Brenda Spencer was born on April 3rd, 1962 in San Diego, California (the San Carlos neighborhood) to Wallace and Dot Spencer. She lived in a house that was located across the street from the Grover Cleveland Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District. When her parents separated, she lived with her father in poverty. They slept on the floor on a single mattress with empty alcohol bottles throughout the house.
Acquaintances spoke of Spencer as having expressed hostility toward policemen, even talked about shooting one, and talked about doing something big to get on TV. Although she showed exceptional skill in photography, she was extremely uninterested in school. Later when she was in custody it was discovered she had damage to the temporal lobe of her brain, which was attributed to a bicycle accident.
In early 1978, the staff at a facility for problem youth (where Spencer was referred to for truancy,) informed her family that she was suicidal. During that summer, she was arrested for shooting out of the windows of Cleveland Elementary with a BB gun, as well as charged with burglary. In December, a psychiatric evaluation that was arranged by her probation officer recommended that she be admitted to a mental hospital for depression, but her father refused to give permission to do so. On Christmas that year her father gave her a Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic .22 caliber rifle with a scope and 500 rounds of ammunition. Spencer said later “I felt like he wanted me to kill myself” in regards to the gun.
On the morning of January 29th, 1979, Spencer began shooting from her home at children who were waiting outside Cleveland Elementary School for the principal, Burton Wragg, to open the gates. She injured eight children and killed Wragg, who was trying to protect the children. Custodian Mike Suchar was also killed trying to pull a student to safety. A police officer responding to a call for assistance was wounded in the neck when he arrived. After firing 30 rounds of ammunition, Spencer barricaded herself inside her house for several hours. She had a phone call with a journalist from The San Diego Union-Tribune, who reported that she said “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day” in response to why she committed the shooting. She also spoke with police negotiators and telling them she would come out shooting. She eventually surrendered. Police found beer and whiskey bottles around the house but Spencer herself didn’t seem intoxicated.
Spencer was tried as an adult and pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. She was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. While in prison she was diagnosed with epilepsy and received medication to treat epilepsy and depression.
Spencer has had four unsuccessful parole hearings as of December of 2015. As of June of 2017 she remains in prison at the California Institution for Women in Chino, California.
The Peterborough Ditch Murders were a series of murders that took place in Cambridgeshire, England in March of 2013. All of the victims were male and were found outside of Peterborough in ditches. The one who committed these crimes was Joanna Dennehy, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for her crimes.
In November of 2013, Dennehy pleaded guilty to all three murder charges and an additional two attempted murder charges. She was held at HM Prison Bronzefield and was diagnosed by psychiatrists with psychopathic, antisocial, and borderline personality disorders. Gary Stretch (formerly known as Gary Richards), 47-years-old, and Leslie Layton, 36-years-old, were charged with aiding Dennehy. On February 10th, 2014, Richards was found guilty of attempted murder and Layton was found guilty of perverting the course of justice. On February 12th both were convicted of all other charges. On February 28th, 2014 Dennehy was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey. It was recommended that she should never be released due to the premeditation of each murder. She was also considered sadomasochistic and lacked the normal range of human emotions.
The victims were Kevin Lee, a property developer, landlord and a lover of Dennehy. He was killed on March 29th, 2013 and his body was found near Newborough the next day. He was dressed in a black sequined dress upon discovery. Lukasz Slaboszewski and John Chapman were both housemates of Dennehy and were both killed on March 19th and March 29th respectively. They were both found on April 3rd near Thorney.
Wayne Bertram Williams was born on May 27th, 1958 and was raised in the Dixie Hills neighborhood of southwest Atlanta, Georgia to Homer and Faye Williams. Both of his parents were teachers. Williams graduated from Douglass High School and developed an interest in raido and journalism. He eventually made his own carrier current radio station. He also began spending time at the radio stations WIGO and WAOK where he befriended a number of the annoucing crew and began dabbling in becoming a pop music producer and manager.
Williams was first a suspect in the Atlanta Child Murders in May of 1981 when a police surveillance team watching a bridge spanning the Chattahoochee River (where several bodies had been dumped previously) heard a loud splash which suggested someone had thrown something large over the bridge into the water. The first vehicle to leave the bridge after the splash was Williams’. When he was stopped by the police he told them that he was on his way to a neighboring town to audition a young singer named Cheryl Johnson for his music business but the number he gave police was fictional, along with Cheryl Johnson.
On May 24th, the nude body of Nathaniel Cater, a 27-year-old who had been missing for three days, was discovered by the river. He had died of possible asphyxiation. It was never clear if he had been strangled or not. Police had a theory that Williams had killed Cater and that him throwing the body over the bridge was the loud splash they heard. Williams was brought in for questioning and took three polygraph tests which he failed. Hair and fibers were taken from another victim and were consistent with his home, car, and dog. A coworker told police that they had seen Williams with scratches on his face and arms at around the time of the murders which police believe was caused by the victims during a struggle.
There began a several week long investigation where Williams taunted the police officers staking out his parents’ home with insults and jokes. During a press conference that Williams held outside his home he proclaimed his innocence, and told the press that he failed his three polygraphs, which was inadmissible in court. On June 21st, 1981, Williams was arrested for the murders of Cater and 29-year-old Jimmy Ray Payne.
Williams’ trial began on January 6th, 1982 in Fulton County. During the two month trial, prosecutors matched nineteen sources of fibers from his home and car to a number of victims. Other evidence included eyewitness testimony placing Williams with several victims while they were alive, which showed inconsistencies in his account of his whereabouts. Williams took the stand in his own defense, but alienated the jury by becoming angry. After just twelve hours of deliberation the jury found him guilty on February 27th of the murders of Cater and Payne. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. In the late 1990s he filed a habeas corpus petition and requested a retrial. The Butts County Superior Court Judge Hal Craig denied his appeal. In early 2004 he sought retrial again. In the 146 page federal court filing, his attorneys argued that there should be a retrial because law enforcement officers were covering up evidence of involvement by the Ku Klux Klam and that the carpet fibers linking him to the crimes would not stand up to scientific scrunity. A federal judge rejected it once more.
The Ice Box Murders is an unsolved murder case involving the Rogers family. Fred Rogers and his wife Edwina were both found dismembered and put into the refrigerator. Their son, Charles, was the main suspect, but he fled and was never found, leading this crime to remain unsolved and eventually Charles was declared dead after not being found for years.
Charles Rogers in 1942 enrolled at Texas A&M University but he later dropped out and then enrolled at the University of Houston where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in nuclear physics. During WWII, he was a pilot in the United States Navy and also worked in the Office of Naval Intelligence. After the war, he worked as a seismologist for Shell Oil for nine years, but then in 1957 he abruptly quit his job with no explanation. Friends and associates of Rogers would later say that he was extremely intelligent and had a talent for finding gas, oil, and gold for the companies he worked for. He spoke several languages and had an interest in ham radios. In the mid-1950s he joined the Civil Air Patrol where he met David Ferrie (Ferrie was later named a conspirator in the assassination of JFK by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison).
By the year 1965 Rogers was unemployed and living with his elderly parents in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. Rogers was described as reclusive and would often communicate with his parents by slipping notes under the door. Neighbors weren’t really aware that he was living there since he would leave home before dawn and return after dark.
On June 23rd, 1965, two Houston police officers entered the Rogers’ home by force when Edwina’s nephew Marvin became concerned when his calls to his aunt went unanswered for several days. When they got inside, police didn’t find anything out of the ordinary but did notice food sitting on the dining room table. One officer opened the fridge and found what was thought to be numerous cuts of washed and unwrapped meat neatly stacked on the shelves. He thought it was the meat of a butchered pig, but as he was closing the door he noticed two human heads in the vegetable bin. Upon further inspection, he discovered it was the heads of Fred and Edwina Rogers. What the officer thought was hog meat in the fridge was actually the cut up body parts of the elderly couple. Police later discovered the organs were removed from both victims, cut up and flushed down the toilet while other remains were never found. It was determined that the couple was killed on June 20th. An autopsy showed Fred Rogers was killed by multiple blows to the head with a claw hammer. His eyes had been gouged out and his genitalia removed. Edwina Rogers was beaten and shot, execution style. Police said that the bodies were dismembered in the upstairs bathroom by someone with “some knowledge of anatomy”. There was little blood in the house and the only amount that was found led to Charles Rogers’ bedroom. In it, police found a keyhole saw but no trace as to where Rogers was. A search for Rogers was launched with a warrant saying he was a material witness to the murder but he was never found.