Dennis Lynn Rader (born March 9, 1945) is an American serial killer who murdered 10 people in Sedgwick County (in and around Wichita, Kansas), between 1974 and 1991. He was known as the BTK killer (or the BTK strangler), which stands for “bind, torture and kill” and describes his modus operandi. He sent boastful letters describing the details of the killings to police and to local news outlets during the period of time in which the murders took place. After a long hiatus in the 1990s, he resumed sending letters in 2004, leading to his 2005 arrest and subsequent conviction.

Early life

Rader is the eldest of four sons born to William Elvin Rader and Dorothea Mae Cook. Though born in Pittsburg, Kansas, he grew up in Wichita, attended Riverview School, and later graduated from Wichita Heights High School. In 1957, he was confirmed into the Zion Lutheran Church.

According to several reports, including his own confessions, as a child he tortured animals, one of the warning signs in the MacDonald triad. He also harbored a sexual fetish for women’s underwear, he would later steal panties from his victims and wear them himself.

Rader attended Kansas Wesleyan University from 1965 to 1966. He subsequently spent four years (1966-1970) in the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Texas, Alabama, Okinawa, South Korea, Greece and Turkey.

When he returned to the United States, he moved to Park City, a suburb located seven miles north of Wichita. He worked for a time in the meat department of Leekers IGA supermarket in Park City alongside his mother, a bookkeeper for the store.

Personal life

Rader attended Butler County Community College in El Dorado, earning an associate’s degree in Electronics in 1973. He enrolled at Wichita State University that same fall. He graduated from there in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice. He married Paula Dietz, on May 22, 1971, and they had one son and one daughter.

From 1972 to 1973, Rader worked as an assembler for the Coleman Company, a camping gear firm, as had two of his early victims. He then worked for a short time for Cessna, in 1973. From November 1974 until being fired in July 1988, Rader worked at a Wichita-based office of ADT Security Services, a company that sold and installed alarm systems for commercial businesses during Rader’s years there. He held several positions, including installation manager. It was believed that he learned how to defeat home security systems while there.

Rader was a census field operations supervisor for the Wichita area in 1989, prior to the 1990 federal census.

In 1991 Rader was hired to be supervisor of the Compliance Department at Park City, a two-employee, multi-functional department in charge of “animal control, housing problems, zoning, general permit enforcement and a variety of nuisance cases.” In this position, neighbors recalled him as sometimes overzealous and extremely strict; one neighbor complained that he euthanized her dog for no reason. On March 2, 2005, the Park City council terminated Rader’s employment for failure to report to work or to call in; he had been arrested for the murders five days earlier.

Rader served on both the Sedgwick County’s Board of Zoning Appeals and the Animal Control Advisory Board (appointed in 1996 and resigned in 1998). He was also a member of Christ Lutheran Church, a Lutheran congregation of about 200 people, near his former high school. He had been a member for about 30 years and had been elected president of the Congregation Council. He was also a Cub Scout leader. His son became an Eagle Scout. On July 27, 2005, after Rader’s arrest, Sedgwick County District Judge Eric Yost waived the usual 60-day waiting period and granted an immediate divorce for his wife, agreeing that her mental health was in danger. Rader did not contest the divorce, and the 33-year marriage was ended. Paula Rader said in her divorce petition that her mental and physical condition has been adversely affected by the marriage.


January 15, 1974: Four members of the Otero family

Joseph Otero

Julie Otero, Joseph’s wife

Joseph Otero II, son

Josephine Otero, daughter

April 4, 1974: Kathryn Bright (he also shot Bright’s brother, Kevin, twice, but he survived)

March 17, 1977: Shirley Vian

December 8, 1977: Nancy Fox

April 27, 1985: Marine Hedge

September 16, 1986: Vicki Wegerle

January 19, 1991: Dolores Davis

He collected items from the scenes of the murders he committed and, reportedly, he had no items that were related to any other killings. He did have other intended victims, notably Anna Williams, 63, who in 1979 escaped death by returning home much later than he expected. Rader explained during his confession that he had become obsessed with Williams and was “absolutely livid” when she evaded him. Rader spent hours waiting in her home but became impatient and left when she did not return home from visiting friends

Rader had stalked two women in the 1980s and one in the mid-1990s. They filed restraining orders against him and one moved away.

Rader also admitted in his interrogation that he was planning to kill again. He had even set a date, October 2004, and was stalking his intended victim.

Arrest and conviction

By 2004, the investigation of the BTK Killer had gone cold. Then, Rader sent a letter to the police, claiming responsibility for a killing that had previously not been attributed to him. DNA collected from under the fingernails of that victim provided police with previously unknown evidence. They then began DNA testing hundreds of men in an effort to find the serial killer. Altogether, some 1100 DNA samples would be taken.

The police corresponded with the BTK Killer (Rader) in an effort to gain his confidence. Then, in one of his communications with police, Rader asked them if it was possible to trace information from floppy disks. The police department replied that there was no way of knowing what computer such a disk had been used on, when in fact such ways existed. Rader then sent his message and floppy to the police department, which quickly checked the metadata of the Microsoft Word document. In the metadata, they found that the document had been made by a man who called himself Dennis. They also found a link to the Lutheran Church. When the police searched on the Internet for ‘Lutheran Church Wichita Dennis’, they found his family name, and were able to identify a suspect: Dennis Rader, a Lutheran Deacon. The police also knew BTK owned a black Jeep Cherokee. When investigators drove by Rader’s house they noticed a black Jeep Cherokee parked outside.

The police now had strong circumstantial evidence against Rader, but they needed more direct evidence in order to detain him. They controversially obtained a warrant to test the DNA of a Pap smear Rader’s daughter had taken at the University of Kansas medical clinic while she was a student there. The DNA of the Pap smear was a near match to the DNA of the sample taken from the victim’s fingernails indicating that the killer was closely related to Rader’s daughter. This was the evidence the police needed to make an arrest

On February 25, 2005, Rader was detained near his home in Park City and accused of the BTK killings. At a press conference the next morning, Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams announced, “the bottom line… BTK is arrested.” Rader pleaded guilty to the murders on June 27, 2005, giving a graphic account of his crimes in court.

On August 18, 2005, he was sentenced to serve 10 consecutive life sentences, one life sentence per murder victim. This included nine life sentences that each had the possibility of parole after 15 years, and one life sentence with the possibility of parole after 40 years. It meant that, in total, Rader would be eligible for parole after 175 years of imprisonment. This result guaranteed that Rader would spend the rest of his life in prison, without any possibility of parole.

Rader was ineligible for the death penalty, because Kansas did not have a death penalty during the period of time in which he committed his crimes. Kansas reinstated death penalty laws in 1994.


Rader was particularly known for sending taunting letters to police and newspapers. There were several communications from BTK from 1974 to 1979. The first was a letter that had been stashed in an engineering book in the Wichita Public Library in October 1974 that described in detail the killing of the Otero family in January of that year.

In early 1978, he sent another letter to television station KAKE in Wichita, claiming responsibility for the murders of the Oteros, Shirley Vian, Nancy Fox and another unidentified victim assumed to be Kathryn Bright (not identified because her brother survived and could have identified him). He suggested a number of possible names for himself, including the one that stuck: BTK. He demanded media attention in this second letter, and it was finally announced that Wichita did indeed have a serial killer at large. A poem was enclosed entitled “Oh! Death to Nancy,” a botched version of the lyrics of the American folk song “Oh Death.”

In 1979 he sent two identical packages, one to an intended victim who was not at home when he broke into her house and the other to KAKE. These featured another poem, “Oh Anna Why Didn’t You Appear”, a drawing of what he had intended to do to his victim, as well as some small items he had pilfered from Williams’ home. Apparently, Rader had waited for several hours inside the home of Anna Williams, but left when she did not come home until later.

In 1988, after the murders of three members of the Fager family in Wichita, a letter was received from someone claiming to be the BTK killer in which he denied being the perpetrator of this crime. He did credit the killer with having done “admirable work”. It was not proven until 2005 that this letter was in fact written by the genuine BTK killer (Rader), although he is not considered by police to have committed this crime

In March 2004, a series of 11 communications from BTK (Rader) to the local media led directly to his arrest in February 2005. The Wichita Eagle received a letter from someone using the return address Bill Thomas Killman.

The author of the letter claimed that he had murdered Vicki Wegerle on September 16, 1986, and enclosed photographs of the crime scene and a photocopy of her driver’s license, which had been stolen at the time of the crime. Prior to this, it had not been definitively established that Wegerle was killed by BTK (Rader).

In May 2004, a word puzzle was received by KAKE. On June 9, 2004, a package was found taped to a stop sign at the corner of First and Kansas in Wichita, containing graphic descriptions of the Otero murders and a sketch labeled, “The Sexual Thrill Is My Bill.” Also enclosed was a chapter list for a proposed book entitled “The BTK Story,” which mimicked a story written in 1999 by Court TV (now truTV) crime writer David Lohr. Chapter One was entitled, “A Serial Killer Is Born.”.

In July, a package was dropped into the return slot at the downtown public library containing more bizarre material, including the claim that he was responsible for the death of 19-year-old Jake Allen in Argonia, Kansas earlier that same month. This claim was found to be false and the death has been ruled a suicide.

In October 2004, a manila envelope was dropped into a UPS box in Wichita containing a series of cards with images of terror and bondage of children pasted on them. Also included was a poem threatening the life of lead investigator Lt. Ken Landwehr and a false autobiography containing many details about Rader’s life. These details were later released to the public.

In December 2004, Wichita police received another package from the BTK killer. This time the package was found in Wichita’s Murdock Park. It contained the driver’s license of Nancy Fox, which was noted as stolen from the crime scene, as well as a doll that was symbolically bound at the hands and feet with a plastic bag tied over its head.

In January 2005, Rader attempted to leave a cereal box in the bed of a pickup truck at a Home Depot in Wichita, but the box was at first discarded by the owner. It was later retrieved from the trash after Rader himself asked what had become of it in a later message. Surveillance tape of the parking lot from that date revealed a distant figure driving a black Jeep Cherokee leaving the box in the pickup.

In February, more postcards were sent to KAKE, and another cereal box left at a rural location that contained another bound doll, apparently meant to symbolize the murder of 11-year-old Josephine Otero. In his letters to police, Rader asked if his writings, if put on a floppy disk, could be traced or not. The police answered his question via a newspaper ad posted in the Wichita Eagle saying it would be OK to use the disk.

On February 16, 2005 he sent a floppy disk to Fox TV station KSAS in Wichita. Forensic analysis quickly determined that the disk had been used by the Christ Lutheran Church in Wichita, as well as a reference to the name “Dennis”. An internet search determined that a “Dennis Rader” was president of the church council. He was arrested on February 25.


The following is purportedly the text of a 1978 letter, including spelling and grammatical errors:

I find the newspaper not writing about the poem on Vain unamusing. A little paragraph would have enough. Iknow it not the media fault. The Police Cheif he keep things quiet, and doesn’t let the public know there a psycho running around lose strangling mostly women, there 7 in the ground; who will be next?

How many do I have to Kill before I get a name in the paper or some national attention. Do the cop think that all those deaths are not related? Golly -gee, yes the M.O. is different in each, but look a pattern is developing. The victims are tie up-most have been women-phone cut- bring some bondage mater sadist tendencies-no struggle, outside the death spot-no wintness except the Vain’s Kids. They were very lucky; a phone call save them. I was go-ng to tape the boys and put plastics bag over there head like I did Joseph, and Shirley. And then hang the girl. God-oh God what a beautiful sexual relief that would been. Josephine,when I hung her really turn me on; her pleading for mercy then the rope took whole, she helpless; staring at me with wide terror fill eyes the rope getting tighter-tighter. You don’t understand these things because your not underthe influence of factor x). The same thing that made Son of Sam, Jack the Ripper, Havery Glatman, Boston Strangler, Dr. H. H. Holmes Panty Hose Strangler OF Florida, Hillside Strangler, Ted of the West Coast and many more infamous character kill. Which seem s senseless, but we cannot help it. There is no help, no cure, except death or being caught and put away. It a terrible nightmarebut, you see I don’t lose any sleep over it. After a thing like Fox I ccome home and go about life like anyone else. And I will be like that until the urge hit me again. It not continuous and I don;t have a lot of time. It take time to set a kill, one mistake and it all over. Since I about blew it on the phone-handwriting is out-letter guide is to long and typewriter can be traced too,.My short poem of death and maybe a drawing;later on real picture and maybe a tape of the sound will come your way. How will you know me. Before a murder or murders you will receive a copy of the initials B.T.K. , you keep that copy the original will show up some day on guess who? May you not be the unluck one!



The BTK killer’s last known communication with the media and police was a padded envelope which arrived at FOX affiliate KSAS-TV in Wichita on February 16, 2005. A purple, 1.44-MB Memorex floppy disk was enclosed in the package. Also enclosed were a letter, a photocopy of the cover of a 1989 novel about a serial killer (Rules of Prey) and a gold-colored necklace with a large medallion.

Police found metadata embedded in a deleted Microsoft Word document that was, unbeknownst to Rader, still on the disk. The metadata, recovered using the forensic software EnCase, contained “Christ Lutheran Church”, and the document was marked as last modified by “Dennis”. A search of the church website turned up Dennis Rader as president of the congregation council. Police began surveillance of Rader.

Sometime during this period, police obtained a warrant for the medical records of Rader’s daughter. A tissue sample seized at this time was tested for DNA and provided a familial match with semen collected at an earlier BTK crime scene. This, along with other evidence gathered prior to and during the surveillance, gave police probable cause for an arrest.

Rader was stopped while driving near his home and taken into custody shortly after noon on February 25, 2005. Immediately after, law enforcement officials, including a Wichita Police bomb unit truck, two SWAT trucks, and KBI, FBI and ATF agents, converged on Rader’s residence near the intersection of I-135 and 61st Street North. Once in handcuffs, he was asked by an officer, “Mr. Rader, do you know why you’re going downtown?” to which he replied, “Oh, I have my suspicions, why?” Police searched Rader’s home and vehicle collecting evidence, including: computer equipment, a pair of black pantyhose retrieved from a shed, and a cylindrical container. The church he attended, his office at City Hall and the main branch of the Park City library were also searched that day. Officers were seen removing a computer from his City Hall office, but it is unclear if any evidence was found at these locations.

After his arrest, Rader talked to the police for several hours. He stated he chose to resurface in 2004 for various reasons, including David Lohr’s feature story on the case and the release of the book Nightmare in Wichita: The Hunt for the BTK Strangler by Robert Beattie. He wanted the opportunity to tell his story his own way. He also said he was bored because his children had grown up and he had more time on his hands.

On February 26, 2005, The Wichita Police Department announced in a press conference that they were holding Rader as the prime suspect in the BTK killings,

Rader was formally charged with the murders on February 28, 2005.

Legal proceedings

Kansas reinstated the death penalty in 1994. The last known BTK killing was in 1991, making all known BTK murders ineligible for the death penalty. Even if later murders are linked to the BTK killer, it was originally unclear whether the death penalty would come into play, as the Kansas Supreme Court declared the state’s capital punishment law unconstitutional on December 17, 2004. That ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court, however, was reversed by the United States Supreme Court on June 26, 2006 in the case of Kansas v. Marsh, and the Kansas death penalty statute was upheld. The Sunday after his arrest, Associated Press cited an anonymous source that Rader had confessed to other murders in addition to the ones with which he was already connected.

When asked about the reported confessions, Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston said “Your information is patently false”, but she refused to say whether Rader had made any confessions or whether investigators were looking into Rader’s possible involvement in more unsolved killings.

On March 5, news sources claimed to have verified by multiple sources that Rader had confessed to the 10 murders he was charged with, but no additional ones.

On February 28, 2005, Rader was formally charged with 10 counts of first degree murder. He made his first appearance via videoconference from jail. He was represented by a public defender. Bail was continued at $10 million.

On May 3, District Court Judge Gregory Waller entered not guilty pleas to the 10 charges on Rader’s behalf, as Rader did not speak at his arraignment.

On June 27, the scheduled trial date, Rader changed his plea to guilty. He unemotionally described the murders in detail, and made no apologies.

On August 18, Rader faced sentencing. Victims’ families made statements, followed by Rader, who apologized for the crimes. He was sentenced to 10 consecutive life terms, which requires a minimum of 175 years without a chance of parole. Because Kansas had no death penalty at the time the murders were committed, life imprisonment was the maximum penalty allowed by law.

On August 19, Rader was moved from the Sedgwick County Jail to the El Dorado Correctional Facility, a Kansas state prison, to begin serving his life sentence as inmate #0083707 with an earliest possible release date of February 26, 2180.

According to witnesses, while travelling the 40-minute drive from Wichita to El Dorado, Rader talked about innocuous topics such as the weather, but began to cry when the victims’ families’ statements from the court proceedings came on the radio. Rader is now being held in the EDCF Special Management unit, also known as solitary confinement, for “the inmate’s own protection”, a designation he most likely will retain for the remainder of his incarceration. He is confined to the cell 23 hours a day with the exception of voluntary solo one-hour exercise yard time, and access to the shower three times per week.

Beginning April 23, 2006, having reached “Incentive Level Two”, Rader has been allowed to purchase and watch television, purchase and listen to the radio, receive and read magazines, and have other privileges for good behavior. The victims’ families disagreed with this decision.

According to Rader’s record in the Kansas Department of Corrections database, he had a Class Two disciplinary report concerning “mail” on April 10, 2006.

Further investigation

Police in Wichita, Park City, and several surrounding cities are looking into unsolved cases before, during, and after 1974 and 1991 in cooperation with the state police and the FBI. In particular they are focusing on cases after 1994 when the death penalty was reinstated in Kansas. Moreover police in surrounding states such as Missouri and Oklahoma are also investigating cold cases which fit Rader’s pattern.

The FBI, Air Patrol, and local jurisdictions at Rader’s former duty stations are checking into unsolved cases during Rader’s time in the service. As of November 2009, no other murders have been discovered that can be attributed to Rader.

Evidence pertaining to the murders

Because Rader did not contest his guilt, most evidence was not tested in court. However, physical and circumstantial facts that would have corroborated Rader as the BTK killer include:

DNA analysis of BTK’s semen and material taken from underneath the fingernails of victim Vicki Wegerle match the DNA profile of Dennis Rader.

Rader’s grammar and writing style matches letters and poems received from BTK, though none of his communications were handwritten, but typed, stenciled, stamped with a stamp set or computer generated.

A pay phone that the killer used to report a murder in 1977 was located a few blocks from ADT Security (Rader’s workplace at the time).

Rader had attended Wichita State University in the 1970s. Wichita Police Detective Arlyn G. Smith II and his partner George Scantlin traced BTK’s photocopied communications to two photocopy machines, one at Wichita State University and a second copier at the Wichita Public Library. BTK murder victim Kathryn Bright’s brother Kevin, who was shot twice by BTK, reported that the killer had asked him if he had seen him at the university. A poem in one of the killer’s letters was similar to a folk song taught by a professor on that campus in that time period, though Rader himself dismissed any connection.

Rader lived on the same street as Marine Hedge, just houses away. The BTK killer’s other victims were in and around central Wichita, except for his final victim Dolores (Dee) Davis, who lived a half-mile east of Park City.

Two of the victims (Julie Otero and Kathryn Bright) worked at the Coleman Company, though not during the same period that Rader worked there. Rader worked at Coleman only a short time and not at the same location as the victims.

Rader’s 16 plus hour confession, given fully and freely after receiving multiple Miranda warnings and recorded on over 20 DVDs, in which he alluded to all 10 known murders in remarkable (and grisly) detail.

Semen found on Josephine Otero or near the bodies of his victims Josephine Otero, Shirley Vian and Nancy Fox was critical evidence linking Rader to the crimes, and DNA obtained from fingernail scrapings of Vicki Wegerle’s left hand matched Rader’s DNA, eliminating any doubt that he was her murderer. Rader also sent trophies to police in his letters, and others were discovered in his office. Other cold cases in Kansas were reopened to see if Rader’s DNA matched crime scenes, but Rader’s confession was limited to the 10 known victims and police and prosecutors do not believe there were any more victims because of the extensive records and memorabilia he kept on each of his victims

Post-arrest notoriety and profit

On July 22, 2005, a controversy erupted on CNN’s Nancy Grace show over a poem that Dennis Rader had written that was passed on to someone who then sold it on an auction site that specializes in serial killer memorabilia. The poem was titled “Black Friday”, an ode to the day he was arrested. The poem expressed Rader’s unhappiness about being caught, with one of the verses proclaiming, “The dark side of me has been exposed.”

On August 12, 2005, Dateline NBC aired Confessions of BTK.

Massachusetts psychologist Robert Mendoza was hired by Rader’s court-appointed public defenders to conduct an interview after he pleaded guilty on June 27. NBC claimed Rader knew the interview might be on TV, but that was a false statement according to the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s department. Rader mentioned the interview during his sentencing statement.

On October 25, 2005, the Kansas Attorney General filed a petition to sue Robert Mendoza and Tali Waters, co-owners of Cambridge Forensic Consultants, LLC, for breach of contract, claiming they intended to benefit financially from the use of information obtained from involvement in Rader’s defense. On May 10, 2007, Mendoza settled the case for $30,000 with no admission of wrongdoing. The Kansas Attorney General’s office arranged for the settlement money to be distributed to families of the victims.

LANSING, Mich. — A prison parolee and registered sex offender is suspected of killing five women in the city in just over a month, police said Friday.

Matthew Emmanuel Macon, 27, of Lansing, also could face charges for a sixth killing from 2004.

Lansing Police Chief Mark Alley said murder and assault charges were being pursued against Macon, who was paroled from state prison June 26. Macon also is a registered sex offender, Alley said.

He had been in prison off and on since 2001, returning twice for parole violations after serving more than a year-and-a-half for larceny from a person, said state Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan.

Macon also had an extensive juvenile criminal history, including two sex offenses, breaking and entering, larceny and unlawfully driving away an automobile, Marlan said.

He was arrested Tuesday in connection with the deaths this summer of Ruth Hallman, 76; Deborah Cooke, 36; Debra Renfors, 46; Sandra Eichorn, 64; and Karen Yates, 41.

He also may be charged with the 2004 death of Barbara Jean Tuttle of Lansing.

Police had been looking for clues and help from the public in five unsolved homicides since late July, including two this week — which had raised concerns a serial killer was on the loose in the state capital, a city of 114,000 located about 75 miles northwest of Detroit. Alley declined to discuss the circumstances surrounding the arrest, or any motive for the homicides.

Investigators had noted similarities between several of the slayings and a series of unsolved 2003 assaults. The 2003 victims were middle-aged or older women who lived alone, as were a number of the recent homicide victims.

Yates died two days after Eichorn was found dead in the house she rented on Lansing’s west side. On Tuesday, a 56-year-old woman received non-life-threatening injuries in an attack in her home on the city’s east side. Her dog heard the commotion and charged the man, causing him to flee the scene.

Police credited the woman for providing key details that helped focus their investigation and led to a sketch of a suspect being distributed to the public.

At the time, police said the person responsible for that attack was connected to the deaths of Eichorn, Cooke, Renfors, Yates and Hallman, who was found beaten in her home July 26 and died later.

Cooke’s body was found Aug. 6 in a city park. Renfors was found dead Aug. 9 in a house.

The crimes all appeared to fit a profile. The victims were women who lived alone and were beaten.

But Thursday, Lansing police said residents could rest a little easier. A man authorities say is responsible for five homicides and one assault starting in late July and continuing through Wednesday had been arrested.

The spree by day and victims:

• July 26: Ruth Hallman, 76, a neighborhood activist and mother of Lansing Councilwoman Carol Wood, was found beaten in her West Lapeer Street home. She died from the injuries two days later. Hallman had long stood for safe streets and often provided information to police about drug houses.

• Aug. 7: Deborah Kaye Cooke, 36. Her body was found in Hunter Park on the city’s east side. Officers were on routine patrol about 4:30 a.m. when they spotted her body next to a tree. She was bloodied and beaten in the face and naked below the waist.

• Aug. 9: Debra Renfors, 46, was found dead in her new home in the 1000 block of North Washington in the Old Town district. Friends said Renfors was trying to leave a life of prostitution and would clean homes to avoid the temptation of returning to the streets. She moved from Mt. Clemens to Lansing about seven years ago.

• Monday: Sandra Eichorn, 64, was found dead in a home she was renting in the 1800 block of South Genesee on the west side. Eichorn, a General Motors Corp. plant retiree, had been renting the house for about a year and lived by herself. She was a NASCAR fan.

• Tuesday: A 56-year-old woman was assaulted in her home in the 200 block of Jones Street on the east side. The woman was able to call police from her home after the assault. Police said the attacker, who claimed to be looking for work, entered her back door and struck her in the head.

The woman’s dog scared off the man and he fled. Police said the woman’s description — and evidence inside the home — led them to the suspect. Police would not identify the victim, who has been released from the hospital.

• Wednesday: Karen Delgado-Yates, 41, was found injured in a vacant house in the 1100 block of Hickory Street. Investors interested in buying the house found Delgado-Yates. She died on the way to the hospital. Delgado-Yates also had a history of prostitution and had lived in a homeless shelter for a while.

Kristen Gilbert (born November 13, 1967 as Kristen Strickland in Fall River, Massachusetts) is an American serial killer who was convicted for three first-degree murders, one second-degree murder, and two attempted murders of patients admitted for care at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Northampton, Massachusetts. She killed her patients by injecting them with epinephrine, causing them to have heart attacks.

As a child, Kristen Strickland exhibited a high scholastic aptitude. As she entered her teen years, friends and family took notice that she had become a habitual liar and was prone to neurotic behavior. She graduated from high school at age sixteen, graduated from Greenfield Community College, and received licensure as a registered nurse in 1988. Later that year, she married Glenn Gilbert. In 1989, she joined the staff of the VAMC in Northampton. She distinguished herself early on, and was featured in the magazine VA Practitioner in April 1990.

Although other nurses noticed a high number of deaths on Gilbert’s watch, they passed it off and jokingly called her the “Angel of Death.” In 1996, three nurses reported their concern about an increase in cardiac arrest deaths and a decrease in the supply of epinephrine; an investigation ensued. Gilbert telephoned in a bomb threat to attempt to derail the investigation.

Gilbert’s motives are not clear. Staff at the Northampton VAMC have speculated that her intent was to demonstrate her nursing skills by creating emergency situations, since there were an unusual number of cardiac arrests during the time in question and many of the patients survived. Others claim that she was using these emergency situations to gain the attention of James Perrault, a VA police officer who later had an affair with Gilbert. VA hospital rules required that hospital police be present at any medical emergency.

VA hospital staff members speculate that Gilbert may have been responsible for eighty or more deaths and over three hundred medical emergencies.

The prosecutor in her case, Assistant U.S. Attorney William M. Welch II, asserted that Gilbert was having an affair with VA police officer Perrault at the hospital. Perrault testified against Gilbert, saying that she confessed at least one murder to him. Defense attorney David P. Hoose claimed reasonable doubt based on a lack of direct evidence.

Kristen Gilbert, who had two children and was divorced from Glenn Gilbert, was convicted on March 14, 2001 in federal court. Though Massachusetts does not have capital punishment, her crimes were committed on federal property and thus subject to the death penalty. However, upon the jury’s recommendation, she was sentenced to life in prison without the chance for parole plus 20 years.

Gilbert was transferred from a federal prison for women in Framingham, MA, to a federal prison in Texas, where she has remained ever since. She is serving her sentence at Carswell Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Gilbert dropped her federal appeal for a new trial after a recent US Supreme Court ruling that would have allowed prosecutors to pursue the death penalty upon retrial.

Gilbert was the subject of Perfect Poison, a book by Connecticut author M. William Phelps.

Paul Dennis Reid, Jr. (born November 12, 1957) is an American serial killer, convicted and sentenced to death for seven murders during three fast food restaurant robberies in Metropolitan Nashville, Tennessee and Clarksville, Tennessee between the months of February and April 1997.

At the time of the murders, Reid was on parole from an 1983 conviction in Texas on charges relating to the aggravated armed robbery of a Houston steakhouse. He had served seven years of a 20-year sentence, and was paroled in 1990. Originally from Richland Hills, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth, Reid came to Nashville to pursue a career as a country music singer. He is currently awaiting execution.


Reid assaulted eight victims in the three robberies, killing seven of them.

Captain D’s

At Captain D’s on Lebanon Road in Donelson, Tennessee, on the morning of February 16, 1997, Reid entered the store before opening, under the guise of applying for a job. Once inside, he forced employee Sarah Jackson, 16, and the manager, Steve Hampton, 25, into the restaurant’s cooler and bound their hands and feet. Reid forced the two to lie on the floor and then shot them execution style. Money, including large amounts of change, was found missing from the cash register. Reid used the cash from this robbery as a down payment on a car two days later.


At McDonald’s on Lebanon Road in Hermitage, Tennessee, on the evening of March 23, 1997, Reid approached two employees behind the store after closing. At gunpoint, he forced them back into the restaurant. Reid shot three employees to death execution style in the storeroom: Andrea Brown, 17; Ronald Santiago, 27; and Robert A. Sewell, Jr., 23. Reid attempted to shoot José Antonio Ramirez Gonzalez, but his weapon failed. Reid then stabbed Gonzalez 17 times and left him for dead. Gonzalez avoided further attacks by playing dead. Reid then took US$3000 from the cash registers and fled. When the scene was discovered, Gonzalez was taken to the hospital, treated, and ultimately survived. He eventually testified against Reid.


At Baskin-Robbins on Wilma Rudolph Boulevard in Clarksville, Tennessee, on the evening of April 23, 1997, Reid went to the door after closing and persuaded the employees to let him inside. Once inside, Reid kidnapped Angela Holmes, 21, and Michelle Mace, 16 and forced the two to Dunbar Cave State Park. Their bodies were discovered the next day on a lake shore with their throats cut.


On June 25, 1997, Reid went to the home of the Shoney’s manager who fired him from a dishwashing job the day before the Captain D’s murders (the stated reason for his firing was Reid losing his temper and throwing a dish at a fellow employee). Reid, armed with a knife, approached the man’s front door and attempted to get in, but the screen door was locked. The man’s son videotaped the encounter, and the footage was subsequently released to the media following police investigation. After the kidnapping attempt failed, Reid left the home without further incident and was subsequently arrested by Nashville police, after which he was considered the prime suspect and charged in the Captain D’s and McDonald’s murders, and eventually, the Baskin-Robbins murders.


Reid was convicted on seven counts of first-degree murder across three trials. Jurors from West and East Tennessee were brought in and sequestered, because a judge determined that the overwhelming media coverage in Nashville would prevent the selection of an unbiased jury from Middle Tennessee.

Captain D’s

In the Captain D’s murders, Steve Hampton’s driver’s license and a video rental card were found in the median of Ellington Parkway with Reid’s fingerprints on each. Reid was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder.


In the Baskin-Robbins murders, Reid’s car was found to contain forensic evidence from the victims, as well as evidence of a credit card gasoline purchase near the location of the bodies on the night of the murders, placing him at the scene around the time of the crime in an area roughly 40 miles (64 km) from his home. Blood evidence from the victims was found on his shoes. He was found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder. The Clarksville trial took place in the time between the two Nashville trials.


Jose Antonio Ramirez Gonzalez, the lone surviving victim of the McDonald’s robbery, identified Reid as his attacker in court. This was considered the key piece of evidence needed to convict him of the McDonald’s murders. Reid was found guilty on three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

In addition to his seven murder convictions, Reid was also convicted on multiple counts of lesser charges related to the same crimes, including especially aggravated robbery and especially aggravated kidnapping.


Reid received seven death sentences for his convictions, the first two coming on April 20, 1999. Reid’s execution has been stayed several times since then, including an instance in 2003 just hours before the scheduled execution. Reid eventually waived his right to an appeal. Members of his family, along with anti-death penalty activists, claim he is mentally challenged and unable to make such a decision, and have filed multiple motions (both successful and unsuccessful) to stay his execution. However, the Tennessee Supreme Court has upheld all of Reid’s sentences. Reid’s case has received national attention among anti-death penalty activists.

Reid currently resides at Tennessee’s [Morgan County Correctional Complex] (Inmate #303893). His seven death sentences are the most ever handed down to a single person in the state of Tennessee.

His latest execution date was scheduled for January 3, 2008, but was stayed on December 26, 2007 by US District Judge Todd J. Campbell, pending investigation into the constitutionality of Tennessee’s lethal injection methods. The stay is part of a larger investigation, and not directly related to Reid’s case.

On April 16, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in a Kentucky case upholding the legality of execution by lethal injection. The state of Tennessee immediately began appealing stays of execution to resume death penalty cases, including Reid’s.

Mental issues

Since his arrest, Reid’s family (notably his sister, Linda Martiniano) has argued that he is mentally incompetent to stand trial, and since his convictions, they have argued that he is not able to make sound legal decisions. Reid has displayed erratic decision-making, choosing to appeal some verdicts and not others, and professing his will to die as sentenced after fighting to avoid such a fate earlier in his defense. At the same time, however, Reid has shown signs of paranoia, calling his defense team “actors” and claiming he is part of a United States government mind-control project called “Scientific Technology” that monitors his every move. In cross-examinations, the prosecution has attempted to counter this defense by claiming Reid is a crafty con artist using these “delusions” as a defense mechanism.


As a result of Reid’s spree, several fast food restaurants in the Nashville area began closing earlier and police patrols around such establishments became more frequent. The city of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, a Nashville suburb, began a program requiring all fast food employees to carry a decal on the rear window of their automobiles, so police could identify any out-of-place cars in late-night patrols.

Other crimes suspected

For a time, Reid was considered a prime suspect in the 1993 Brown’s Chicken massacre in Palatine, Illinois due to the similar nature of the crime in relation to the two incidents in Nashville. Characteristics including shoeprints found at the scene and descriptions of the killer that matched Reid’s profile. His alibi checked out, however, and Reid was later ruled out as a suspect. Juan Luna was convicted on seven counts of murder in 2007. His alleged cohort, Jim Degorski, is awaiting trial, set to begin in April, 2009.

Media attention

Reid’s original trial was the first murder trial to be broadcast live in the state of Tennessee (via WTVF’s NewsChannel5+ cable channel), following the allowance of cameras in the courtroom a few years earlier. His subsequent trials were also broadcast live. Ten years later, Reid’s story still gets top-billing on Nashville-area newscasts when new information is revealed. His story was also the subject of a Discovery Channel documentary in 2004.


This case arises from a shooting incident on January 11, 2005, at the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) facility in Jackson, where David Lynn Jordan (“Defendant”) killed three people: Renee Jordan, his thirty-one-year-old wife who was employed at TDOT; Jerry Hopper, an employee of the Tennessee Division of Forestry who was at the TDOT office; and David Gordon, a motorist Defendant ran off the road en route to the TDOT garage. Defendant also shot and injured two other TDOT employees, James Goff and Larry Taylor.

State’s Proof

The State’s theory at trial was that Defendant first threatened and then decided to murder his wife because he believed she was having an affair with a co-worker, Johnny Emerson, and because she told him she wanted a divorce.

Johnny Emerson testified that he was employed as a mechanic at the TDOT garage where Mrs. Jordan worked. Emerson explained that he and Mrs. Jordan were “just real good friends,” but acknowledged that their relationship had developed “[a] little bit” beyond a co-worker relationship. Physically, their relationship was limited to hugging and kissing. Emerson said that Mrs. Jordan had been talking about getting a divorce. On one occasion, Defendant telephoned Emerson at home regarding his relationship with Mrs. Jordan. Defendant told Emerson that he was “too old” for Mrs. Jordan and that he “needed [his] ass whooped.” Emerson agreed with Defendant that he “didn’t have no business doing what [he] did.” Defendant also contacted Emerson’s wife on numerous occasions. At some point prior to January 11, 2005, Emerson informed Mrs. Jordan that he was not going to divorce his wife. Emerson testified that he was not at work on January 11, 2005, because he was on medical leave.

Linda Sesson Taylor, an attorney in Jackson, testified that Mrs. Jordan hired her on December 14, 2004, to represent her in divorce proceedings against Defendant. She said she initially prepared the necessary documents for a contested divorce, and Mrs. Jordan told her she would have the money to pay her fee after the Christmas holiday. Taylor said she also prepared the paperwork to obtain a restraining order against Defendant, and Mrs, Jordan had an appointment scheduled for January 12, 2005.2 Taylor identified a page out of her phone message book indicating that Mrs. Jordan had called her office on January 11, 2005, at 9:56 a.m. wanting to know how much Taylor charged for an uncontested divorce.

Kevin Deberry, the next-door neighbor of Defendant and Mrs. Jordan, testified that Mrs. Jordan called him on the night of January 10, 2005, and was upset with Defendant. About an hour later, Defendant came to Deberry’s house and asked Deberry to take Mrs. Jordan’s dog to their house and get his house key, but Deberry refused to do so. Defendant then told Deberry if he did not take Mrs. Jordan’s dog to her, he “was gonna take it over there and shoot it in the driveway.” As Defendant turned to walk away, Deberry noticed what he believed to be a “snub-nose .38” in Defendant’s back pocket. Defendant then turned around and told Deberry that he “better watch [his] back, you never kn[o]w which way the bullets are gonna fly.” Deberry called Mrs. Jordan and told her to take her child and leave the house because Defendant was on his way over there. Mrs. Jordan told Deberry that Defendant had left some threatening voice mails on her phone. Defendant later called Deberry and apologized. The two men talked “for awhile” and Deberry offered Defendant a drink. Defendant declined but called back later and accepted Deberry’s offer of alcohol. Deberry said that he took a half-gallon bottle of vodka to Defendant’s house at about 1:00 a.m. and put it in the freezer. Although Defendant and his children were still up when he arrived, Deberry did not stay and returned home.

Kenneth Evans, Mrs. Jordan’s cousin, testified that he was aware that Defendant and Mrs. Jordan were having marital problems and, on January 10, 2005, Mrs. Jordan called and told him that “she was about to have a nervous breakdown, and she was scared of [Defendant], that he was calling threatening her.” Mrs. Jordan told Evans that Defendant “was on his way out to the house and that he said ․ it didn’t matter how many lawyers she had and how much money she had, that what he had for her wasn’t going to do her any good.” Evans advised Mrs. Jordan to leave the house and go to the police department, but she refused to do so, saying that Defendant had “had run-ins with the police department before. He would shoot me there whether the police was there or not, and he would probably shoot them, too.” Evans then told her to come to his house, which she did. After she arrived, they took Mrs. Jordan’s three-year-old daughter to Mrs. Jordan’s mother’s house. Evans later hid Mrs. Jordan’s car at a friend’s house, and they returned to Evans’ home around 10:30 p.m.

The following morning, January 11, 2005, Mrs. Jordan and Evans, a TDOT “[p]arts runner,” went to work. Mrs. Jordan worked in the office of the TDOT garage, which was commonly referred to as “the crow’s nest.” That morning, Evans was in the crow’s nest with Mrs. Jordan until approximately 11:10 a.m., when he left to go pick up some parts. Ricky Simpson and James Goff were in the office with Mrs. Jordan when he left.

Vernon L. Stockton, Sr. testified that on January 11, 2005, he was employed as an equipment mechanic at the TDOT garage which was located in the same building as the crow’s nest where Mrs. Jordan worked. He said he knew that Mrs. Jordan and Defendant were having marital problems. Between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. on the morning of January 11, Mrs. Jordan handed Stockton her portable phone when it rang and asked him to answer it. Stockton recognized the caller’s voice as that of Defendant. Defendant asked to speak to Mrs. Jordan, but Stockton told him that she was in the restroom because she did not want to talk to him. Stockton said he later left TDOT to pick up some parts and was not present when the shooting occurred.

Sonny Grimm testified that he was riding in a Ford pickup while Paul Forsythe was driving it westbound on Lower Brownsville Road on January 11, 2005. The two men worked for Ralph’s Trailers and were on their way to pick up some starter fluid for a backhoe. A green car was traveling in front of them. As they approached Anglin Lane, Grimm saw Defendant, who was driving a red pickup truck, run a stop sign and strike the green car, knocking it off the road. Grimm wrote down the license plate number of Defendant’s vehicle; he said that Defendant continued traveling toward the TDOT garage. Grimm, Forsythe, and the driver of the green car followed Defendant to the garage. There, Grimm saw people running everywhere. Forsythe gave the driver of the green car the license plate number of the red pickup truck. Defendant came out of the garage and told the driver of the green car, “You better leave.” The driver responded, “I’m not going [any] where.” Defendant said, “yes, you are, too,” reached inside his truck, pulled out a rifle, and shot the driver.

Paul Forsythe testified that, on the morning of January 11, 2005, he and Sonny Grimm were traveling west on Lower Brownsville Road behind a green car when they saw a red Mazda pickup truck come down Anglin Lane, run a stop sign, and strike the green car, knocking it off the road. Forsythe followed the truck to get its license plate number for the driver of the green car. Because he was driving, Forsythe called out the license number to Grimm, who wrote it down. The pickup truck then ran a four-way stop and turned into the main entrance of TDOT. Forsythe called 911 and pulled into the TDOT parking lot. The green car then pulled up, the driver got out, and Forsythe gave the driver, David Gordon, the tag number of the pickup truck. As Gordon was walking back to his car, Defendant came out of the TDOT building and told Gordon to leave. When Gordon said, “I’m not going [any] where,” Defendant said, “You will” and then reached inside his truck and pulled out a long gun. Gordon threw his hands up in the air and told Defendant, “Please don’t shoot. Wait a minute.” However, Defendant started shooting, and Forsythe and Grimm fled the scene.

Randy Joe Perry, a TDOT employee, testified that on January 11, 2005, Defendant came to the TDOT garage and pushed Perry out of his way as he approached the steps leading up to the crow’s nest where Mrs. Jordan worked. David Pickard, another TDOT employee who was standing near Perry, said, “Who was that son-of-a-bitch?” Defendant, who had his right hand in his coat pocket, turned around and gave Perry and Pickard a “hard look” before going upstairs to the crow’s nest. Perry then heard three or four gunshots and, looking through the window in the crow’s nest, saw Defendant pointing a gun at Jerry Hopper who was sitting in a chair. Perry heard another gunshot and saw Hopper slump over. Hearing more gunshots, Perry ran and got behind his truck. Shortly thereafter, Defendant calmly walked outside to his vehicle. Perry next noticed a man get out of another vehicle and walk toward Defendant. Defendant reached inside his truck and retrieved a rifle. The man who had been walking toward Defendant stopped and raised his hands. A few seconds later, Defendant fired several shots at the man. Perry described the shots as coming from a “fully automatic” and so quick that he could not count them. The man Defendant shot “went out of sight down behind the vehicle.” Defendant walked over to the fallen man, shot again, “and then he turned and just calmly walked back towards his truck, put the rifle in his truck, just eased in there and drove off just as easy” toward the front gate.

David Thomas Pickard testified that he was standing near the stairs with Randy Perry and other employees when Defendant came in the garage and shoved him and Perry backwards as he walked past the group of men. Pickard responded by saying, “Who does that crazy son-of-a-bitch think he is?” Defendant, who smelled of alcohol, turned around and got in Pickard’s face “like he wanted to whoop [him].” Defendant then proceeded upstairs to the crow’s nest where Mrs. Jordan was facing the window. Pickard saw Defendant shoot Mrs. Jordan and described the shooting: “The first time it went ‘Pow’ and she went like this and come back and he went ‘Pow, Pow, Pow,’ like that.” Pickard ran out of the garage to his office located across from the garage. After instructing the employees in his office to lock the door, Pickard went back outside and saw Defendant, pistol in hand, exit the garage and go to his truck and retrieve a rifle. Pickard went back inside the office and, a few minutes later, saw Defendant leave in his truck. Pickard then went to the crow’s nest where he saw Mrs. Jordan and Jerry Hopper lying on the floor. He said he looked at Mrs. Jordan and knew she was dead, but Hopper was still alive and a man was trying to resuscitate him. Outside in the parking lot, Pickard saw another man lying on the ground. He said the man was not dead at that time, but he “was turning real yellow-looking and blood was everywhere.”

James Goff testified that he was in the crow’s nest with Mrs. Jordan, Larry Taylor, and Jerry Hopper when Defendant came in, raised his shirt, and pulled out what appeared to be a nine-millimeter pistol. Mrs. Jordan had her back to the door, and Defendant called out her name. Mrs. Jordan turned around, and Defendant started shooting. Goff stated that Defendant was about 6 feet away. Defendant shot Mrs. Jordan in the chest and fired additional shots, including what appeared to be a shot to the forehead. Defendant then shot Hopper. Taylor dove under a desk, and Defendant shot Goff in the leg, the right side of the neck, the arm, and the stomach. Although he did not see Taylor being shot, Goff heard two more shots and heard Taylor grunt. As Defendant was leaving the crow’s nest, Goff heard him mutter, “I love you, Renee.”

After Defendant left the room, Goff got up and asked Taylor about his condition. He saw Hopper lying on the floor “in bad shape” and Mrs. Jordan was dead. Goff was then able to make his way to the main office for help. He said he was hospitalized for three days as a result of his injuries.

Larry Taylor testified that he was ending a telephone call inside the crow’s nest when Defendant entered the room, stood there “for a moment or so,” pulled his coat back, brandished a weapon, and took a “police stance.” Defendant then called Mrs. Jordan by name and, when she turned to face him, shot her. One gunshot struck her in the stomach area. She fell back in a chair, and Defendant fired two additional shots, with the second shot striking her torso “a little higher up” and the third shot striking her in the head. Mrs. Jordan fell to the floor, and Taylor could tell that she was dead. Taylor dove under a desk for protection, heard more gunshots, and saw Goff fall. He then heard more gunshots and felt pain in his legs. Taylor heard the door close, and Goff asked him if he was all right before leaving the room. Taylor then got up and saw Hopper on the floor on his knees with his face in his hands and saw Mrs. Jordan on the floor with her face in a pool of blood. He called 911 and was trying to assist Hopper when he heard the door open and saw Defendant with “a rifle-type gun.” Taylor looked Defendant “square in the eye” and stood back up, holding both his hands in front of him. He asked Defendant if he could leave, and, after a brief pause, Defendant said, “Yeah, you can go out now.” After Taylor got downstairs, he heard gunshots’ in rapid succession and hurriedly went out the door. He saw Goff, who was “kind of delirious” and holding a towel to his neck, and told another employee, Alvin Harris, to drive Goff to the hospital in the parts truck. Taylor then got in his car and drove himself to the hospital where he was treated for the gunshot wounds to his legs.

Fred die Ellison, a reserve sheriff’s deputy and a mechanic at TDOT, testified that when he returned to the garage from his lunch break around 11:30 a.m., people were running out of the garage. He then observed Defendant, whom he had known for approximately twenty years, walk out the roll-up doors of the garage. Ellison asked Defendant what he was doing. Defendant raised his right hand and Ellison saw two semi-automatic handguns. Defendant said, “Go on. Back off. Just go on. Back off.” Defendant had his hand on one of the guns. Ellison retreated to the back of the building where he observed David Gordon pull up in a green car. Gordon announced that “[t]he guy in the red pickup truck has run over me,” and Ellison advised Gordon to “back off” because Defendant had a gun. Gordon refused, stating that he had the police on the way. Ellison then heard “automatic” gunfire and called the Madison County Sheriff’s Department for assistance. He and Willie Martin left TDOT and went “out on 223.” He saw Defendant leave in his red pickup truck, driving normally and headed toward Jackson.

Shortly thereafter, Ellison observed an unmarked police unit and advised dispatch to instruct the unit to follow Defendant. Ellison then returned to the TDOT garage and saw David Gordon on the ground. Gordon had been shot multiple times. Inside the crow’s nest, Ellison discovered “blood all over the floor” and saw Mrs. Jordan lying on the floor with multiple gunshot wounds. He described Mrs. Jordan as being “shot all to pieces,” including being shot in the forehead. Jerry Hopper had been shot several times in the chest.

Alvin Harris, a “store clerk” at TDOT who picked up and delivered parts, testified that he heard gunshots and went to the garage where he encountered Goff who was holding his throat and bleeding. He also saw Taylor who was “real pan icky” and pointed to his legs when Harris asked him if he was hurt. Taylor told Harris that Defendant had shot Mrs. Jordan and that she was “gone.” Because Goff was losing a lot of blood and Harris feared death was imminent, Harris decided to drive Goff to the hospital rather than wait for the ambulance.

Darrell Vaulx, a TDOT mechanic, testified that as he was leaving the shop on January 11, 2005, he saw Defendant, Mrs. Jordan, Hopper, and Taylor through the glass window in the crow’s nest. Defendant pointed a gun at Mrs. Jordan, and she fell. Vaulx heard two more gunshots and saw Defendant turn toward the men in the crow’s nest. Vaulx said he and other employees ran outside to the parking lot where Vaulx saw Defendant’s red Mazda pickup truck. Vaulx then saw Defendant come outside and calmly walk to his truck. Thinking that Defendant was leaving, Vaulx ran inside to the crow’s nest where he found Mrs. Jordan on the floor with three gunshot wounds to the head. Someone yelled, “He’s coming back,” and Vaulx ran back outside to the parking lot and noticed that Defendant’s truck was still there. He then heard a noise that sounded like an airgun or a rifle. After someone said Defendant was getting in his truck and leaving, Vaulx went back inside and found Hopper who was “breathing just a little bit” and “[s]quirming” like he was in pain. Vaulx administered CPR to Hopper until the paramedics arrived.

George Washington Bond, a TDOT employee who worked in the car wash room in the garage, testified that he heard “three pops,” looked out the window in the garage door, and saw Defendant standing over “the victim.” Defendant then looked at Bond and shook his head, which Bond interpreted to mean “[d]on’t get involved.” Bond saw what appeared to be the grip of a gun in Defendant’s hand. Defendant then walked into the garage and went to the crow’s nest. Bond saw Defendant pointing a long gun toward where Mrs. Jordan sat. Bond then ran to another building and did not return to the garage. On cross-examination, Bond acknowledged that he did not see Defendant shoot “the victim.”3

Barbara Surratt, Mrs. Jordan’s mother-in-law from a previous marriage, testified that, even after Mrs. Jordan and her son divorced, she remained “very close” with Mrs. Jordan. During the early part of 2005, Mrs. Jordan was staying with Surratt at her home on Old Pinson Road. On January 11, 2005, at approximately 1:30 a.m., Surratt received a telephone call from Defendant. Defendant told her that he knew Mrs. Jordan was not there and asked her to tell Mrs. Jordan “happy birthday” the next time she saw her. Surratt stated that Mrs. Jordan’s birthday was not until February. Around 11:30 a.m., Surratt telephoned Mrs. Jordan at work and, during their conversation, heard an “ungodly racket, loud noises” and a sound like “a chair go across the room.” She screamed Mrs. Jordan’s name, but got no answer. After it became quiet, Surratt heard Defendant say, “Renee. Renee. I hate you.”

Jackson Police Sergeant Mike Thomas testified that he was on patrol in an unmarked cruiser on Vann Drive when he received a call about the shooting at the TDOT garage. En route to the scene, Sergeant Thomas was advised that the suspect had a machine gun. Before reaching the TDOT garage, he observed a red Mazda pickup truck matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle and began pursuit of the truck. The truck ran a stop sign. Shortly thereafter, a marked patrol unit, driven by Sergeant Sain, passed the truck on Anglin Lane. Sergeant Sain turned his cruiser around and joined the pursuit. Another unmarked unit, driven by Captain Priddy, joined the pursuit after the suspect’s vehicle forced Captain Priddy’s vehicle off the road. Officer Maxwell placed his patrol cruiser in position to do a partial roadblock. The suspect’s vehicle hit Officer Maxwell’s car, and Sergeant Thomas pulled in behind it to block it from leaving. The suspect, identified as Defendant, was taken into custody. A search of Defendant’s person revealed a loaded .45 caliber pistol and a loaded nine-millimeter pistol. Inside Defendant’s truck, the officers discovered a rifle and a shotgun.

Officer Ted Maxwell of the Jackson Police Department testified that he responded to a call concerning the shooting at the TDOT garage. En route to the scene, he encountered Defendant, driving a red pickup truck, followed by two police units. Officer Maxwell said he was traveling north on Anglin Lane, and Defendant was traveling south. Ultimately, Maxwell managed to stop Defendant by ramming the front of his vehicle. Defendant got out of his vehicle, and Maxwell noticed a gun in the small of his back under his belt. Sergeants Sain and Thomas placed Defendant on the ground and removed two handguns from him that Maxwell identified as an Intra Arm Star .45-caliber semi-automatic with a clip containing six live rounds and one live round inside the chamber, and an Intra Arm Star nine-millimeter semi-automatic with a clip containing two live rounds and one live round in the chamber. Maxwell said that eight .45-caliber and nineteen nine-millimeter rounds were recovered from Defendant’s pockets.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Sergeant Johnny Briley testified that he initially received a call regarding a hit-and-run accident on Lower Brownsville Road at Anglin Lane involving a red Mazda pickup truck. While proceeding to that location, he received another call about the shooting at the TDOT garage. He received information that there were multiple victims involved. Before he reached the TDOT garage, he observed that the suspect vehicle had been pulled over by Jackson police officers. He stopped at the scene. Sergeant Briley said that he had known Mrs. Jordan and her family for thirty years and also knew Defendant. As Defendant stood up, he told Sergeant Briley, “She fucked me over, Johnny.” Sergeant Briley responded, “No, she didn’t, David.” Sergeant Briley, who was standing within a foot of Defendant, detected an odor of alcohol on Defendant’s person. Defendant was subsequently placed in the backseat of a police car.

Jackson Police Officer Rodney Anderson testified that, en route to the scene of the shooting, he received a call that the suspect was headed down Anglin Lane. Officer Anderson turned onto Anglin Lane where he observed a vehicle matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle between two patrol cars. The driver of the vehicle, Defendant, was taken into custody and placed in the backseat of Officer Greer’s marked police unit. As Officers Greer and Anderson were transporting Defendant to the Criminal Justice Complex, Defendant spontaneously told them that:

he could have cut the police in half with his weapon, that he had full auto. He stated that his wife’s dead and she’s full of holes. He stated she drove him crazy ․ by fucking around on him, and he advised that he shot her with her brother’s gun. He also stated that he feels sorry for his daughters, and that Mrs. Jordan wouldn’t be fucking around on anybody else.

Defendant also said that the other people “just got in the way” and asked how many people were hurt. Defendant also said that his wife “hurt him and tore his heart out” and that he had been “going crazy” for a month. Officer Anderson said that Defendant smelled of alcohol.

Investigator Jeff Shepherd of the Jackson Police Department testified that, as part of his investigation, he retrieved and recorded voice mail messages left on Mrs. Jordan’s cell phone. The audiotape of the messages was entered into evidence and played for the jury; a transcript of the messages was also provided. The messages included one left at 10:48 p.m. on January 10, 2005, stating “You’re the only asshole on the face of this earth that I truly hate”; one left at 2:11 a.m. on January 11, 2005, stating “I’ll see you at work, bitch”; one left at 2:17 a.m. on January 11, 2005, stating “I hope you go to work tomorrow, bitch, ‘cause you’ll be there one day. It may not be tomorrow, but I will catch up with your raggedy ass. Your day is coming.”; and one left at 2:19 a.m. on January 11, 2005, stating “You home wreckin’, low life, sorry mother fuckin’ bitch. Your ass is gonna pay.” Additionally, Investigator Shepherd was involved in the booking process of Defendant, during which Defendant asked him if Mrs. Jordan was “real bad messed up.” Defendant started crying and told Shepherd that most people probably thought he was crazy, but he was not crazy, he was “driven to crazy.” Defendant also said that the assault rifle he used in the shooting belonged to his brother-in-law, Dale Robinson.4

Trent Harris, a paramedic at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, testified that he and Corey Shumate, an emergency medical technician, responded to the scene at the TDOT garage, arriving at 11:39 a.m. They first attended David Gordon, who was lying on his back in the parking lot and appeared to have gunshot wounds to the upper right and upper left portion of his abdomen. Gordon was not breathing but had a faint pulse. Harris intubated Gordon and immediately began transportation to the hospital. En route, Gordon lost a pulse and CPR was initiated. Upon their arrival at the hospital, Gordon’s care was transferred to the hospital’s trauma team.

Dr. Herbert Lee Sutton, a trauma surgeon at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, testified that he tried to save David Gordon’s life once he arrived at the hospital. Dr. Sutton was able to regain a heartbeat on Gordon and performed surgery to try to stop the bleeding in his abdomen and perineum. Dr. Sutton described what he saw when he surgically opened Gordon’s abdomen: “[T]he blast injury from what he was shot with had almost morselized his intestines. It was like soup. And I’m quite sure even if I had stopped him from bleeding and he had regained everything, he probably wouldn’t have had any small intestine left from what I could see.” Despite all of Dr. Sutton’s lifesaving procedures, Gordon died at 12:47 p.m.

Dr. Sutton testified that he also treated James Goff on January 11, 2005, for multiple gunshot wounds which he described as wounds to the left arm, abdomen, left thigh, and neck. The gunshot wound to the neck “went anterior to the trachea and the carotid vessels which are the main vessels that go [ ] to his brain.” The bullet did not hit any major arteries or veins. Dr. Sutton stated that Goff remained hospitalized until January 13,2005.

Eric Leath, a paramedic with the Medical Center EMS, testified that he was also dispatched to the TDOT garage. Upon his arrival, he was directed inside to an office where he observed a man lying on the floor on his back and a woman lying inside the door to the left. The woman had “a massive ․ injury to her head that had blood tissue lying all around, pooled around her head” and had no signs of life. The other victim, Jerry Hopper, was very pale and had “some gasping or ․ agona[l], gasping-type breaths, just very shallow, slow.” Hopper had a faint carotid pulse. Leath inserted a breathing tube, but Hopper was unresponsive. A Jackson police officer offered assistance to Leath and began CPR. Hopper was then moved to an ambulance and transported to the hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital, Hopper exhibited no signs of life.

Dr. David James testified that he treated Jerry Hopper, who had two gunshot wounds to his abdomen. Upon Hopper’s arrival at the hospital, he was not breathing and all attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful. Hopper was pronounced dead at 12:34 p.m. Dr. James also treated Larry Taylor at the Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. Taylor had suffered gunshot wounds to both of his upper legs.

Dr. Tony R. Emison, the medical examiner and coroner for Madison County, testified that he requested autopsies on the bodies of the three deceased victims. The bodies were sent to the state medical examiner’s office in Nashville.

Dr. Staci Turner testified that she performed the autopsy on Mrs. Jordan. Dr. Turner found that Mrs. Jordan had been shot eleven times, resulting in wounds to the head, torso, and right leg. Dr. Turner found injuries to the scalp, the skull, the bones of the face, the brain, multiple ribs, the right lung, the diaphragm, the liver, the right kidney, the stomach, the small intestine, the urinary bladder, and the uterus. Dr. Turner recovered multiple bullets, bullet jackets, bullet cores and white plastic disk fragments during the autopsy. The gunshot wound to Mrs. Jordan’s forehead was fired from a handgun within a foot of the body.

Dr. Turner discovered a visible bullet in a partial exit wound in the back of Mrs. Jordan’s head. She recovered the bullet and the jacket that had separated from the bullet. The bullet was identified as a Black Talon-type bullet, one fired from a handgun. She described the bullet as having a bullet core and a jacket, “and when it enters the body, the jacket usually opens and forms sharp points that look like talons.” Other fragments discovered in Mrs. Jordan’s body were identified as coming from a high-powered assault rifle. Dr. Turner described the wounds associated with the bullets fired from the assault rifle: “They went through multiple ribs on the right side of the body, through the right lung, through the diaphragm ․, through the liver and the kidney and into the spinal column and then lodged in the muscle of the back with some fragments scattered throughout the organs.” Two notes were found in the victim’s clothing, both addressed to Mrs. Jordan. One note was signed, “Your faithful faithful worried David.” The second note was signed, “Your forgiving husband, David Lynn Jordan.” Dr. Turner concluded that the cause of Mrs. Jordan’s death was multiple gunshot wounds.

Dr. Amy R. McMaster testified that she performed the autopsy on Jerry Hopper. Hopper had suffered multiple gunshot wounds and had multiple abrasions and lacerations resulting from these wounds. Dr. McMaster discovered a gunshot wound to the right wrist and two gunshot wounds to the right side of his abdomen. She recovered two projectiles from Hopper’s body. The projectiles were large caliber deformed hollow point bullets, which were consistent with those fired from a nine-millimeter weapon. Dr. McMaster concluded that the cause of Jerry Hopper’s death was multiple gunshot wounds.

Dr. McMaster testified that she also performed the autopsy on David Gordon. Gordon had multiple gunshot wounds and injuries associated with the wounds. Although no exact number of wounds could be determined, Gordon had been shot at least thirteen times. He had wounds to his right thigh, right forearm, right lower abdomen, right and left sides of the torso, buttocks, and left hip. The projectiles recovered from these wounds were consistent with a 7.62 millimeter round. Dr. McMaster concluded that the cause of Gordon’s death was multiple gunshot wounds.

Sergeant Mike Turner of the Jackson Police Department testified that he collected evidence from the red Mazda pickup truck. Among the items he recovered were: a loaded Norinco SKS 7.62 assault rifle with twenty-six rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber; a black bag containing a large quantity of assorted ammunition; a loaded Mossberg twelve-gauge shotgun with two rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber; loose ammunition; a 7.62 magazine with fourteen rounds of ammunition; two spent 7.62 casings; and a .38 special caliber Winchester spent casing.

Agent Cathy Ferguson of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) testified that, on January 11, 2005, she was employed as a violent crimes investigator with the Jackson Police Department. She said she responded to the scene at the TDOT garage and was directed to the crow’s nest area where she found Mrs. Jordan lying in a large pool of blood that contained brain matter. Realizing that she could not help Mrs. Jordan, Ferguson assisted with the CPR on Jerry Hopper. Ferguson subsequently recovered evidence found inside the crow’s nest and outside the garage, including nine-millimeter and 7.62 shell casings, bullet fragments, and a note on which Grimm had written Defendant’s license tag number. She said that fifteen 7.62 shell casings were recovered from the exterior crime scene and four from inside the crow’s nest. Nine nine-millimeter shell casings and one live nine-millimeter round were found inside the crow’s nest.

Edmund Emil Kemper III (born December 18, 1948), also known as The Co-ed Killer, is an American serial killer who was active in the early 1970s.

He started his criminal life as a teenager by shooting both his grandparents while staying on their 17-acre ranch in North Fork, California, a crime for which he was incarcerated.

Kemper later killed and dismembered six female hitchhikers in the Santa Cruz, California, area. He then murdered his mother and one of her friends before turning himself in to the authorities.

Early life

Kemper was born in Burbank, California, to Clarnell Stage and Edmund Emil Kemper Jr. He was very intelligent with an IQ of 136, however, he displayed sociopathic behavior from a young age: he tortured and killed animals, acted out bizarre sexual rituals with his sisters’ dolls and once said that, in order to kiss a teacher he had a crush on, he would have to kill her. Worsening the situation was Kemper’s mother, who constantly berated and humiliated her son and often made him sleep in a locked basement due to a fear that he would molest his sisters. Kemper’s mother Clarnell apparently suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder which resulted in her rages and abuse against her son.

On August 27, 1964, Kemper shot his grandmother while she sat at the kitchen table putting the finishing touches on her latest children’s book. When his grandfather came home from grocery shopping, Kemper shot him as well. Then he called his mother, who urged him to call the police. When questioned, he said that he “just wanted to see what it felt like to kill Grandma”, and that he killed his grandfather because he knew he would be angry at him for what he had done to his grandmother. Kemper was just 15 at the time.

Kemper was committed to Atascadero State Hospital where he befriended his psychologist and even became his assistant. He was intelligent enough to gain the trust of the doctor to the extent of being allowed access to prisoners’ tests. With the knowledge he gained from his “apprenticeship” he eventually was able to impress his doctor at the hospital enough to let him go.

He was released into his mother’s care in Santa Cruz, California, against the wishes of several doctors at the hospital. Kemper later demonstrated further to the psychologists that he was well—and not only managed to convince the doctors he was reformed, but to have his juvenile records sealed forever as well.

Murder campaign

Kemper worked a series of odd jobs before securing work with the State of California’s Department of Public Works/Division of Highways in District 4 (now known as Department of Transportation or Caltrans). By that time, his height had reached 6 feet, 9 inches, and he weighed more than 300 pounds (136 kg).

Between May 1972 and February 1973, Kemper embarked on a spree of murders, picking up female students hitchhiking, taking them to isolated rural areas and killing them. He would stab, shoot or smother the victims and afterwards take the bodies back to his apartment where he would have sex with them and then dissect them.

He would often dump the bodies in ravines or bury them in fields, although on one occasion he buried the severed head of a 15-year-old girl in his mother’s garden as a kind of sick joke, later remarking that his mother “always wanted people to look up to her.”

He killed six college girls (including two students from UC Santa Cruz, where his mother worked, and one from Cabrillo College). He would often go hunting for victims after arguing with his mother.

In April 1973, Kemper battered his mother to death with a pick hammer while she slept. He decapitated her, raped her headless body and used her head as a dartboard, after putting her vocal cords in the garbage disposal, but the machine could not break the tough tissue down and regurgitated it back into the sink. “That seemed appropriate,” Ed said after his arrest, “as much as she’d bitched and screamed and yelled at me over so many years.”

His murderous urges not yet satiated, he then invited his mother’s best friend over and killed her too, by strangulation. He then drove eastward, but when no word of his crimes hit the radio airwaves he became discouraged, stopped the car, called the police and confessed to being the Co-ed Killer.

He told them what he had done and waited for them to pick him up, seemingly unashamed as he confessed to necrophilia and cannibalism. At his trial he pleaded insanity, but he was found guilty of eight counts of murder. He asked for the death penalty, but with capital punishment suspended at that time, he instead received life imprisonment.

At the time of Kemper’s murder spree in Santa Cruz, another serial killer named Herbert Mullin was also active, earning the small California town the title of “Murder Capital Of The World.” And, adding to the college town’s infamy was the fact that these multiple murders were preceded three years earlier by multiple murders committed by John Linley Frazier.

In a manner similar to the Charles Manson murders, Frazier murdered a Santa Cruz family of five, eye surgeon Victor Ohta and family. A reference was made to this in the film “The Lost Boys”, which was shot in Santa Cruz, but called Santa Carla, where they repeatedly call the town the “Murder Capital of the World.” Kemper and Mullin were briefly held in adjoining cells, with the former angrily accusing the latter of stealing his body-dumping sites.

Edmund Kemper remains among the general prison population and is incarcerated at Vacaville State Prison.

Victims of Ed Kemper

Maude Kemper August 27, 1964

Ed Emil Kemper August 27, 1964

Mary Anne Pisce May 5, 1972

Anita Luchese May 5, 1972

Aiko Koo September 14, 1972

Cindy Schall January 8, 1973

Rosalind Thorpe February 5, 1973

Alice Lui February 5, 1973

Clarnell Strandberg April 21, 1973

Sally Hallett April 21, 1973

Popular culture

The Berzerker’s song “Forever” from the self titled album contains samples from Ed Kemper’s testament, including “As I’m sitting there with a severed head in my hand, talking to it, or looking at it, and I’m about to go crazy, literally I’m about to go completely… Flywheel loose and just fall apart”. It also contains samples such as “At the age of 24, he murdered his mother, then called police and confessed to having dismembered college co-eds for two years, as well as cannibalizing and raping their headless bodies” and “put her vocal cords in a garbage disposal, then threw darts at her severed head”. These are all references to Kemper’s murders

Church of Misery’s song “Killfornia” contains a long testament by Kemper, also featuring the line “As I’m sitting there with a severed head in my hand…”

Optimum Wound Profile also use long segments of Kemper’s testimony on the song “Crave”, once more including the “severed head” line.

American death-grind metal band Macabre wrote a song about Edmund Kemper on their 1993 album Sinister Slaughter entitled “Edmund Kemper Had a Horrible Temper.”

He was once quoted in an interview: “What do you think, now, when you see a pretty girl walking down the street?” and answering himself: “One side of me says, ‘Wow, what an attractive chick. I’d like to talk to her, date her.’ The other side of me says, ‘I wonder how her head would look on a stick.'” In Bret Easton Ellis’ book American Psycho, main character Patrick Bateman, himself a serial killer, paraphrases this quote when asked about women, although he mistakenly attributes it to Ed Gein.

Author Thomas Harris based the character of Buffalo Bill in his book The Silence of the Lambs in part upon Kemper. In the book, Buffalo Bill was a serial killer who, like Kemper, had begun his “career” by impulsively killing his grandparents as a teenager.

The Ed Kemper Trio took their name from the killer. The band formed in the late nineties in Montgomery, Alabama, releasing three albums on Pinebox Records.

System of a Down’s song “Forever” (aka “Fortress” or “Outer Space”) from the leaked album “Toxicity II” contains lyrics referencing Kemper including “Edmund Kemper solved it all, He fooled the shrinks.” The song was later dropped from the released “Steal This Album!”

Pioneering industrial act Throbbing Gristle’s song “Urge to Kill”, performed only once at a 1978 concert, details Kemper’s crimes.

Dr Octagon – The Instrumentalyst album has Kemper interview excerpts in the song “I’m Destructive.”

The Discovery Times show Most Evil featured Edmund Kemper in their episode on “Masterminds”.

The intro of the song “The Glorious Dead”, by Dutch death metal group Gorefest, features Edmund Kemper speaking “I am an human being and I kill human beings, and I did it in my society”.

Kemper is described as an “exotic” serial killer compared to Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and Jeffrey Dahmer in the novel Black House, by Stephen King and Peter Straub.

SuicideGirls model Kemper took her name from the serial killer.

The 2003 movie Cradle of Fear features a convicted serial killer named Kemper.


Cheney, Margaret, Why: The Serial Killer in America. R& E Publishers:Saratoga, CA (1992). (Reprinting of the author’s The Co-Ed Killer. Walker and Company:New York, NY (1976). ISBN 0-8027-0514-6.)

Damio, Ward, Urge to Kill. Pinnacle Books:New York, NY (1974). ISBN 0-523-00380-3. (Discusses Kemper plus two contemporary Santa Cruz killers: John Linley Frazer and Herbert W. Mullin)

Leyton, Elliott, Hunting Humans: The Rise Of The Modern Multiple Murderer. McClelland & Stewart (2005). ISBN 0-7710-5025-9. (Full chapter on Kemper)

Ressler, Robert K., Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for The FBI. (approx. 20 pages on Kemper).

West, Don, Sacrifice Unto Me. Pinnacle Books:New York, NY (1974). ISBN 0-515-03335-9. (Story of Kemper and Herbert W. Mullin)

Douglas, John, Mind Hunter. Pocket Books:New York, NY (1995). ISBN 0-671-52890-4.

Lawson, Christine Ann (2002). Understanding the Borderline Mother — Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship. Jason Aronson, 129-131,136,139,141,144,278. ISBN 0765703319.

Christine Marie Paolilla is an American woman who was convicted of shooting four of her friends to death in 2003 in what became known as the Clear Lake Massacre, which made national headlines.

Early life

Christine Paolilla was born on Long Island, New York on March 31, 1986 to Lori, a stay-at-home mom, and Charles Paolilla, a construction worker. When she was 2 years old, her father died, followed by her grandfather and great-grandmother. When she was 7 years old, Paolilla went to live with her grandparents. As a young girl, Christine was diagnosed with alopecia and began wearing wigs. During her childhood, Paolilla’s self-confidence was very low.

Paolilla attended Clear Lake High School in Houston, Texas, where she befriended students Rachael Koloroutis and Tiffany Rowell, who helped her fit in with the other students. In 2003, she was voted “Miss Irresistible” by her school’s student body. That year, she also began a relationship with 21 year-old Christopher Lee Snider.


On July 18, 2003, 17 year-old Christine Paolilla and her then-boyfriend, 21 year-old Christopher Lee Snider, went to her friend Tiffany Rowell’s house, where Tiffany and Rachael Koloroutis, Tiffany’s boyfriend Marcus Precella, and Marcus’ cousin Adelbert Sanchez were. According to Paolilla, the couple planned to get drugs at the house, but Snider reportedly got into an argument with Precella, which led to the killings of Rowell, Koloroutis, Precella, and Sanchez.


More than three years after the murders, the case was still unsolved. In July 2006, after receiving an anonymous tip, police arrested Paolilla inside a San Antonio, Texas hotel room. She was living with her then-husband Justin Rott; the two were heroin addicts who had not left the hotel room in eight months. Initially, Paolilla denied killing her friends. In his interrogation however, Rott told police that Paolilla had confessed to him that she had been an active participant in the murders. He stated that Paolilla had gone back into the house and beat Koloroutis to death with a gun.

Before he could be apprehended by police, Christopher Snider committed suicide in Greenville, South Carolina.


On October 13, 2008, Christine Paolilla was convicted of four counts of capital murder. Because she was a juvenile offender at the time of the killings, she was spared the death penalty. The following day, she was sentenced to life in prison. She is currently incarcerated at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas and will be eligible for parole in 2046.

Psychiatrist Gail Saltz stated “I think there’s a chance she thought they were pitying her … but still envied them, because they didn’t have to work so hard to be nice, to be accepted. That’s going to create some intense envy and jealousy, bring out the aggression, and the … wish to punish them for what they have” about Paolilla’s killings.


Co-Defendants David “Joey” Pedersen and Holly Grigsby



A woman who took part in a Pacific Northwest killing rampage, including the deaths of an Everett couple, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole.

July 15, 2014

PORTLAND — A woman who took part in a Pacific Northwest killing rampage fueled by white-supremacist beliefs apologized for her actions, but not her views.

Holly Grigsby, 27, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with no chance for release.

She apologized in federal court to friends and relatives of the victims. Grigsby said she realized any explanation for her actions, such as her drug addiction, would come across as an excuse, “or make it feel like I’m rationalizing my own insane behavior.”

But Grigsby expressed no regret for white-supremacist beliefs, only the effect her crimes would have on their public perception.

“My actions have further damaged the reputation of a movement misunderstood,” she said. “I deeply regret this.”

Grigsby and her boyfriend — David “Joey” Pedersen — were arrested in 2011 after the deaths of four people: Pedersen’s father and stepmother in Everett, an Oregon teenager and a California man.

Grigsby pleaded guilty in March to racketeering charges connected to the four killings, and the plea agreement called for a life sentence with no chance for release.

Joey Pedersen has pleaded guilty to two counts of carjacking resulting in death — one for the death of teenager Cody Myers on the Oregon coast and the other for the killing of Reginald Clark in Eureka, Calif. He will be sentenced to life in prison at an Aug. 4 hearing in federal court.

He previously pleaded guilty in Washington state court to murder in the slayings of David “Red” Pedersen and Leslie “Dee Dee” Pedersen and was sentenced to life in prison.

Dee Dee Pedersen’s daughter, Lori Nemitz, told Grigsby in court that the murders were heinous and “beyond cruel,” and made no sense since Grigsby had been welcomed into the home as family.

“I hugged you, for God’s sake,” Nemitz said.

Pedersen is the founder of a white-supremacist prison gang, and he told Grigsby about his desire to start a revolution with a killing rampage targeting Jewish leaders.

It started on Sept. 26, 2011, when Pedersen shot his father in the back of the head while the elder Pedersen was driving, authorities said. Red Pedersen moved and moaned for at least 30 minutes before dying, prosecutors said.

Pedersen and Grigsby returned to the house. Dee Dee Pedersen was bound with duct tape, cut in the neck and left to bleed to death.

“Animals are treated more humanely going to slaughter than your victims were,” said Holly Perez, the daughter of Red Pedersen and sister of Joey Pedersen.

The couple then drove Red Pedersen’s vehicle south into Oregon, where they shot and killed 19-year-old Myers and stole his car, authorities said. They shot Myers, who was Christian, because his name sounded Jewish, according to court documents.

Pedersen and Grigsby then headed to Northern California, where Clark, a 53-year-old black man, was shot to death.

Grigsby and Pedersen were arrested Oct. 5, 2011, outside Yuba City, Calif., when a police officer spotted them in Myers’ car. Grigsby told officers they were on their way to Sacramento to “kill more Jews,’” court documents said.

Prosecutors said Grigsby has been a white supremacist since her early teens and did not fall under Pedersen’s spell.

Store credit ****Steven Dubois – The Associated Press*****


Holly Grigsby apologizes to victims’ families, white supremacist movement; gets life sentence


Turning to face the grieving family members of those she helped kill, Holly Ann Grigsby said she wasn’t going to blame abuse, drugs or a tough childhood to explain the murderous path she cut with David “Joey” Pedersen across three states in fall 2011.

Instead, “the desperation in my heart” as she relapsed back into drug addiction fueled her actions that have hurt not only the victims and their families, but her own husband and son and even the white-supremacist movement whose beliefs she continues to embrace, she said.

“My actions have further damaged the reputation of a movement misunderstood,” she said. “I deeply regret this. Although I had nothing but the best of intentions, the bridge to Valhalla is not paved with good intentions” but with one’s actions and heart, she said.

Grigsby words came just before Senior U.S. District Judge Ancer Haggerty sentenced the 27-year-old Portland woman to spend the rest of her life in prison. Grigsby had pleaded guilty in March to one count of racketeering in connection with the murders and related offenses.

A sentencing memorandum filed by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jane Shoemaker and Hannah Horsley laid out the government’s timeline of the killings of Pedersen’s father, David “Red” Pedersen; his stepmother, Leslie “Dee Dee” Pedersen; and two strangers, Cody Myers, 19, of Lafayette and Reginald Alan Clark, 53, of Eureka, Calif.

Grigsby and Pedersen had embarked on a campaign to wage a white-supremacist “revolution” in September 2011 planning to target Jewish organizations. They traveled to Washington state, where they spent several days with Pedersen’s father and stepmother before Joey Pedersen fatally shot his father while Red Pedersen drove Grigsby and his son around.

They took his car, weapons and credit cards. They returned to the house and used two knives to slash the throat of Dee Dee Pedersen before fleeing to Oregon. There, after getting assistance from friends Corey Wyatt and Kimberly Scott Wyatt, they carjacked and killed Myers, who had agreed to give Grigsby a ride as he was returning from the Newport Jazz Festival.

They continued to California, where they carjacked Clark, who similarly had agreed to give the couple a ride. The couple, who was headed to Sacramento to target Jewish organizations there, was arrested on Oct. 5, 2011, when a California Highway Patrol officer recognized the suspects and the vehicle description that police agencies had publicized.

The sentencing hearing Tuesday morning allowed the Pedersen family to unleash their pain on Grigsby, the first of the two admitted killers to be sentenced. Family members for Myers and Clark did not make a statement.

“How dare you go into my mother’s home where she welcomed you as family,” said Lori Nemitz, Dee Dee’s daughter, recalling the days before the slayings when Grigsby had stayed with and met members of the Pedersen family.

“I hugged you, for God’s sake,” Nemitz said, who called the torturous slaying of her mother with the dull knives “beyond heinous, beyond cruel.”

“I cannot imagine a person that would do that to an innocent woman who welcomes you as family,” she said.

Catherine Hix, a spokeswoman for another daughter, told Grigsby that she was “a wicked, heartless viper. You slithered into town with only one thing in mind – murder.”

And Holly Perez, the sister of Joey Pedersen, sobbed as she recounted the misery that all four victims must have felt in their final minutes.

“Separately, you and Joey are nothing but two cowards with a skewed ideology,” she said. And the impact extends to Grigsby’s own family, Perez noted, saying the murderer will never be able to hold her own young son in her arms ever again.

Grigsby nodded her head.

Haggerty handed down the sentence with little commentary. Because federal prison has no parole program, Grigsby will remain behind bars until she dies.

Corey Wyatt was sentenced last week for providing Pedersen, a felon, with the weapon he used to kill three of the four victims. Wyatt’s wife, Kimberly Scott Wyatt, is to be sentenced at the end of the month.

Pedersen, who pleaded guilty in April to two counts of carjacking resulting in death, is to be sentenced on Aug. 4.


Story Credit ***Helen Jung –****


Vanessa Coleman – Lemaricus Davidson – Letalvis Cobbins – George Thomas – Eric Dewayne Boyd


Murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom


Channon Gail Christian, 21, and Hugh Christopher Newsom, Jr., 23, were a couple from Knoxville, Tennessee. They were both raped, tortured and murdered after being kidnapped early on the morning of January 7, 2007. Their vehicle had been carjacked.

Five suspects were arrested and charged in the case. The grand jury indicted four of the suspects on counts of murder, robbery, kidnapping, rape and theft. Three of those arrested, Letalvis D. Cobbins, Lemaricus Davidson and George Thomas, have been convicted on multiple charges including several counts of felony murder. After a jury trial Lemaricus Davidson was sentenced to death by lethal injection and Letalvis Cobbins and George Thomas were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Vanessa Coleman has been convicted of facilitating the crimes and sentenced to 53 years in prison, and Eric Dewayne Boyd has been convicted of federal charges as accessory after the fact to carjacking and sentenced to 18 years in prison.


Christian moved from Louisiana to Tennessee with her family in 1997. She was a graduate of Farragut High School and a senior majoring in sociology at the University of Tennessee. On January 12, 2007, her family released a statement to thank the Knoxville community “for all their prayers and everything.” A candlelight vigil was held on the university campus January 25, 2007 in her honor. In 2008, a Golf Tournament and Memorial Foundation were established in Channon Christian’s memory to provide a scholarship for a Farragut High School Senior to attend the University of Tennessee.

Newsom, a former baseball player for the Halls High School Red Devils, graduated in 2002. He was interred at Woodhaven Memorial Gardens. A little-league baseball tournament in Newsom’s honor was held at the Halls Community Park in 2008 and 2009. A memorial scholarship is given annually to a graduating Halls High baseball player.


According to news reports, Christian and Newsom had gone on a date at a local restaurant on Saturday, January 6, 2007, but did not return home. During their night out, the couple were hijacked, bound and blindfolded by three males, and “taken back to Lemaricus Devall ‘Slim’ Davidson’s rented house on Chipman Street.”</style=”font-size:>

Christian’s parents found her abandoned Toyota 4-Runner two blocks away from the Chipman Street house the following Monday with the help of her mobile phone provider. An envelope recovered from the vehicle yielded fingerprint evidence that led police to Lemaricus Davidson and 2316 Chipman Street. When police went to the address on Tuesday, January 9, they found the home unoccupied and Christian’s body in a trash can in the kitchen.

According to the testimony of the Knox County Acting Medical Examiner Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan at the subsequent trial of Eric Boyd, Newsom was repeatedly sodomized with an object and then blindfolded, gagged, arms and feet bound and his head covered. Barefoot, he was either led or dragged outside the house to a set of nearby railroad tracks. He was shot in the back of the head, the neck, and the back, and his body then set on fire.

Channon’s death came only after hours of sexual torture, medical examiner Mileusnic-Polchan testified. Channon suffered horrific injuries to her vagina, anus and mouth. She was not only raped but savaged with “an object,” possibly a broken chair leg, the doctor testified. She was beaten in the head. Some type of chemical was poured down her throat, and her body, including her bleeding and battered genital area, likely scrubbed with the same solution – all while Channon was alive, the forensic expert said. She was then “hog-tied,” with curtains and strips of bedding, her face covered tightly with a small trash bag and her body stashed inside five large trash bags before being placed inside a large trash can and covered with sheets. Channon died slowly, suffocating, the medical examiner said.

Suspects and indictments


  • George Geovonni “Detroit” Thomas, 24, faced a total of 46 charges. Thomas was indicted on 16 counts of felony murder growing out of the rape, robbery, kidnapping, and theft of Christian and Newsom, 2 counts of premeditated murder, 2 counts of especially aggravated robbery, 4 counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 20 counts of aggravated rape, and 2 counts of theft.

  • Letalvis “Rome” Cobbins, 24, (b. December 20, 1982) faced the same 46 charges as Thomas. He has also been charged with assaulting a correctional officer while incarcerated pending trial. Previously in 2003, Cobbins was convicted of third-degree attempted robbery in New York state. He and Davidson are brothers. Cobbins was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

  • Lemaricus Devall “Slim” Davidson, 25, (b. June 13, 1981) faced the same 46 charges as Thomas. Previously Davidson had just completed serving a five-year sentence in Tennessee on a previous felony conviction for carjacking and aggravated robbery on August 5, 2006.

  • Vanessa Coleman, 18, was arrested by the Lebanon Police Department in Lebanon, Kentucky. She faces 40 Tennessee state charges. Coleman was indicted on 12 counts of felony murder growing out of the rape, robbery, kidnapping, and theft of Christian and Newsom, 1 count of premeditated murder (of Christian only), 1 count of especially aggravated robbery (of Newsom only), 4 counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 20 counts of aggravated rape, and 2 counts of theft. She was convicted and sentenced to 53 years in prison on July 30, 2010.

In each indictment, the large number of rape counts were included to provide a range of options for prosecutors, not to reflect the number of rapes which actually occurred.

  • Eric DeWayne “E” Boyd, 34, was arrested in connection with the fatal carjacking, though not indicted by the Knox County grand jury. Boyd faced federal charges in United States district court as an accessory after the fact for helping the suspects evade the police. Later, Boyd was also accused by Thomas and Cobbins of rape and murder, and a search warrant was obtained for his DNA. The accusations by Thomas and Cobbins did not result in state charges against Boyd, but he is serving 18 years in federal prison on his conviction as an accessory to the carjacking.



The four suspects indicted in Knox County were originally scheduled to be tried separately, at trials scheduled between May and August 2008. However, the trial date for the subjects indicted in Knox County was moved back to 2009 in February 2008. In an apparent attempt to force the prosecution to try the case with the least forensic evidence first, the attorneys for Thomas filed a motion for a speedy trial, arguing there was no forensic link between their client and the crime scene. Thomas was granted the motion and was scheduled to go on trial on August 11. Judge Baumgartner ruled that Thomas’ phone calls made from the jailhouse to his acquaintances were admissible as evidence.

District Attorney Randy Nichols announced that the state would seek the death penalty for both Cobbins (the first to go to trial) and Coleman if convicted. Davidson was also indicted for a second robbery which was committed after the murders. The publicity against the accused led the defense to argue that a change of venue was required in order to ensure a fair trial. However, the state argued that an impartial jury could be found during voir dire, and the presiding judge subsequently denied the motion as “premature”.


On April 16, 2008, Eric Boyd was found guilty in Federal court of being an accessory to a fatal carjacking and for failing to report the location of a known fugitive. Boyd’s was the first case to go to trial, and he was the only suspect not charged with murder. He was sentenced to the maximum of 18 years in Federal prison. He is currently incarcerated at Beckley FCI.

On August 25, 2009, Letalvis D. Cobbins was found guilty of the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Cobbins faced the possibility of the death penalty because he was convicted of first degree felony murder in the murder of Christian. He was found guilty of facilitation of murder for Newsom but he was acquitted of Newsom’s rape. The jurors worked about 10 hours Monday and on Tuesday morning before reaching a verdict. They never asked Judge Richard Baumgartner any questions during their deliberations. On August 26, Cobbins was sentenced to life without parole.

On October 28, 2009, Lemaricus Devall Davidson was found guilty on all counts. He was found not guilty on three counts of the aggravated rape of Christopher Newsom but was found guilty of the lesser included charges of facilitation of rape. The sentencing hearing began on October 29, 2009 at 9am EST. The sentence hearing ended the next day October 30, 2009 at approx 3pm EST when a jury, after deliberating approx 3 hours, sentenced Lemaricus Davidson to death on 4 of the conviction counts.

On December 8, 2009, George Thomas was found guilty on all counts, including the ones the other defendants were acquitted of despite his case being based solely on circumstantial evidence and testimony. The sentencing hearing began December 8th, 2009 and ended on December 10th, 2009 at approx 10:45 am EST when the jury, after approx 3 hours of deliberation, returned a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole on each of the 4 capital convictions.

The convictions of Boyd, Cobbins, Davidson and Thomas left Vanessa Coleman as the last defendant to face trial. Coleman’s case is complicated by the fact that, while she was granted immunity by federal authorities for testimony in the federal case on the car-jacking, the state courts have ruled that the federal grant of immunity does not extend to the state charges on murder and rape. On May 13, 2010, Coleman was acquitted of first degree murder but found guilty on lesser charges. On July 30, 2010, she was sentenced to 53 years behind bars.

Reaction and accusations of racism


The national news media was criticized for allegedly ignoring the story because the victims were white and the suspects black. This criticism was also fueled by erroneous early reports of dismemberment and mutilations. Most of the original reports with misinformation (reported from a federal deputy US Marshal after the suspects’ arrest in Kentucky) were later denied by the District Attorney.

The president of Criminal Justice Journalists, an association of crime, court and prison writers, editors and producers, said, “I can’t say that this one would have had any more coverage if five whites had been accused of doing these things to two blacks, absent a blatant racial motive… as bad as this crime is, the apparent absence of any interest group involvement or any other ‘angle’ might also explain the lack of coverage.” Police Chief Sterling Owen IV said that there is no indication the crimes were racially motivated and that the murders and assault “appears to have been a random violent act.” “There is absolutely no proof of a hate crime,” said John Gill, special counsel to Knox County District Atty. Randy Nichols. “We know from our investigation that the people charged in this case were friends with white people, socialized with white people, dated white people. So not only is there no evidence of any racial animus, there’s evidence to the contrary.”

Some commentators continued to disagree, claiming that such a crime would include a motive of racial hatred. Conservative political commentator Michelle Malkin repeated this accusation on her blog and on Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor program. Prior to the DA’s statement, Newsom’s mother sympathized with the “hate crime” position stating, “It may have started out as a carjacking, but what it developed into was blacks hating whites.” Christian’s father (addressing those whom he believes used his daughter’s death to further their own agenda) appeared ambivalent, stating “[the crime] ain’t about you.”

The case also attracted the attention of white supremacists. On May 27, 2007, around 30 white supremacists led by Alex Linder rallied in downtown Knoxville in protest of the murders. They were met by a larger number of counter-protestors, many dressed as clowns (parodying the Ku Klux Klan).

After the protest, syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts dismissed claims that the crime was underreported, citing a 2001 report that found “Blacks and Latinos are underrepresented in news media as victims of crime and significantly overrepresented as perpetrators.” Pitts added that he was “unkindly disposed toward the crackpots, incendiaries and flat-out racists who have chosen this tragedy upon which to take an obscene and ludicrous stand” and that they and any other white Americans who felt victimized by the perceived under reporting could “cry me a river.”

The house at 2316 Chipman Street was bought by a nearby business and razed in October 2008; the new owners of the lot planned to build a simple memorial.

An October 16, 2009 article in The Daily Mail stated, “Ironically, the case has now generated more publicity surrounding the furore over whether or not political correctness was behind the US media’s decision to largely ignore the story than it did for the murders themselves.” The same article quoted commentator Michelle Malkin as saying, “This case – an attractive white couple murdered by five black thugs – doesn’t fit any political agenda. It’s not a useful crime. Reverse the races and just imagine how the national media would cover the story of a young black couple murdered by five white assailants.”




Jessie Dotson timeline:

Nov. 21, 1994: Pleads guilty to second-degree murder of Halle Cox in bad drug deal. Gets 18-year sentence.

Aug. 27, 2007: Released on parole.

Jan. 26, 2008: Parole and sentence expire.

March 3, 2008: Dotson’s brother, three other adults and two children are found shot and stabbed at 722 Lester St. Three children are critically injured.

March 8, 2008: Jessie Dotson confesses after one of the surviving children identifies him, “Uncle Junior,” as the lone attacker.

Oct. 11, 2010: Dotson is convicted on all counts.

Oct. 12, 2010: Dotson receives six death penalties.

Nov. 8, 2010: Dotson receives an additional 120 years in prison


Convicted murderer Jessie Dotson receives maximum 120-year sentence</style=”font-size:>

November 9, 2010

The man already sentenced to death six times for the city’s worst mass murder case received an additional 120 years in prison Tuesday for beating and stabbing three children who survived.

Neither the relaxed, smiling Jessie Dotson nor his lawyers had anything to say in his defense as the judge and prosecutors said Dotson has no regard for human life.

“In my 40 years of being in the criminal justice system in Shelby County, I’ve seen a lot of cases and I don’t know of anything more (legally) aggravating than this,” said Criminal Court Judge James Beasley Jr. “I guess we’re used to seeing adults (as victims), but it is uncommon for us to see children get killed, to see children mangled and butchered like this.

“In my opinion, Mr. Dotson should never be allowed to walk the streets of society again. He’s given up that right.”

In imposing the maximum sentence, Beasley gave Dotson 40 years consecutive for each of three counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Last month, the jury that convicted him of the six Lester Street murders gave him death sentences on each one.

Prosecutors Ray Lepone and Reginald Henderson said the additional sentences are more than legal window dressing.

“These are nine separate cases with nine separate victims and we’re using every legal measure to make sure he never walks the streets again,” said Lepone, noting that each conviction will be reviewed on appeal. “Each victim deserves a sentencing hearing. He brutalized those children and left them to die in that house.”

Dotson, 35, who had served almost 14 years in prison for a 1994 murder, was convicted of shooting to death his brother, Cecil, 30, on March 2, 2008, at 722 Lester St. and then eliminating witnesses, including Marissa Williams, 27, Shindri Roberson, 22, Hollis Seals, 33, and Cecil’s children, Cemario, 4, and Cecil II, 2.

Jessie Dotson, the children’s uncle, then beat and stabbed Cecil “CJ” Jr., 9, Cedric, 5, and Ceniyah, 2 months. CJ, who was found with a knife protruding from his skull, and Cedric, both testified that “Uncle Jessie” was the lone attacker.

The dead and injured were left in the house for some 40 hours before they were discovered.

“The children were devastated,” said their grandmother, Ida Anderson, who now is raising the children. “This is something that has wrecked them completely. The children have been in counseling, the whole family has been in counseling. The grandchildren want to know why it happened, why he killed their parents. The children loved him (Uncle Jessie).

“All I can tell them is that God is in control and that He will take care of us.”

A special-needs fund established for the children two years ago by First Baptist Church on Broad raised $139,000 and was placed in a trust in Probate Court. Last month officials issued a new plea for continued social and financial support, setting up the Dotson Children’s Benefit Fund. Donations can be made at any BankTennessee branch.

“People have contributed to our needs, but our lives have been turned upside down,” Anderson said. “The children have undergone surgeries and have more to come. There’s still scarring.”

Jessie Dotson’s execution date is set for March 2, 2012, four years to the day after the murders, though a delay is a virtual certainty.

Automatic appeals typically continue for more than a decade.

****CREDIT By Lawrence Buser