Richard Benjamin Speck was an American mass murderer who systematically tortured, raped and murdered eight student nurses from the South Chicago Community Hospital on the night of July 13 into the early morning hours of July 14, 1966. Take a look below for 30 more strange and bizarre facts about Richard Speck.
1. He was convicted at trial and sentenced to death, but the sentence was later overturned due to issues with jury selection at his trial.
2. Speck died of a heart attack after 25 years in prison.
3. In 1996, videotapes featuring Speck were shown before the Illinois State Legislature to highlight some of the illegal activity that took place in prisons.
4. Speck was born on December 6, 1941, in Kirkwood, Illinois, Chicago.
5. His father, Benjamin Franklin Speck, worked as a packer while his mother Mary Margaret Carbaugh Speck was a housewife.
6. The family moved to Monmouth, Illinois shortly after his birth.
7. He had seven siblings; four older sisters, two elder brothers and a younger sister, Carolyn.
8. Benjamin Speck died of a heart attack at age 53 in 1946, when Richard was just 6 years old.
9. Three years later, his mother remarried.
10. His stepfather was Carl August Rudolph Lindberg, a traveling insurance salesman from Texas.
11. Lindberg was a raging alcoholic and often beat Speck when drunk. Speck had a minor childhood accident when he fell from a tree.
12. Speck was an average student and committed a string of juvenile crimes from an early age.
13. He was first arrested at the age of 13, in 1955, for trespassing.
14. He dropped out of school when he was 16 years old and started doing odd jobs around 1960. He had become a compulsive drinker by then.
15. Speck’s second arrest was in 1963, when he was caught forging a co-worker’s paycheck and was convicted for forgery and sentenced to three years in prison.
16. He received parole after having done 16 months of jail time.
17. He returned to prison almost immediately this time for aggravated assault, having attacked a woman in a parking lot of her apartment building with a knife barely one week after his release.
18. In 1966, Speck bought a second-hand car and used it to rob a grocery store. To escape his 42nd arrest after this incident, he caught a bus to Illinois, aided by his sister Carolyn.
19. He returned to his hometown Manmouth a while later.
20. He committed his first murder in April, 1966, when he killed a 32 year old barmaid working at a local tavern in Manmouth, with a blow to the stomach.
21. On April 30, 1966, Speck started working as a crewman of the “Clarence B. Randall” a freight ship, to which he was recommended by his brother-in-law, Gene Thornton. However, he developed severe appendicitis soon thereafter and had to be evacuated on May 3 for an emergency operation.
22. Frustrated at being deprived of assignments twice, he returned to the NMU, Chicago on July 13, 1966, and spent rest of the day drinking at a local tavern.
23. He later accosted a 53 year old woman also drinking at the tavern, and took her to his room and raped her.
24. Later that night, he took a handgun, a switchblade, dressed in black, and walked to the nurses’ boarding house. At 11 PM, he appeared at the dormitory doors with a knife and killed Patricia Matusek, Pamela Wilkening, Nina Jo Schmale, Suzanne Farris, Nina Jo Schmale, Merlita Gargullo, Nina Jo Schmale, Valentina Pasion, and Gloria Davy.
25. Two days after the murders, Speck was identified by a drifter named Claude Lunsford.
26. Speck later claimed he had no recollection of the murders, but he had confessed the crime to Dr. LeRoy Smith at the Cook County Hospital.
27. Speck’s jury trial began April 3, 1967, in Peoria, Illinois, three hours southwest of Chicago, with a gag order on the press. In court, Speck was positively identified by the sole surviving student nurse, Cora Amurao.
28. On April 15, after 49 minutes of deliberation, the jury found Speck guilty and recommended the death penalty.
29. On June 5, Judge Herbert J. Paschen sentenced Speck to die in the electric chair, but granted an immediate stay pending automatic appeal.
30. Speck died of a heart attack on December 5, 1991, after spending 25 years in prison.