A waking nightmare: 5 terrible crimes committed on HalloweenPictolic
Watching thrillers, pumpkin lamps and a lot of sweets — for most people, Halloween has become an occasion to gather once again with friends and family to have a good time. However, sometimes scary fairy tales become reality — we tell about five terrible stories that happened on the eve of All Saints ' Day.
On All Saints ' Day, it is traditionally customary to wear scary costumes to scare others, watch horror movies and tell dark stories about demons and ghosts, and most people still treat this holiday as a funny masquerade in which there is nothing frightening. However, many believe that Halloween is not just an excuse for a costume party, but a day when even the most terrible fantasies can come true.
The case of Ronald O'Brian, a Pasadena resident nicknamed "Candy Man", is considered one of the most cruel and immoral in modern US history.
On October 31, 1974, a man decided to take his two children to the neighbors for sweets — they walked about two blocks, having collected a sufficient amount of sweets, after which it began to rain. It is noteworthy that in one of the houses the children did not receive the traditional Halloween treat, but a little later Ronald handed them some Pixy Stix candies, saying that he himself returned to the neighbor and still "got" sweets.
Returning home, Timothy, the youngest child of the "Candy Man", decided to eat a treat given by his father before going to bed. The boy had difficulty opening the candy, but O'Brien helped him sort out the packaging. After just a few minutes, the child complained of severe abdominal pain, and later he began vomiting and convulsions. Timothy died on the way to the clinic without regaining consciousness.
This story stirred up the whole town where the family lived — parents in a panic examined packages of sweets that were collected for Halloween, and four more children, including Ronald's daughter, were found to have the same Pixy Stix.
After the police seized the sweets (except Timothy, no one else tasted the sweetness), experts found huge doses of potassium cyanide in them — as it was reported, the amount of poison in one candy could kill two adults. Detectives began to search for the poisoner and soon got on the trail of Ronald O'Brian — it turned out that the man had huge debts, and, having insured the life of his own son for $ 20,000, decided to kill him for insurance.
This story received a wide public response — Ronald, who never confessed to what he had done, was imprisoned and sentenced to death, and demonstrations and strikes took place in the city and in the prison where the criminal was held. On March 31, 1984, O'Brian was executed, and more than 300 people gathered in front of the courthouse where he died, applauding and shouting slogans of approval.
On October 31, 1979, 18-year-old Shirley Ledford was hitching a ride in one of the districts of Los Angeles, trying to get home by hitchhiking. The girl visited one of the parties in honor of Halloween and hoped to get home by morning, but, unfortunately, her plans were not destined to come true.
Victims of Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris. Shirley Ledford on the left
After midnight, a van stopped at the curb with two men inside, who offered Shirley a ride. When the victim got into the car, the criminals, threatening her with a gun, tied her up, after which they raped and beat her for two hours, simultaneously recording what was happening on a dictaphone. After completing the execution, the maniacs inflicted several blows on Ledford with a sledgehammer, and then strangled her and threw her body into a vacant lot.
Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris
Shirley's corpse was discovered the next day — according to the examination, traces of rape were found on the girl's body, several bones were broken, teeth were knocked out. This incident caused panic in the city, and the police began to actively search for criminals. On November 20 of the same year, detectives managed to catch the maniacs-they turned out to be Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris. As it turned out, there were more than five victims on the account of the criminals, the youngest of whom turned 13 shortly before his death.
Roy Norris, who testified against his partner, was sentenced to life in prison and died in prison in February 2020, and Bittaker, who never admitted his guilt, was sentenced to death by the court. However, this decision was appealed, as a result of which Lawrence spent the rest of his life on death row. He died in 2019, and before his death, he said that he realized what he had done and "would like to find the meaning of life."
On the night before Halloween in 1975, 15-year-old Martha Moxley left her home in In Connecticut, to attend a costume party, and in the morning she was found dead in the backyard, beaten to death with a golf club — there was a large laceration on her neck, and jeans and underwear were missing.
The case of Martha's death had the effect of an exploding bomb — the residents of the village where the girl was killed put forward theories as to who was responsible for Moxley's death, and the police, who had not previously encountered such crimes, were slow and did not take decisive action.
Nevertheless, a few days later, detectives were able to find out how the last hours of Martha's life passed — it turned out that the girl was walking around the village in the company of her friends, including Tom and Michael Skakel, nephews of the widow of the brother of the 35th US President John Kennedy, Ethel Kennedy-Skakel. In addition, fragments of the golf club that killed the girl were found near the victim's body — the handle was missing among the details, which led the police to believe that the tool was rare and had engraved initials.
Michael Skakel is escorted from the Norwalk Supreme Court after he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder of his neighbor Martha Moxley on August 29, 2002 in 1975 in Norwalk, Connecticut
Since Tom and Michael were the last people to see Martha on the day of her death, detectives decided to search their house and found a set of similar golf clubs, in which one was missing. However, the enterprising lawyers of the Skakel couple in every possible way confused the investigation, as a result of which the detectives for a long time could not decide who exactly was involved in the brutal massacre of Moxley.
The case got off the ground only 23 years later — in 1998, Judge George Tim finally brought charges against Michael Skakel. But the man was found guilty only in 2002 — Skakel received a sentence of imprisonment of twenty years. Michael's motives are still unknown — according to witnesses, he was jealous of Martha to Tom.
The story of this crime was widely covered in the press and was actively used in pop culture — the American author Dominic Dunn described the events of those years in his novel "A Season in Purgatory", and in 2002 the audience saw the tape "Murder in Purgatory". Greenwich", dedicated to the story of Martha Moxley.
The murder of Yoshihiro Hattori is another terrible story that happened on the eve of All Saints ' Day. In October 1992, a student who arrived in Louisiana on an exchange, and his friend Webb Haymaker went to a party in one of the districts of Baton Rouge — the young people did not know the area well and wandered around the neighborhood of the town for a long time. After a while, the friends finally managed to find the right house, and they rang the doorbell.
To the surprise of Hattori and Haymaker, no one opened the door for a long time, and no sound came from the house. A little later, Webb noticed that someone had opened the side door a crack, and went in that direction to find out what was going on.
Unfortunately, as it turned out, friends confused the houses and began to ring the doorbell of Rodney and Bonnie Pierce — a woman who saw visitors through a side door and mistook the young people for robbers, shouted to her husband to get a gun. Then Rodney took the gun, went out on the porch and saw Yoshihiro, who had already moved away from the door, but, noticing the man, decided to approach him, holding a camera in his hands.
Mr. Pierce, mistaking the camera for a weapon, began to aim at Hattori — the young man did not see the gun in Rodney's hands, because he forgot to put on contact lenses that evening, and continued to move. Then the man shot at him, then disappeared into the house.
The stunned Heymaker rushed for help, but, unfortunately, when neighbors approached the wounded Yoshihiro and medics arrived, it was already impossible to save him. He died on the way to the hospital.
Immediately after that, the police questioned Mr. Pierce, but did not press charges against him, considering that he did not go beyond the permissible self-defense. However, later, after the protest of the governor of Louisiana and the hype that arose around the case, the police department still charged Rodney with manslaughter, although the accused himself did not admit his guilt, explaining that he took Yoshihiro for a criminal and was only protecting his home and life.
This case caused a mixed reaction from the public — some believed that Pierce should be sentenced to prison because his behavior did not fit into the framework of permissible self-defense, others considered him innocent and sympathized with him. As a result, the man was acquitted by a jury, but received an obligation to pay the parents of the deceased boy $ 650,000, of which he gave only 100,000.
On October 31, 1981, the Texas police found the body of a 76-year — old nun named Tadea Benz in the monastery of St. Francis-according to the examination, the woman was sexually assaulted, and then beaten and strangled.
Tombstone of Tadei Benz
The news of the murder of a nun stirred up the city — local residents began to make mutual accusations, suspect each other, chaos and riots began. Under the pressure of the deteriorating public situation, the police were in a hurry, the detectives did not have time to carefully work out the put forward versions and qualitatively process the evidence, but the suspect was still found.
Johnny Frank Garrett
It turned out to be Johnny Frank Garrett — a man who lived directly opposite the monastery. Several witnesses saw Garrett leaving the scene of the murder — according to eyewitnesses, the man behaved nervously, looked around and was in a hurry.
Despite the fact that there was no direct evidence against Johnny, on November 9, detectives charged him with murder, and after a jury found Garrett guilty and sentenced him to death, which took place in 1992. Johnny Frank Garrett never admitted his guilt, and before his death he said the following:
Leoncio Perez Rueda
After the verdict was put into effect, the residents of Texas briefly forgot about the monstrous crime that occurred on Halloween, but in 2004, the whole of America shuddered — it was then that new evidence (DNA tests) were found, indicating that Garrett was innocent, and a completely different person, Leoncio Perez Rueda, was involved in the death of the nun.
After his arrest, Rueda pleaded guilty to the murder and rape of Benz's sister — in 2005, the court sentenced him to 45 years in prison, however, despite the triumph of justice, the fact of a judicial error left a deep mark on the criminal history of the United States, and this case formed the basis of several works of fiction, the most famous of which was the film "The Last Word of Johnny Frank Garrett" by Simon Rumley.