During this course I will be referring to several famous cases. You may or may not be aware of these
cases. As part of your homework you will need to read a little about these cases and be familiar with
them. You don't need to know all the details of each case, but add this to your general knowledge.
I will provide you with the information you need about famous cases. After reading through the
material at TruTV I decided it's a bit too much for you all to read. In other words, it's disgusting. Plus,
all of their material is very long - up to 40 pages or so.
You can start reading the summaries I've already provided.
Many famous cases are not serial killers, but are very significant to our studies.
These people are:
O.J. Simpson - summary is below
Casey Anthony - Link to a summary of a timeline - This is the best I have found so far, but I'll
continue to look.
Time line of Casey Anthony
Jon Benet Ramsey - summary is below
Andrea Yates - Summary is below
Columbine Shootings - summary is below
O J Simpson
On the night of the 12th of June 1994, Orenthal James Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole and her friend,
Ronald Goldman, were discovered murdered at Nicole's Beverly Hills abode by her next door
neighbour. The police were notified and arrived immediately at the horrific scene to find Nicole's
severed body almost decapitated and her friend's body, evidently fallen victim to a hysterical
stabbing attack. Upon further investigation of the scene, a bloodstained left-hand glove was
discovered and her two sons were still inside the house, asleep in spite of the night's events.
Homicide experts were called in and other officers made their way to Simpson's house, a five minute
drive away, where they then discovered that he had taken a night flight to Chicago. The police
noticed blood all over Simpson's
car, which was parked outside the house. They also saw a trail of blood drops leading from
Simpson's car to the front door of the house, where they discovered another bloodstained glove
identical to the one found near Nicole's body. Simpson was contacted by police at his hotel in
Chicago and although he sounded distraught about his ex-wife's death, he didn't sound curious to
find out what happened. He caught the next plane home and the police interviewed him on the same
day. He had a bandaged hand which he claimed was cut some time ago and the wound had
reopened when he accidentally cut it on some glass. His hand was photographed, blood samples
taken and fingerprints recorded, then after all of this, he was free to go. The search of his house was
videotaped and by the afternoon of the same day, all of the evidence needed was removed,
recorded and taken to a laboratory along with evidence taken from Simpson himself.
Simpson was put on trial, one of the most highly publicised trials in history, and all of the evidence
seemed to point to him being responsible for the murder. He had no alibi, DNA analysis showed his
blood was present on a sock found in Nicole's room, both gloves were stained with blood from both
his victims and the trail of blood leading from the car to his house seemed to heighten all suspicions.
The case, however, was turned around with Simpson's expert lawyers claiming that a certain police
officer present at the initial scene, was racist against black people and that the officer had plenty of
time to 'set' the scene up while Simpson was in Chicago. The recorded tape of the investigation of
Simpson's house also revealed a large number of mistakes such as unsterile swabbing methods and
clues. Because of these claims from Simpsons laywers, the jury was convinced that Simpson was
innocent and after a nine-month trial, Simpson was cleared of murder charges and that was that.
Jon Benet Ramsey
On the morning of the 27th December 1996, Patsy Ramsey called the police to report her 5-year-old
daughter, Jon Benet Ramsey, missing. The little girl had disappeared from her bedroom and a
ransom note demanding one hundred and eighty thousand dollars (exactly the amount John
Ramsay, her father, had received as a bonus at work just days before), had been left behind. It was
only hours later, that Mr Ramsey found his daughter's strangled and battered body in the basement
of their home in Boulder, Colorado. Immediately after the accidental discovery of Jon Benet's body,
the parents fell under the suspicion of the police, because a lack evidence was found that an
intruder had entered and killed the little girl. In fact, no proper search was conducted when the
Ramseys first reported the case and friends were allowed to freely enter and leave the house.
The Ramseys hired an attorney, publicist and investigators to defend their case, when they and their
son, Burke (9 at the time of Jon Benet's death), were interviewed by the police. In separate rooms, all
three members of the Ramsey family were interviewed. After the interview, it was suspected that
Patsy Ramsey wrote the ransom note herself, as the note was written from pen and paper found in
Patsy's own writing corner. The evidence found in the basement however, bore all the classic signs
of a murder by an intruder, including an open basement window, an unidentified boot print outside
the house, a hand made strangling device and a possible sexual assault on the child.
At the time, police were confident that the case would be successfully solved using the DNA as
evidence, but almost nine years later, the police have still not solved the case, no new leads have
been found and none of the members of the Ramsey family have admitted to the murder. To this
day, police are still attempting to find the person responsible for the murder of Jon Benet and the
case remains unsolved.
The Atlanta Child Murders (1979–1981)
Wayne Williams is thought to be one of the worst serial killers of adolescents
in U.S. history. His victims were killed and thrown into the Chattahoochee
River in Georgia. Williams was questioned, because he was seen near where
a body had washed ashore. Two kinds of fiber were found on the victims.
The first kind was an unusual yellow-green nylon fiber used in floor carpeting.
Through the efforts of the FBI and DuPont Chemical Company, the carpet
manufacturer was identified. The carpet had been sold in only 10 states, one
of them being Alabama, where Williams lived. Thus, the fibers found on the
victims were linked to carpet fibers found in Williams’ home.
Another victim’s body yielded the second type of fiber. This fiber was determined to be from
carpeting found in pre-1973 Chevrolets. It was determined
that only 680 vehicles registered in Alabama had a matching carpet. Williams
owned a 1970 Chevrolet station wagon with matching carpet. The probability
of both types of fibers being owned by the same person was calculated. The
odds against another person owning both carpet types were about 29 million
to one. Williams was convicted and sentenced to two life terms.
Columbine High School Shootings
Here's the link to the History Channel site where I got this summary.
Columbine High School Shootings
Two teenage gunmen kill 13 people in a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton,
Colorado. At about 11:20 a.m., Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, dressed in long trench coats, began
shooting students outside the school before moving inside to continue their rampage. By the time
SWAT team officers finally entered the school at about 3:00 p.m., Klebold and Harris had killed 12
fellow students and a teacher, and had wounded another 23 people. Then, around noon, they turned
their guns on themselves and committed suicide.
The awful crime captured the nation's attention, prompting an unprecedented search--much of it
based on false information--for a scapegoat on whom to pin the blame. In the days immediately
following the shootings, many claimed that Klebold and Harris purposely chose jocks, blacks, and
Christians as their victims. In one particular instance, student Cassie Bernall was allegedly asked by
one of the gunmen if she believed in God. When Bernall said, "Yes," she was shot to death. Her
parents later wrote a book entitled "She Said Yes," and toured the country, honoring their martyred
Apparently, however, the question was never actually posed to Bernall. In fact, it was asked of
another student who had already been wounded by a gunshot. When that victim replied, "Yes," the
shooter walked away. Subsequent investigations also determined that Klebold and Harris chose their
victims completely at random. Their original plan was for two bombs to explode in the school's
cafeteria, forcing the survivors outside and into their line of fire. When the homemade bombs didn't
work, Klebold and Harris decided to go into the school to carry out their murderous rampage.
Commentators also railed against the so-called "Trench Coat Mafia" and "goths," and questioned why
these groups and cliques were not monitored more closely. However, further investigation revealed
that Klebold and Harris were not part of either group.
Columbine High School reopened in the fall of 1999, but the massacre left behind an unmistakable
scar on the Littleton community. Mark Manes, the young man who sold a gun to Harris and bought
him 100 rounds of ammunition the day before the murders, was sentenced to six years in prison.
Carla Hochhalter, the mother of a student who was paralyzed in the attack, killed herself at a gun
shop. Several other parents filed suit against the school and the police. Even Dylan Klebold's parents
filed notice of their intent to sue, claiming that police should have stopped Harris earlier. A senior at
Columbine was arrested after he threatened to "finish the job." And when a carpenter from Chicago
erected 15 crosses in a local park on behalf of everyone who died on April 20, parents of the victims
tore down the two in memory of Klebold and Harris.
In an effort to show the world "that life goes on," Columbine school board officials voted to replace the
library where students were murdered with an atrium. The shootings at Columbine stood as the worst
school shooting in U.S. history until April 16, 2007, when 32 people were shot and many others
wounded by a student gunman on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Birthplace: Houston, TX
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Criminal Defendant
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Drowned her five children
Andrea Yates and her husband Rusty were devout Christians. The fertile couple had five children and
one miscarriage. Andrea suffered post-partum depression, aggravated by her already extant mental
imbalance, cramped living conditions, and Yates' frequent refusal to take her medication.
In the years preceding the quintuple-murder, Rusty and Andrea made the acquaintance of a
sharp-tongued, volatile preacher by the name of Michael Woroniecki. He preached with fervor the
wickedness of Eve and of all women, and insisted that if a mother did not bring up her children in the
ways of Jesus Christ, she and her children were bound for Hell. Andrea Yates was captivated and
convinced, and she would later reference some of Woroniecki's statements when she testified in court.
Over time, Yates' condition began to worsen: she often refused medication, refused to feed the
children (and herself), hallucinated, read the Bible to frantic excess, and generally displayed the signs
of a madwoman. On 20 June 2001, Yates filled the bathtub with water and called her children in, one
by one, and forcibly drowned them. She started with the three youngest boys, beginning with Paul,
placing his dead body atop the bed covered with a sheet. Last to die was the oldest, seven-year-old
Noah, whom she later confessed put up the toughest fight.
Yates was convicted on three counts of capital murder and sent to prison, eligible for parole in 2041.
Asked the reasons for killing her children, she claimed that she was a "bad mother" and needed to be
"punished". She felt the children were not acting in a way that Jesus would find favorable.
In Yates' trial, psychiatrist Park Dietz -- who was never Yates' psychiatrist -- testified that she was not
mentally ill, but had cleverly patterned her children's killings after an episode of Law and Order, where
a woman drowned her children but was found not guilty by reason of insanity. There was just one
problem with Dietz' testimony: Law and Order had never filmed a storyline even vaguely like the
episode Dietz described.
On the basis of Dietz' misleading testimony, Yates was granted a re-trial in 2006. She was found not
guilty by reason of insanity, and transferred from prison (where she had spent four years) to a state
mental hospital for treatment. Betsy Schwartz, executive director of the Mental Health Association of
Greater Houston, said the verdict brought "justice to a woman whose severe mental illness was never
in question." Dietz, the psychiatrist who said his false testimony was "an honest mistake," was never
indicted for perjury.
Ted Bundy Here is a link to the same info below. I have taken out some of the really gruesome info in the
TED BUNDY BIOGRAPHY
PHOTO: Ted Bundy
His good looks and charm helped America's worst serial killer escape justice for years as he crossed the
United States, torturing and killing scores of young women.
Theodore Robert Cowell was born in a Vermont home for unwed mothers on 24 November 1946, to Louise
Cowell, and was raised initially by his grandparents. Teddy, as he was known, believed that his
grandparents were his parents, and that his mother was his elder sister, a circumstance that was fairly
common in illegitimate births at that time. When his mother married Johnnie Bundy in 1951, her son took
his stepfather’s name, and was known thereafter as Ted Bundy.
His stepfather’s attempts to integrate the young Bundy into the family were rebuffed, and he became
increasingly more isolated as four additional children were added to the Bundy brood, preferring his own
company. Despite his aloofness, he did well at school, and his natural good looks increased his popularity
and improved his self-esteem.
In 1967, whilst a student at the University of Washington, he was to meet the girl who was to have the most
profound effect on his life, fellow student Stephanie Brooks, who was from a wealthy family, and with whom
he fell deeply in love. She didn’t reciprocate with as much passion, however, and when she graduated in
1968 she ended their relationship abruptly.
His devastation was to have a major impact on his life, and it is believed that the vast majority of his future
victims were selected for their physical similarities to Brooks, who became a lifelong obsession. He
dropped out of college for a while, and found out about his true parentage, which must have been a
significant psychological blow. However, as if to prove both Brooks and his family wrong, he threw himself
into his studies with renewed vigour, becoming an honours student in his chosen field, psychology. He
also nurtured a keen interest in politics, and became a charismatic Republican campaigner.
Around the same time, he cultivated a new relationship that was to last five years, with Meg Anders, a
divorcee with a young daughter, but his obsession with Brooks continued. When he met up with Brooks
again in 1973, she was amazed at the transformation in Bundy’s fortunes, and they rekindled their
romance, with neither Brooks nor Anders knowing anything about the other.
Just as Brooks began to believe that the relationship might lead to marriage, Bundy cut off all contact with
her abruptly, in much the same way as she had done to him six years previously. This revenge brought
Bundy little comfort, however, and his rage was sublimated into a series of brutal attacks on women, who
all shared Brooks’ physical characteristics.
On 4 January 1974, Joni Lenz became one of the few women to survive Bundy’s brutal attacks, but her
vicious attack caused her massive permanent damage, that was both physically and psychologically
21-year-old Lynda Ann Healy, a slender, pretty, long-haired law student, was not as fortunate; her
disappearance on 31 January 1974 did not initially alarm the police, despite the concern of her parents,
but they were forced to review their stance when seven other young female students, all bearing a
striking resemblance to one another, disappeared inexplicably over the following few months. The bodies
of two of these girls were later identified as Janice Ott and Denise Naslund, who both disappeared on 14
July. Eyewitnesses on the day remembered a strange man named Ted, with an arm in a plaster
cast, who drove a VW Beetle. Bundy would pretend to be injured to get young women to help him. Then
he would attack him.
Bundy moved on to Utah, taking another four victims during October and November, one of whom turned
out to be the daughter of the local police chief, and no effort was spared to track down the killer. Utah
police noticed that the brutal signature of blunt force trauma was similar to the Washington State cases
reported earlier in the year, and they sought assistance from their colleagues there, constructing an
accurate composite of “Ted” from eyewitness accounts.
During this time, Meg Anders, Bundy’s partner of five years, recognised that the description matched that
of Bundy, but when she contacted police they were duped by Bundy’s handsome, affable persona, and he
was not regarded as a serious potential suspect.
Bundy’s botched abduction attempt of Carol DaRonch from a Utah shopping centre on 8 November 1974
gave police their first major break, providing further corroboration of Bundy’s identity, as well as a blood
sample that resulted from his struggle with DaRonch. Debby Kent was not as fortunate, however, and she
was killed by Bundy later on the same day that DaRonch had made good her escape.
For the following two months no further victims were identified, until Caryn Campbell was brutally murdered
in Colorado on 12 January 1975, showing every sign of having suffered Bundy’s gruesome MO. Police
were coming to realise that the Taylor Mountains in Washington State were a favoured dumping ground
for Bundy’s victims, and extensive searches uncovered a further three bodies, all victims having died from
blunt force trauma. Despite this success, police forces in four states seemed no closer to catching Bundy.
On 16 August 1975, Bundy was picked up, after a short chase, in Salt Lake County, after a local
policeman recognised his VW Beetle. A vehicle search revealed handcuffs, a ski mask and a crowbar, and
Bundy was arrested. Police were convinced that they had their serial killer, and Carol DaRonch picked him
out of an identity parade, strengthening the case against him considerably. A full-scale investigation of
Bundy’s past was launched, and Meg Anders provided assistance to the police. Bundy continued to plead
his innocence however and, despite credit card evidence linking him to the Taylor Mountains area, police
were not able to conclusively tie him to the multiple murders there.
The First Trial
Bundy went on trial in Utah, on 23 February 1976, for the aggravated kidnapping of DaRonch and, despite
a relaxed and confident manner, he was found guilty and sentenced to a one to fifteen jail sentence in
Utah State Prison, on 30 June 1976.
Determined Colorado investigators, dissatisfied with this outcome, decided that they had enough evidence
to have him tried for the murder of Caryn Campbell, and they filed charges against him on 22 October
1976, which led to his extradition to Colorado in April 1977. Bundy escapes.
Clearly not relishing yet another trial, Bundy began to make plans to escape. He decided that he would
represent himself at trial, and was granted library access to research his case. He managed to jump out of
a window, whilst on a library visit, on 7 June. Police cordoned off the entire surrounding area, and Bundy
was captured eight days later when he broke cover to leave town.
Despite additional security he managed to escape again, on 30 December 1977, by climbing through a
suspended ceiling panel in the Garfield County Jail, where he was being held pending trial. His escape
was not noticed until the next day, by which time he had taken a flight to Chicago, and then travelled on to
Tallahassee, in Florida.
Now using the alias Chris Hagen, Bundy supported himself almost entirely by petty theft and, apparently
unable to quell his murderous impulses, he struck again at a Florida State University sorority house on 14
January 1978. Four students suffered severe abuse, and two died as a result of the assaults, which had
escalated even by Bundy’s standards.. The two survivors were extremely fortunate, but so was Bundy;
local investigators were unaware of him, and evidence collected from the crime scene proved inconclusive.
Bundy struck again on 9 February 1978, taking 12-year-old Kimberly Leach from her school, before
assaulting and strangling her.
She was to prove his last victim; on 15 February, in a manner very similar to his 1975 arrest, Bundy was
apprehended after a scuffle with a policeman, when the VW Beetle he was driving was stopped for having
stolen licence plates.
The Second Trial
Bundy’s second trial took place on 25 June 1979 in Miami, Florida; and the charges related to the attacks
and murders of the Florida University Sorority students. The testimony of one of the survivors proved
damning for Bundy, who mounted his own defence, as did the dental evidence that linked him conclusively
to the attacks.
The jury returned a verdict of guilty and, on 30 July 1979, the judge sentenced Bundy to death twice for
the murders, by means of the electric chair. Bundy continued to maintain his innocence.
The Third Trial
His third trial related to the murder of Kimberly Leach, and commenced on 7 January 1980. Bundy decided
against self-representation, and his defence counsel pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Bundy had
lost all traces of his confident demeanour by this stage, and the volume of forensic evidence and
eyewitness testimony linking him to the crime convinced the jury to again return a guilty verdict. Another
sentence of death by electrocution was handed down on 7 February 1980.
At the last trial the judge said how he thought Bundy would have been a good lawyer and would
have been happy to have worked with him. This man was a perfect example of a psychopath.
Bundy refused to accept his fate, and multiple appeals over the next decade resulted in stays of execution
that kept him from the electric chair. In the hope that confession to other murders in the Washington State
area would offer a stay in execution in Florida, he confessed to an investigator that he had committed
various acts of butchery and various accounts cite his victim count anywhere between 26 and 40, with
others believing the total may have been much higher. It remains a matter of conjecture whether Bundy
was simply exaggerating to prevent the inevitability of his execution. Certainly, in the case of Kathy Devine
(a young woman originally attributed as a Bundy victim), later DNA evidence found another man, William
Cosgrove, guilty of her murder, who had no connection to Bundy.
Bundy’s delaying tactics finally came to an end on 24 January 1989, and he was executed at 7 am, taking
the secret of his actual victim count with him. His body was cremated and his ashes were spread over the
same Washington State mountain area that had served as his favourite dumping ground for the bodies of