Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck

FeaturedRaymond Fernandez and Martha Beck

Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck were an American serial killing couple. Known as “The Lonely Hearts Killers”, it’s believed they killed as many as twenty women during their spree between 1947 and 1949.

Raymond Martinez Fernandez was born to Spanish parents on December 17th, 1914 in Hawaii. Shortly after his birth, him and his family moved to Connecticut. When he was an adult, he moved to Spain, got married, and had four children, all of whom he ended up abandoning later on in his life. He served in Spain’s Merchant Marine and in British Intelligence during World War II. He ended up boarding a ship that was heading to the United States, but a steel hatch fell on top of him which caused his skull to fracture and injured his frontal lobe. His social and sexual behavior might have been affected by this injury. As soon as he was released from the hospital he stole some clothes and was put into prison for a year, and during this time his cellmate got him into voodoo and black magic. Fernandez later would claim that black magic gave him “irresistible power and charm over women”.

Onto the second half of this killer couple, Martha Jule Beck, who was born as Martha Jule Seabrook on May 6th, 1920 in Milton, Florida. Due to a supposed glandular problem she was overweight and underwent puberty prematurely. As a teenager she ran away from home, and later at her trial her claimed she was raped by her brother and when she told her mother, she was beaten and told she was responsible. After Beck finished school, she went to study nursing but had trouble finding a job because of her weight. At first she became an undertaker’s assistant and helped prepare female bodies for burial. She eventually quit and moved to California, where she ended working in an Army hospital as a nurse. She began engaging in sexually promiscuous behavior and eventually became pregnant. She tried to get the father of the child to marry her, but he refused to. She returned to Florida shortly after. She told people that the father of her child was a serviceman she had married, but he had been killed in the Pacific Campaign. The town all together mourned her loss, and her story was even published in the local paper. Shortly after her daughter was born, she became pregnant again by a Pensacola bus driver named Alfred Beck. They got married but quickly divorced after six months, and she gave birth to a son. At this point Beck was unemployed and a single mother of two children, and so she escaped into a fantasy world. She would buy romance novels and magazines, and movies. In 1946, she found employment at the Pensacola Hospital for Children. In 1947, she placed a lonely hearts ad in the paper, and Fernandez answered.

Fernandez went to visit Beck for a short time, and she immediately told everyone they were going to be married. He returned to New York City where he was staying at the time while she made arrangements in Florida. She was abruptly fired from her job and she packed all her stuff up and showed up onto his doorstep. He loved how dedicated she was to him, she even left her children for him, and he saw this as a sign of unconditional love. He confessed his criminal activities to her, and that’s when things started exploding between them. As an act to make their victims feel more comfortable, Beck would pose as Fernandez’s sister, or even saying that she lived alone and that her “brother” was just staying for a bit. She was extremely jealous, however, and would go to extreme lengths to make sure Fernandez never consummated his relationships with the various women he brought into their home. When he did have sex with a woman, Beck subjected both to her extremely violent temper.

In 1949, the couple committed the three murders that they would later be convicted of. The first woman was Janet Fay, a 66-year-old woman who became engaged to Fernandez and went to live with him in his apartment. Beck caught her in bed with Fernandez, and she proceeded to smash Fay’s head in with a hammer in a murderous rage. Fernandez then strangled her. Fay’s family was suspicious when she disappeared and the couple fled.

The couple eventually traveled to Byron Center Road in Wyoming Township, Michigan (a suburb of Grand Rapids) and they met and stayed with Delphine Downing and her two-year-old daughter. On February 28th, Downing became agitated and Fernandez gave her sleeping pills to calm her down. The daughter saw this and began crying, which enraged Beck. She choked the child but didn’t kill her. Fernandez thought that Downing would become suspicious if she saw the bruises around her daughter’s neck, so he shot her. The couple stayed in the house for a few days, and Beck became enraged again with the child’s crying and drowned her in a basin of water. They buried the bodies in the basement, but neighbors became suspicious when they didn’t see the mother and daughter around and called the police. This led to Fernandez and Beck being arrested on March 1st, 1949.

After their arrest, Fernandez quickly confessed to the murders under the impression they would not be extradited to New York since New York had the death penalty, but Michigan didn’t. They were extradited nonetheless and they both denied the 17 murders that were attributed to them. Fernandez tried to retract his confession and claimed he was only doing it to protect Beck. The trail was extremely sensationalized, full of lurid tales of sexual perversity. Newspaper reporters would describe Beck’s appearance with mockery, and she wrote many protesting letters to the editors. Both were convicted of Janet Fay’s murder (the only one that they were tried for) and both were sentenced to death. On March 8th, 1951 they were both executed. Despite the many fights and relationship problems they had, Fernandez and Beck often professed their love for each other even on the day of their execution.

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Andrei Chikatilo

FeaturedAndrei Chikatilo

Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo was born on October 16th, 1936 in the village of Yabluchne in the Sumy Oblast in the Ukraine SSR. Around the time he was born Ukraine was having a mass famine that was caused by Joseph Stalin’s forced collectivization of agriculture. His parents were both collective farm laborers who lived all together in a one-room hut. They received no money for their work, but instead, they received the right to cultivate a plot of land that was behind the family hut. The family never had sufficient food. Chikatilo claimed later that he never had bread until he was twelve. He also added that his family often had to eat grass and leaves in order to survive. Throughout his whole childhood, Chikatilo was told by his mother repeatedly that prior to his birth he had an older brother named Stepan who, at the age of four, was kidnapped and cannibalized by starving neighbors, but it’s never been established if this event did occur, or if Stepan Chikatilo even existed. Regardless, Chikatilo remembered his childhood as being full of poverty, ridicule, hunger, and war.

When the Soviet Union entered WWII, Chikatilo’s father was drafted into the Red Army and was then taken prisoner after being wounded in combat. Between 1941 and 1944, Chikatilo witnessed some of the effects of the occupation of Ukraine by the Nazis. He claimed he witnessed bombings, fires, and shootings which caused him and his mother to hide in cellars and ditches. At some point he was forced to watch his hut burn down with his mother. After his father was gone, he had to share a small single bed with his mother. He was a chronic bed wetter, and he was beaten by his mother each time.

In 1943, Chikatilo’s mother gave birth to a baby girl named Tatyana. Due to his father being gone since 1941, the child was not his. Many Ukrainian women were raped by German soldiers in WWII, so it is speculated that Tatyana was conceived as a result of a rape. Since Chikatilo lived with his mother in a single room, he may have witnessed the rape.

In September of 1944, Chikatilo started school. He was shy and ardently studious as a child, and he was physically weak and regularly attended school in homespun clothing. By 1946, his stomach was swollen from hunger resulting from the post-war famine which was plaguing much of the Soviet Union. Several times he fainted at home and at school from having no food. He was constantly targeted by bullies who regularly mocked him and over his physical stature and timid nature. At home, him and his sister were berated all the time by their mother. Tatyana later recalled that in spite of the hardships endured by her parents, her father was a kind man while her mother was harsh and unforgiving towards her children. Chikatilo developed a passion for reading and memorizing data, and he would often study at home, both to increase his sense of self-worth and to compensate for his myopia (nearsightedness) which prevented him from reading the blackboard in class. Chikatilo was an excellent student to his teachers who would regularly bestow praise and commendation.

By the time he was a teenager, he was both a model student and an ardent Communist. He was appointed the editor of his school newspaper at the age of fourteen. Two years later he became the chairman of the pupils’ Communist committee. He also was in charge of organizing street marches. He claimed that learning did not come easy to him due to headaches and poor memory, but he was the only student from his collective farm to complete his final year of study and graduated with excellent grades in 1954. At the onset of puberty, he realized he suffered from chronic impotence, which was worsened by his social awkwardness and self-hatred. He was extremely shy around women. When he was seventeen he had a crush on a girl who he knew through the school newspaper, Lilya Barysheva. He was so nervous around her though he never asked her on a date. That same year, he jumped upon an eleven-year-old friend of his sister’s and wrestled her to the ground, ejaculating as she struggled.

Following his graduation, Chikatilo applied for a scholarship at Moscow State University. He passed the entrance exam with good-to-excellent scores, but his grades were not good enough for acceptance. He thought his scholarship application was rejected due to his father’s war record, but the reality was that other students had performed higher than him. He didn’t attempt to enroll at another university. Instead, he traveled to the city of Kursk, where he worked as a laborer for three months before enrolling in a vocational school where he studied to become a communications technician in 1955. That same year he formed his first serious relationship with a local girl who was two years his junior. On three separate occasions, the couple attempted intercourse, but Chikatilo was unable to sustain an erection. After about 18 months, the girl broke off the relationship.

After completing his two year vocational training, Chikatilo chose to relocate to the city of Nizhny Tagil, in the Urals. He was working on a long-term construction project. While he was working in the city, he also took correspondence courses in engineering with the Moscow Electrotechnical Institute of Communication. He worked in the Urals for about two years until he was drafted into the Soviet Army in 1957. He did his military service from 1957 to 1960 and was assigned to serve with border guards in Central Asia, then to a KGB communications unit in Berlin. His work record was perfect, and he joined the Communist party in 1960 a little bit before his military service ended. When he completed his military service, he returned home to live with his parents again. He became acquainted with a young divorcee and they began a three month relationship, which ended like his last relationship. The woman would ask her friends how Chikatilo could overcome his impotence, and that’s how more people knew about it. He claims he tried to hang himself out of shame.

After several months, he found a job as a communications engineer in a town located north of Rostov-on-Don. He moved to Russia in 1961. That same year his sister finished her schooling and moved into his apartment, and his family would relocate to the same area shortly after. Tatyana lived with her brother for about six months before marrying a local man and moving into her in-laws’ house. She knew her brother was shy around women, and she wanted to find him a good wife and help him start a family.

In 1963, Chikatilo married a woman named Feodosia Odnacheva, who was introduced to him via his sister. After barely two weeks they were married. He later claimed that his marriage was a bit sexless, and his wife understood that he was unable to maintain an erection, and so they agreed she would conceive by ejaculating him externally and pushing his semen into her vagina with his fingers. In 1965, she gave birth to a daughter, Lyudmila. Four years later in 1969, she gave birth to a son named Yuri.

In 1970, Chikatilo completed a five-year correspondence course in Russian literature and got his degree in the subject at Rostov University. Shortly before getting his degree he had a job managing regional sports activities. He stayed with that job for a year, then he started teaching in Novoshakhtinsk. He wasn’t the best teacher ever. Although he was knowledgeable, his couldn’t maintain discipline in the class and would often be mocked by his students.

In May 1973, Chikatilo committed his first known sexual assault on one of his students. He went towards a 15-year-old girl and groped her breasts and genitals, ejaculating while she struggled. Months later, he sexually assaulted another teenage girl who he locked in his classroom. He was not punished for either of these incidents or for the occasions that teachers saw him fondling himself in front of his students. He was also known to sneak into the girls’ dormitory to watch them undress.

In response to the increasing number of complaints against him by the students, the director of the school summoned Chikatilo to a formal meeting and informed him he should resign voluntarily or be fired. He left and found another job as a teacher at another school in Novoshakhtinsk in January of 1974. In lost that job due to staff cutbacks in September of 1978, and left and found another teaching job in Shakhty. His career as a teacher ended in March of 1981 following several complaints of child molestation against students of both sexes.  That same month he began a job as a supply clerk for a factory that was based in Rostov which produced construction materials. This role required him to travel across much of the Soviet Union to either physically purchase the raw materials required to fulfill production quotas or to negotiate supply contracts.

In September of 1978, Chikatilo moved to Shakhty, which is a coal mining town near Rostov-on-Don where he committed his first documented murder. He lured a nine-year-old girl named Yelena Zakotonova to an old house that he had purchased in secret, and tried to rape her, but failed due to his impotence. When the girl started struggling, he choked her and stabbed her three times in the abdomen, ejaculating while stabbing the child. In the interview after his arrest, he recalled that after stabbing Yelena, the girl said “something hoarsely” when he strangled her, and then he threw her body into the nearby Grushevka River. Her body was found two days later.

There were numerous pieces of evidence that linked Chikatilo to Zakotnova’s murder: spots of blood was found in the snow near the house that he had purchased, neighbors had noted that Chikatilo had been present in the house on the 22nd of December, Zakotnova’s school backpack had been found the opposite bank of the river at the end of the street (which indicated that the girl had been thrown from this location), and a witness had given the police a detailed description of a man that closely resembled Chikatilo, who she had seen talking to Zakotnova at the bus stop where she was last seen alive. Despite all these facts, a 25-year-old laborer named Aleksandr Kravchenko who, as a teen, had served a prison sentence for the rape and murder of a teenage girl, was arrested for the crime. A search of Kravchenko’s home had revealed spots of blood on his wife’s jumper: the blood type was determined to match both Zakotnova and his wife.

Kravchenko had a watertight alibi for that afternoon. He said he had been home with his wife and a friend of hers the entire afternoon, and neighbors of the couple were able to verify that. Nonetheless, the police threatened Kravchenko’s wife with being an accomplice to murder and her friend with perjury. Confronted with altered testimonies, Kravchenko confessed to the killing. He was tried for the murder in 1979, and at his trial, he retracted his confession and stated that he was obtained under extreme duress. Despite this claim, he was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death in 1979. The sentence was commuted to 15 years of imprisonment by the Supreme Court in December of 1980. Under pressure from the victim’s family, he was retried and eventually executed for the murder of Zakotnova in July of 1983.

Following Zakotnova’s murder, Chikatilo was able to achieve sexual arousal and orgasm only through the stabbing and slashing of women and children to death. He later claimed that the urge to relive the experience had completely overwhelmed him, although he also claims he tried to resist these urges.

On September 3rd, 1981, Chikatilo met 17-year-old boarding school student Larisa Tkachenko standing at a bus stop as he exited a public library in the Rostov city center. According to Chikatilo, he lured the young girl to a forest near the Don River with the pretext of drinking vodka. When they reached the secluded area he threw her to the ground before tearing her clothes off and attempting to rape her, but he could not get an erection and so he forced mud into her mouth to stifle her screams before battering and strangling her to death. He did not have a knife on him, so he mutilated her body with his teeth and a stick. He tore one of her nipples off with his teeth and then loosely covered her body with leaves, branches, and torn pages of a newspaper. Her body was found the following day.

Nine months after the murder of Tkachenko on June 12th, 1982, Chikatilo traveled by bus to the Bagayevsky District of Rostov to buy some vegetables. He had to change buses in the village of Donskoi, but instead, he decided to continue on foot. When he was walking away from the bus stop, he met 13-year-old Lyubov Biryuk, who was walking home from a shopping trip. Once the path that they both were walking on was shielded from potential witnesses, he pounced onto her and dragged her into some nearby undergrowth, where he ripped her clothes off and stabbed and slashed her to death. Her body was found on the 27th of June, and the medical examiner discovered evidence of 22 knife wounds that were inflicted to her head, neck, chest, and pelvic region. Further wounds that were found on the skull suggested that she was attacked from behind with the handle and blade of the knife. In addition to these wounds, several striations were discovered on Biryuk’s eye sockets.

Following Biryuk’s murder, Chikatilo no longer tried to resist his homicidal urges. Between July and September of 1982, he killed five more victims between the ages of nine and eighteen. He established a pattern of approaching children, runaways, and young vagrants at bus or railway stations, luring them to a nearby forest or secluded area, and killing them usually by stabbing, slashing, and eviscerating the victim with a knife. Some victims in addition to receiving a multitude of knife wounds were also strangled or battered to death. Many of the victims’ bodies had evidence of mutilation to the eye sockets. Pathologists concluded that the injuries were caused by a knife, leading investigators to come to the conclusion that the killer had gouged out the eyes of his victims.

Chikatilo’s adult victims were usually prostitutes or homeless women who he would lure to secluded areas with the promise of alcohol and money. He would attempt to have sex with these victims, but couldn’t maintain an erection, and this would send him into a murderous fury, especially if the woman mocked his impotence. He would only achieve an orgasm when he stabbed and slashed the victims to death. His younger victims were of both sexes, and he would lure these victims using a variety of ruses, from the promise of company or giving them a chance to see a rare collectible. he would easily overpower them and would tie their hands behind their backs with rope before stuffing mud or loam into their mouths. After killing them, he would make barely an effort to conceal the body before leaving the crime scene.

On December 11th, 1982, Chikatilo met 10-year-old Olga Stalmachenok, who was riding a bus to her parents’ home in Novoshakhtinsk. He persuaded her to leave the bus with him. She was last seen by a passenger who reported the girl was being led away firmly by a middle-aged man. She was lured to a cornfield on the outskirts of Novoshakhtinsk before she was killed. She was stabbed in excess of 50 times around the head and body, and her chest was ripped open and her lower bowel and uterus were excised.

By January of 1983, four victims were linked to being killed by the same person. A Moscow police team, which was headed by Major Mikhail Fetisov, was sent to Rostov-on-Don to direct the investigation. Fetisov had established a team of ten investigators, all based in Rostov, that were in charge of solving all four cases. In March that same year, Fetisov assigned a newly appointed specialist forensic analyst, Viktor Burakov, to be head of the investigation. That following month, Olga Stalmachenok’s body was found. Burakov was on the scene, where he examined numerous knife wounds and eviscerations that were present on the child, and the striations on her eye sockets. Any doubts of a serial killer were completely gone.

Chikatilo didn’t kill again until June of 1983 when he murdered a 15-year-old Armenian girl named Laura Sarkisyan. Her body was found close to an unmarked railway platform near Shakhty. By the month of September, he had killed five more victims. Due to the accumulation of bodies being found and the similarities between the pattern of wounds that were inflicted onto the victims it forced the Soviet authorities to acknowledge that a serial killer was on the loose.

Due to how mutilated the bodies were the police thought that the murders were done by a group or a cult, or an extremely mentally ill person. A lot of the police effort was focused on the theory that the killer was mentally ill, homosexual, or a pedophile, and that they had been in a psychiatric ward or have been convicted of a sex crime.

Starting in September 1983, several young men confessed to the murders, but they were intellectually disabled and confessed under brutal interrogation. As a result of this investigation, more than 1,000 unrelated crimes were solved. Bodies were still coming up even as the police were getting confessions, and they could see that they weren’t getting their killer. On October 20th, 1983 the eviscerated body of a 19-year-old prostitute named Vera Shevkun was found in Shakhty. She had been killed on October 27th. Everything about the mutilation of the body matched with the previous bodies, except the eyes hadn’t been taken out. Two months later on December 27th a 14-year-old boy named Sergey Markov was lured off a train and killed at a rural station near Novocherkassk. He was emasculated and suffered over 70 knife wounds to his neck and upper body.

In January and February of 1984, Chikatilo killed two more women in Rostov’s Aviators’ Park. On March 24th, he lured a 10-year-old boy named Dmitry Ptashnikov away from a stamp kiosk in Novoshakhtinsk. Several witnesses saw Chikatilo take the boy and could give an accurate description. The boy’s body was found three days later and there was a footprint, semen, and saliva samples on the victim’s clothing. On May 25th, Chikatilo killed a young woman named Tatyana Petrosyan and her 10-year-old daughter Svetlana in a wooded area outside of Shakhty. Petrosyan had known Chikatilo for several years before she was killed. By the end of July of that year he had killed three more women and a young boy. In the summer of 1984 he was fired from his job for stealing. He found another job as a supply clerk in Rostov on August 1st. The next day he killed a 16-year-old girl named Natalya Golosovskaya in Aviator’s Park. On August 7th he lured a 17-year-old girl named Lyudmila Alekseyeva to the Don River and sashed her 39 times and mutilated and disemboweled her. Hours her murder, Chikatilo flew to Uzbekistan on a business trip. By the time he had returned back to Rostov on August 15th, he had killed another woman and a little girl. Within two weeks he killed another young boy and then a young librarian.

On September 13th, 1984, Chikatilo was arrested after being observed with attempting to talk to women at the Rostov bus station and committing acts of frotteurism in public. A search of his belongings revealed a knife and a rope. His physical description matched the description of the man taking Dmitry Ptashnikov. A blood sample was taken and it was in the same blood group of the semen that was found on one of the victims. He was found guilty of theft of property at his old job and sentenced to a year in prison, but only served three months. The head of Russian Public Prosecutors Office linked 23 Chikatilo’s murders into one case and dropped all the charges against the mentally handicapped youths that had previously confessed to the murders.

After being released from prison in December of 1984 Chikatilo found work at a locomotive factory and kept a low profile. He didn’t kill again until August 1st, 1985. He killed two more people and was following the investigation in the newspaper and he tried to keep his urges under control. For almost a year after 1985 he didn’t kill again. Then in July of 1986 he started killing again. He was consistently killed, and in 1988 it was really clear he had resurfaced.

He killed three more times in 1988, then stopped until March of 1989. He continued killing and repeated his process of stopping for a year. On November 6th, 1990 he was spotted coming out of a woodland near Donleskhoz station covered in dirt stains with a red mark on his cheek. He looked suspicious, but the undercover police officer that saw him had no formal reason to arrest him. He made a report of the incident. After his recent murder, the police went back into Chikatilo’s history and found that he was fired from his teaching jobs for repeated sexual behavior and sexual assaults. Police put him under surveillance on November 14th. He was observed trying to approach lone women and children. On November 20th he was arrested by four officers upon exiting a cafe.

Upon his arrest, Chikatilo claimed that the police were mistaken. His belongings were searched again and found he was in possession of a folding knife and two lengths of rope. They did a blood group analysis and found that it did link Chikatilo to the murders. On November 29th, Chikatilo confessed through tears. He gave a full and detailed description of each murder which were all consistent with the known facts regarding each murder. On November 30h, he was formally charged with 34 murders he confessed to that were all committed between June of 1982 and November of 1990. Over the next few days, he confessed to 22 more murders. Three of the 56 victims he confessed to killing could not be found or identified so he was charged with 53 murders. He went through a psychiatric evaluation and it was concluded he suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder with sadisitic features, but was not criminally insane and was fit to stand trial. He was brought to trial on April 14th, 1992 and was sentenced on October 15th to death plus 86 years for 52 murders and 5 counts of sexual assault. He was executed on February 14th, 1994 by a single gunshot behind his right ear.

Javed Iqbal

FeaturedJaved Iqbal

Javed Iqbal Mughal was born on October 8th, 1956 and was the sixth child in his family. His father was a businessman. He lived in a villa in Shabagh in Pakistan.

In December of 1999, Iqbal sent a letter to the police and a Lahore newspaper chief news editor of a newspaper Khaware Naeem Hashmi and confessed to murdering 100 boys, all the ages between 6 and 16. In this confession letter he claimed to have strangled them and had dismembered the bodies and disposed of them using vats of hydrochloric acid. He mostly targeted runaways and orphans. He would dump their bodies into a local river when he was done with them. In his house, police found bloodstains on the walls and floor, and the chain that Iqbal claimed to have strangled his victims with. They also found photographs of his victims in plastic bags. These items were neatly labeled with handwritten pamphlets. Two vats of acid with the partially dissolved remains of his victims were left for the police to find with a note saying “the bodies in the house have deliberately not been disposed of so that authorities will find them”.

Iqbal confessed that he planned on drowning himself in the Ravi River following his crimes but after unsuccessfully dragging the river with nets the police launched the biggest manhunt in Pakistan. Four of his accomplices were arrested in Sohawa. Within a few days, one of them died in police custody. Allegedly he jumped out a window.

A month later Iqbal turned himself in at the offices of the Urdu-language newspaper Daily Jang on December 30th, 1999. He was arrested. His reasoning for turning himself in was that he feared for his life and thought the police would kill him. He was sentenced to death by hanging, but he was found dead in his cell before his execution could be carried out.

Brenda Spencer

FeaturedBrenda Spencer

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.

Petterborough Ditch Murders/Joanna Dennehy

FeaturedPetterborough Ditch Murders/Joanna Dennehy

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.

Ed Gein

FeaturedEd Gein

Edward Theodore Gein was born on August 27th, 1906 to George Philip Gein and Augusta Wilhelmine Gein. He had an older brother named Henry George Gein. His mother Augusta hated her husband as he was an alcoholic who couldn’t hold down a job and had worked various types of jobs including a carpenter, tanner, and insurance salesman. George owned a grocery store for a few years, but eventually sold the business and the whole family moved from the city to a 155-acre farm in the Town of Plainfield in the Waushara County of Wisconsin. That was the Gein family’s permanent place of residence.

Augusta was an extremely religious Lutheran, and she took advantage of the isolating farm to make sure her sons weren’t influenced by outsiders. Ed only left the farm to go to school and when he wasn’t in school he was doing chores on the farm. She preached to her sons about the immorality of the world, the evils of drinking, and her belief that all women were naturally prostitutes and were instruments of the devil. She set aside time every afternoon to read the Bible to them, but it was usually graphic verses from the Old Testament concerning death, murder, and divine retribution. Ed was an extremely shy person. In school, his classmates and teachers recalled him having extremely strange mannerisms such as laughing at random times as if he was laughing at his own jokes. His mother would punish him if he tried to make friends. Despite his lack of social skills and development, he did fairly well in school, particularly in reading.

On April 1st, 1940 his father died of heart failure due to his alcoholism. He was 66-years-old. Henrey and Ed started doing odd jobs to pay for living expenses. The brothers were considered reliable and honest by residents in the community. While both of them worked as handymen, Ed would often babysit for neighbors. He enjoyed babysitting which may have shown that he related better to children than adults.

Henry began dating a divorced single mother of two and was planning on moving in with her. He grew concerned with Ed’s attachment to their mother and often spoke ill of her around Ed, in which he would often respond in shock and hurt. On May 16th, 1944, Henry and Ed were burning away marsh vegetation on their property when the fire got out of control and the fire department showed up. At the end of the day when everyone left, Ed reported his brother missing. A search party was formed and they searched where the fire was and found Henry’s body. It seemed he was dead for a while before being discovered. The cause of death of ruled as asphyxiation by the county coroner, but some people believed Ed had killed his brother, possibly relating to him speaking ill of their mother. After the death of Henry, it only left Ed and his mother on the farm.

Shortly after Henry’s death, Augusta suffered a stroke that paralyzed her and Ed devoted all his time to taking care of her. Sometime in 1945 Ed and his mother visited a man named Smith to buy some straw and while there Augusta witnessed him beat a dog to death. A woman came out of Smith’s house and yelled at him to stop, and Augusta was very upset at this scene. She wasn’t upset at the death of the dog, but more upset with the woman who apparently wasn’t married to Smith being there. She said that she had no business being there and angrily called her “Smith’s harlot”. After this event, Augusta suffered another stroke and ultimately died on December 29th, 1945 at the age of 67. Gein was devastated and left all alone. He held onto the farm and earned money from odd jobs. He also boarded up the rooms his mother used and left them untouched while the rest of the house became squalid. He resided in a small room next to the kitchen, and also around this time he became interested in death-cult magazines and adventures stories, particularly ones that involved cannibals or Nazi atrocities.

On the morning of November 16th, 1957 a hardware store owner by the name of Bernice Worden mysteriously vanished. A Plainfield resident reported that the store’s truck has been driven out the back of the building at around 9:30 AM. The store was closed the whole day and people thought it was because of deer hunting season. Worden’s son, Deputy Sheriff Frank Worden, went into the store around 5 PM and found the cash register open and blood stains on the floor. It was discovered that Gein was in the store the night before his mother’s disappearance and said he would come back in the morning for a gallon of antifreeze. A sales receipt of said gallon of antifreeze was the last receipt written by Worden on the morning she disappeared. On that same night, Gein was arrested at a West Plainfield grocery store and the Waushara County Sheriff’s Department searched his farm. A deputy found Worden’s decapitated body in a shed on the property. She was hung upside down by ropes at her wrists and a crossbar at her ankles. The torso was “dressed out like a deer” and she had been shot with a .22-caliber rifle and the mutilations happened after her death. While searching his house the authorities found many more atrocities: whole human bones and fragments, a wastebasket made of human skin, chair sets covered in human skin, skulls on his bedposts, female skulls some with the tops sawn off, bowls made from human skulls, a corset made from a female torso skinned from shoulders to the waist, leggings made from human leg skin, masks made from the skin of female heads, Mary Hogan’s face mask in a paper bag and her skull in a box, Bernice Worden’s entire head in a burlap sack, Worden’s heart in a plastic bag in front of Gein’s potbellied stove, nine vulvae in a shoe box, a young girls’ dress and the vulvas of two females judged to have been about 15-years-old, a belt made from human nipples, four noses, a pair of lips on a window shade drawstring, a lampshade made from the skin of a human face, and fingernails from female fingers. All these artifacts were photographed but then destroyed.

When Gein was questioned, he stated that between 1947 and 1952 he made as many as 40 visits to three local graveyards at night to exhume recently buried bodies while he was in a daze-like state. On about 30 of those visits, he said he came out of the daze and left the grave without taking anything. On other occasions, he dug up graves of recently married middle-aged women who he thought resembled his mother. He would take the bodies home and tanned the skin to make his paraphernalia. Gein did choose his victims that resembled his mother, but the only difference was that how they presented themselves was totally against what his mother thought. An example would be Mary Hogan was a tavern owner with a sailor’s mouth. Gein knew his mother would disapprove of her entirely, and it seemed that Gein killed these types of women to satisfy his mother in some delusional way.

Gein admitted to stealing from 9 graves and led investigators to the locations. Authorities were uncertain if Gein was capable of robbing so many graves single-handedly in one night and so they exhumed two of the graves and found them empty except for one that had a crowbar instead of a body in it. Soon after his mother’s death, Gein started making a “woman suit” so that he could become his mother and actually crawl into her skin in a way. He denied having sex with the bodies and said they smelled too bad. He also admitted to shooting Mary Hogan who was missing since 1954.

A 16-year-old whose parents were friends of Gein reported that Gein kept shrunken heads in his house which were supposedly sent by a cousin who had served in the Philippines during WWII. Upon investigation, it was determined that these were human facial skins that were carefully peeled from the corpses and used by Gein as masks.

On November 21st, 1957 Gein was arraigned on one count of first-degree murder in Waushara County Court where he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and found mentally incompetent and therefore he was unfit for trial. He was sent to Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane (it is now known as the Dodge Correctional Institution) located in Waupun, Wisconsin. He was later transferred to Mendota State Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1968 doctors determined Gein was able to stand trial. Gein’s trial was held without a jury by request of the defense. He was found guilty on November 14th. A second trial dealt with Gein’s sanity. He was found “not guilty by reason of insanity” once again and committed to Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane for the rest of his life.

Gein’s house and property were scheduled to be auctioned March 30th, 1958 but on March 27th the house was destroyed by a fire. Arson was suspected but the cause was never determined. Ed Gein died at the Mendota Mental Health Institute due to respiratory failure secondary to lung cancer on July 26th, 1984 at the age of 77. Over the years souvenir seekers have chipped pieces from his gravestone until the stone itself was stolen in 2000. It was recovered the year after near Seattle and was placed in storage at teh Waushara County Sheriff’s Department. The gravesite itself is now unmarked, but not unknown to people. Gein is buried with his parents and his brother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edmund Kemper

FeaturedEdmund Kemper

In honor of the recent Netflix show, “Mindhunter” I’ve decided to dedicate this post to the Edmund Kemper. He’s incredibly fascinating in how meticulous he was when he started his killing spree in how much thought and how he evaded capture for so long.

Edmund Emil Kemper III was born in Burbank, California on December 18th, 1948 to Clarnell Elizabeth Kemper and Edmund Emil Kemper II. He was the only son and middle child, having an older sister (Susan) and younger sister (Allyn). His father was a WWII veteran who tested nuclear weapons in the Pacific Proving Grounds after the war, then moved back to California after that and worked as an electrician.

His mother wasn’t a happy woman. She complained constantly about her husband’s “menial” job, and at some point his father has been known to say: “suicide missions in wartime and the later atomic bomb testing were nothing compared to living with Clarnell.”

Kemper was a large boy even from birth. He was 13 lbs as a newborn baby and by the age of 4 he was a head taller than all of his peers. He was extremely intelligent, but showed antisocial and psychopathic behavior, such as cruelty to animals. When he was 10, he buried a cat alive. When it died he dug it up, decapitated it, and then mounted the head on a spike (in an interview later in his life he admitted that he got pleasure from lying to his family about who actually killed the cat). Another incident with a cat happened when he was 13 and he killed a cat that he thought favored his sister Allyn over him. He kept the pieces of this cat in his closet until his mother found them.

Considering what he did with cats, it comes as no surprise that he had a dark fantasy life. He would perform rites with his younger sister’s dolls that involved removing their heads and hands. He would also play games called “Gas Chamber” and “Electric Chair” where he would get his younger sister to tie him up and flip an imaginary switch and then he would fall to the floor and pretending he was dying.

On one occasion his older sister Susan teased him and asked why he didn’t try to kiss his teacher and he replied with, “If I kiss her, I’d have to kill her first.” As a little boy he would sneak out with his father’s bayonet and go to his second grade teacher’s house to watch her through her window.

He’s had two near death experiences, both caused by his sister Susan. The first one he was almost hit by a train when she push him in front of one and the other one was she pushed him into the deep end of a pool and he almost drowned.

He had a very close relationship with his father and was devastated by his parents divorce in 1957. This caused him to be raised by his mother in Helena, Montana. He had an extremely dysfunctional relationship with her. She was a neurotic and domineering alcoholic who would often belittle, humiliate, and verbally abuse him. She often mocked him for his large body size (he was about 6 feet 4 inches tall by the age of 15) and called him a “real weirdo”. She refused to coddle him in fear of “turning him gay”, and told him that he reminded her of his father and that no woman would ever love him. Kemper would later describe his mother as “a sick angry woman” and thought she was suffering from borderline personality disorder.

At the age of 14 he ran away to see his father who he found out was remarried and had a stepson. He stayed with his father for a while before being sent off to live with his paternal grandparents, Maude and Edmund Kemper, who lived on a ranch in the mountains in North Fork, California. He hated living there, referring to his grandfather as senile and projected his hatred of his mother onto his grandmother who he felt was similar to her.

On August 27th, 1964 Kemper’s grandmother got into an argument with him sitting at the kitchen table, so he stormed off and got his .22 caliber rifle that his grandfather gave to him for hunting. He returned to the kitchen with it and shot his grandmother in the head and twice in her back. He then dragged her body into her bedroom and waited for his grandfather to come home. When he did, Kemper went out into the driveway and shot and killed his grandfather as well. He didn’t know what to do after the crime so he called his mother who in turn told him to call the police. He did so and waited for them to come take him into custody.

When he was questioned by authorities he said he “just wanted to see what it felt like to kill Grandma” and the reason he killed his grandfather as well was so he wouldn’t have to find his wife dead. His crime was seen as incomprehensible for a 15 year old to commit and the court psychiatrists diagnosed him as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and sent him to the criminally insane unit in the Atascadero State Hospital. At the hospital, psychiatrists and social workers strongly disagreed with Kemper’s diagnosis. They said there was no evidence of hallucinations and no evidence of bizarre thinking. He had a high IQ (136) and he was re-diagnosed as having a “personality trait disturbance, passive-aggressive type”. Before he was released his IQ went up to 145. Kemper was a model inmate, and was trained to administer psychiatric tests to other inmates. He was a good worker and not seen as a typical sociopath. He was released to the care of his mother on his 21st birthday and had his record wiped clean.

While he was in the care of his mother he attended community college and hoped he could become a state trooper. He ultimately was rejected due to his size. At this time he was around 6 feet and 9 inches tall which gave him the nickname “Big Ed”. Although rejected as a state trooper, he still kept in contact with the Santa Cruz police and would occasionally have drinks with them in the Jury Room, which was a bar.

He started dating a 16 year old Turlock High School girl that he would later be engaged to. That same year he was hit by a car while riding on his motorcycle and sued the driver. He bought a new car with his settlement money from the accident and noticed a lot of women who were hitchhiking. That’s when he started storing tools in the back of his car. He started picking up women as a way to practice being able to convince them to get into his car. He kept doing this until he finally gave into his homicidal urges.

Between 1972 and 1973 Kemper went on a terrifying killing spree. He started with two college students and ended the spree with killing his mother and her best friend. He would pick up hitchhikers and take them to isolated areas where he would them proceed to shoot, stab, smother or strangle them, then he would perform irrumatio on their severed heads, have sex with their corpses and then dissect and dismember them. He went on to do this for 11 months. When he killed his mother his had sex with her severed head, cut out her vocal cords and tried to put them in the garbage disposal but they were ejected out. He said about that moment, “That seemed appropriate. As much as she’d bitched and screamed and yelled at me over so many years”.

Kemper was indicted on eight counts of first degree murder on May 7th, 1973. He was found legally sane to stand trial and while in custody he attempted suicide twice. He was finally sentenced on November 8th, 1973 and received 7 years to life for each count with these terms to be served concurrently. He is currently still in prison and seen as a model prisoner, and is in charge of scheduling other inmates’ appointments with psychiatrists and makes ceramic cups, he also reads books on tape for the blind.