Thursday, December 18, 2008

The World's 20 Worst Crimes

"The World's 20 Worst Crimes" by Kate Kray details the crimes of 20 serial killers. Bored with my murder mystery reading binge ~ which often involve multiple murders ~ I decided to try some true crime novels. This book is subtitled: Don't Have Nightmares. Might say it gave me "daymares" as memories of my ex-husband and the man I sarcastically call Jeffrey Dahmer, Junior came to mind. I doubt that either are serial killers, but both are career criminals who get away with their crimes.

Descriptions of the 20 serial killers, often include people's reactions: But he is such a nice guy! The men often appeared quite normal, some almost model citizens, quiet and well-mannered. Neither my ex or J.D. Junior were quiet, but both could be charming and mannered. Reading about wives, girlfriends and mistresses of some of the killers had me thinking: yup, I was one of those fools.

The first story in the book is "The Hillside Stranglers". Police showed an artists sketch of an unidentified victim, a girl of about 15 to "down-and-outs, drug addicts and prostitutes. Several 'street people' said that she resembled a girl called Judy Miller, who had not been seen recently." Her parents were tracked down; living in a cheap motel, two of their children "slept in a cardboard box." Although the murders were Los Angeles circa 1970s, Judy's "running away from home" and venturing into prostitution, could be the story of many young homeless girls today.

Called The Monster of the Andes, Pedro Alonzo Lopez's mother kicked him out of the home in 1957 when he was eight after catching him having sex with his younger sister. "Pedro became a beggar on the violent Colombian streets." When a man offered the child a home, Pedro went with him. Instead of a leading him to a home, the man took him to an abandoned building, raping him. Kray says "Pedro became paranoid of strangers. he slept in alleyways and deserted buildings and would only venture out at night in search of food from trashcans and local dumps."

Pedro did what most young homeless youths do; he turned to crime. After spending time in prison, he went on a killing spree. He later confessed to killing 100 girls in Peru, 110 in Ecuador and another 100 in Columbia. He lead police to 53 bodies and was sentenced to life in prison. Yet in 1998, after 20 years in solitary confinement he was paroled and released at the Colombian border of Peru. Now that is scary.

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