This Day in History: 1966 Nurses murder suspect charged

thUS police have charged a seaman with the murder of eight student nurses in their hostel in Chicago four days ago.
Richard Speck was arrested yesterday in hospital where he had been taken after slashing his wrists in an apparent suicide attempt.
He was discovered bleeding in a hotel in Chicago’s Skid Row area but was only caught because a doctor discovered a tattoo while cleaning blood from his arm.
Details of the tattoo – the words “Born To Raise Hell” – had been widely circulated by police when they embarked on a US-wide hunt for Mr Speck.
His fingerprints were found at the murder scene and his photograph had been picked out by a nurse, Corazon Amurao, who survived the nurse hostel slayings.
Ms Amurao had been tied up in a bedroom with the other nurses after the killer rang the doorbell and brandished a knife to gain entry.
She survived by rolling under a bed when he left the room with nurses who were subsequently killed.
The killer apparently lost count of his victims and left without discovering Ms Amurao.
The eight dead nurses were either stabbed or strangled.
Examinations of the bodies revealed that some of the young women had also been raped or sexually assaulted prior to or after their deaths.
Richard Speck, 25, is known to been in Chicago at least a week.
On 10 July he visited the National Maritime Union’s recruitment section trying to get passage on a vessel going to New Orleans.

Courtesy BBC News

In context

In April 1967 Richard Speck was found guilty of the murder of the eight nurses and sentenced to death.
However, in 1972 the US Supreme Court ruled executions were unconstitutional and Speck’s sentence was commuted to a minimum term of 400 years’ imprisonment.
It was strongly suspected that he had killed at least three other women.
He died in prison in 1991 of a heart attack.
During his lifetime Speck never admitted carrying out the murders.
But in 1996 a videotape surfaced showing Speck in prison with his male lover and reminiscing about killing the nurses.

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