Carroll Cole in prison in Nevada
|Birth name:||Carroll Edward Cole|
|Born:||May 9, 1938
Sioux City, Iowa, U.S.
|Died:||December 6, 1985 (aged 47)
|Cause of death:||Lethal injection|
|Number of victims:||16|
|Span of killings:||1948–1980|
|State(s):||California, Nevada, Texas|
Carroll Cole was born in Sioux City, Iowa. While his father went to fight in World War II, Cole was taken along by his mother and forced to watch as she engaged in sexual encounters with men. She would often beat him to scare him into not telling his father. Even when his father returned home, Cole was frequently whipped and beaten by his mother for the most minor infractions, and he grew up with a deep hatred of women. He was also picked on at school for having a "girl's name", so he would usually go by his middle name, Eddie.
At the age of 10, Cole drowned a classmate of the same age in a lake. The boy's death was regarded as an accident until Cole confessed to it many years later.
After scraping through school with a D+ average, even with an I.Q. of 152, Cole became a drifter, doing menial jobs, drinking heavily and serving frequent prison sentences for crime such as burglary, vagrancy, arson and car theft. He attempted suicide at least once, and on a number of occasions, had himself committed to mental hospitals where he confessed his fantasies of murdering women. Although diagnosed as a psychopath, Cole was usually discharged promptly, as he had a personality disorder, as opposed to a mental illness - the former was considered to be untreatable by psychiatrists at the time, unlike the latter.
His first victim as an adult was Essie Buck, whom he'd picked up in a tavern in San Diego, California, on May 7, 1971. He strangled her to death in his car and drove around with her body in the trunk before eventually dumping it. Just two weeks later, he killed an unidentified woman and buried her in some woods.
In July 1973, Cole married barmaid Diana Pashal, who was also an alcoholic. They argued and fought frequently, and Cole regularly went off on his own for days at a time. He would commit murders while he was away, including one woman he allegedly cannibalized to a degree. In September 1979, Cole strangled Pashal to death. A suspicious neighbor called the police eight days later, but although they found Pashal's body wrapped in a blanket and stuffed in a closet, they inexplicably decided that she had died because of her heavy drinking, and Cole was released without charge after questioning.
By 1980, Cole was married again and living in Las Vegas. Toward the end of the year, he murdered three more women. Arrested on suspicion of murdering the final victim, Cole began his confession, claiming that he had murdered at least 14 women over the previous nine years, although he added that there may have been more — he couldn't remember exactly, as he was usually drunk when he committed his crimes.