens was the
Green River killer, Craig Beles, Stevenss attorney issued a public denial on behalf of his
client. By mid August, the task force wasnt the only ones examining William Stevens
activities during the preceding years. Bob Stevens, William's brother, publicly criticized
the task force for what he called "reckless and unwarranted harassment" of his brother and
other members of his family. In an attempt to prove his brother's innocence, Bob produced
credit card records and photographs that indicated that William had been traveling across
the country by car during July, August and September 1982, the time when most of the
murders had been committed.

Evans came out fighting, stating that even if the latest "evidence" suggested that Stevens
had an alibi for some of the murders it didn't mean that he had one for the rest of them.
Inadvertently, Evans had again opened up the possibility of more than one killer being
involved. He later told the press that he and his task force had given Stevens several
opportunities to clear himself but he had refused to speak.

In late September, just before Stevenss jail term came to an end, he was charged with the
federal offence of being a felon in possession of a firearm, to wit, the handgun that he
had obtained from Wells. Hearing of the new charge, Bob Stevens went public again
calling the investigation a "witch hunt" and accused Evans and his task force of pulling any
dirty trick to keep his brother in jail until they could justify their accusations against him.
Sometime later Stevens sent a message to Evans, via his attorney, telling him that he
would be prepared to talk about another person who the task force had implicated in the
murders. An interview was set up but Stevens once again avoided the subject and the
interview was terminated.

Two days later, Dale Wells committed suicide. Police were convinced that Wells had been
the person that Stevens had alluded to. After his death, several detectives in the task force,
began to wonder if Wells had either been involved in the murders or had some knowledge
of them. One of the fake licenses that police had found in Stevenss room was in Wells'
name. A search of Wells' apartment revealed an unfinished letter addressed to Anne Rule,
a well-known crime writer, who had written a book about Ted Bundy. One part of the
letter referred to an unnamed person that Wells knew whom he considered was very
similar to Bundy. Could Wells have been talking about Stevens? By a strange coincidence,
Anne Rule had been lecturing in Spokane the night before Wells shot himself but after
being questioned by police she was unable to shed any light on a connection between
herself and Wells.

An investigation of Wells background was undertaken and police soon learned that in
January 1986, Wells had gone to a motel in Spokane, asking for a woman by the name of
Ruby Doss, a prostitute who lived there. Wells had told the manager of the motel that he
was a lawyer and wanted to find the woman because she had stolen a wallet from a friend
of his, a Spokane police officer. Several days later, Ruby Doss' body was found dumped in
a field near a Spokane racetrack. She had been strangled.

While the investigation into Stevens and Wells continued through September, Stevens
made plans to write a book about his experiences, hoping that the proceeds would pay for
his legal bills. Some weeks later, the investigation came to an end when Evans summoned
the media and made the shock announcement that William Stevens II had been cleared of
any involvement in the Green River murders. The latest chapter in the hunt for a killer was

On October 11, 1989, the remains of nineteen-year-old Andrea Childers were found
buried in a vacant lot near South 192nd street. In a list of victims, that included Mary
Meehan's unborn child, she became victim number forty-nine. Andrea had never been
included on the "official" list of missing girls, even though police had been advised of her
disappearance in April 1983. Of the known missing, seven had not been found. Police
had no way of knowing just how many young women had fallen victim to the man they
had dubbed the Green River Killer. The only person who knew the exact number of
victims and their location was the killer himself and as 1989 drew to a close, it was
becoming obvious that his identity may never be known.

In early February 1990, a city councilman found the remains of a human skeleton on a
hillside next to a city park. The park was located in Tukwila, a suburb of Seattle. As
before, the find was reported to the King County police department who in turn passed it
on to the Green River task force. Chief Medical examiner, Bill Haglund took possession
of the remains, which were minus a skull but included a curious object. Found amongst
the remains was a piece of medical equipment that is usually used by persons suffering
from epilepsy.

Haglund checked his records and found that the device had been used by Denise Bush.
The discovery raised a question. Why had Bush's skeleton been found in Tukwila, Seattle
when her skull was found in Tigard, Portland? Haglund believed that the killer had
probably killed Bush and buried her in Tukwila, which was near the strip, and returned to
the burial site and removed the skull and took it to Tigard. The question remained - why
would he bother?

The only theory that Haglund could offer was that the killer had purposefully deposited
some of the remains in different localities, even in different states, to confuse the
investigators. The skulls of Mary West and Kimi Kai Pitsor and Debbie Abernathy's jaw
bone were just some of the partial remains that were found in areas totally different to that
of the bodies. The killer had obviously returned to the dumpsites again and again, just as
John Douglas and Ted Bundy had predicted he would.

A final search was arranged to scour the latest area for further remains. Again the
depleted task force joined forces with the Explorer Scouts, but after two fruitless days, the
search was called off. The final score stood at Green River killer - 49, Green River task
force - Nil.

By June 1990, the Green River task force had been officially disbanded and its members
reassigned. Bob Evans was not only transferred, he was promoted to become head of the
King County Patrol Force. Dick Kraske was forced to retire, to make way for Evans.
Dave Reichert and Fae Brooks were promoted to the rank of sergeant and transferred to
Evanss command. Randy Revelle resigned from politics for good after contesting and
losing the County Executive elections to Tim Hill a second time in 1989. Former Sheriff
Vernon Thomas was appointed as the security director of the Goodwill Games.

TD was still unemployed and threatened to sue anyone who misused his name. McLean
sold his story for $30,000 and was still in the process of trying to sue the King County
Sheriff's Department for false arrest. William Stevens II was eventually released and later
died of cancer. Wendy Coffield's parents unsuccessfully sued the state for negligence,
which contributed to the death of their daughter.

Of all the changes that occurred after the investigation, one of the most important was to
the prostitution industry. Thanks to a state offensive bought on by the Green River
investigation, the Strip has undergone an overhaul with many of the seedy bars and motels
gone forever. Even though the industry has relocated or been driven underground, very
few prostitutes or pimps walk the Sea-Tac strip and few prospective "johns" cruise the
area looking for a "date."

Some might say it's too little too late.

As to the dumpsites, most of the areas have been earmarked for development with
sections of Star Lake Road already subdivided into residential housing blocks. No doubt,
in the near future, some unsuspecting citizen digging in a suburban garden plot will
probably unearth additional remains.

As to the task force, all that remains, apart from a sense of failure and bitter memories, are
over five hundred volumes of reports, maps, charts, lists of evidence and photographs.
Many theories about the Green River killer still abound but none are proven.

After seven years, forty nine victims and the outlay of millions of tax payers' dollars only
one thing remains clear, the real killer - whether he is a corpse, a prisoner doing time for a
similar offense or a man clever enough to move to a new area and start again - is still

Perhaps if the victims had been college girls from high-class neighborhoods instead of
young women who earned their living giving sex to strangers, the outcome may have been
different. No matter who the victims were or what they did, the loss of one young life will
always be a tragedy, but the loss of 49 such lives under such violent circumstances is an
epidemic. Maybe one day someone we will find a cure.

One Chance In A Million

When the Green River Task Force was officially disbanded in 1990, it was widely believed
that the case, one of the nations worst serial murders, would never be solved but, as the
Seattle Times reported, when 52-year-old Gary Leon Ridgway was arrested in October,
2001 for loitering for the purpose of prostitution, the case took on a different focus.

Ridgway had first come to the attention of task force investigators in 1980 when he was
accused of trying to strangle a woman he had picked up from the Sea-Tac strip, a
well-known red light area. According to the woman, Ridgway had driven her to an
isolated location near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport where the offense took
place. The woman was able to escape and later reported the incident to the Seattle police.
During a brief interview, Ridgway told police the woman had bitten him so he had choked
her to make her stop. He was let go.

In 1982 task force detectives picked him up again. When he was apprehended on the
Sea-Tac strip, he was in the company of a prostitute named Kelli McGinness. A year later
McGinness disappeared and was never found.

In 1983, he was the prime suspect in the disappearance of 18-year-old Maria Malvar when
a friend of Maria's saw her get into a distinctive pick-up truck that had a primer spot on
the door. The friend followed the pick-up for a time but lost it in traffic.

The Seattle Times report detailed how, the following day when Malvar had not returned,
the friend and Maria's father searched the area where the truck was last seen and found it
parked outside a house. The house belonged to Gary Ridgway.

Police were informed and later questioned Ridgway, who denied all knowledge of Maria
Malvar. In May 1984, police gave Ridgway a polygraph test, which he passed. (Later
analysis by independent experts found that the test was faulty and, as such, was
unreliable.) With no real evidence linking Ridgway to the disappearance, the police had no
reason to proceed and dropped the matter.

Four years later, detectives from the Green River Task Force were investigating the deaths
of Opal Mills, Marcia Chapman, Cynthia Hinds and Carol Christensen and still considered
Ridgway as a person of interest in relation to those crimes. They secured a search
warrant and searched his house in the hope of finding evidence that would link him with
the victims. Again they failed. It was at that time that detectives presented Ridgway with a
court order that directed him to give them a saliva sample by chewing on a piece of gauze.
(As DNA analysis was unheard of at that time, the sample was intended to be used to
determine blood type.)

That sample became vitally important in November, 2001 when forensic scientists linked
Ridgways DNA to Mills, Chapman and Hinds. Ridgway was then put on
around-the-clock surveillance for a month, which culminated in his arrest. According to
the {Seattle Times}, the police have also discovered certain factors that also link him to
Carol Christensens death but would not divulge the details.

While King County police are falling short of saying that they have caught the Green River
Killer they are saying that the man they have in custody is most likely responsible for the
deaths of four women who just happen to be Green River victims.

Dave Reichert, now the sheriff of King County, has pursued the Green River killer for 20
years since he was one of the lead detectives on the case. Following Ridgways arrest, he
told the Seattle Times:

This has got to be one of the most exciting days in my entire career. I cannot say with
certainty that Gary Ridgway is responsible for all of the deaths, but boy, have we made
one giant step forward. This really vindicates our efforts, one of the characteristics of a
good investigator is you can never give up hope, because victims families never give up

Reichert also told the Times that detectives from the newly formed Green River Task
Force 2 are examining ties that Ridgway has in Oregon in the hope that they can link him
to the murder victims whose remains were found in the Portland area. They are also
looking at over 90 similar cases involving missing and murdered women from Canada to
California in the hope that they will provide further links to the Green River murders.

Police are currently searching the three homes that Ridgway had previously occupied in
the hope of uncovering additional evidence.

His employment records were also subpoenaed and after careful checking it was
discovered that all of his absences coincided with the disappearances of many of the Green
River victims.