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Richard Chase

Richard Chase mugshot
Background information
Birth name: Richard Trenton Chase
Also known as: The Dracula Killer
The Vampire of Sacramento
Born: May 23, 1950
Santa Clara County, California, United States
Died: December 26, 1980 (aged 30)
Cause of death: Suicide by overdose
Sentence: Death
Killings
Number of victims: 6
Span of killings: 1977 – 1978
Country: United States
State(s): California
Date apprehended: January 27, 1978

Richard Trenton Chase (May 23, 1950 – December 26, 1980) was an American serial killer who killed six people in the span of a month in Sacramento, California. He was nicknamed "The Vampire of Sacramento" because he drank his victims' blood and cannibalized their remains. He did this as part of a delusion that he needed to prevent aliens from turning his blood into powder via poison they had planted beneath his soap dish.[citation needed]

Contents

Childhood

A self-described victim of abuse at the hands of his mother, Chase exhibited by the age of 10 evidence of the Macdonald triad: bedwetting, pyromania, and zoosadism. In his adolescence, he was known as an alcoholic and a chronic drug abuser. He suffered from erectile dysfunction due to "psychological problems stemming from repressed anger".[1]

Early adulthood

Chase developed hypochondria as he matured. He often complained that his heart would occasionally "stop beating", or that "someone had stolen his pulmonary artery".[2] He would hold oranges on his head, believing the Vitamin C would be absorbed by his brain via diffusion. Chase also believed that his cranial bones had become separated and were moving around, so he shaved his head in order to watch this activity.

After leaving his mother's house (believing she was attempting to poison him), Chase rented an apartment with friends. Chase's roommates complained that he was constantly intoxicated on alcohol, marijuana, and acid. Chase would also walk around the apartment nude, even in front of company. Chase's roommates demanded that he move out. When he refused, the roommates moved out instead.

Once alone in the apartment, Chase began to capture, kill, and disembowel various animals, which he would then devour raw, sometimes mixing the raw organs with Coca-Cola in a blender and drinking the concoction like a milkshake. Chase reasoned that by ingesting the creatures he was preventing his heart from shrinking.

Institutionalization

In 1975, Chase was involuntarily committed to a mental institution after being taken to a hospital for blood poisoning, which he contracted after injecting rabbit's blood into his veins. He often shared with the staff fantasies about killing rabbits. He was once found with blood smeared around his mouth, but hospital staff discovered he had drunk the blood of birds; he had thrown the birds' corpses out of his hospital room window. Staff began referring to him as "Dracula".

In one of the many incidents in which he was held at the institution, he substituted the blood from the therapy-dog to curb his addiction. Occasionally, he was discovered to have defecated on himself. He claimed he obtained the syringes from cracking open the disposable boxes left in the doctor's offices. It took them weeks before they figured it out, and now they have no longer brought any therapeutic animals in.[citation needed]

After undergoing a battery of treatments involving psychotropic drugs, Chase was deemed no longer a danger to society and, in 1976, he was released under the recognizance of his mother.[3]

Chase's mother decided that he did not need to be on the prescribed antipsychotic medication, stating it made her son "a zombie".[4] She weaned him off the medication and got Chase his own apartment.

Later investigation uncovered that in mid-1977, Chase was stopped and arrested by a Native American agent on a reservation in the Lake Tahoe area. He was wearing a blood-soaked shirt, and driving a truck containing guns and a bucket of blood. He convinced police that it was a misunderstanding involving an animal he'd hunted. No charges were filed.

Murders

On December 29, 1977, Chase killed his first known victim in a drive-by shooting. The victim, Ambrose Griffin, was a 51-year-old engineer and father of two.[5] After the shooting, one of Griffin's sons reported seeing a neighbor walking around their East Sacramento neighborhood with a .22 calibre rifle. The neighbor's rifle was seized, but ballistics tests determined that it was not the murder weapon.

On January 11, 1978, Chase asked his neighbor for a cigarette and then forcibly restrained her until she gave him every cigarette in the house.

Two weeks later, he attempted to enter the home of another woman but, finding that her doors were locked, walked away; Chase later told detectives that he took locked doors as a sign that he was not welcome, but that unlocked doors were an invitation to come inside. He was later chased off by a returning couple as he pilfered belongings from their home and urinated and defecated on their beds and clothing.

Teresa Wallin was Chase's next victim on January 21. Three months pregnant, Wallin was surprised at her home by Chase, who shot her three times, killing her. He then had sex with the corpse, mutilated it, and bathed in the dead woman's blood.

Two days after killing Wallin, Chase purchased two puppies from a neighbor. He killed them and drank their blood.

On January 27, Chase committed his final murders. Entering the home of 38-year-old Evelyn Miroth, he encountered her friend, Danny Meredith, whom he shot with his .22 handgun. Stealing Meredith's wallet and car keys, he rampaged through the house, fatally shooting Miroth, her six-year-old son Jason, and her 22-month-old nephew, David. As with Wallin, Chase engaged in necrophilia and cannibalism with Miroth's corpse.

A six-year-old girl with whom Jason Miroth had a playdate knocked on the door, startling Chase, who fled the scene in Meredith's car, taking David's body with him. The girl alerted a neighbor, who alerted police. Upon entering the home, police discovered that Chase had left perfect handprints and shoe imprints in Miroth's blood.

Chase returned to his apartment on Watt Ave., where he drank David's blood and ate several of the child's internal organs (including the child's brain) before disposing of the body at a nearby church.

Aftermath

In 1979, Chase stood trial on six counts of murder. In order to avoid the death penalty, the defense tried to have him found guilty of second degree murder, which would result in a life sentence. Their case hinged on Chase's history of mental illness and the suggestion that his crimes were not premeditated.

On May 8, the jury in the highly publicized case found Chase guilty of six counts of first degree murder and Chase was sentenced to die in the gas chamber. They rejected the argument that he was not guilty by reason of insanity. His fellow inmates, aware of the graphic and bizarre nature of Chase's crimes, feared him, and according to prison officials, they often tried to convince Chase to commit suicide.[6]

Chase granted a series of interviews with Robert Ressler, during which he spoke of his fears of Nazis and UFOs, claiming that although he had killed, it was not his fault; he had been forced to kill to keep himself alive, which he believed any person would do. He asked Ressler to give him access to a radar gun, with which he could apprehend the Nazi UFOs, so that the Nazis could stand trial for the murders. He also handed Ressler a large amount of macaroni and cheese, which he had been hoarding in his pants pockets, believing that the prison officials were in league with the Nazis and attempting to kill him with poisoned food.[5] Critics contend that Chase was putting on an act for Ressler in order to gain public sympathy and get his insanity plea reconsidered on appeal, thus avoiding the death sentence.

On December 26, 1980, a guard doing cell checks found Chase lying awkwardly on his bed, not breathing. An autopsy determined that he committed suicide with an overdose of prison doctor-prescribed antidepressants that he had been saving up over the last few weeks.[7]

Fictional portrayals

The 1988 movie Rampage was loosely based on Chase's crimes.[citation needed]

Notes and references

  1. ^ http://www.slideshare.net/ecastro/richard-trenton-chase-vampire-of-sacramento
  2. ^ Amanda Howard, Martin Smith: River of Blood, Universal Publishers (August 30, 2004), ISBN 978-1581125184, pp. 82 accessed via Google Books
  3. ^ Ressler, Robert; Thomas Schachtman (1992). Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI (First ed.). St. Martin's. pp. 14. ISBN 0312078838. 
  4. ^ Richard Chase Biography
  5. ^ a b "Richard Trenton Chase". Crime Library. http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/weird/chase/victim_2.html. 
  6. ^ Richard Chase - Profile of Serial Killer Chase
  7. ^ Richard Trenton Chase

External links








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