The Arthur Shawcross Story: Sins of the Flesh
By his own admission, Arthur Shawcross has been obsessed by sex for as long as he can
remember. Like many other pubescent boys he conducted various sexual experiments, but
for Arthur, it became more than just idle curiosity. He claims that from age seven, he
frequently masturbated and had oral sex with both male and female friends. Years later,
he bragged to psychologists that he had also had sex with a sheep, a cow and a horse and
had even killed a chicken in the process of trying to have sex with it. He would also claim
that his aunt Tina was responsible for his sexual habits because she forced him to
perform oral sex on her, which, he says accounts for it being his preferred method of
sexual contact. He also claims that when he was fourteen, he had sex with his
twelve-year-old sister Jeannie, an accusation she strenuously denies. Another favourite
story is that his mother sodomised him with a broomstick when he was a child but that
story is also suspect. Whatever the reasons, be they real or merely the fantasies of a
twisted mind, the pursuit of sexual gratification came to play a major role in the life of
Arthur Shawcross, and eventually led to him becoming one of the most depraved and
brutal serial killers in history.
Arthur John Shawcross was born in the early hours of June 6, 1945 at the U.S. Naval
hospital in Kittery, Maine. He was two months premature. At the time of his birth, his
mother, Bessie, was just eighteen and his father, Corporal Arthur Roy Shawcross was
twenty-one. Two weeks after the birth, Bessie took baby Arthur and moved to
Watertown, New York to live with her sister-in-law until Arthur Snr. had completed his
By 1958, the family had built a small house in a rural area six miles northwest of
Watertown near the town of Brownville. Three other related families soon settled in the
same area, which became known as Shawcross Corners. This extended family,
including thirteen children, lived a normal, happy existence. Young Arthur, on the other
hand, was beginning to show the first signs of abnormal behaviour, especially after his
little brother Jimmy was born. He became a chronic bed wetter and was still talking like a
baby until he was six. The following year, he started running away from home, which
family members dismissed as merely a ploy to gain attention.
By the time he was eight, other behavioural problems began to surface. He seemed to
hate children younger than himself and teased them until they cried. He became obsessed
with his sister Jeannie and ignored his other sister and younger brother. He invented
imaginary friends and spoke with them in strange voices. His classmates constantly teased
him and called him Oddie, which would send him into a rage. By and large, Arthur was
a loner whose weird behaviour made it hard for him to mix and communicate with
others and he would often be seen sitting alone in an empty classroom while his peers
were outside playing. Curiously, his grades were above average but a school nurse
remembers him as being a troubled boy, who constantly ran away from home and often
carried an iron bar on the bus to threaten other children with.
By the time he entered the third grade, Arthurs behaviour deteriorated as did his grades
and he was given a series of psychological tests, which indicated that his behaviour was
due in large part to his feelings of inadequacy and rejection and a growing hostility that he
felt towards his parents, particularly his mother. Regardless of the results, he was later
promoted to the fourth grade where he stayed for two years. During this time, he ran
away yet again and was picked up at the Canadian border.
By the time Arthur was nine, the atmosphere at home was no better than the one at
school, especially when Arthurs mother found out that Arthur Snr. had another wife and
son in Australia. Relatives believe that from that time on, his mother became a different
woman who flew into jealous rages at the mere mention of another woman and raged
constantly at Arthur Snr., who became quiet and withdrawn as a result. Arthur Jr. did his
best to stay out of her way by retreating to his Grandmothers house at every opportunity.
As the years passed, Arthur grew increasingly violent and would often beat up the
neighbourhood children and became well known for his explosive temper. He also began
breaking into houses and stealing from local businesses and lighting fires. On one
occasion, after falling into a river at a family picnic, he complained of sore legs and was
given brain scans and a battery of other tests to determine the cause. The tests revealed
nothing. His family later agreed that it was just one more attempt to gain attention.
Becoming increasingly withdrawn and antisocial, Arthur fell further and further behind
with his schoolwork until, in the eighth grade, he was a full three years older than his
classmates. Arthur didnt seem to care; he had become a true outcast.
By his mid teens, he was still wetting the bed and had almost completely withdrawn into
his own private little world. He spent hours walking in the woods talking to himself and
was often observed yelling at inanimate objects and beating the undergrowth with a stick
as if in torment from unseen demons.
By the time he was fourteen, Arthur claims that he was regularly having oral sex with his
sister Jeannie and his cousin Linda. He also claims that he had another relationship with a
young girl who lived nearby and was caught by her brother while performing oral sex on
the girl. The brother supposedly threatened to tell their parents unless Arthur performed
oral sex on him as well. It was at this time that Arthurs craving for sex became insatiable
and he continued to have oral sex whenever the opportunity presented itself. Curiously,
Arthur never described any acts of penetration during this period, which could indicate
that he was unable to sustain an erection from an early age. That year also marked the
period when Arthur claims to have first associated violence with sex. It began after he
was walking home from school and was picked up by a man in a red convertible who
supposedly held him by the throat while performing oral sex on him. When Arthur failed
to reach orgasm, the man anally raped him and dropped him near his house. From that
time on, Shawcross claims that he could never reach orgasm without inflicting pain on
The following year he was arrested for breaking into a Sears department store but was
given probation because he hadnt removed anything from the store. For the next few
years, Arthur wandered aimlessly through life until, at the age of nineteen, he married for
the first time. The union lasted less than three years and produced a son. In 1968 Arthur
was conscripted into the army and began a tour of duty in Vietnam. It was to be an
important turning point in his life; he was about to learn how to kill.
Just prior to his posting, Arthur married his second wife Linda Neary after a brief
courtship. Arriving in Vietnam, he was assigned to a unit in Pleiku as a supply clerk. One
of his duties was to arrange for the distribution of ammunition which entailed travelling to
the outlying units by helicopter. It was at that point, he later told psychiatrists, that he
started going out on fire missions with various forward companies. Initially, he claims,
he was shocked by the violence but soon found that he craved the danger of going into the
jungle alone looking for the enemy and eventually became what he referred to as a
On one such mission, Shawcross claimed he encountered two Vietnamese women hiding
guns in a hollow tree and shot one of them and tied the other to a tree. The woman who
was shot was still breathing when Shawcross cut her head off and put it on a post for the
Viet Cong to find. He then cut off a section of her thigh and roasted it over a fire and ate
part of it. Afterwards he had oral sex with the other woman and raped her before
shooting her in the head and butchering her body. He became an expert sniper and
claimed that he fashioned a silencer out of a rubber nipple from a babys bottle, which
allowed him to pick off the enemy without giving his position away. Even if such a device
were effective, it would only be good for one shot, which brings to mind the question of
how he was able to obtain a ready supply of rubber nipples in the jungles of Vietnam.
By his own admission, Shawcross became an animal in Vietnam and found it difficult to
control the violent urges that drove him to rape and kill. The enemy werent the only
victims of his sexual rages as he also claims to have attacked several Asian prostitutes,
some as young as eleven.
When he returned home to Watertown in 1969, he was a changed man, for the worse. He
was continually agitated and found it hard to relax. After visiting his mother he went to
see his wife only to find that she had spent all the money that he had been sending home
and was seeing another man. Soon after, when he was transferred to Fort Sill Oklahoma
to serve out the remainder of his term in the Army, Linda went with him. It was at this
time that Shawcross began to experience violent flashbacks and nightmares and began to
beat Linda, which led him to consult with an Army psychiatrist. The doctor suggested
therapy and a period in a mental hospital to try and stabilise him but Linda, being a
Christian Scientist, was wary of doctors and hospitals and refused to sign the commitment
Without therapy, Arthurs mental state began to decline and he became increasingly
irritated with Linda and her family, usually over their adherence to their religion, which he
saw as nothing more than witchcraft. In April 1969, Arthur vented his frustration by
setting fire to a local paper mill and later in the year, the cheese factory where he was
employed at the time. He was later arrested and convicted on two counts of arson and
sentenced to five years in prison. He served the first six months of his sentence at Attica
prison where three black inmates allegedly raped him. Shawcross claims he later extracted
revenge by beating and raping each of his attackers in separate incidents and was
transferred to Auburn prison to serve out his sentence.
In 1971, he was given early release when he saved the life of a prison guard who had been
clubbed during a prison riot sparked by racial tensions within the prison. He returned to
Watertown to start a new life, having been divorced by Linda while he was in jail. His
stay in prison did little for his already fragile mental state and by the time of his release he
was in a highly agitated frame of mind and ready to do further damage to anyone or
anything that took his fancy.
In an attempt to settle into a normal routine, Arthur took a job at the Watertown Public
Works Department as a handyman and married a third time. His new wife, Penny Nichol,
was a school friend of his sister Jeannie and had two children from a former relationship.
Shawcross claims that up to this time, he was still having a sexual relationship with Jeannie
and that she had introduced him to Penny because she had fallen pregnant to her boyfriend
and couldnt continue their relationship. By his recollection, after five months, the
relationship with Penny seemed to be going well and at one stage she fell pregnant but
later miscarried. Sometime later, he claims that the marriage came under threat when
Pennys father accused Arthur of sexually assaulting Pennys younger sister. Shawcross
said he denied the allegation but from that time on, Pennys parents spent a great deal of
time around the house watching him. What makes both the miscarriage and the alleged
assault interesting is the fact that, by his own admission, Shawcross was incapable of
maintaining an erection or ejaculating making the possibility of him fathering a child very
difficult. Secondly, regarding the assault, during his interviews with Dr. Joel Norris for
the book Arthur Shawcross: The Genesee Killer, he seems confused wether Pennys
sister is named Rose or Jill.
One thing is known to be fact; Arthur Shawcross spent a great deal of his spare time
fishing in the creeks and rivers around Watertown. As a result, he came to know many of
the towns children and often shared the same spots with them. One of his regular fishing
companions was ten-year-old Jack Blake and on one occasion, Arthur had gone to the
boys house to ask Jacks mother Mary if Jack could go fishing with him. According to
Mary, when she refused, Arthur was polite and agreed that she had made the right
Four months later, on the morning of June 4 1972, Jack went out to play near the
Cloverdale apartment block where Shawcross lived and never came home. Later that
night, while out looking for her son, Mary Blake knocked on Arthurs door to ask where
her son was. He told her that he hadnt seen him since that morning. The truth of the
matter was that Shawcross had taken Jack into the woods and after stripping him naked
and forcing him to run through the woods, had caught him and sexually molested him
before finally strangling him and battering him about the head. Later Shawcross would
admit to removing the boys heart and genitals and eating them. Although Shawcross was
a suspect in the boys disappearance, no action was taken due to lack of evidence.
Three months later, while the police were still searching for Jack Blake, eight-year-old
Karen Ann Hill was found dead under a bridge near Black River, she had been raped,
mutilated and strangled. When a police investigation revealed that Hill and Shawcross had
been seen together earlier the same day, Shawcross again became a suspect. After they
received another report that Shawcross was seen eating an ice cream at the bridge near
where the body was found, the police picked Arthur Shawcross up and took him in for
He was interrogated at police headquarters for a full day before he surprised police by
asking them in front of his defense attorney, Whats going to happen to me if I tell you
After several more hours of interviews and plea-bargaining, Arthur Shawcross pleaded
guilty to the manslaughter of Karen Ann Hill. He was later convicted and sentenced to
twenty-five years in prison. To this day, he has never been charged with the murder of
Jack Blake even though he later admitted to the rape and murder and showed police where
he had dumped the body. He later told prison psychiatrists that he had returned to the
gravesite on several occasions to have sex with the corpse.
Arthur Shawcross began his second jail term in the New York Penitentiary in Green
Haven. For the first eight years he spent much of his time protecting himself from the
other inmates who considered child-killers the lowest form of life. His record shows
numerous reports of fighting, minor stealing offences, lighting fires and refusing to leave
his cell. Eventually he began to settle into prison life and behave himself until finally he
was considered to be a model prisoner.
During his incarceration he claims that he tried to tell the prisons psychiatrists that his
problems were a result of the Vietnam War but they refused to listen. One of the first
psychiatrists to examine him, Dr. Albert Dresser, did not consider Shawcross a
psychological risk. His report shows that he did not perceive any evidence of delusions,
hallucinations or sensory deceptions in his patient Arthur Shawcross.
Some months later, in October 1973, another prison psychologist, Dr. J. R, McWilliams,
also examined Shawcross and carried out a series of tests including the Bender Motor
Gestalt test and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence test but found no evidence of any
neurological impairment. What he did find was that Arthur suffered from fits of deep
depression and relied heavily upon fantasy as a source of satisfaction. His final entry in
the case file was that he considered Shawcross, seems to be a normal individual who
knows he has done wrong and would like to help himself get back on the right track for
his eventual return to society. Curiously, an unknown person crossed out the reference
to normal person in the McWilliams report and wrote the words a psychopathic killer
above it in pencil.
In 1976, Dr. Michael Boccia examined Arthur and found that he had not come to terms
with the severity of the crimes that he was being punished for and constantly blamed
others for his problems. In his opinion, Shawcross had not requested the first examination
to deal with his mental problems; he had done it merely to impress the parole board. The
following year, the model prisoner had taken courses in lock smithing and horticulture
and began preparing for his General Equivalency Diploma. With more than a touch of
irony he also began working with mental patients as a counsellor.
In June 1977, yet another prison psychiatrist, Dr. Haveliwala gave him another
psychological examination and found that although he had adapted readily to prison
routine, he had a schizoid personality, was antisocial and had a distinct personality
disorder. In addition, Haveliwala wrote This man does not show a good degree of
evidence of successfully resolving or working out his psychosexual conflicts.
Two more years passed and yet another report was tendered which described Shawcross
as, a person of abnormal character traits with psychosexual tendencies. It must be noted
that the above-mentioned complications tend to be chronic in duration.
Basically, what most of the doctors were trying to say was that under normal
circumstances, Arthur Shawcross was a passive individual but when subjected to stress he
became a slave to his inner sexual drives and was unable to prevent himself from giving
them full reign. Regardless of these and other unfavourable psychological reports, Arthur
continued to improve himself in prison and by 1985 had completed his high school
education and enrolled in college courses at Penn State University. A parole report during
the same period further stated that Shawcross exhibited a belligerent reaction
representing a foreboding potential for a possible re-enactment of his tragic behaviour.
The report went on to further criticize the prisoner for his disdain for the prisons Sex
Offender Program and displaying his fury during the parole interview.
Incredibly, despite the numerous psychological reports to the contrary and the parole
boards own misgivings, Arthur Shawcross qualified for early release in March 1987 and
was deemed to be fit to re-enter society. After his release, Robert T. Kent, his parole
officer in Binghamton County wrote to his superiors, At the risk of being melodramatic,
the writer considers this man to be possibly the most dangerous individual to be released
to this community for many years. They were to be prophetic words indeed.
When Shawcross was released he was placed in the Binghamton area as the officials and
residents of Watertown had made it plain that they didnt want him there. He had also
been maintaining a pen-pal relationship with a woman named Rose Walley and indicated
that he would go and live with her and probably marry her. His parole conditions, among
other things, required him to restrict his movements to Broome county, observe an 11pm
to 7am curfew, refrain from partaking of any alcoholic beverage and not to have contact
with anyone under the age of eighteen and stay away from schools or any other place
where children were present.
Learning that he would be placed in their area, the Binghamton parole officers asked the
question that the parole board should have considered before his release, if he had to have
such strict parole conditions, why release him in the first place?
His stay in Binghamton only proved to be a short one when the residents objected to his
presence and he was given approval to move to Delhi, New York where he moved into
Rose Walleys apartment. Shortly after he moved in however, the residents of his new
community got wind of his presence and he was asked to leave. He appealed to the parole
board and was sent to live in the basement of the Baptist church in Delhi until suitable
accommodation could be found. He and Rose later moved to Fleischmanns, New York
and moved into a large house and Arthur obtained work with a local building contractor.
Within a matter of days, he was recognised in the local post office and later that night an
angry mob led by the towns mayor assembled outside his house and demanded that he
leave the area. In the following weeks, Shawcross and Walley were bounced around from
one area to the other until finally they were given an apartment in Rochester, New York.
Eventually, according to Shawcross, he tired of the parole boards interference and he and
Rose got their own apartment and new jobs and settled into their new surroundings. The
job that Arthur got was at a company called Bognias where he was employed to pack
salads in boxes.
His life seemed stable enough until Christmas 1987 when he asked his family to come to
Rochester to meet Rose and they refused. His mood darkened when his sister informed
him that the family had visited her in Virginia and told her how they had returned the
Christmas present that he had sent them. He became angry and ranted about how his
family didnt want him and went out on his bike and rode for miles until he cooled down.
Shortly after the Christmas incident, he started a relationship with another woman named
Clara Neal and often borrowed her car. For a year he maintained both relationships,
explaining to Rose that he was just being nice to Clara so she would lend him the car.
On one particular evening in February 1988, he rode his bike to Claras and took the car
and drove around until he reached Lake Avenue near the Genesee River. It was an
industrial area well known for its cheap prostitutes and drug dealers. As he drove slowly
down the street, a woman called Dorothy Dotsie Blackburn signalled him to stop.
When he pulled over she asked him if he wanted a date. He agreed and she directed him
to a car park behind a warehouse. He told her that he wanted to have mutual oral sex and
paid her thirty dollars. She then undressed and complied with his request. Shawcross
later described that at that point, the woman bit him on the penis, drawing blood. He said
he became incensed and bit her vagina in retribution and squeezed her throat until she lost
consciousness. He them attempted to stem the flow of blood from his damaged organ and
tied the woman up with articles of her clothing before driving out of town along State
Route 104 to an area in Northampton Park called Salmon River, one of his favourite
He told her that he was going to rape her and she began taunting him and calling him
names. He threatened to kill her but she continued the name calling until he took her neck
in his hands and crushed the breath out of her. He sat in the car with her body until nearly
midnight then calmly carried her through the snow to the river bridge and dropped her
body into the icy river below. Walking back to the car, he drove back into Rochester and
drove up and down Lake Avenue looking for any sign that indicated that Dotsie had
been missed. Satisfied that he hadnt been observed he went to a nearby coffee shop to
relax. After an hour or so, he returned to the car, collected the womans clothes and other
property and threw them into a dumpster bin.
The following morning, after cleaning up the car, he returned it to Clara and rode his bike
home. Because of his normally erratic behaviour neither of the women in his life realised
anything different in his demeanour. In the following months, Arthur became a Lake
Avenue regular and was well known by the local prostitutes as Mitch. On March 24,
police found the body of Dotsie Blackburn floating in the river some distance
downstream from the area where she had been dumped. Her body was well preserved by
the icy waters but the water had also removed any evidence that might link her with her
killer. The one thing that they did notice about the body was the chunk that had been torn
from the womans vagina.
Arthur Shawcross had contained the urge to kill for several months but when his boss
learned why Arthur had been in prison and sacked him, it triggered off his next wave of
violence. The second victim was a part-time prostitute named Anna Steffen who
Shawcross had picked up and taken to the river near Driving Park Bridge. Shawcross
claimed she had offered him sex for twenty dollars but when he was unable to get an
erection she began to make fun of him. He became angry and punched her to the ground.
Trying to get away from him she crawled into the water but he went in after her and held
her under the water by the throat until she drowned. He later told police that he couldnt
be bothered trying to conceal her body and just let it float downstream. It later became
caught up in debris downstream where, because of the warmer conditions, it rapidly
decomposed. From that time on he tried to resist the temptation to kill and got another
job working nights packing salads for a company called G & G Food Services.
He didnt kill again until June 1989. His third victim was different to the first two in that
she wasnt a prostitute. She was a fifty-eight-year-old homeless woman named Dorothy
Keller. Shawcross had met Dorothy when she worked as a waitress in a diner that he
frequented. The two struck up a friendship, which had quickly turned into an affair. On a
fine afternoon, Arthur was on his way to the river to fish when he stopped to talk to
Keller. When she found out where he was going she asked if he would take her with him,
he agreed. According to Shawcross, they spent the morning fishing and making love until
around midday when it started to rain. They huddled under a crude shelter that he had
built and shortly after got into an argument about her stealing money and about his
relationships with Clara and Rose. He claims that when she threatened to tell the other
women about their affair he became angry and picked up a small log and beat her on the
side of the head killing her instantly. After hiding her body under a fallen tree he returned
home. He later told police that he returned to the spot several months later and removed
the skull and dumped it in the river.
Fishermen eventually found Kellers remains but Shawcross was never connected with the
woman even though he had been seen with her regularly and often went to the fishing spot
where he had left her body.
The next to die was another Lake Avenue prostitute named Patty Ives. He claims that she
offered him sex for twenty-five dollars when he approached the same diner where Dorothy
Keller had worked. He agreed and they went to a construction site and lay down on a
mound of earth. While they were having sex, Shawcross says that he caught Ives trying to
remove his wallet and pushed her hard against the ground. When she began to cry he
anally raped her and began strangling her until she lay still.
He hid her body under some scraps of construction material and waited until dark and
Two months later he killed another prostitute called Frances Brown in similar
circumstances except that in this instance he claims to have choked Brown with his penis
while having oral sex and continued to have sex with her body after she died.
When he dumped her body down a nearby embankment, so much debris was dragged
down with it that police thought the body had been covered intentionally.
Following Browns murder, the media began to pick up on the story of the murders of five
Rochester women within eighteen months calling the unknown perpetrator, The
Rochester Nightstalker, The Rochester Strangler and The Genesee River Killer.
Some even suggested that the crimes were similar to the Green River killings in Seattle
and speculated that the killer had merely changed localities.
For his sixth victim, Shawcross again chose someone close to home. June Stotts was a
friend of Arthur and Rose and a regular visitor to their home. She was also mildly
retarded. Shawcross had seen June sitting near the river on a warm November day and
asked her to go for a ride with him. She gratefully accepted and they drove down to a
local beach where they played on the sand and fed the birds before they walked to a
deserted area and lay down on the ground to make love. At some point in their
lovemaking Shawcross claims that he made an innocent comment about her not being a
virgin and she started screaming. He then held his hand over her mouth to silence her but
soon realised that he had suffocated her. He then cut her open with his knife so that she
would decompose quicker and covered her with a blanket and brush and left her. He later
claimed to have removed her vagina and some of her organs and ate them.
Arthur was now on a roll and in the same month picked up Maria Welch from Lake
Avenue and took her to a small beach near the banks of the Genesee River where they
argued over a suitable price before they began having sex. Again he claims that she tried
to take his wallet and he strangled her. He later changed his story and told investigators
that he had become angry and killed her when he realised that she was menstruating. He
drove further down the road next to the river and dumped her body in some bushes.
On November 11, police investigators from the sixty strong serial crimes unit identified the
body of Frances Brown. Incredibly, no one in the newly formed task force uncovered the
fact that a known sex offender and child killer who was still on parole was living in their
midst. Two weeks later, on November 23, while police were examining the decomposing
body of June Stotts, Shawcross killed again. As before, the pattern was set. He picked
Darlene Trippi up from the Lake Avenue area and drove to an isolated car park. After the
money was paid they indulged in oral sex but Shawcross failed to get an erection. She
became frustrated and called him names and he choked her until she lay dead under him.
He dumped her body in open woodland. The following month, he killed Elizabeth Gibson
in a similar fashion when she got into his car to keep warm while he was getting coffee
from a diner. They had oral sex in the car and again, he claimed that she tried to take his
wallet and he got angry and strangled her. Shawcross later told police that she had
struggled so hard that she had broken the gearshift in his car. He disposed of Gibsons
body in a new area near Wayne County, as he feared that the police were getting too
Two more weeks passed and even though the police were out in force in the Lake Avenue
area, Arthur Shawcross picked up an attractive girl named June Cicero and took her to
another isolated area and attempted sex with her before strangling her. Virtually right
under the noses of the investigating police, The Genesee River Killer had struck again.
This time he dumped the body off a bridge over the Salmon River. Two days later he
returned to the dumpsite with a small hand saw and cut the vagina from her frozen body
and ate it. It is not hard to see that, just as the prison psychiatrists had detected, Arthur
Shawcross lived in a fantasy world and made up these fanciful accounts of his numerous
accidental murders to hide the fact that he was a sadistic killer who could only get off
when he was subjecting his victims to pain and anguish which eventually resulted in their
The final victim was another prostitute only this time Arthur chose a black woman named
Felicia Stephens. In later interviews he stated that he could not recall any details of
Felicias murder only that she was black and he had strangled her and dumped her body
near those of Jean Cicero and Dorothy Blackburn. It was this desire to keep the bodies
where he could find them again that led to his capture.
On Wednesday, January 3 1990, he drove to Salmon Creek in Northampton Park to visit
Jean Ciceros body. He was aroused at the thought of having sex with her corpse. Arthur
hadnt been following the progress of the serial task force that had become prime news on
TV and in the papers. If he had, he would have known that police surveillance in and
around the Northampton Park area had increased dramatically. He was happy that there
were no cars parked where he wanted to stop on a bridge overlooking the creek so he
could view Jeans body while he ate his lunch, a salad that he had prepared at work.
What he did not know was that a police helicopter that had been checking the Salmon
River had not only seen his car parked on the bridge but also the outline of the body under
the ice. As the helicopter approached, Shawcross left the area and drove along Highway
31 and turned left at Route 259 heading toward the town of Spencerport with the
helicopter following his every move. The helicopter crew then called in two patrol cars to
follow the car and intercept it. They followed it to an address in Spencerport where the
car was parked and Shawcross got out and entered the Wedgewood Adult Home where
his wife worked.
The police entered the home and asked the attendant about the man who had just entered
and was told that he had gone down into the basement. The police followed and
approached Shawcross in the basement and asked for identification. He produced a photo
I.D. and asked what the police wanted. They then asked him to step outside to answer
some questions. Later he was interviewed in the car by Paul DeCillis, one of the task
force investigators and asked why he had been at Salmon Creek. Shawcross answered
that he had been out driving and stopped to urinate but when he saw the helicopter he
decided to sit in the car and urinate in a bottle instead.
For several hours, Detective DeCillis questioned Arthur Shawcross extensively about his
movements that morning but found that Shawcross had a pretty convincing story. While
they were talking, Shawcross told him about his earlier conviction for the child murders.
DeCillis continued to ask him questions about his wives, his jobs, his sexual habits and
even asked him details of the attacks on Jack Blake and Karen Hill. Throughout the
questioning he was completely cooperative even though he had not been arrested and was
talking to the police voluntarily.
Later that night he was released and he went home, unaware that his house was under
constant surveillance. The following morning the detectives picked him up again to
clarify some inconsistencies in his story. Again, Shawcross complied with their request
and went with them. They drove him to an area near a golf course where he had
supposedly had a liaison with a prostitute who had testified that he had often frequented
the Lake Avenue area picking up prostitutes. When Arthur agreed with the assertion he
was asked to accompany the detectives to their office where an official interrogation was
Later the same evening, Arthur Shawcross positively identified photographs of the eleven
victims and confessed to their murders. He then accompanied the police to the various
gravesites and late that night after twelve straight hours of interrogation, Arthur
Shawcross was officially charged with the Genesee River killings.