Richard Speck was a mass murderer who committed horrific crimes in 1966 in Chicago. His name is well recognized in the history of world criminology.
Meanwhile, the motive behind the brutal and senseless killings is still unclear to experts.
Who was Richard Speck?
Richard Speck was born on December 6, 1941, in Kirkwood, Illinois, USA. His father died when he was five years old.
In 1950, the mother of the future killer married for the second time, and the family moved to Texas. In addition to Richard, the family had two more daughters and five sons.
At the age of 18, the main character of our story first caught the attention of law enforcement agencies for car theft. After that, Speck was arrested several times, including for attacking a girl.
But despite this bad reputation, Richard Speck managed to marry and engage in the Navy.
The night of July 14, 1966
One hot summer day in 1966, Richard Speck was vacationing in Chicago. He was waiting for the ship's departure on which he worked as a sailor. According to witnesses, this young sailor visited the bars every day. Between the alcoholic foundries, he tried to date young girls. It is important to note that Richard was only 25 years old then.
That night he went to Jeffy's house, the student dormitory for nurses. There are two versions of how he entered the house. In one, he broke in through a small door, and in the other - he knocked on the door, and one of the girls opened.
In any case, the armed Richard Speck threatened the first student he saw and asked her to wake up all the neighbors. He promised to take only money and not harm the others. At this late hour, everyone in the house was asleep.
However, Corazon Amurao - the student with whom Speck first spoke, woke up the students. Richard Speck tied all of the girls and asked them where the money was.
A surprising fact, but none of the victims tried to resist and scream. The women obediently said where the money was.
Richard Speck killed all of the victims in one room where everyone was previously tied up. He killed them with unimaginable cruelty. Some students were slaughtered, others strangled. The walls of the house, after police discovered, were soaked in blood.
None of the neighbors heard suspicious sounds in this case - everyone around slept peacefully. It is possible that the girls did not fully understand their condition or could not believe what was happening to them.
Richard Speck made a mistake that night - the number of victims was short by one. One of the girls hid under the bed, and the killer did not find her. The other students are believed to have been raped after death. Although this information is not consistent - some sources claim that Richard Speck raped one girl.
Help, everybody is dead!
When Richard Speck was done with all of the girls (as he thought), he quietly stole the money (about $50) and left the house. Corazon Amurao survived - the same girl who had the opportunity to communicate with Richard Speck first.
She came from the Philippines to be enrolled in a particular student program. Corazon thought of calling the neighbors to stop the attacker during the monstrous act, but she changed her mind. She believed that Richard Speck would leave, taking all the money and valuables. Seeing what was happening instead, Corazon decided to fight for her life and was able to hide. She was in the chosen shelter until the morning, trying not to make a sound.
It wasn't until she heard a persistent ring in the morning that she got out from under the bed. Corazon finally started calling for help.
First, the screams of the young girl did not attract enough attention. Local students were already at the time abusing alcohol and drugs, and such behavior was nothing new. But after a while, the police decided to check on the hostel, and what they saw inside shocked them.
Confession took for granted
What did Richard Speck do after leaving the dormitory? It's hard to believe, but he went to the bar. There he spent the stolen money on drinks. To make things even stranger, Richard Speck began to brag about the murders in the bar.
However, many drunken sailors are not taken seriously by others. Realizing he was mocked, Richard Speck took out a knife and attacked the bartender.
The killer calmed down only when he saw the fear in the eyes of his potential victim and withdrew, trying to turn everything that happened into a good joke.
Richard Speck: born to raise hell
The surviving student immediately began testifying. The policeman was lucky because the suspect had unique characteristics – a skin problem ("as if he was bruised") on his face and a tattoo on his arm "born to raise hell!".
Detectives found numerous fingerprints at the crime scene. They also noticed a detail - all the victims were tied up in a way typical of a particular naval unit member.
While police were looking for a sailor or Marine climber with tattoos, Richard Speck was treated for a severe condition at the hospital. The man was taken to the hospital in a state of extreme intoxication with numerous cuts on his arms.
This was in 1966 when tattoos were not as common as they are today. The doctor recognized that this was Richard Speck and immediately informed the police.
Even during Richard Speck's hospital stay, he talked to a psychiatrist. Richard Speck did not deny the crime, nor did he feel guilty. He said that he did not remember anything and could not recall his actions adequately. He also complained about regular severe headaches and memory problems.
In Richard Speck's opinion, the cause of this was a long-standing brain injury he got in a fight.
The psychiatrist who worked with Richard Speck did not hurry to claim criminal insanity at the time of the murder. He stressed that his patient is no different from the typical serial killer mentality.
To assess the mental adequacy of the killer, a psychiatric examination was performed. In the end, six experts concluded that Richard Speck was healthy and should be put to trial.
All Richard Speck's victims
How many people were killed by Richard Speck? Victims, on whose death his guilt was fully proven, were eight student nurses from the Jeffrey Maynor House. However, during the investigation, the detective drew attention to a number of unsolved crimes in the cities where the boat on which Richard Speck sailed.
The victims were women from 7 years old to 60 years old. According to some points, it is not only a coincidence of time but also serious evidence. However, the police knew how difficult it would be to prove the suspect's guilt in court, and they did not bring all things together.
Trial and conviction
The brutal murder of helpless women provoked Chicago and the surrounding area. Local citizens were furious and demanded that Richard Speck be given to them to lynch. Due to such social unrest, the accused was transferred to another city, where the hearing occurred.
Richard Speck's guilt was proven by discovering his fingerprints at the crime scene and the survivor's testimony. The jury's verdict and the judge were unequivocal - the death penalty.
Richard Speck heard the sentence and looked shocked. However, due to changes in U.S. law, the killer was not executed. The death penalty for Richard Speck was turned into a prison for 400 years. Of those, he served only 19 years. He died in his cell from a massive heart attack.
Death in prison
Richard Speck was sent to Statesville Prison and was described as a peaceful and withdrawn prisoner. During his stay, photos depict a grumpy and unsocial man.
Speck died on December 5, 1991. None of the relatives wanted to organize the funeral, and the killer was cremated at the state's expense. The debate over who Richard Speck was - a maniac and a born killer or just a crazy man – is not settled yet.
Many documentaries and several books were made about the life of Richard Speck. You can decide for yourself.