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Richard Speck

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Real World Bio
Richard Speck
Name Richard Franklin Speck
Alias Richard Benjamin Speck
Richard Franklin Lindberg
Gender Male
Birth Date December 6, 1941
Place of Birth Kirkwood, Illinois
Date of Death December 5, 1991
Place of Death Joliet, Illinois
Job National Maritime Union naval jobs
Pathology Serial Rapist
Mass Murderer
Modus Operandi Strangulation
Stabbing
No. of Victims 8 killed
3 raped
4 possible killed
1 possible rape
Status Deceased (heart attack)

"Day I was born all hell broke loose the next day. Hasn't stopped since."

Richard Franklin Speck was an American serial rapist who then killed eight nurses in a mass murder.

BackgroundEdit

Speck was born in rural Kirkwood, Illinois the seventh of eight children. His parents were Benjamin Franklin Speck and Mary Margaret Carbaugh Speck. While his mother was strictly religious and fundamentally against alcohol and smoking, Speck was very close to his father and would sometimes go fishing with him alone. When Mr. Speck died of a heart attack in 1947, aged 53, Richard was devastated. Things became worse when Mrs. Speck married an insurance salesman, Carl Lindbergh, in 1950. Lindbergh was a drinker with a criminal record for drunk driving and fraud and often abused Speck emotionally and verbally. The family kept moving around between poor neighborhoods in Texas. He took to drinking, being an alcoholic by the age of 13, and started spending time with other delinquents. He was often in trouble with the law and learned how to open windows with a switchblade. Every time he was arrested, his mother would help him out. Speck worked as a laborer for the 7 Up bottling company from 1960 to 1963, spending most of his salary on drugs and prostitutes. In October 1961, he met 15-year-old Shirley Annette Malone at the Texas State Fair, impregnating her three weeks into their relationship. When they married on January 19, 1962, Speck changed his name to Richard Franklin Speck. When Malone gave birth to their daughter, Robbie Lynn, on July 5, 1962, Speck was serving a 22-day sentence for disturbing the peace after a drunken brawl. He was also in jail for many more petty offenses during the marriage, including theft, check fraud and aggravated assault. He often believed his wife to be cheating on him and would, as punishment, pick up prostitutes, stop in front of their home and fondle the women while Shirley watched from the house before driving away. In January 1966, she decided that she had enough and filed for divorce, claiming he had raped her at least once at knifepoint. During the same month, he was arrested for aggravated assault again, but his mother's lawyer got the sentence reduced to a $10 fine, which he had failed to pay.

The Townhouse MassacreEdit

Speck townhouse

2319 E. 100th St., where the massacre occurred.

Speck returned to Illinois in an attempt to recapture some of his childhood. From that point, things went downhill for him; he burglarized a grocery store, stole 70 cartons of cigarettes, and started selling them from the trunk of an old car he bought. In order to keep him out of jail, his sister Carolyn helped him to get to Chicago, where his brother Gene got him a job as a carpenter. After burglarizing and raping the elderly Mrs. Virgil Harris on April 2 and being suspected of the murder of a barmaid at a bar he frequented, Speck fled and got a job on a ship on the Great Lakes. Along the way, he was wanted for questioning in the disappearances of three women and the murders of four others. He also learned that his ex-wife had remarried. Bouncing between National Maritime Union naval jobs, he was eventually fired after threatening a superior with a gun. During his time there, he had his appendix removed. He was later in a brief relationship with one of the nurses who treated him. She would later say that he was a perfect gentleman towards her. They parted on good terms after two weeks. On July 13, 1966 Speck raped 53-year old Ella Mae Hopper and stole a black .22-caliber Röhm revolver from her. He then attacked the nurses' townhouse, which he had seen when at the MNU hiring hall. Eight nurses were killed, while a ninth managed to escape.

Two days after the attack, having accidentally left a survivor, Speck felt the walls closing in on him and, after getting drunk on beer and cheap wine, smashed a bottle and used it to cut open his arm in an attempt to kill himself. He was saved and treated at a hospital where Dr. LeRoy Smith, who treated him, noticed a tattoo he had, "Born to Raise Hell", which had been mentioned in the media. Speck confessed to the murders to him, but since he was under the influence of sedatives, it wasn't valid in a court of law. After being taken to court on overwhelming evidence, such as fingerprints and the testimony of Cora Amurao, the survivor of the massacre, he was sentenced to death. The sentence was reduced to eight life terms, which in turn were reduced to 300 years in prison. While in county jail, he took up painting. At the Stateville Correctional Facility, he kept using bootleg alcohol and drugs and spent his time doing solitary activities like stamp collecting, listening to music and even kept a pair of sparrows. He was also given a job as a janitor and painted his cell and the walls. He applied for parole repeatedly, but failed each time. On December 5, 1991, he died of a heart attack. He was cremated and his ashes spread at an undisclosed location. In 1996, a recording of Speck behind bars made in 1988 surfaced. He is seen performing oral sex on fellow inmates, doing drugs, wearing panties and having hormone-induced breasts. He also describes the murders in graphic detail and comments on the massacre, "It just wasn't their night."

Modus OperandiEdit

Speck entered the nurses' townhouse through the front door, holding them at gunpoint with Ella Mae Hooper's revolver. He also brought a pocket knife and a hunting knife. Once inside, he told the nurses to give him their money, claiming he was going to New Orleans. After they had complied, he tied them up with torn strips of sheets and placed them in separate rooms. He then systematically raped and tortured them one by one and killed them by strangling or stabbing them. Between the killings, he would wash up, presumably to make it appear to the individual captives as though no one had been hurt.

ProfileEdit

Speck was diagnosed as suffering from Madonna-whore complex, stemming from his life with his strict yet loving mother, to whom he compared all women in his adult life. Because of this, he loathed women he perceived as "easy", including his wife. The fact that he believed himself to have been born to make headlines would also imply that he was a narcissist.

Known VictimsEdit

Speck's victims

Speck's fatal victims.

ConfirmedEdit

  • 1966:
    • April 2, Monmouth, Illinois: Mrs. Virgil Harris, 65 (burglarized, tied up, raped and robbed)
    • July 13-14, Chicago, Illinois:
      • Ella Mae Hooper (raped and robbed only)
      • Nine victims, eight of them killed, in the 2319 E. 100th St. townhouse massacre, all nurses:
        • Mary Ann Jordan (stabbed three times)
        • Suzanne Farris (strangled with a stocking and stabbed 18 times)
        • Patricia Matusek (punched in the stomach and strangled)
        • Nina Schmale (stabbed in the neck and suffocated)
        • Pamela Wilkening (stabbed once in the heart)
        • Merlita Galguilo (stabbed and strangled)
        • Valentina Paison (her throat was slashed)
        • Gloria Davy (strangled)
        • Corazon "Cora" Amurao (attempted; she escaped)

SuspectedEdit

  • Unspecified date and location: Shirley Annette Malone (his wife; allegedly raped on at least one occasion)
  • 1966:
    • April 13, Monmouth, Illinois: Mary Kay Pierce (beaten to death)
    • July 2, unspecified locations in Indiana: Three unnamed girls (disappeared; all were never found)

On Criminal MindsEdit

Speck has been referenced a number of times on Criminal Minds. The most notable occasion was in Killer Profile, in which copycat killer Daniel Dryden went to the townhouse in which Speck's killings of the nurses took place with the intention of copying his M.O. on some of the current residents, even dressing up just like Speck had and bringing the same equipment. However, the authorities had figured out where his next attack would be and were waiting for him outside. Daniel fled and, having entered a kind of "close enough" phase, drove to a nearby community hospital and fired at three nurses, one of which died of her injuries, both as a vague reference to Speck's murders and as a diversion for the police. He then returned to the townhouse, planning to finish his Speck imitation, but was arrested by Rossi.

SourcesEdit

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