Episode 1: Favorite Serial Killers
Updated: Oct 28, 2018
In Episode 1, Brittany and Tyler kickoff their Blood & Wine podcast with some heavy hitters: Jeffrey Dahmer and Gary Ridgway, aka The Green River Killer. Check out episode notes below.
Wine Pick: Trader Joe’s Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon
We chose Trader Joe’s Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley. Now for this particular wine, According to Trader Joe’s, “Trader Joe’s Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon is a fruit forward, medium bodied Cab with blueberry, currant, and pepper flavors, hints of oak, moderate tannins, and balanced acidity” the winery is a from a vineyard in California’s central coast as are all of their coastal wines. “He sources grapes from a variety of California’s coastal regions, where cool, ocean breezes temper the heat, allowing for longer, gentler growing seasons, and giving the grapes an opportunity to develop flavor characteristics that are specific to these regions. He then takes the time to blend the grapes so that the finished wines take full advantage of these coastal characteristics.” Also it’s like $5.50 so you really can’t beat that.
Brittany's Jeffrey Dahmer Notes:
Jeffrey Dahmer – The Milwaukee Cannibal
Active: 1978 to 1991, 17 kills
Cannibalist, rapist, murderer, necrophilia
Product killer, not process (explain)
Hated the killing
Was building a shrine using body parts, dismemberment
Preservation of the body parts
Born on May 21, 1960 to Joyce and Lionel Dahmer in Wisconsin
Mostly ignored by his parents, his mother craved attention and his father was engrossed in studies. Jeffrey was left alone a lot
Energetic child until he had a double hernia surgery when he was 4 where he was noticeably different and calm and quiet
Ill mother, parents caught. Dahmer was seen as quiet and reserved by teachers who noted his feelings he neglect
He had an interest in animals and collected small bugs, dragonflies etc as a child. Which led to him collecting road kill. He wold take these home and dismember them. He would then store their parts in jars. He was fascinated at how the bones fit together and would apparently feel live animals to get a sense of where their bones were located.
In 1966 his brother was born and Dahmer was allowed to choose his name, he picked David shortly after the family relocated to Ohio
Later, in 1970 over a family dinner, Dahmer allegedly asked his father what would happen to the chicken bones if they were placed in bleach (foreshadowing!!) His father has been concerned for his child’s self created isolation and how reserved he was – so this fascination in science excited his dad. So Daddy Dahmer showed his son how to safely bleach and preserve animal bones (thanks daddy Dahmer). Dahmer would then use this technique on the animal bones he had been collecting. Note: he was 10 years old
This is also a moment where I can bring up the Macdonald Triad theory for serial killers (Wikipedia)
Obsession with fire setting
Proposed by psychiatrist JM Macdonald, if all 3 or any combo of 2 is detected, it’s a sign for future violent tendencies in an individual. It is controversial, especially the bed wetting.
In high school, Dahmer was an outcast with few friends. Dahmer began drinking heavily at a young age (14) and would constantly bring beer and spirits to school. He would drink all day. All the while, he was seen as highly intelligent by teachers.
When Dahmer was a teenager, he realized he was a homosexual, but kept this hidden from his parents. He was very intrigued by ideas of dominance and control over a submissive partner.
These ideas soon became intertwined in Dahmer’s mind with dissection
At around age 16, Dahmer had a constant rape fantasy with a neighborhood jogger. In his fantasy, he would render the jogger unconscious and rape his body. Dahmer watched this jogger for quite a while until one day he decided to carry out his plan. On this day, the jogger did not pass by the area on his usual route. Dahmer never enacted his rape fantasy, but this is his first note of an attempt to attack another human.
In 1978, Dahmer graduated with grades that had increasingly dropped. This was due to his drinking as well as things not going well at home. Dahmer’s parents caught and were eventually divorced. His mom got custody of his brother David, but since Dahmer was 18, he was an adult and didn’t have to be a part of the custody battles.
First Kill – 1978
Clearly, we see Dahmer is in a dark place. So we are not too surprised to discover that he committed his first murder just 3 weeks after his graduation.
Living alone is hi family house, Dahmer lured hitchhiker Steven Mark Hicks to the house for drinks. Hicks came over and after hours of drinking and listening to music, he was ready to leave. But Dahmer had other ideas. He didn’t want hicks to leave, so he knocked him over the head with a 10lb dumbbell. Once unconscious, Dahmer strangled Hicks with the dumbbell and then masterbated over the corpse.
The following day, Dahmer dismembered the body and buried it in a shallow grave in the backyard. A few days later, Dahmer unearthed the corpse. He removed the flesh from the bones and dissolved it with an acid and flushed it down the toilet. He used a sledge hammer to pulverize the bones and scattered them in the woods.
Dahmer then attempted a semester at Ohio State University, but his alcoholism played a factor and he only stayed for 3 months. At his father’s urging, he joined the U.S. Army where he trained as a medical specialist. In 1979, he was stationed in West Germany. While there, he raped a couple of his combat mates, and as his alcoholism increased, he was discharged in 1981. Fun fact, he received an honorable discharge because it wasn’t believed that his issues would impact his civilian life – they were wrong, clearly.
Dahmer moved to Miami where he quickly spent all his money on booze, was evicted, and had to return home to Ohio in that same year.
Dahmer’s drinking continued to be a problem. He was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct and his father sent him back to Wisconsin to live with his grandmother. His father hoped the change in scenery and his grandmother’s influence would end the drinking. It worked for a while, he got a job, but it wouldn’t last long. He was arrested again in 1982, this time for indecent exposure, and lost his job.
In 1985, Dahmer landed a job as a mixer at the Milwaukee Ambrosia Chocolate factory forking the 11pm to 7am night shift
Shortly after beginning his job, he was propositioned by a man to receive fellatio. Although he declined, it stirred up the dominance and control sexual fantasies he once had. He then started visiting Milwaukee’s gay bars and bathhouses
He realized he hated when his partners moved during sex, so in 1986, he started giving them sleeping pills before the acts. To Dahmer, people were objects of pleasure. He would then rape their unconscious bodies. His membership was soon revoked.
One instance, Dahmer read a story about an 18 yr old who recently died. He was fascinated and tried to dig up the recently buried corpse but abandoned his plan when the soil was too hard.
In 1986, Dahmer was arrested again for masturbating in front of a group of 12 year olds. He changed his story and stated he was urinating and was charged with disorderly conduct, a year of probation, and a requirement to attend counseling
1987 – Murder 2, Steven Tumoi.
Dahmer lured him to a hotel initially with no intentions of murdering him – just to drug and rape him. The following morning, however, he awoke to find Tuomi lying beneath him on the bed, his chest "crushed in" and "black and blue" with bruises. Blood was also seeping from the corner of his mouth, and Dahmer's fists and one forearm were extensively bruised. Dahmer stated he had absolutely no memory of having killed Tumoi.
To dispose of Tuomi's body, he purchased a large suitcase in which he transported the body to his grandmother's residence. There, one week later, he severed the head, arms, and legs from the torso, then filleted the bones from the body before cutting the flesh into pieces small enough to handle. He then placed the flesh inside plastic garbage bags. He wrapped the bones inside a sheet and pounded them into splinters with a sledgehammer. The entire dismemberment process took Dahmer approximately two hours to complete, and all of Tuomi's remains—excluding the severed head —were disposed of in the trash.
For a total of two weeks following Tuomi's murder, Dahmer retained the victim's head wrapped in a blanket. After two weeks, Dahmer boiled the head in a mixture of Soilex (an alkali-based industrial detergent) and bleach in an effort to retain the skull, which he then used as stimulus for masturbation. Eventually, the skull was rendered too brittle by this bleaching process, and was also pulverized and disposed of.
Following this murder – Dahmer was actively seeking victims. All with the same outcome. He lured them to his grandmother’s house, drugged them, strangled the – and raped their corpses.
Murder 3 – A 14-year-old Native American male prostitute named James Doxtator
Murder 4 – met a 22-year-old bisexual man named Richard Guerrero
September 1988, Dahmer's grandmother asked him to move out of her house because of his habit of bringing young men to her house late at night and the foul smells emanating from both the basement and the garage. Dahmer found a one-bedroom apartment on North 25th Street and moved into his new residence
He was arrested for drugging a 13 yr old and his sentencing was delayed until 1989
Murder 5 – Anthony Spears, mixed race. Dahmer did his same tactics, According to Dahmer, he found Sears "exceptionally attractive", and Sears was the first victim from whom he permanently retained any body parts: he preserved Sears' head and genitalia in acetone and stored them in his work locker. When he moved to a new address the following year, he took the remains there.
In 1989 he was sentenced to 5 years probation and had to register as a sex offender and one year in a house of corrections
924 North 25th Street – Dahmer’s apartment and the 1990 killings. Apt 213
He moved in 1990 taking Anthony Sears' skull, scalp, and painted genitals with him
Murder 6 – Raymond Smith, shortly after moving into his apartment
He took photos of Smith in different positions before dismembering him and preserves some of his parts. Namely, he painted his skull and placed it next to Spears’ skull
Murder 7 – the Dahmer lured a 27-year-old acquaintance named Edward Smith to his apartment. He drugged and strangled Smith. On this occasion, rather than immediately acidifying the skeleton or repeating previous processes of bleaching (which had rendered previous victims' skulls brittle), Dahmer placed the skeleton of Smith in his freezer for several months in the hope it would not retain moisture. Freezing the skeleton did not remove moisture, and the skeleton of this victim would be acidified several months later. The skull was destroyed unintentionally when placed in the oven to dry—a process that caused the skull to explode. Dahmer himself was to later inform police he had felt "rotten" about Smith's murder as he had been unable to retain any parts of his body
Murder 8 – Ernest Miller – running low on sleeping pills, Dahmer slashed his throat with the same knife he used for dissection
Dahmer repeatedly kissed and talked to the severed head while he dismembered the remainder of the body. He wrapped Miller's heart, biceps, and portions of flesh from the legs in plastic bags and placed them in the fridge for later consumption.
Murder 9 – David Thomas. After his usual drugging, Dahmer decided he wasn’t attracted to David, but killed him anyway. He took photos but did not retain any of his parts.
Murder 10 – After a 5 month hiatus, in 1991 Dahmer met his tenth victim, Curtis Straughter
Murder 11 – Errol Lindsey, 19-year-old named Errol Lindsey walking to get a key cut. Lindsey was a heterosexual. Dahmer lured Lindsey to his apartment, where he drugged him, drilled a hole in his skull and poured hydrochloric acid into it. According to Dahmer, Lindsey awoke after this experiment (which Dahmer had conceived in the hope of inducing a permanent, unresistant, submissive state), saying: "I have a headache. What time is it?" In response to this, Dahmer again drugged Lindsey, then strangled him. He decapitated Lindsey and retained his skull; he then flayed Lindsey's body, placing the skin in a solution of cold water and salt for several weeks in the hope of permanently retaining it. Reluctantly, Dahmer disposed of Lindsey's skin when he noted it had become too frayed and brittle.
This was his first attempt at pouring acid into the skulls of his victims. To create his own sex zombie.
A psychiatrist for the prosecution stated later during his trial that Dahmer may have stopped killing if he had succeeded in creating his sex zombie
Dahmer was growing tired of the killing – it was his least favorite part it was all for the product, not the process. He wanted the bodies for sex and the parts for his shrine. The dissection was a labor he grew tired of, and he even noted standing over the bodies to shower, as they were in his way
Dahmer wanted to find a way to not kill them, but to keep them alive under his terms. Dahmer ended up doing lobotomies on 4 of his last victims to create his zombie, but all died.
At this time, his neighbors constantly complained to the landlord about the foul smells coming from Dahmer’s apartment. Dahmer was able to brush it off as a broken freezer causing spoiled food, or his tropical fish dying. WTF landlord?
Murder 12 and 13 – the 14-year-old named Konerak Sinthasomphone on Wisconsin Avenue; he approached the youth with an offer of money to accompany him to his apartment to pose for Polaroid pictures. According to Dahmer, Sinthasomphone—the younger brother of the boy whom he had molested in 1988—was initially reluctant to the proposal, before changing his mind and accompanying Dahmer to his apartment, where the youth posed for two pictures in his underwear before Dahmer drugged him into unconsciousness and performed oral sex on him.
On this occasion, Dahmer drilled a single hole into Sinthasomphone's skull, through which he injected hydrochloric acid into the frontal lobe. Before Sinthasomphone fell unconscious, Dahmer led the boy into his bedroom, where the nude body of 31-year-old Tony Hughes, whom Dahmer had killed three days earlier, lay naked on the floor. According to Dahmer, he "believed [that Sinthasomphone] saw this body," yet did not react to seeing the bloated corpse—likely because of the effects of the sleeping pills he had ingested and the hydrochloric acid Dahmer had injected through his skull. Sinthasomphone soon became unconscious, whereupon Dahmer drank several beers while lying alongside Sinthasomphone before leaving his apartment to drink at a bar, then purchase more alcohol.
In the early morning hours of May 27, Dahmer returned toward his apartment to discover Sinthasomphone sitting naked on the corner of 25th and State, talking in Laotian, with three distressed young women standing near him. Dahmer approached the trio and explained to the women that Sinthasomphone (whom he referred to by an alias) was his friend, and attempted to lead him to his apartment by the arm. The three women dissuaded Dahmer, explaining they had phoned 911. Upon the arrival of two officers named John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish, Dahmer's demeanor relaxed: he informed the officers that Sinthasomphone was his 19-year-old boyfriend, that he had drunk too much following a quarrel, and that he frequently behaved in this manner when intoxicated. The three women were exasperated and when one of the trio attempted to indicate to one of the officers that Sinthasomphone was bleeding from his buttocks and that he had seemingly struggled against Dahmer's attempts to walk him to his apartment, the officer harshly informed her to "butt out," "shut the hell up" and to not interfere, adding the incident was "domestic."
Against the protests of the three women, the officers simply covered Sinthasomphone with a towel and walked him to Dahmer's apartment where, in an effort to verify his claim that he and Sinthasomphone were lovers, Dahmer showed the officers the two semi-nude Polaroid pictures he had taken of the youth the previous evening. The officers later reported having noted a strange scent reminiscent of excrement inside the apartment (this odor emanated from the decomposing body of Hughes). Dahmer stated that to investigate this, one officer simply "peeked his head around the bedroom but really didn't take a good look." The officers then left, with a departing remark that Dahmer "take good care" of Sinthasomphone. Had they conducted a background check on Dahmer, it would have revealed that he was a convicted child molester under probation. Upon the departure of the two police officers from his apartment, Dahmer again injected hydrochloric acid into Sinthasomphone's brain; on this second occasion, the injection proved fatal. The following day, May 28, Dahmer took a day's leave from work to devote himself to the dismemberment of the bodies of Sinthasomphone and Hughes. He retained both victims' skulls
Murder 14 – Matt Turner
Murder 15 – Dahmer lured 23-year-old Jeremiah Weinberger from a Chicago bar to his apartment on the promise of spending the weekend with him. He drugged Weinberger and twice injected boiling water through his skull, sending him into a coma from which he died two days later.
Murder 16 – Oliver Lacy
Murder 17 – Joseph Bradehoft
Victim (lived) Tracey Edwards
Upon entering Dahmer’s apartment, Edwards immediately noticed the smell and lots of peculiar things. Soon, Dahmer brandished a knife and told Edwards to go to his rom for photos. In there, Edwards, saw a blue 57 gallon drum with a strong odor emanating from it – oh hey flesh and body parts
After some convincing, Edwards convinced Dahmer to return with him to the living room where there was AC. When he had a chance, he punched Dahmer and ran out the front door
Edwards flagged down two cops and took them to Dahmer’s Apartment, Dahmer let them in, and even into his bedroom
One of the officers found Dahmer’s photos and showed them to his partner – they realized they had a killer standing with them.
When Dahmer saw that Mueller was holding several of his Polaroids, he fought with the officers in an effort to resist arrest. The officers quickly overpowered him, cuffed his hands behind his back, and called a second squad car for backup. At this point, Mueller opened the refrigerator to reveal the freshly severed head of a black male on the bottom shelf. As Dahmer lay pinned on the floor beneath Rauth, he turned his head towards the officers and muttered the words: "For what I did I should be dead.”
A more detailed search of the apartment, conducted by the Criminal Investigation Bureau, revealed a total of four severed heads in Dahmer's kitchen. A total of seven skulls—some painted, some bleached—were found in Dahmer's bedroom and inside a closet. In addition, investigators discovered collected blood drippings upon a tray at the bottom of Dahmer's refrigerator, plus two human hearts and a portion of arm muscle, each wrapped inside plastic bags upon the shelves. In Dahmer's freezer, investigators discovered an entire torso, plus a bag of human organs and flesh stuck to the ice at the bottom. Elsewhere in Apartment 213, investigators discovered two entire skeletons, a pair of severed hands, two severed and preserved penises, a mummified scalp and, in the 57-gallon drum, three further dismembered torsos dissolving in the acid solution. A total of 74 Polaroid pictures detailing the dismemberment of Dahmer's victims were found. In reference to the recovery of body parts and artifacts at 924 North 25th Street, the chief medical examiner later stated: "It was more like dismantling someone's museum than an actual crime scene.”
Beginning in the early hours of July 23, 1991, Dahmer was questioned by Detective Patrick Kennedy as to the murders he had committed and the evidence found at his apartment. Over the following two weeks, Kennedy and, later, Detective Patrick Murphy conducted numerous interviews with Dahmer which, when combined, totaled over 60 hours. Dahmer waived his right to have a lawyer present throughout his interrogations, adding he wished to confess all as he had "created this horror and it only makes sense I do everything to put an end to it." He readily admitted to having murdered 16 young men in Wisconsin since 1987, with one further victim—Steven Hicks—killed in Ohio back in 1978.
He even admitted to performing sexual acts with his victim’s internal organs
He dismembered their bodies in his bathtub. Having noted that much of the blood pooled inside his victims' chest after death, Dahmer first removed their internal organs, then suspended the torso so the blood drained into his bathtub, before dicing any organs he did not wish to retain and paring the flesh from the body. The bones he wished to dispose of were pulverized or acidified, with Soilex and bleach solutions used to aid in the preservation of the skeletons and skulls he wished to keep. In addition, he confessed to having consumed the hearts, livers, biceps, and portions of thighs of several victims killed within the previous year.
When asked as to why he had preserved a total of seven skulls and the entire skeletons of two victims, Dahmer stated he had been in the process of constructing a private altar of victims' skulls which he had intended to adorn upon the black table located in his living room and upon which he had photographed the bodies of many of his victims. This display of skulls was to be adorned at each side with the complete skeletons of Ernest Miller and Oliver Lacy – it was to be a place he could feel at home
At a scheduled preliminary hearing on January 13, 1992, Dahmer pleaded guilty but insane to 15 counts of murder.
His trail began in 1992, he issue debated by opposing counsels at Dahmer's trial was to determine whether he suffered from either a mental or a personality disorder: the prosecution claiming that any disorders did not deprive Dahmer of the ability to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to deprive him of the ability to resist his impulses; the defense arguing that Dahmer suffered from a mental disease and was driven by obsessions and impulses he was unable to control.
Two court-appointed mental health professionals—testifying independently of either prosecution or defense—were forensic psychiatrist George Palermo and clinical psychologist Samuel Friedman. Palermo stated that the murders were the result of a "pent-up aggression within himself [Dahmer]. He killed those men because he wanted to kill the source of his homosexual attraction to them. In killing them, he killed what he hated in himself." Palermo concluded that Dahmer was a sexual sadist with antisocial personality disorder, but legally sane. Friedman testified that it was a longing for companionship that caused Dahmer to kill. He stated, "Mr. Dahmer is not psychotic." He spoke kindly of Dahmer, describing him as "Amiable, pleasant to be with, courteous, with a sense of humor, conventionally handsome, and charming in manner. He was, and still is, a bright young man." He diagnosed Dahmer with a personality disorder not otherwise specified featuring borderline, obsessive-compulsive, and sadistic traits
After a two week trial, February 15, 1992 the court reconvened to hear the verdict: Dahmer was ruled to be sane and not suffering from a mental disorder at the time of each of the 15 murders for which he was tried, although in each count, two of the 12 jurors signified their dissent. On the first two counts, Dahmer was sentenced to life imprisonment plus ten years, with the remaining 13 counts carrying a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment plus 70 years. The death penalty was not an option for Judge Gram to consider at the penalty phase as the State of Wisconsin had abolished capital punishment in 1853.
For his safety, Dahmer was in solitary confinement for his first year. That didn’t last too long.
Died in November 1994 in prison – beaten to death by another inmate
Tyler's Gary Ridgway Notes:
Gary Ridgway: The Green River Killer, and most prolific serial killer in US history
I will say before jumping in, researching this was pretty fucked up on multiple ends. First, he is a pretty fucked up guy, obviously, second is that a lot of the locations are ones I know personally and have been to multiple times just because I lived in the area. Like, for example, his blue one story house off military road near the pacific highway(which is called international boulevard to anyone who actually lives there, nobody calls it pacific highway anymore)? Yeah, I drove military road often. It’s like, the easy way to take the back roads into Renton from the highway. Anyways, weird and creepy, but here we go.
Actually process killer, never had trophies but loved to kill. From 1982 until 2001 Gary Ridgway terrorized the Pacific Northwest.
Born in Salt Lake City to Mary and Thomas Ridgway didn’t have a great childhood-parents arguing dad had a known dislike for sex workers that he saw often due to being a bus driver
According to Seattle times “He told investigators he wet his bed until he was 13 or so. He was a "slow learner" and a poor reader. He was held back two grades before graduating from Tyee High School in what is now SeaTac in 1969. He also dabbled in arson, paid a girl to let him fondle her genitals and once suffocated a cat. When he was about 15, he walked up to a first-grade boy near some bushes on a street corner and stabbed him in the side with a knife. Ridgway said he simply "wanted to see how to stab somebody” Stabbed him in the liver, kid survived thankfully but damn, 6 year old.
Wet the bed till 13- Seattle times: “Ridgway told doctors he was sexually attracted to his mother. His feelings for her fluctuated between "lust and humiliation," prosecutors wrote. His attraction to his mother was accompanied by murderous thoughts about her. "I thought about stabbing her in the chest or in the heart," he would say. He had "vivid memories" of his mother washing him after he would wet his bed.”
So already, pretty disturbed kid. Also gotta add since we are at this point in the timeline, one reason I picked Gary Ridgway is that I used to live in Seattle and one of my best friends would tell me a story about how when her mom was in high school in SeaTac, her friend actually dated the green river killer. Granted he wasn’t a killer at this point but he was killing cats and stabbing 6 year olds so, ya know.
After high school he marries his high school girlfriend joins the navy and is sent off to Vietnam. While there he starts having sex with lots of sex workers and begins that obsession. It’s good to note here that his ex wives and girlfriends would go on to say he had an insatiable appetite for sex and would demand sex multiple times a day even wanting public sex in places where his victims bodies would later be found. He had also become a pretty fundamentalist person at this point and held some very staunch religious beliefs though at the same time was still soliciting sex workers and really not following the whole “be a good person” part of religion. I digress, it’s murder time.
Throughout the 80's and 90's he killed at least 71 people in the Seattle/Tacoma area with most of the murders happening between 82 and 84. He would pick up a lot of his victims, generally sex workers or runways, on international boulevard , strangle then, and dump their bodies in the green river area ( my friend has a house that’s on the Green River, wooded area, secluded, really nice area actually, also a murder factory apparently).
So here is his general rundown of what he would do: Ridgway began each murder by picking up a woman, usually a sex worker. He sometimes showed the woman a picture of his son, to trick her into trusting him. After raping her, Ridgway strangled her from behind. He initially strangled them manually. However, many victims inflicted wounds and bruises on his arm while trying to defend themselves. Concerned these wounds and bruises would draw attention, Ridgway began using ligatures. He killed most victims in his home, his truck, or a secluded area. The bodies were often left in clusters, sometimes posed, usually nude. He would sometimes return to the victims' bodies and have sexual intercourse with them. Ridgway later explained that he did not find necrophilia more sexually satisfying, but having sex with the deceased decreased his need to obtain a living victim and thus limited his exposure to being caught.
The thing is, it’s weird, he was not a smart guy, barely passed college, is in the 80's but when it came to murder, he was really pretty intelligent. According to the Washington post: “He kept no incriminating trophies of his kills. Police never found any evidence in his modest suburban house, although he said he strangled dozens of women there. He stripped jewelry from the bodies, sometimes leaving it in the women's restroom at the Kenworth Motor Truck plant in Renton, Wash., where he painted trucks for more than 30 years and won awards for perfect attendance. "My favorite thing was maybe if someone's walking around with a piece of that jewelry that they found in the bathroom," he told investigators.He always wore gloves with his "dates." He would not pick up prostitutes unless they were alone. He bought new tires for his truck when he felt he'd driven too close to the site of a dumped body. He didn't smoke or chew gum, yet he left cigarette butts and gum wrappers near his victims' bodies as confusing clues. When one victim badly scratched his arm, he disguised the wound by basting it with battery acid. If a prostitute scratched or ripped his clothes, he would clip her fingernails before disposing of the body.”
Another crazy thing to think about is just how little info there really is on his victims and the murders themselves. These were women who lived on the fringe of society, sex workers and runaways, but it’s still crazy that there just isn’t a whole lot of info on them. So many of his victims are to this day still unidentified. This guy killed possibly upwards of 90 people and a lot of it is still a mystery.
But, let’s get into how he was finally caught and the circumstances that lead to the end of the green river killer. According to the news tribune “In the early 1980's, the King County Sheriff's Office formed the Green River Task Force to investigate the murders. The most notable members of the task force were Robert Keppel and Dave Reichert, who periodically interviewed incarcerated serial killer Ted Bundy in 1984. Bundy offered his opinions on the psychology, motivations, and behavior of the killer; he suggested that the killer was revisiting the dump sites to have sex with his victims, which turned out to be true, and if police found a fresh grave, they should stake it out and wait for him to come back.”
So Bundy helped build the profile and in a way, was part of the team that caught Ridgway.
Ridgway was actually arrested in 82 on prostitution charges and in 83 was a suspect in the green river killings. Unfortunately he passed a polygraph, though interestingly later reviews show he did indeed fail. I should note that polygraph tests are fairly subjective and not really considered hard evidence in most cases. But still. They were a lot closer than they realized. In 87 they took hair and saliva samples from him to compare.
“The samples collected in 1987 were later subjected to a DNA analysis, providing the evidence for his arrest warrant. On November 30, 2001, Ridgway was at the Kenworth Truck factory, where he worked as a spray painter, when police arrived to arrest him. Ridgway was arrested on suspicion of murdering four women nearly 20 years earlier after first being identified as a potential suspect, when DNA evidence conclusively linked semen left in the victims to the saliva swab taken by the police. The four victims named in the original indictment were Marcia Chapman, Opal Mills, Cynthia Hinds, and Carol Ann Christensen. Three more victims—Wendy Coffield, Debra Bonner, and Debra Estes—were added to the indictment after a forensic scientist identified microscopic spray paint spheres as a specific brand and composition of paint used at the Kenworth factory during the specific time frame when these victims were killed.”
On November 5, 2003, Ridgway entered a guilty plea to 48 charges of aggravated first degree murder as part of a plea bargain, agreed to in June, that would spare him execution in exchange for his cooperation in locating the remains of his victims and providing other details. In his statement accompanying his guilty plea, Ridgway explained that he had killed all of his victims inside King County, Washington, and that he had transported and dumped the remains of the two women near Portland to confuse the police.
Regarding why a plea deal was offered, king county prosecuting attorney Norm Maleng stated “We could have gone forward with seven counts, but that is all we could have ever hoped to solve. At the end of that trial, whatever the outcome, there would have been lingering doubts about the rest of these crimes. This agreement was the avenue to the truth. And in the end, the search for the truth is still why we have a criminal justice system ... Gary Ridgway does not deserve our mercy. He does not deserve to live. The mercy provided by today's resolution is directed not at Ridgway, but toward the families who have suffered so much …”
On December 18, 2003, King County Superior Court Judge Richard Jones sentenced Ridgway to 48 life sentences with no possibility of parole and one life sentence, to be served consecutively. He was also sentenced to an additional 10 years for tampering with evidence for each of the 48 victims, adding 480 years to his 48 life sentences. Really the only way he avoided the death penalty was the plea bargain since Washington is in fact a death penalty state.
Though he was charged in “only” 48 murders at the time, (he would go on to be found guilty of a 49th victim) he would go on to later confess to killing 71 victims and is suspected of murdering more than 90. His 49 confirmed victims are: #, Name, Age
Wendy Lee Coffield, 16
Gisele Ann Lovvorn, 17
Debra Lynn Bonner, 23
Marcia Fay Chapman, 31
Cynthia Jean Hinds, 17
Opal Charmaine Mills, 16
Terry Rene Milligan, 16
Mary Bridget Meehan, 18
Debra Lorraine Estes, 15
Linda Jane Rule, 16
Denise Darcel Bush, 23
Shawnda Leea Summers, 16
Shirley Marie Sherrill, 18
Rebecca "Becky" Marrero, 20
Colleen Renee Brockman, 15
Sandra Denise Major, 20
Alma Ann Smith, 18
Delores LaVerne Williams, 17
Gail Lynn Mathews, 23
Andrea M. Childers, 19
Sandra Kay Gabbert, 17
Kimi-Kai Pitsor, 16
Marie M. Malvar, 18
Carol Ann Christensen, 21
Martina Theresa Authorlee, 18
Cheryl Lee Wims, 18
Yvonne "Shelly" Antosh, 19
Carrie Ann Rois, 15
Constance Elizabeth Naon, 19
Kelly Marie Ware, 22
Tina Marie Thompson, 21
April Dawn Buttram, 16
Debbie May Abernathy, 26
Tracy Ann Winston, 19
Maureen Sue Feeney, 19
Mary Sue Bello, 25
Pammy Annette Avent, 15
Delise Louise Plager, 22
Kimberly L. Nelson, 21
Lisa Yates, 19
Mary Exzetta West, 16
Cindy Anne Smith, 17
Patricia Michelle Barczak, 19
Roberta Joseph Hayes, 21
Marta Reeves, 36
Patricia Yellowrobe, 38
Unidentified White Female (Jane Doe B-10), 12–18
Unidentified White Female (Jane Doe B-17), 14–18
Unidentified Female (Jane Doe B-20), 13–24
Blood & Wine