Although the U.S. usually gets all the spotlight
when it comes to serial killers, every once in a while we take
the back seat, such as Fred/Rose West in the U. K., Pedro Lopez
in South America, and Canada's worst serial killer, Clifford Olson.
The Olson case was also incredibly odd because
of a deal he struck wth Canadian authorities when he was caught.
In a sense, he actually benefited financially from his murder
spree of 11 children in a two period!
Born in British Columbia, Olson was always
in trouble with the police. He was a bully in school, and in his
early adult life he garnered over 90 arrests for everything from
fraud, armed robbery, and sexual assault.
He was a sadistic homosexual rapist when locked
up, and was also a known informer, making enemies from both sides
of the law.
Around the time he turned 40 in 1980, young
children began disappearing around Vancouver, B.C.
In November, 1980, 12 year old Christine Weller
was taken from her home in nearby Surrey, only to be found a month
later, dead. Her body was mutilated, and there were signs of sexual
In April of the next year, another Surrey
child, this time Collen Daignault, age 13, vanished, as did 16
year old Darren Johnsrud a week later from a local mall. He was
found dead in May, his skull shattered.
Just two weeks later, on May 16th, 16 year
old Sandra Wolfsteiner disappeared while hitchhiking through suburban
Langley, just days after Olson married his girlfriend.
A month after that, in June, 13 year old Ada
Court never returned home from babysitting nearby. While the local
authorities were searching for her, they found 14 year old Judy
Kozma's body in Lake Weaver on July 25th. She deisappeared earlier
in the month.
Police were scrambling, and they built up
a short list os suspects, one of which was Olson, because of his
history with the law. But even with him as a suspect, Olson was
still able to murder four more children in the last week of July.
First there was 15 year old Raymond King,
who vanished from New Westminster on July 23rd, his body recovered
two weeks later at Lake Weaver. Then there was 18 year old Sigrun
Arnd, who was murdered while hitchhiking near Vancouver.
Amazingly enough, the third victim in this
spree, Terri Carson, lived in the same Surrey Complex that Christine
Weller lived in. And soon after her, 17 year old Louise Chartrand
disappeared while hitchhiking at nearby Maple Ridge.
With the police keeping watch, Olson slipped
in the first week of August when he was observed picking up two
female hitchhikers on Vancouver Island. In a routine stop that
police adopted for this case, they checked Olson's car. Even though
the hitchhikiers weren't harmed, the officers arrested Olson when
they found an address book with Judy Kozma's name in it.
Once he was charged with her murder, Olson
got the idea of striking up a deal with the authorities. Worrying
for the welfare of his wife and child, Olson offered to reveal
where he buried the bodies of his victims, for $10,000 a body.
Although the police refused, as they were not going to "compensate"
a murderer, the Canadian Attorney General decided that what they
would do was set up a trust fund for Olson's son, and the $$ would
be placed there.
Olson, seeing that his bargaining was working,
decided to push his hand, and stated that for an additional $100,000
he would tell police of another 20 bodies that the didn't know
However, police refused to believe there were
anymore bodies, and ignored what they felt was Olson's attempt
at cheating the authorities of more money.
Olson kept up his part of the deal, and was
paid as agreed, spurring controversy that's still talked about
today, 18 years after the fact!
After pleading guilty, he was convicted of
11 counts of murder, and was sentenced to 11 concurrent life terms.
To this day, Olson continually writes to Canadian
courts for the possibility of his parole. And because of him,
Canada is constantly debating whether convicted killers should
ever be given their freedom.
***BOOK: THE OLSON MURDERS; FINAL
Although everyone has heard of Andrei Chikatilo
and his 52 victims, few have heard of Anatoly Onoprienko, a native
of the Ukraine, who equaled the Red Ripper during his killing
spree in the early 90's.
Born in Laski, Ukraine, he was thrown in an
orphanage at the age of one after his mother died, even though
his father was around, taking care of Anatoly's older brother.
This would prove to be a catalyst in Onoprienko's
future crimes, as families were now a target of his hatred and
fury. He grew to hate and despise the family unit that was denied
him in his childhood.
In 1989, after years of mental problems and
menial jobs, Onoprienko killed his first victim at the age of
30, old by serial killer standards. However, over the next five
years this guy made up for lost time, killing 11 others individually,
and virtually unnoticed by the local authorities.
As if things couldn't get any worse for the
Ukrainian citizens, Onoprienko developed his Modus Operandi around
1995, hitting his stride and unleashing a string of home invasions
that grabbed the attention of authorities and townsfolk alike.
Preying on isolated homes very early in the
morning, he would wake the families up from their sleep and round
them up into one room, where he would shoot them all dead with
his 12 gauge shotgun. Afterwards he would take anything he wanted,
before torching the house along with the bodies.
Police were quick to notice a horrifying pattern
emerging. These weren't just burglaries that went bad. Found among
the rubble were family photos obviously torn apart and strewn
all over the place. This killer was obviously targeting families.
His first slaughter occured in November, 1995,
where he killed a forestry teacher, along with his wife and two
young sons. Just nine days later he killed a family of four, before
burning the house down. All the victims were shot with his gun.
While fleeing the scene, Onoprienko managed to spot a witness,
and promptly shot and killed him as well.
Less than a month later, Onoprienko killed
four people in three seperate incidents including a police officer,
and followed that up the next day with murdering three people
that were parked off the side of a nearby highway.
Later in the month, he killed all five members
of the Pilat family while again setting the house on fire. Incredibly
enough, he was once again spotted by someone, this time two witnesses,
but Onoprienko shot them both dead.
Less than two weeks later, four more victims
were killed when Onoprienko shot and killed a 28 year old nurse
along with her two sons and a male visitor.
A month after that, he killed another four
people, the Dubchak family.This time he shot the father and his
son, while beating the mother and her daughter to death with a
Eight days later four members of the Bodnarchuk
family were killed, this time the parents shot while the two children
were hacked to death with an axe. A neighbor of theirs was also
murdered, shot and mutilated within an hour of the Bodnarchuk
In March, Onoprienko killed all four members
of the Novosad family, again burning the bodies in their home
By now, the Ukraine was in an uproar. Massive
military presence was called in to protect the citizens while
police scoured the area. It was the largest manhunt in the Ukraine's
history. Onoprienko was now working at a feverish pitch, murdering
at an almost unheard of pace.
But then authorities got their big break from,
of all things, Onoprienko's cousin, whom Onoprienko was staying
One day, the cousin happened across Onoprienko's
stash of weapons. This infuriated him, and he confronted Onoprienko
with the demand that he leave immediately.
Enraged himself that he was being thrown out,
Onoprienko stated that he better watch out, that Onoprienko would
take care of his cousin's family "at easter time."
His cousin was smart enough to see a legitimate
threat, and notified police with this information. They immediately
went searching for him, and in less than 24 hours, found him at
his girlfriend's home. Upon a further search of the house, officers
found objects from various death scenes, such as a pistol and
a shotgun belonging to two of the murdered families.
Once in custody, Onoprienko made an odd request.
He wanted to speak to a General, and nothing less. He had something
When the authorities obliged him with one,
Onoprienko went on to confess to 52 murders, mainly families slaughtered
in their own homes.
Onoprienko told the General that there were
voices commanding him to kill, although he wasn't sure if they
were heavenly voices, or "space aliens."
Convicted on all counts shortly after, he
was sentenced to death in April 1999. At this time, authorities
are still looking into a string of other murders that took place
between 1989 and 1995, since there is a gap in Onoprienko's life
that can't be accounted for.
Germany and Austria are also interested in
him, since he was deported from there years before for criminal
(although not murderous) activity.
Books: None yet, but check out Michael
Newton's new Encyclopedia.
Quite possibly the most vicious and relentless killer of the
last 100 years. Carl Panzram was trouble since he was a child
in Minnesota, where he grew up on his family's farm.
Sure, his father deserted the family when he was seven, and
yes he grew up in extreme poverty, but was that enough to cause
him to begin his life of crime at the ripe old age of eight?
The son of Prussian immigrants, Panzram was born in Warren,
Minnesota in 1891, and was arrested for public drunkeness by the
time he reached eight, Panzram moved on to burglary where he was
caught by the age of eleven and was sent off to reform school.
While there, he didn't slow down, burning down one of the buildings,
causing over $100,000 in damage, while fast becoming one of the
most feared children in captivity. Even the adults there were
scared of him.
By 14 he was released, and he decided to run away to be on
his own rather than go back to the family farm. From then on,
besides prison, he wandered the rest of his life. From the age
of 14 through 19, Panzram was in and out of reformatories while
burning down churches whenever he could, amusing himself when
he wasn't burglarizing homes.
He fine tuned his criminal craft when he was in a federal
prison in Fort Leavenworth, where he spent three years after enlisting
in the army while drunk and was caught theiving there as well.
Once released at 19, he decided to hold a grudge against one and
all for his wasted youth, and swore to himself that the rest of
his life would be spent making everyone pay for it. He later stated
that he was "the spirit of meanness personified."
He headed west to the Pacific coast where he began a criminal
life rarely matched in this country's history. Starting in California,
he robbed and killed wherever he went, heading eastward towards
the Great Plains and eventually to the Eastern Seaboard.
No one was safe from his assaults. He robbed and killed men
and women, young and old. A favorite pastime of his was to sodomize
any males he encountered. Later on he told authorities that he
felt that he had the right to do such a thing because as a teen,
he was repeatedly raped by hoboes he encountered while he was
wandering the country.
By the time he was captured for the last time, he proudly
wrote in his biography, written while in prison later on, "
I have murdered 21 human beings, I have commited thousands of
burglaries, robberies, larcenies, arsons, and last but not least
I have commited sodomy on more than 1000 male human beings."
In 1920, taking money he saved from a string of robberies,
he bought himself a yacht, then hired ten sailors to help him
fix the craft for sail. When the job was completed, he stated
that he wanted to show them his appreciation, so he'd take them
all out for a cruise where they could all drink his stash of illegal
liquor. Anxious for a drink in the age of prohibition, they all
readily accepted. The liquor turned out to be drugged, and when
they were all out cold, Panzram took to raping them all. When
he was done with them, he methodically shot them and dumped them
overboard into the water.
Later on in his travels, Panzram found himself in Africa,
where he hired himself off as a sea merchant. As soon as he found
the opportunity, Panzram raped, shot and killed six Africans whom
he hired for a crocodile hunting trip. When he was done with them,
he fed their corpses to the awaiting crocodiles that the men had
By the end of the 1920's Panzram was back in the States, working
his way down from Massachussetts to Washington D.C. He even murdered
a Kingston woman just because, "of the fun it gave me."
On August 16 th, 1928, he was arrested for burglary and was given
a heavy sentence of 25 years, to be served somewhere that Panzram
never planned to return to, Fort Leavenworth.
When sentenced, Panzram stated that this would not slow him
down, and that he would kill the first man who bothered him. Soon
after arriving at the prison, he beat a laundry foreman, Robert
Warnke, to death for no apparent reason, smashing in his skull.
Finally, because of this murder, Panzram was sentenced to
death. Soon after his sentence, his cause was taken up by the
Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment. Proving to be
hardened beyond anyone's imagination, Panzram berated the society,
even writing President Hoover to demand that he be executed as
planned. He told the President that he had a right to be hanged,
which was his wish. "After all", he stated, "I
don't believe in Man, God, nor the Devil. I hate the whole damned
human race, including myself." In his hate filled letter
to the society, he told them that, "I wish you all had one
neck, and I had my hands on it; I believe the only way to reform
people is to kill them."
That was enough for everyone involved, and on September 5
th, 1930, Panzram was hanged, right after he was said to be heard
complaining to the hangman, "Hurry it up! I could hang a
dozen men while you're fooling around!"
BOOK: "KILLER: A JOURNAL OF MURDER" a rare
book to find, but well worth the money.
"The Monster of Montmartre"
Between the years 1984 and the end of 1987,
a string of elderly women who lived alone in the Montmartre district
were found murdered with their hands and legs bound, either strangled,
stabbed, or beaten. One of the victims of this killing spree was
almost cut in half, with over 60 stab wounds to her body, while
another was forced to swallw bleach.
Police could only surmise that they were all
robbed for the meager Francs that they had in their possession,
and when the total number of victims rose from ten to twenty,
the area was in a state of panic.
With a large number of elderly women living
alone in Montmartre, it was now common to see the elderly shopping
in groups, or being accompanied by local police. Even the street
markets of Pigalle, where old women would normally gather to gossip,
were bare by the time the sun set in the evening.
Over those same three years, the police gathered
no less than 150,000 fingerprints, but it never led to a capture.
However, in December of 1987, they finally found a match.
However, it wasn't their investigative prowess
that led them to their killer, but it was the killer himself who
blundered, leaving his latest victim alive purely by accident.
When the authorities questioned her, she gave an excellent description
of her attacker, and within a short time, the police found their
man, Thierry Paulin.
A tall, athletic twenty-five year old, Paulin
already had a record of petty thievery and drug offences. Ironically
enough, police had the fingerprints of the Martinique native throughout
the whole investigation. Authorities would later state that his
prints were lost over the years, making it impossible to use them
in their search.
Once in custody, he cooley confessed with
detached demeaner to 21 murders of elderly women, leading one
detective who witnessed his confession to state, "It was
as if he were talking about going out to buy a pack of cigarettes."
He detailed how they would choose a potential
victim, then follow her home. Once at her door, the two men would
then accost her, pushing her inside, where they would beat her
until she told them where her money and jewelry was. For whatever
reason, they always felt it was necessary to kill the women they
robbed, for fear of identification.
Paulin even implicated another man, Jean-Thierry
Mathurin, who was a fellow member of the local gay club scene,
where Paulin would indulge in the seedy night life of drugs and
sex. Indeed Mathurin confessed to helping in some of the murders,
but refused to speak Paulin's name out of disguist, referring
to him as "the other one."
Once convicted for his crimes, Pauling was
imprisoned at Fleury-Merogis prison, and it was almost immediately
that authorities realized that Paulin was sick, and it was soon
discovered that he was suffering from AIDS. On April 16th, 1989,
Paulin died at the age of 26.
Mathurin on the other hand, is still imprisoned
for his participation in the string of murders, but is seldom
referred to as part of the killing tandem that terrorized the
area of Montmartre in the late 80's.
A small, chubby bespectacled man, Rudolf Pleil
took to murder immediately after trying it for the first time.
But no one knew the extent of his crimes until he was sent off
to prison on a charge of manslaughter for the clubbing of a salesman
with an ax in 1947.
The jury, during the course of the trial,
decided that the harmless looking man did not intend to kill the
victim, and that the crime was "spur of the moment."
However, sentenced to twelve years for the
crime, Pleil spent his time in prison writing his memoirs, which
he entitled "Mein Kampf". His subtitle for the work?
"Rudolf Pleil-Death Dealer (retired)."
It was around the same time that a young woman
came to the police with a story of the recently imprisoned man,
laying out a new scenario, one that would eventually lead to yet
another German "monster" responsible for scores of murders.
The women told of the time she crossed paths
with Pleil, who was working as a border guard after the war. She
was trying to escape East Germany, and Pleil offered to help.
He did in fact manage to get her over the the west side of the
wall, however, once he had her in a desolate area, he started
to beat her until, he thought, she was unconcious.
Actually, the woman faked being beaten senseless,
and when Pleil left her, presumedly for dead, she ran off to safety.
The police followed up on the story and began
to dig a little deeper into the young man's past. It wasn't long
before they uncovered a history of multiple murders, apparently
born out of the second World War while he served as a German soldier.
It seems that Pleil, along with so many others
in the German army during the war, discovered his penchant for
human suffering while witnessing first hand the atrocities of
war victims at the hands of Nazi death squads. He claims that
his first "sexual experience" was when he saw naked,
battered bodies being thrown like garbage into a freshly dug pit
by the Gestapo near his military post.
After the war he put his new found tastes
into action by posing as a border guard in the no-man's land near
Saxony seperating the East and West and picking up desperate women
trying to flee the Eastern Bloc.
Usually he raped, then killed the women, leaving
them for dead wherever they lay. His weapons changed every time.
He would use hatchets, knives, a hammer or a stone. Some of the
items were found, some were part of his personal arsenal.
He even had two accomplices at one point who
helped trap the victims. However, when it came to murdering them,
it was all Pleil. Oddly, he had a falling out with one of them
because of an incident where the accomplice insisted on decapitating
the victim, enraging Pleil who could not understand why he would
suggest such a barbaric action.
It wasn't until the uncharacteristic murder
of the male salesman that Pleil was imprisoned for a crime, leading
to the uncovering of the others. The police reworked the case
and eventually charged Pleil with nine counts of rape and murder,
to which Pleil insisted he be charged with the "correct"
number of 25, stating that,"You underestimate me, I am Germany's
greatest killer. I put others, both here and abroad, to shame."
He also insisted that he be known as "the best death-maker
Sentenced to life in prison, Pleil lasted
until 1958, when he hanged himself in his cell.
About as vicious a teenager ever recorded.
Young Jesse Pomeory grew up in one of the worst slums of South
Boston in the late 1800's. By the time he turned 14 years of age,
he was convicted of numerous murders, and was one of the worst
multiple killers in the country's history, sentenced to spend
the rest of his life in prison.
Brought up by his widowed mother, a dressmaker,
Pomeroy was not an easy child to miss in the area. He had a harelip
and one of his eyes was completely white. And, according to one
source, he also suffered from light mental retardation.
Not much is known of his early childhood,
but by the time he reached 11 years of age, he began torturing
other young children.
In the two years of 1871 and 1872, Pomeroy
trapped and attacked seven boys, all younger than himself. In
each case he took each one to a secluded space where he stripped
the victim and tied him up.
The first victims were severly beaten, punched
and kicked until covered with bruises. However, Pomeroy then began
utilizing his knife in the attacks, slashing and poking with the
blade, drawing blood as his victim was tied down.
Because of his appearance, it wasn't long
before the police got an idea about who the culprit was, and they
proceeded to arrest the twelve year old where he was sentenced
to the West Borough Reform School where he was to be held until
the age of 21.
Instead of the nine year sentence however,
Pomeroy was let go after just two years. While serving his term,
he stayed on his best behavior and led the ward officials into
thinking that he was indeed reformed. He understood very well
what he had to do to get out of there as soon as possible, and
he made sure he stuck to his plan. This is a great example of
how the idea of "revolving door" imprisonment has been
around a lot longer than people believe.
When Jesse was released, he was far from "well".
As a matter of fact, Pomeroy was now ready to take his crimes
to a new level. He was ready for homicide.
In March of 1874, ten year old Mary Curran
disappeared, her body found mutilated and savagely beaten. A month
later four year old Horace Mullen was taken by Pomeroy to marshland
outside of town, where the child was slashed repeatedly. Police
found the body, with the head almost decapitated, the next day.
Police began investigating the murder, and
quickly saw Pomeroy as a potential suspect. When they approached
the young boy, they found him carrying a bloodstained knife. They
also noted that his shoes were covered in mud, and his footprints
matched those of the murder scene. When they asked him if he killed
the boy, Jesse replied almost matter of factly, "I suppose
When Pomeroy's mother moved out of her house
soon after, laborers working on the flooring found the decomposing
remains of Mary Curran buried in the basement's earthen floor.
Pomeroy easily confessed to that murder as well.
As if that wasn't enough for the police, Pomeroy
then confessed to the murder of 27 other victims. When officers
began to dig around the home where he grew up, they discovered
the remains of twelve other bodies.
Found guilty of murder, Pomeroy was sentenced
to spend the rest of his days in prison, where he languished in
solitary confinement until he died in 1932 at the ripe old age
An interesting sidebar to all of this is that
during Pomeroy's trial in 1872, moralists tried using the young
multiple murderer as an example of declining moral standards that
they felt were prevelant at the time. They particularly blamed
the popular "Dime Novels" of the day, with their garish
stories of blood and immoral lifestyle, much in the same way that
evangelists and preachers try to use music and the media as an
excuse for youth rebellion today.
However, for the evangelists in the Boston
area, their ideas of Pomeroy's vicious crimes were quickly thrown
out the window when Pomeroy stated that he never read any of the
BOOKS: "FIEND"; AS WELL
AS COLLECTIVE BOOKS, SUCH AS "HUMAN MONSTERS", OR "THE
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SERIAL KILLERS."
"The Beast of the Black Forest"
A loner since he was a child growing up in the German village
of Bentwich, Heinrich Pommerencke started his life of sexual assaults
early in life. He claimed to have his first sexual encounter at
the age of ten, while also stating that, "When I was a boy
I never had a friend in the world."
Continuously obsessed with sex, his frustration finally got
to him by the time he reached fifteen, when he started hanging
outside the local dance halls propositioning young girls as they
left. If they objected, and they usually did because of his blunt,
crude manner, he would follow them and attack when they were in
a secluded area, raping and beating them. He managed to put together
a string of rapes and assaults in the town of Mecklenburg, as
well as a vicious string of robberies and rapes in Hamburg, but
police never had a clue who the perpetrator was, except for a
single charge of attempted.
In 1953, he took off for Switzerland because of the rape charge
pending against him, only to be imprisoned there for yet another
rape charge. For the rest of the 1950's, Pommerencke spent time
in and out of prison for numerous charges, such as assault, robbery
and more rape. Still a loner, he was now roaming around committing
crimes as he went along, getting charged with criminal activities
not only in Germany and Switzerland, but in Austria as well, where
he assaulted two English women.
Back in Germany the following year, Pommerencke attacked and
raped student Dagmar Klinek as she slept in an empty railway carriage.
When she began to resist, he pushed her out of the moving train.
Not finished yet, he then pulled the emergency stop cord, and
leapt off to run back and continue the assault. Finding her battered
and bruised body, he raped her, before stabbing her repeatedly
in the back, killing her.
According to one account of his crimes, Pommerencke was driven
to murder after watching, of all things, the movie "Ten Commandments",
where he later told police, "I saw women dancing around the
golden calf and I thought they were a fickle lot. I knew I would
have to kill." Although he was clearly on the road to a criminal
career, it wasn't until now that he killed his victims.
Upon leaving the theatre after seeing the movie, he purchased
a razor and walked around until he spotted a young women. He followed
her until they were on a secluded street, and he attacked. Luckily
for the girl, a taxi drove by, and Pommerencke took off into the
night. But it wasn't long before he found another girl, this time
knocking her down and dragging her to a nearby park where he raped
and killed her, slitting her throat.
Over the next few months Pommerencke killed, or attempted
to kill over a dozen women, with authorities scrambling to catch
"the beast". Then in 1960, Pommerencke was passing through
the town of Hornberg, where he had previously placed an order
with a local tailor for a new suit. When he returned to pick it
up, he decided to wear the new cloths, leaving the old suit behind,
along with a suitcase. The tailor immediately noticed that there
was a sawed off shotgun if the case, and contacted the police
for fear that the young drifter may return and rob him.
Police were able to link the gun to a string of robberies
in the area, but they had a hunch he was more than just a common
thief. When they took him into the station, they first had him
confess to the robberies that were linked to the weapon, but then
they tricked him into thinking that they found and matched blood
from his old suit to one of the "Black Forest" murders.
Thinking that he was done, Pommerencke confessed to ten rape-murders,
as well as numerous robberies and other felony charges.
At his trial, Pommerencke, now 23 years of age, was convicted
of four of the murders, as well as twelve attempted murders, and
twenty one rapes, and he was sentenced to a minimum of six life
yerms and 140 years in prison, leading one state prosecutor to
say, "Human language is inadequate to describe the horror
and misery that Pommerencke had brought to so many people."
Books: Various collections and encyclopedias on Serial
MELVIN DAVID REES
"The Sex Beast"
On January 11th, 1959, the Jackson family was driving back
home near Apple Grove, Virginia. In the car was Carroll Jackson,
who was driving his wife Mildred, and their two daughters, Susan,
aged four, and Janet, aged eighteen months.
Almost suddenly, another car came out of nowhere and ran them
off the road. The driver came out with his gun drawn and ordered
the family out of their car. Once out of their car, they were
all tied up and thrown into the trunk of the gunman's Chevrolet.
Later that day the Jackson's aunt spotted the family car by
chance and reported them missing. Even so, it wasn't until two
months later that the bodies of Carrol and his youngest daughter
were found in Fredricksburg, stashed away in a ditch with Carrol
suffering a single gunshot wound to the head, while his daughter
was suffocated under the weight of her father.
In Maryland around the same time, there was a similar attack
being investigated by the local authorities. Back in 1957, a young
couple was forced off the side of a road by a tall stranger who
demnded money and cigarettes. When he didn't get either, he shot
the woman in the face. Her companion, an army seargent, immediately
took off running, and was able to escape the gunman.
When the police went over the area to investigate, they found
an abandoned shed filled with pornographic material taped to the
wall, as well as images of dead women who were brutally murdered.
It seemed that someone was coming here to live out brutal fantasies
of murdering young women.
About a year after the Jackson murders, two young boys who
were out hunting came across a fresh grave. When the police arrived,
they discovered the bodies of Mildred Jackson and her daughter
Susan. The child was struck with a heavy blow to the head and
died of a fractured skull, while her mother was raped, beaten,
and strangled with her own stocking.
What followed was a nationwide manhunt from the description
of the army seargent. Police were now convinced that the same
man was responsible for all the attacks. One anonymous tip led
them to a jazz musician named Melvin Rees. Police didn't pursue
the lead, and it wasn't until the anonymous tipster literally
walked to the station himself to plead with the authorities that
he was convinced Rees was the man they were looking for.
The tipster was an acquaintance of Rees, and he told police
about Rees' odd remarks to questions about the murders, saying
such things as, "You can't say it's wrong to kill. Only standards
make it right or wrong."
With this new tip, the police went right to Rees' home in
West Memphis, Arkansas (later the infamous spot of the Damien
Echols "Paradise Lost" murders). Once in Custody, he
was identified by the army seargent, and at Rees home, police
found a .38 revolver that was linked to the Jackson murders. They
also found cryptic notes describing murders.
One such note stated, "Drove to select area and killed
husband and baby. Now the mother and daughter were all mine."
It also went on to describe the brutality Mrs. Jackson endured.
He wrote, "then tied and gagged, led her to place of execution
and hung her. I was her master."
Police also came to believe that Rees was responsible for
four vicious murders over the last four years of young women in
the area. It was at this time that the media tabbed Rees as the
Never able to explain to anyone why he committed the crimes
that he did, Rees was sentenced to life in prison in Maryland.
When tried for the murders in Virginia, he was also convicted,
and this time was sentenced to death, where he was executed in
Rarely discussed on the topic of serial murder, Arnold Sodeman
was a prime example of a "home-based" killer. This was
a family man, with a wife and daughter who he adored. This was
also a well-respected man in the community. No one ever suspected
Sodeman when children began to turn up dead around the Melbourne
area in the early 1930's.
On November 9th, 1930, Sodeman began his killing ways when
he was out for a walk at a nearby park. He came upon a small group
of young girls, of which one was particularly attractive to him.
To get her alone, he sent the other girls off with money to buy
candy, while he asked 12 year-old Mena Griffiths to stay behind
and run an errand for him.
That was the last anyone saw of her. Two days later her body
was found gagged and strangled in an abandoned house not far from
About two months later, in January of 1931, the body of 16
year-old Hazel Wilson was found near her home in Ormond. It was
obvious to the inspectors that this was exactly the same method
used as with the Griffiths girl. However, the police didn't have
anything to go on.
Oddly enough, it was nearly five years before Sodeman struck
again. On New Years Day, 1936, at a crowded seaside resort at
Anderson's Inlet, 12 year-old Ethel Belshaw disappeared.
Everyone was immediately reminded of the early murders when
it was learned that the Belshaw girl was last seen walking with
a man on a bicycle. Her body was discovered the next day in nearby
This time around the police tried being much more thorough.
They interviewed over 10,000 people, including Sodeman himself.
However, he didn't attract any attention whatsoever, even though
it was known that he was in the area of the latest victim's disappearance
at the same time as her abduction.
It wasn't until a year later, and yet another murder that
police would catch a break in the case. In the town of Leongatha,
six year-old June Rushmer was found dead of strangulation. Witnesses
all told of the girl being seen with a man on a bicycle, and this
time Sodeman became the joke of his fellow workers.
Sodeman always rode his bicycle to work, and his co-workers
began to joke with him when the news broke of the suspect on a
bike. Usually able to take a joke, Sodeman would break into a
furious rage, and threaten anyone who would make such a joke.
Everyone pretty much left it at that, except for one man who went
to the police with his story, sensing that Sodeman reacted too
When police went to the Sodeman home, they recieved little
resistance, and had Sodeman in a cell within hours. Surprisingly
enough, he confessed willingly. With the police trying to keep
a lynch mob at bay, Sodeman proceeded to describe how he linked
his thumbs together to simplify his choking of the girls. Police
were now convinced, and sentenced him to death.
At first police weren't exactly convinced that he was their
man. They were a bit wary of convicting him without absloute proof
because in the course of this case, they inadvertantly accused
two other men at different times of the murders. Both of whom
spent some time in a cell for the officers mistakes.
It wasn't until Sodeman went as far as describing what the
children ate as their "last meal" that police knew they
had their man. Only the killer could have known what candy he
used to lure the children.
On June 1st, 1936, Arnold Sodeman was hanged at the Metropolitan
Gaol at Pentridge, being formally convicted of four murders.
When an autopsy was conducted after his execution, doctors
soon began to understand why Sodeman, a semmingly calm and upright
citizen, could resort to heinous murder. It seemed that Sodeman
suffered from chronic lepto-meningitis, which is an inflammation
of the tissue covering the brain. The inflammation was activated
by large intakes of alcohol. Sodeman was known to have taken to
the bottle in the last few years of his life.
NOT MUCH ON HIM:
ENTRY IN "ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SERIAL KILLERS"
"I CAN'T STAND
A BITCHY CHICK"
Often overlooked as far as prolific American
serial killers, Gerals Stano was one sick bastard who probably
killed more prostitutes than anyone other than the Green River
Executed in Florida just a couple years back,
Stano was convicted of 9 deaths, but gave details of at least
41 murders when he confessed to police upon his capture in 1980.
When others speak of John Gacy, Ted Bundy,
or even the Son of Sam, they forget about Stano, who started killing
as early as 1969, and continued through the decade almost unnoticed.
A classic "nerd" throughout his
life, Stano was was born in Florida in 1951, and was always getting
picked on in school. He suffered continuous learning problems,
and had frequent falls that hampered his coordination.
After High School he went onto odd jobs, such
as a gas attendant for his adoptive father, and a waiter/short
order cook in his hometown of Daytona Beach. His passions were
cars, stereo systems, and trying to impress women with his macho
His prized possession was his Plymouth Duster,
which he kept compulsivley immaculate. It would also be where
he killed most of his victims before dumping their bodies off.
He was never a hit with the ladies, and compounded
with the fact that he was always ignored by girls throughout his
childhood, (he claimed that girls would even hit him when he was
younger), Stano grew to despise what he called "Bitches".
When caught in 1980 after a prostitute got
away from his clutches and managed to notify police, he told officers
that he killed his first two victims in New Jersey back in 1969.
After that he drifted into Pennsylvania in the early 1970's and
claims to have murdered about six women in that state before heading
back to his home state of Florida in 1973.
From 1973 until his capture in 1980, Stano
killed an amazing 33 more prostitutes and hitchhikers around the
Daytona Beach area. No one was safe from Stano and his hunt. His
victims ranged from the ages of 13 through to the mid-thirties.
He would troll for women all over Central Florida: Daytona Beach,
St. Petersburg, Tampa, Gainesville; Stano was only too eager to
drive a little more if it meant that he would find his next victim.
His victims were killed in numerous ways,
such as gunshots, strangulation, and stabbing, but what was most
telling to psychiatrists was that none of Stano's victims were
ever raped! It was evident to all that studied him that for Stano,
the thrill was in the kill, and not the sexual desire for the
The way Stano described it: He would pick
up a hitchhiker or a prostitute, and he would immediately talk
them up, hoping to strike up a fling. If the woman turned him
down nicely, Stano would drop it after a while. But if the woman
was "bitchy", it would enrage Stano to the point of
murder. If the woman laughed at him, this was cause for an even
more brutal, with Stano punching and beating his victim to death.
In what was to become a classic quote in the
annals of true crime, Stano, who had just been asked by an officer
why he did what he claims to have done, answered, "I just
can't stand a bitchy chick," keeping up the facade of machismo
even after being caught.
Always cocky, Stano even wrote to a friend
a month before his execution, stating that "I'll get by this
date like the one's before. There's no need to worry. There's
no way they'll execute me."
"The Yorkshire Ripper"
"In this truck is a man whose latent
genius, if unleashed, would rock the nation, whose dynamic energy
would overpower those around him. Better let him sleep?"
So was the way Peter Sutcliffe thought of
himself. A truckdriver who kept this odd tract prominantly displayed
in his windshield, Sutcliffe was actually a quiet man who hated
women, and was himself bullied by his own wife.
Known as the "Yorkshire Ripper",
Sutcliffe was indeed someone who sparked memories of the infamous
"Jack the Ripper" from almost 100 years before. This
"new" ripper roamed the streets of the Yorkshire area
and murdered prostitutes, usually beating them and smashing them
with a hammer.
However, this killer was out hunting for a
far greater amount of time than "Jack", and his killings
were getting more and more vicious. As a matter of fact, at the
end of his killing career, Sutcliffe abandoned prostitutes and
began killing "innocent" women.
Since the late sixties Sutcliffe began showing
signs off odd behavior. He dropped out of school at fifteen and
took a job as a gravedigger and mortuary attendant. He was reported
to have stolen objects from the dead that came through the door,
as well as making believe they were alive by comically playing
with their limbs, putting on a twisted ventriloquist act for his
By the early 70's he took his final job, as
a truckdriver, and he was already well on his way to murder when
in 1969, in what was later said to be an important event in his
life, a prostitute robbed Sutcliffe of his money without fullfilling
her end of the "deal".
This enraged Sutcliffe, who already felt weak
and unsuccessful with the ladies. And it was soon afterwards that
he attacked a local prostitute one night with a weighted sock.
Although she managed to escape with minor injuries, this set Sutcliffe
on a path that would lead him to kill 13 women over the course
of seven years.
His first murder came in October of 1975 when
he attacked prostitute Wilma McCann with a ballpeen hammer. He
smashed it into the back of her head, then took a knife and stabbed
her fourteen times. Just three months later he struck again, killing
another area prostitute the same way.
A year later he came back with a vengence,
killing seven prostitutes in 15 months between February 1977 and
May 1978. All the victims were killed in the same way, first bludgeoned
then stabbed repeatedly. There was one victim that he stabbed
over 50 times.
By then the whole of the Scotland Yard as
well as area police were beside themselves trying to catch the
elusive "Ripper". The authorities spending well over
four million pounds on the Ripper manhunt.
In 1979 he began to turn his eyes to women
who were not working the streets, but going to school or running
errands. This is also when he began to use a screwdriver as his
weapon of choice, abandoning the knife and hammer altogether.
Oddly enough, as he began killing what he considered "inocent"
girls, he was also now bothered by wht he called their reproachful
eyes. "This shook me up a bit." In some of these cases
he even stabbed the eyes with the screwdriver.
By now Sutcliffe was killing without remorse
or fear of getting caught. And it was at this time that he was
apprehended by pure chance. In January 1981, two patrolmen spotted
Sutcliffe seated in his car with a woman. Thining that the woman
was a prostitute, they approached the car and asked what his business
was. He tried to tell them that the woman was his girlfriend,
but the officers recognized the woman as a local "working
girl", and began to ask Sutcliffe a lot of questions. Obviously
nervous, one of the officers began to search the area where they
were parked, and came across a bag with two knives and a ballpeen
They knew right there that they finaly had
their man, after what was England's largest manhunt, where over
250,000 people were interviewed and 32,000 statements were taken.
Once in custody, Sutcliffe began to tell the
police that he was "cleaning the streets" of this garbage.
He considered what he did a service to the community, ridding
the area of "trash." He even tried telling the police
that he was ordered by God to kill the woem, convieniently forgetting
about the non-prostitutes that he was targeting of late.
At his trial, the "insane" defense
failed him and he was sentenced to life in prison.
It is interesting to note that Sutcliffe was
interviewed on more than one occasion regarding the "Ripper"
murders, even leading one officer to speculate out loud that he
felt that Sutcliffe was their guy, but nothing ever came of it
because of the sheer amount of paperwork that was produced in
the police investigations.
Also hurting the investigation was the large
amount of time wasted on hoaxes sent to the police in the form
of letters and an especially damaging cassette that had everyone
convinced the real killer had sent. It was because of the tape,
with a noticibly Wearside accent, that officers dismissed Sutcliffe
on one occasion, since he didn't have such an accent when he spoke
All told, Sutcliffe murdered 13 women ranging
in age from 16 to 47, and kept the nation in fear for over five
Books: "The Yorkshire Ripper",
"Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son", "Deliver
us from Evil", "The Streetcleaner", "Voices
from an evil God", "I'm Jack"