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Caril Ann Fugate (born July 31, 1943) was the adolescent girlfriend of spree killer Charles Starkweather. She is the youngest female in United States history to be tried for first-degree murder.

Fugate lived in Lincoln, Nebraska with her mother and stepfather. In 1956 she formed a relationship with Charles Starkweather. He was a high school drop-out and five years her senior, who worked as a truck unloader at the Western Newspaper Union warehouse. On January 21, 1958, Fugate later claimed to have come home to find that Starkweather had shot and killed Marion Bartlett, her stepfather, and her mother Velda. Starkweather then choked and stabbed her baby half-sister Betty Jean to death.

During the next seven days, the pair lived in the house with the bodies and turned away all visitors, which made Fugate's relatives suspicious. Starkweather and Fugate then fled, driving across Nebraska on a spree of robberies and murders that claimed seven more lives before they were arrested. Fugate's downfall was admitting to holding a .410 shotgun on a young high school couple in a car while robbing them of $4. The couple were shot and killed later that evening. The girl was found partially naked, and she was brutally stabbed multiple times in the abdomen after being shot. Starkweather and Fugate accused each other of the girl's murder. Starkweather admitted to killing the boy.

Starkweather was executed in the electric chair on 25 June 1959. He insisted that although he had personally dispatched most of the victims, Fugate had murdered several as well. The extent of her actual involvement is uncertain; Starkweather was executed still accusing her, and Fugate refuses to talk about it to this day.

Fugate was tried for her role in the murder spree. The jury did not believe her claim that Starkweather had held her hostage, because she had had plenty of opportunities to escape. She was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women in York, Nebraska. She was a model prisoner, and was paroled in 1976 after serving eighteen years. She now lives in Lansing, Michigan, and is a retired medical janitor. She never married. Her unauthorized biography Caril was written by Ninette Beaver.

Further reading

  • Caril, Ninette Beaver. 1974. ISBN 0397009976
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