Charles Manson was born in Kentucky in 1934 as “No Name Maddox.” the unwanted child of a prostitute. He spent his youth in foster homes, a small, sickly child exposed to alcohol, prostitution and abuse. By age 18, he had stolen money and cars, committed homosexual rape, and served time in institutions. Paroled in 1954, he married and had a son, but was soon divorced. In 1960 he was charged with pimping, fraud, and stealing cars. Back in prison he became a protégé of bank-robbing murderer Alvin ‘Creepy” Karpis. Manson was released in 1967 and moved to San Francisco where he led a cult following of 20 runaways and petty criminals mostly women. This group, “the Family,” soon settled at a movie stunt ranch in Simi Valley, where they took hallucinogenic drugs, stored stolen goods, and armed for Helter Skelter, the nuclear and race war Manson predicted. By then me Family had 40 members. Manson targeted enemies he felt had hindered his quest for fame as a musician and he ordered the Family to kill them. In July 1969, Manson, Bobby Beausoliel, Susan Atkins and Mary Brunner (the mother of Manson’s second child) killed a record producer and stole his car. A week later, Beausoliel, Brunner, and Sandra Good were arrested. Hoping to induce “Helter Skelter” Manson sent Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins. and Linda Kasabian to film director Roman Polanski’s home, where they murdered actress Sharon Tate and four others. The next night Manson and six helpers killed a middle-aged couple. In December, Manson and 10 cultists were arrested. Two turned state’s evidence. but Manson and eight cultists were convicted of murder. All remain incarcerated.
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As an illegitimate child born in 1946 to a young girl from a rigidly puritanical family, Theodore Bundy spent the first four years of his life posing as his mother’s brother to hide the family’s shame. After his mother married, Bundy discovered his parentage, a fact that would haunt him for the rest of his life. Allegedly molested as a small child by a male relative, and shown no affection from his mother, he began to mutilate animals and spy on local girls. Still, the future looked good for the exceptionally bright, handsome young man. He passed high school and entered college He was a volunteer worker at a suicide hotline and dated a society girl. When she called off their engagement Bundy was crushed. In 1972 he began to stalk women on the street. In 1974 he inflicted serious injuries on a sleeping woman in her apartment. A few weeks later he attacked another sleeping woman, abducted her to a remote spot, raped, battered, and killed her. Posing as a student or security guard, sometimes asking for help with his arm in a sling, he killed 14 women, mostly college students who resembled his ex-fiance, in Washington, Oregon, Utah, and Colorado. Witness reports coupled with Bundy`s reckless driving led to his arrest in 1975 Extradited to Colorado, he escaped in 1977 and fled to Florida where, in 1978, he raped and killed two coeds and wounded three others. With the law on his trail, he abducted, raped, and killed his final victim, an 11-year-old girl, and was captured a week later. In 1979 Bundy was convicted of the Florida murders. Claiming complete innocence, he was married on death row, and executed by electric chair in 1989 after several failed appeals.
John Wayne Gacy Jr., born in Chicago in 1942, was beaten and called a “sissy” by his alcoholic father; and suffered a childhood head injury that caused him to have periodic blackouts for years. He was a restaurant manager in Iowa in 1968, when his arrest for sodomizing a young male employee and paying to have a witness beaten for testifying against him led to the breakup of his first marriage. Remarried, he settled in a Chicago suburb and kept his homosexuality secret, narrowly avoiding a 1971 sodomy rape charge when the victim failed to show in court. Gacy was a community activist, a successful independent contractor, a leader in the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and Jaycee-elected ‘Man of the Year.” He entertained hospitalized children as Pogo the Clown. Gacy began to torture and kill in 1972. His victims, all male, ranged in age from nine to 27. Many were lured by promises of construction jobs, offered liquor and, once drunk, were tied to a chair and chloroformed. Each was violated, and those Gacy killed were usually buried in the crawlspace beneath his home. In 1978 Gacy’s wife left him, in 1977 one victim survived and reported Gacy to police, but they were slow to act and only charged him with a misdemeanor. In late 1978, the mother of a missing man told police her son had phoned to tell her he’d been offered a job by Gacy. Investigators found 28 bodies in the crawlspace and five more corpses in a local river. Survivors then came forth to identify Gacy. In 1988, Gacy was sentenced to 21 life imprisonments and 12 death sentences. Alternately denying his guilt and attributing his crimes to childhood atrocities, he paints clown portraits in jail.
Born in 1960 in Milwaukee, Jeffrey Dahmer was a lonely, insecure child who studied chemistry, mutilated animals, and was reportedly molested by a neighbor boy at age eight. He later confessed that he had committed his first murder in 1978, shortly after his parents divorced but that crime went unsolved at the time. He joined the Army in 1979 and while he was stationed in Germany, there were three unsolved mutilation-murders near his base. Discharged for alcoholism in 1981.He returned to Milwaukee in 1986, where he was soon arrested for exhibitionism. In 1988, he served 10 months for fondling a minor. Upon his release he rented a small apartment and got a job at a local candy factory.
Dahmer’s neighbors complained of noxious odors and the whine of a power saw ‘My refrigerator broke and the meat spoiled,” he fold them. “I am building book-cases.” In 1991, police responding to a neighbor’s call found a 14-year-old Asian boy bleeding and naked. who had escaped from Dahmer The officers laughingly called this incident “a homosexual lovers’ spat and returned the child to his death. Four more men and boys died before another victim escaped and flagged down a police car. Officers followed him to Dahmer’s unit and discovered a charnel house. After getting hem drunk or drugging them, Dahmer had photographed, strangled, and dismembered his victims. mostly young Asian and African-American men. He confessed to murder necrophilia, and cannibalism. Charged with 17 kllings, he pled insanity but in 1992 was convicted of all counts and received life sentences. The officers responsible for mishandling the case were suspended.
Charles Whitman was born in 1941 and his life began to fall apart in me spring of 1966. The 25 year old ex-Marine, devoted to his family was devastated when his parents decided to divorce. He began to act oddly, breaking into fits of violence and complaining of severe headaches. He sought psychiatric counseling, but his mother and his wife attributed his behaviour change to the stress of his heavy class load atthe University of Texas at Austin On July 31 Whitman wrote a note which read: “l am prepared to die. After my death, I wish an autopsy on me to be performed to see if there is any mental disorder.”
That night he stabbed and shot his mother to death at her house. Returning home, he stabbed his wife to death and wrote a diatribe against his abusive father that closed with me words. “Life is not worth living.” The next morning he packed sandwiches, toilet paper, a transistor radio, several pistols and ammunition and headed for the campus.
Entering the observation tower he killed a receptionist with a blow to the head. Two people he encountered on the stairwell were shot dead at point-blank range. Whitman settled himself on the top of the tower, and, after several minutes of contemplation opened fire on the unsuspecting students below. Within an hour and a half, during which the expert marksman picked off anything that moved, 16 people were dead and 30 wounded.
Police were unable to reach him, and finally decided to charge. In the gun battle that ensued, Whitman was mowed down. His requested autopsy revealed a tumor in the hypothalamus region of the brain an area directly connected with violent behaviour and judgement.
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