Posts Tagged ‘united states’

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.

Like many secretive killers with a method for concealing the bodies, Alcala may be waiting for bargaining room in the appeals phase of his trial proceedings to proffer knowledge and proof of additional deaths. Historically serial killers have negotiated proof of additional murders for tradeoffs in sentencing and incarceration conditions.Yet Alcala may have over thirty additional murders to reveal. As Alcala furnishes material an argument for his appeals to his current and most recent sentence, news media and the law enforcement community will be listening closely for hints of further proof of serial killings.

Alcala may be guilty of thirty or more murders. Lack of forensic sophistication in crime scenes, casual evidence gathering techniques by American law enforcement, aging witnesses and evidence, and the mores of the times allowed for many people to disappear into the web of Rodney James Alcala. Apprehended in the late 1970’s, Alcala is still defending himself in law courts in legal proceedings today.

This era in American history remains the ‘golden era” of serial killers. Rodney Alcala is thought by some investigators to be possibly among the most prolific of American serial killers because he was smart enough to shield his activities and elude the law. Alcala “warned” the jury in his recent trial that sentencing would cost the state and public a huge amount of money due to planned appeals and additional legal processes.

Alcala is one of many American serial killers whose reign of terror went largely unnoticed in the United States of the 1970’s. Development of DNA evidence coupled with exacting legal proceedings are a element in many American serial killer histories. In the typical celebrity phase of many serial killers, a penned letter attributed to Alcala has been put up recently for sale on Ebay. Profilers of serial killers note the similarity to other murderers like the Green River Killer and Ted Bundy.

Rodney Alcala once appeared on the American television show ‘The Dating Game’ and has manifested an eagerness to self-substantiate an identity as a notorious serial killer. Alcala’s favorable rulings to shield his prior sexual criminal history from new case trials and his “career” as a celebrity defendant has made segments of the American public sensitive to Alcala’s evasion of a jail sentence or death penalty.

The day after the jury voted for the death penalty for serial killer Rodney James Alcala, more than a hundred photographs of Alcala’s were released. The female women and children pictured in 1970’s era photo poses and shots were of individuals composed by Alcala. Law enforcement officials found these photos among materials more than 30 years ago in a storage locker of Alcala’s. Circumstances show Alcala rented it just as police were closing in on him for killings in 1977-1979. Continued legal setbacks to Alcala’s incarceration and execution have vexed victim’s families and opened new scrutiny into the American legal system.

Alcala is thought to be an intelligent man, crafty enough to legally represent himself yet not smart enough to dispose of the kind of trophy photographs sociopath killers are known to keep. Trophy jewelry from multiple suspected victims found among Alcala’s belongings helped convict him of the murders. Alcala was the first man in a dozen years to represent himself for a death penalty trial. Alcala was born in 1943, and is self-possessed enough at 66 to argue his own cases in front of juries. Yet despite a newly announced death penalty sentence, Alcala’s path to justice for his culpability for his serial killings is far from over.

Photos hidden by Alcala may point to more killings. Media release of photographs of a putative series of killing victims has launched an investigation by law enforcement into unknown or unidentified victims of Alcala not previously linked to him. It is now suggested that Alcala may have murdered three women in New York City in the 1970s. But legal proceedings for these crimes and allowing Alcala more time in the courtroom spotlight is a troublesome matter. Court trials and extradition would be excessive and complex, freeing a clever killer from everyday incarceration to entertain more jury members representing himself. And like the families of victims and the general public, prosecutors may elect to leave Alcala to his death sentence without further circus acts.

While convicted to date for only five murders, Alcala may be responsible for as many as 100 murders during his killing spree.

Article by Roy Whyte. Visit his Google+ page for more.

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 behaviour 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.

The culture and society of 1979 made such killings abominable to hear about. The poverty of the African American ghetto in Atlanta, combined with the appalling body count, lit a flame under racial tensions throughout the South and in Georgia especially. The unique formula of racial tensions and early forensic science, matched with a young DNA court procedure and an explosive set of shocking murders made a signature case for the history of serial killers.

Lead FBI investigators identified a likely type and narrowed suspects accordingly. Without a girlfriend, driving a police model car, owning a dog, the killer had a ‘thing” for young men and a scheme to get them into his company. Yet public perceptions about a black killer may have cost lives. Usually in Atlanta, but particularly during the killings era, no white man walked unnoticed in predominantly black areas of Atlanta neighbourhoods.

After Williams conviction for two of the murders, no more killings or abductions were reported. Yet the strength of racial community among the African Americans in Atlanta has convinced many Williams was wrongfully imprisoned for the murders. Examination of the American justice system for the Wayne Williams case yields differing opinions about the potential for justice to be reached.

One seven year old girl was kidnapped from her home, and police mislabeled bodies and shrugged off the cases of “runaways”. One young boy telephoned the task force hotline but was dismissed. The ignored young child’s body, that of Patrick Balazar, was later found strangled to death. Children sent down the block to the store never returned. Ever. Variance in the mode of death and method of dumping and hiding bodies pointed to a clever killer intent on avoiding being caught.

The identification of Wayne Williams as the Atlanta Child Murderer happened despite errors and obfuscations by police, a common thread in many serial killing cases and notorious murderer careers. Misidentification, sloppy forensic techniques, haphazard professionalism regarding crime scene handling and case evidence being destroyed let Wayne Williams stay free much longer than he should have.

Yet Wayne Williams is thought by many to be innocent, not least because he never confessed to the crimes and no fingerprints were ever found to match his at the crime scenes or on any of the evidence. Carpet fibers linking evidence from the corpses to floor carpet fiber in the Williams home was the chief piece of evidence against him.

The caliber of racial divide in the American South, even in the late 1970’s, kept the public from wholly accepting that an African American man could be the killer of so many black children, when instincts and history dictated that a white killer might be responsible. Suppression of the racial theme and involvement of the Ku Klux Klan is a hotly debated topic in this case.

Angry groups of black people walked the streets with baseball bats, but community children kept disappearing. The frequency and longevity of the Atlanta Child Murders bothered national audiences watching the news nightly. The racial motif in the killings (if the suspect was white) made the suspected murders guilty of a federal violation of the Civil Rights of the victims.

Defensive African American community factions of Atlanta refused to believe a serial killer might be black and murdering “their own”, and thus Williams went free ever more. Criminologists argued that only a black man could move within the black neighborhoods so much and so often unnoticed. Had they (the Atlanta African-American community) accepted this theory earlier they might have identified the black man moving in their midst.

Was Williams betting on racial camouflage to avoid getting caught? Did he select African American victims to mask his crimes and shield himself as a suspect, or did the young men or children represent an earlier, more innocent version of himself? Only one girl was involved as a victim in the killings. The age of the victims ramped up as the spree came to a close, shortly before Williams was caught.

Wayne Williams was apprehended while crossing a bridge one of the corpses had been found under. Any challenge to hsi guilt just include an analysis as to why he was there. Did black men in racially charged Atlanta during a crime spree rove the bridges at 3 a.m. checking addresses? Williams obnoxious behaviour and cocky style added fuel to the fire.

The missing victims and their names and ages chronicle a sad epoch of Atlanta history. Victims of the Atlanta child murderer were Aaron Jackson, 9, Patrick Rogers, 15, Lubie Geter, 14, Terry Pue, 15, Patrick Baltazar, 12, Curtis Walker, 13, Joseph Bell, 16, Timothy Hill, Larry Rogers, 20, Eddie Duncan, 21, Michael Mcintosh, 23, Jimmy Payne, 21, and Nathanial Cater, 27.

The case of the Atlanta Child Murders would mirror many famous serial killer prosecutions for incomplete case handling. The method of disposing of the bodies had changed. This was thought by criminologists as an attempt to evade police detection and throw off any ensuing criminal case. Yet the thread of the chain of victims linked the cases to the serial killer.

The FBI had been brought into the murder investigation after the mayor of Atlanta asked for help. The suspected kidnapping of some of the missing victims made the crimes Federal offenses. As the media intensified its coverage of the crimes, both as a response to race relations, accusations of police irresponsibility, and the outcry against the continuing deaths.

The Wayne Williams serial killer controversy rages on. Of all the serial killer cases that dispute their ultimate responsibility or change their account of the facts after arrest, sentencing, or imprisonment, the Wayne Williams case tears at the threads of racial tolerance to this day. The twenty-nine young black people are gone forever. The mourning black families winced at allegations of drug use and crime involved in the slayings.

Yet despite strong evidence, resistance to the acceptance of Williams’ guilt continues.

Was Wayne Williams wrongly convicted? Does the suspected innocence of one or some of the Atlanta murders justify a murderer convicted with so much circumstantial evidence ? How believable can Wayne Williams be today, however much his behaviour and personality seem to be altered? Is Williams exploiting a more politically correct social climate?

Interviews with Wayne Williams dispute the accounts of the murders claimed by police. Williams claimed to be a music scout for young performing talent. Wayne Williams claims never to have been homosexual or murderous, and claims to have been looking for an address for a woman named Cheryl Johnson at the time of his arrest. Williams just happened to be driving across the Chattahoochee River.

Yet no person of this name ever came forward. Williams claimed to have been arrested in a climate where nobody who knew him personally testified. Yet prosecutors could not make the claim that Williams was ever above suspicion, and Williams’ own account of driving around the bridge where human remains were found out of “curiosity” leaves many holes in his story.

The Georgia Supreme Court heard arguments from attorney William Kunstler, attributing deaths Wayne Williams was accused of, that claimed the Klu Klux Klan was starting a race war using controversial homicides. That would have explained the missing/destroyed evidence. But the Georgia Bureau of Investigation could furnish no proof of this. But the snatched children were not believed to be KKK murders.

GBI investigation of the Klu Klux Klan involved an eight week surveillance. Yet no KKK representatives were found crossing the Chattahoochee River during the time police were searching for an active killer. Challenging statements for some of the killings does not clear Wayne Williams of all murders. Notably, many parents and relatives of the Atlanta Child Murders victims think Williams may be innocent.

Many who suspect Williams is innocent of individual murders of the entire portfolio of the Atlanta Child killings nevertheless acquiesce the burden of disproof against all the killings is persuasively convincing of his guilt of some of them. Williams’ legal strategies may reflect his innocence or his ability to manipulate the legal system after decades of imprisonment, common among serial killers after the glow of publicity has faded.

The notoriety of Wayne Williams in 2010 is seriously less than in 1981, when fear of a race war kept suspicion of the Ku Klux Klan under wraps. Today the evidence of one Billy Ray Whitaker, clearing Williams of the killing of Lubie Geter, would be challenged due to the mental instability of the witness but his memory retention. Could any member of the Ku Klux Klan

The fact remains that of all the people living in Georgia in 1979-1980, only one was driving on the same body-dumping bridge the night police were watching: Wayne Williams. Only one man had no alibi for any of the twenty-nine killings attribute to the Atlanta Child Murderer: Wayne Williams. Only one man had DNA carpet fibers combined with DNA identified hairs from his dog matched with forensic evidence from victim’s clothing: Wayne Williams. And Williams had a bona fide script for legitimately interviewing young people alone, as he was a music business talent scout.

Vulnerabilities in case handling and criminology techniques eventuated in only two charges being made against Williams. As of 2010, Wayne Bertram Williams is still trying to appeal the “miscarriage” of justice. Yet the appeal is framed in a slippery slope of the American legal system. Williams may get a new trial based on developed DNA techniques. NB: the Wayne Williams and Atlanta child murders case was rife with evidence mishandling.

A retrial of Wayne Williams for Atlanta murder trial would be an expensive exploration of American justice. Yet criminologists can claim that the DNA evidence and the modern handling of DNA in contemporary murder cases are not congruent. How DNA is treated and handled today versus in 1981 may create a cloud of legal wrangling that might free Williams.

Article by Roy Whyte. Visit his Google+ page for more.

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.

Help was needed in Chicago by a congenial employer. The attractive and charismatic A. A. Holmes ran his drugstore business like a grand hotel, and the anonymity of the big city and the completely backwards forensic techniques allowed a body count to rise from one single serial killer, the scion of “Murder Castle”. Holmes claimed he was “born with the devil in me”. His continued reign of terror knew countless hours of torture and death per victim.

Experts analyze H. H. Holmes as the most prolific serial killer ever. His macabre hotel contained inner chambers fitted with controlled gas lines, a sunken basement dissection chamber, and a dumbwaiter used to ferry bodies to the dissection chamber. The killings were performed in a volume that is unquestionably the record of any serial killer.

The Dr. Mudgett who had financed his physician education with a dark market in skeletons and corpses, changed his named to Holmes as a result of the impact of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous books. Bowler-hatted, natty, and educated, even in 1888 “Holmes” had no problem getting women to notice him and do what he wanted. No person born in 1861 could have imagined the horror Mudgett would introduce to the citizens of Chicago.

The Murder Hotel was Holmes’ questionable legacy to American history and the culture of the serial killer. The “lowbrow” attractions and all manner of exhibits drew visitors from all over the world. Americans and in particular lone travelers flocked to the Chicago World’s Fair. Mudgett/Holmes had thoughtfully provided a hotel for them to stay at. From this population H. H. Holmes had a smorgasbord of victims to select from daily.

Bludgett was born into a good family and then married young. But after his wife mysteriously left him, with the infant son, his insurance frauds and claimed cadavers increased. As the “only living relative”, “Holmes” collected a respectable sum from multiple victims. The device of murdering an acquaintance or contact for business uses was practiced with no conscience whatsoever. His medical knowledge supported his access and knowledge of administration of serial killing death.

The typical zoosadim of the serial killer was developed as the consequences of a bullying episode gone too far. The doctor’s office where young Henry Bludgett was taken fascinated him instead of terrifying him. Modern psychologist and addictive disorder specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky has claimed that the gestalt of childhood or early terror becomes the lust object of later life and sexual desire.

Herman Webster Mudgett had developed his dissection habits of small animals into an obsession. His medical degree from the University of Michigan helped get him a clerkship at the establishment of Mrs. E. S. Holton. His druggist ambitions were tidily met when the widow disappeared. “Holmes” became wealthy using his various income methods, including the sale of legitimate apothecary wares.

With money from the venture, Holmes designed a sort of “mall” residents called a castle. By 1862 it was complete. Three stories of “hotel” hid two furnaces and third level filled with execution chambers and dissection laboratories. Holmes had acquired abilities to negotiate and swindle people so easily the Castle was built for next to nothing. So many different construction entities were involved that only Holmes himself knew where the curving halls, empty stairways, and mysterious chemical smells began and ended.

The third floor of the “Murder Castle” had many vacant rooms, where occupants might pass out when the controls from Holme’s rooms were administered. The chambers on the third level could house aimlessly any innocent “guest”, service, or employee of the hotel. These were windowless outside-locking doors with suffocation and torture could occur without witnesses. H. H. Holmes lived in a dwelling of evil, constructed explicitly for serial killing.

In the world of the White City, illuminated by Tesla and Westinghouse, a new world was possible. New breakfast foods and new vistas into the future were presented to an awed public. But World Fair visitors and hotel and shop employees met with painful and bloody ends inside the Murder Castle. H. H. Holmes had built a hotel that reaped profit while providing a killing zone for his personal serial killer appetites. The Murder Castle lived up to its name all too well.

But before abandoning his Murder Hotel, Holmes wanted one last scam. Using his insurance fraud scheme, he joined Benjamin Pitezel and Marion Hedgepeth in a plan to collect on Pitezel’s “death”. After the lab explosion, Holmes’ supplied cadaver would organize the death benefit collection. A $10,000 death benefit was at stake. But Holmes performed actual murder on Pitezel, and Hedgepeth was stunned to find himself left out of his cut.

Even more bizarre was that Holmes had carried off Pitezel’s children and killed them. After getting caught and tried for murder, Holmes’ Murder castle was raided. The dissection chamber for human corpses where Holmes disassembled his prey for skeleton resales. An acid vat and a lime pit were also present. Hundreds of innocent victims perished for the deviant lusts of H. H. Holmes. And his multiple spouses miraculously suffered mysterious ends too.

The resulting sensation of the Murder Castle and the A. A. Holmes tragedy was detailed in the newspapers of William Randolph Hearst, whose readers were mesmerized. Film, and television culture have adapted themes and the story of the Murder Castle to suit viewers and readers agog over the story. Sadly, Chicago missed quite a few human beings in the making of this notoriously monstrous serial killer.

H.H. Holmes was convicted and executed for the murder of 27 people but may have murdered as many as 230 people over his lifetime.

Article by Roy Whyte. Visit his Google+ page for more.