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Richard Speck: Mass Murderer Essay

1980 words - 8 pages

After tying up each of the women, Speck untied Wilkening’s legs and led her out of the room. She was his first murder; he gagged her and stabbed her through the heart (Hawkins). About 20 minutes later—around 12:30am—two more nurses, Suzanne Farris (age 21) and Mary Ann Jordan (age 20), returned home after their dates. They just encountered their friends, tied up in the largest bedroom, when Speck returned to the room after murdering Wilkening. He immediately ordered the two young women to follow him, marching them out of the bedroom (Fornek). Speck strangled Suzanne Farris with her own stockings and stabbed her 18 times. He then stabbed Mary Ann Jordan three times (Hawkins). He rinsed the ...view middle of the document...

She remained under the bed for more than 90 minutes, until she heard an alarm clock go off at 5 a.m. She worked to free her wrists, then untied her ankles just as a second alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. She cautiously hesitated before leaving the room and found the trail of bodies. The 23-year-old student nurse went to her own bedroom, where the bodies of Wilkening, Farris and Jordan lay on the floor. She climbed to her top bunk, opened a window and screamed. She eventually pushed out the screen and climbed out to stand on a small balcony that stood over the front yard (Fornek).
"They are all dead," she screamed. "My friends are all dead. Oh God, I'm the only one alive” (Sector). When the police showed up, Amurao gave the following description to detectives: six feet tall, blond hair, 160 lbs. with a southern drawl, and a tattoo saying “born to raise hell” on his forearm (Fillipelli). Lieutenant Emil G. Giese, who headed the Identification Section of the Chicago Police Department, compared a smudged fingerprint found at the murder scene to another provided by the FBI from a separate crime scene, which belonged to Richard Speck. Sgt. Hugh Granahan aided with the identification, and later that morning, Senior Examiner Burton J. Buhrke found a better fingerprint on a door at the scene (Fornek). Two days after the murders, Speck was identified by a drifter named Claude Lunsford. Speck, Lunsford, and another man had been drinking the evening of July 15 on the fire escape of the Starr Hotel at 617 W. Madison. On July 16, Lunsford recognized a sketch of the murderer in the evening paper and called the police at 9:30 p.m. after finding Speck in his room at the Starr Hotel. The police, however, did not respond to the call although their records showed it had been made; they believed it to be a hoax. Speck, meanwhile high and drunk, attempted suicide by slitting his wrists, and the Starr Hotel desk clerk phoned in the emergency around midnight once a hotel employee found Speck in his room. Speck was taken to Cook County Hospital at 12:30 a.m. on July 17. At the hospital, Speck was recognized by Dr. LeRoy Smith, a 25-year-old surgical resident physician, who had read about the "Born To Raise Hell" tattoo in a newspaper story. The police were called (Fornek).
Felony Court Judge Herbert J. Paschen selected an objective panel to report on Speck's competence to stand trial and his sanity at the time of the crime. The panel consisted of three physicians suggested by the defense and three physicians selected by the prosecution, five psychiatrists, and one general surgeon. They found Speck competent to stand trial and concluded he had not been insane at the time of the murders (Breo). Speck's jury trial began April 3, 1967, in Peoria, Illinois, three hours southwest of Chicago, with a gag order on the press. Speck pled “not guilty;” he reported that he could not even remember the crime because he blacked out after drinking that night. In court, Speck was...

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