Archive for the ‘American Serial Killers’ Category

Rodney James Alcala

Rodney Alcala is a convicted serial killer whose raping and tortured killings of four women has resulted in a death sentence. Rodney Alcala raped one woman with a claw hammer. Yet the spurious criminal justice system that rewards convicted killers with lifetime jail sentences has upset many members of the general, let alone the victims and their friends and families. Rodney Alcala was sentenced in 1980 for the killing of a Huntington Beach woman. Additional victims of Rodney Alcala have stretched legal court proceedings to the present day.

Caught raping an eight year old girl in 1968, Alcala served thirty four months. The nature of Alcala’s crimes are savagely violent, premeditatively abusive, and sexually motivated in origin. Alcala struck down men, women and children in his twisted lust for episodes of torture, rape and abduction. Channeling a rage or lust unknown except in the most vicious of serial killers, Alcala’s propensity for murder was matched by his cunning in enticing victims. Alcala’s “shtick” was the use of a camera and the pose as a photographer to capture the attention of victims and build enough trust to lead them astray.

The March 2010 sentencing of Rodney Alcala for the Orange County murders stems from killings from the 1970’s. Common to the cases of serial murderers in America of this era, development of legal DNA evidence brought Alcala’s career at large to a halt. Alcala is suspected in the strangulation death and disappearances of many other victims. Alcala’s habits make law enforcement professionals dread the existence of other undisclosed victims both as bargaining tools and further proof of his serial killing deeds. Even among the most brutal and vicious serial killers, Rodney Alcala stands apart.

Wayne Williams

In 1979, Atlanta was re-emerging as the jewel of the South, a town rumbling with political and economic pulses that created opportunity, arts, and culture echoed only faintly elsewhere. Unfortunately, poverty and African-American race relations would pave the way for a killer to murder many young people whose futures were eradicated overnight.

The deaths of a series of innocent young African American people conducting casual errands produced bodies found in the river and roadway. Children started vanishing while about everyday activities. These were all young people or children or very young juvenile adults. Fresh young black faces smiled in police files from photographs gone forever dim. Twenty seven to twenty nine missing persons were attributed to the Atlanta Child Murderer.

The late 1970’s was “heavy” time for a racial killer to strike Atlanta. A rash of ugly race relations, accusations, Atlanta’s political upheaval, and backlash against police and law enforcement occurred all at once. Police were unable to find a white perpetrator, and African Americans were insulted when profilers targeted a black killer. Concern, anger, grief, fear and rage in 1979-1981 shook Atlanta to its core. The killings progressed day by day and stretched racial tensions to the breaking point.

Police behavior during this period has been strongly questioned. Constant challenges that police did not pursue the killer because the targets were African-American were substantiated by the media and the political totems of the time. The notoriety of the Atlanta Child Killings was rife throughout the nation. Mohammed Ali and Gladys Knight came to Atlanta to donate money to the families of the victims, money that would itself become mishandled and lost.

H. H. Holmes

The Chicago World’s fair has a grandiose and sumptuous feel to it even in the 1880’s suggesting grand hotels, formal dresses, and fancy mustaches. This Fair was to cast a positive glow over a city that regularly made headlines for violence, riots, and murders. Even the Mayor of Chicago was murdered on his own doorstep. But the reputation of Chicago still had bolgias to descend to, literally. The plan for the World’s Fair was to keep the image of the city of Chicago somewhat attractive for future generations. But in the basement of the Holmes Castle a horror lay hidden.

Yet during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, a “Murder Hotel”, run by a stunningly precocious serial killer, performed ritual murders with outlandish and elaborate equipment. The University of Chicago at Ann Arbor issued a medical license to one Dr. Herman Mudgett, who later renamed himself A. A. Holmes. Holmes would be the first and most stunningly inventive of the American serial killer pantheon. The story of the Holmes Murder Castle transcends mere crime history and succeeds into a new one: Americana Macabre.

While no serial killer is more infamous than Jack the Ripper, Chicago’s nightmare had barely begun. In the shadow of the Whitechapel murders, a hotel offering White City lodgings did a brisk business in young female guests, secretaries, and romantic ladies. Camouflaged by the activity of the big city thriving, H. H. Holmes performed triple digit murders in an era where even a street attack would cause a sensation. The Mudgett episode is one of America’s darkest.

Ironically, just as Sigmund Freud was introducing the superego and conscious to the thinkers of Eastern Europe, individuals on the other end of the planet were subduing it. Small town life and frontier romance had built new cities where elements of the metropolis included industrial malaise and immigrant labor. Uneducated women took what jobs they could get. Mudgett was an educated con man with charm, looks, and money to burn. He was also a monstrous serial killer.