Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Richard Speck - Mass Murderer

I remember many years ago watching the Charles Bronson film "10 To Midnight" about a pathetic looking loser who in reality was a serial killer.  After reading about the case of Richard Speck, I wonder if this case inspired the film.  The main scene features a slaughter of some nurses in a hospital but one hides under a bed.  Sounds very similar to the Speck case.  Strangely, these were the only murders committed by Speck.  The murders happened in the early hours of Thursday, July 14th 1966 at a nurses hostel in Chicago. A Filipino nurse named Corazon Amurao screamed for help from her balcony, which brought two uniformed cops rushing into the hostel.  They could not comprehend the scene they encountered.  Eight nurses lay dead.  All had their hands tied behind their backs, all had been strangled or repeatedly stabbed.  Autopsies revealed no rapes had taken place but one victim had been sexually assaulted.

     It was after midnight when Miss Amurao answered a knock at the door, and found herself face to face with a gunman.  He then quickly rounded up all the nurses in that particular dormitory, cut sheets with a knife he had on him and tied them up.  He assured them they would not be harmed.  All he wanted was money.  Then another three nurses arrived and they were quickly tied up.  He also took all monies from them.  Suddenly, the intruder decided to take a girl into another room, then he took another.  The nurses heard a cry.  Miss Amurao tried to rally the other nurses to try and get free and try to over power the intruder but the others thought he was not being violent.  She chose not to find out if he was not violent.  She rolled out of sight under a bed.  The intruder was coming and going for the next couple of hours, but by 5am an alarm clock rang, and that was when she came from under the bed to be greeted with a scene of horror.  She started screaming....

    Miss Amurao gave a very detailed description of the intruder, who had left plenty of fingerprints.  She remembered a tattoo on his arm with the words "Born to raise hell" and the way he tied knots when binding his victims, suggested to cops he was a sailor.  Close by was a labour exchange that saw plenty of seamen go through it.  They soon had his name Richard Speck.   Nearly a week later, at Cook County Hospital, a man was brought in with slashed wrists.  He was examined by a Psychiatrist who saw the tattoo and remembered details given by Police, so he gave them a call.  Speck was now in custody.  He was given in-depth examinations by medical experts, whilst Police carefully researched his background. It was not pretty.  He had married a girl of 15, had a child but they split up.  He was drinking heavily and taking Seconal and Amytal pills that gave hallucinations.  The previous year - 1965 - he attacked a girl with a knife, in Texas, earning a spell in jail, but when released on parole, he vanished.  He was fond of telling people of all the women he claimed to have bedded, but to them all, he was just a "Walter Mitty" character.

    He travelled back to Illinois to stay with relatives. This was in April 1966.  Coincidentally, a barmaid called Mary Pierce disappeared.  She worked in a bar Speck drank in, and that Speck had tried to show an interest in her.  Later, her body was found in a hog house, located behind the bar she worked in.  This makes Speck a prime suspect but it seems that there was nothing to link him to it.   Then he was involved with a nurse but she gradually found him to be slightly strange in that he was a gentle person with her but was full of hate for society.  He also talked of wanting to kill his former wife.  Significantly, the only nurse he abused, was said to have resembled his former wife.  Speck was sent down forever.  Why did he do it?  Was it prove that he really was a somebody.  It is true that when he had a gun and his victims were all tied up, he had total control of not just one woman but a group of them.  This wanting control shows, in my view, a completely and socially inadequate man who could only achieve with a weapon and installing fear.  Yes, a real man.