Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Daniel Conahan - The Hog Trail Killings

Daniel Conahan currently resides on Death Row, and if it is true that he was responsible for half of the murders he is suspected of, then he deserves to be where he is.  Like Michael Lupo, Conahan targeted males, a general trend for homosexual killers.  And gays are said to have an in-built vicious streak; Conahan certainly proved it.  Conahan was born May 11th 1954 in Charlotte County, Florida, then his family moved to Punta Gorda in Florida.  As a teenager, Conahan confessed to his parents that he was homosexual, an admission that appalled them.  Their response was to send him to see a Psychiatrist.  (As if you could ever be "cured" of a sexual orientation!!)  After graduating from Miami Norland High School in 1973, Conahan signed up for the Armed Forces and Joined the Navy, being stationed at Great Lakes in Illinois.  But his homosexuality kept rearing its head and in 1978, he was nearly court-martialled for solicitation, but this did not curtail him.  Months later, he was given a discharge after being involved in numerous fights, all due to his homosexuality.

    He moved to Chicago after being discharged and remained there for thirteen years before moving back to Punta Gorda and staying with his parents.  He trained for a job in medicine and in 1995, he qualified as a Practice Nurse.  But huge trouble was arising.  On February 1st 1994, a mutilated corpse of a man was found, with rope burns and the body had had it`s genitals cut off.  Police were unable to identify it.  The next body turned up on January 1st 1996.  A dog in North Port, Florida, had brought home a human skull.  A search of the area revealed the rest of the remains of a man.  This too, looked as if the genitals had been removed.  The skeleton remained a John Doe.  Then another body surfaced on March 7th 1996, but it was another three years before it was identified as John Melaragno.  Now the bodies were emerging quicker.  April 17th 1996, another skull was discovered, and shortly, the rest of the skeleton.  But cops received another shock;  they found a body of a man who had been raped, murdered and mutilated only days before.  He was identified as Richard Montgomery.  The other remains were identified as Ken Smith.

    Police started getting breaks when witnesses came forward and spoke about a man called Daniel Conahan.  One of them, Stan Burden, had made a complaint to Police in Fort Myers after Conahan had tied him to a tree and tried to strangle him.  Cops searched the home of Conahan and found evidence linking him to the attacks on Stan Burden & Richard Montgomery.  In Lee County, Conahan was charged with the attempted murder of Stan Burden on July 3rd 1996.  He was charged with the murder of Richard Montgomery in February 1997.  The attempted murder charge was dropped.  Conahan was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1999.  But more bodies kept turning up.  Another skeleton was discovered on May 22nd 1997 in Charlotte County. This was identified as Bill Patten who had disappeared in 1995. Then a body was found in 2000, two in 2001 and another in 2002.  Then in March 2007, eight skulls and remains were found, with two identified as men who had disappeared in 1995. The manner of deaths were said to be very similar.

    Some of those who survived were drifters who Conahan would give a lift to, then offer them money if they would let him take certain photos of them.  Being in need of money, they agreed.  Conahan would tie them to trees and take photos but would move in and use a knife.  A number of the remains had signs of genital mutilation.  Some escaped, possibly a dozen or more, did not.  Why did he do it?  Self hate?  Sadism? Only one man knows, and he is on Death Row.