Murder on Main Street, Part 1

Richard Speck
Judy Dykton decided to get some early morning studying done for a neurology exam. She heard a sound like an animal crying outside. Ignoring it, she decided to do some laundry before hitting the books. Once more she heard something. This time she thought it sounded like a child crying out. She pulled open the blinds and saw a woman across the street at 2319, perched on a ledge. Judy pushed open the window and heard Cora's tearful cry. "Oh, my God, they are all dead!"

Reporter Joe Cummings went up to the second floor, looked down the hall and turned right. It was still dark, the sun had begun to rise. He walked down the hall. To his right, he saw bodies of the nurses inside the bedroom, their skin a sickly ochre. A little further down the hall, he saw another bedroom with three more bodies and said. "Oh my God." That made seven upstairs and one downstairs. Eight in total.

The Wichita Horror
On the chilly night of December 8, 2000, the strapping bachelor feared his life would come to an abrupt end.

He was at a convenience store when two young men approached him and brandished a gun. They ordered him into his own car. As his heart hammered, the men told him to drive to various ATMs where they forced him to withdraw $800. Later Andrew Schreiber said, "I was just hoping if I did what they said, they'd let me live." They did. The assailants released him in a field, physically unharmed but badly shaken. They shot out the tires of his vehicle, then jumped in another car and sped away.

But this was just the beginning. Soon the city would be shocked by the brutal murders of a teacher and several college-age young people and then plunged into a crisis when the case was finally solved.

Patrick MacKay
Patrick Mackay was known in school as a liar and troublemaker, and he also turned his violence against small animals, including the family's pet tortoise, which he reportedly set on fire. H pinned birds to the road and then stood back to watch cars come by and crush them. He stole from people on the street and entered the apartments of elderly women to take what he could find. He also set fire to a Catholic church (as well as other buildings).

Mackay had a fascination with death. Apparently his father had regaled him with stories from the war about seeing his comrades shot down or blown up. Mackay himself spent a lot of time with the corpses of animals and birds. A neighbor saw him toss dead birds into the air and play with them. It's likely that he developed fantasies that involved the death process, which may have then become eroticized for him.

The British health system kept giving him a pass, permitting him to escalate his violence into repeated murders, including a priest who befriended him.

Terror in Hungerford
It was a balmy Wednesday on August 19, 1987, and residents of the small market town of Hungerford, England. Just after noon, it all began.

Susan Godfrey was on a picnic with her children in Savernake Forest, a few miles west. Mr. and Mrs. Roland Mason were enjoying a quiet day at home, Ken Clermont was out walking, and Abdul Rahman worked in his garden. Since more people were in town for the open market, Officer Brereton was making rounds in his patrol car. Francis Butler was walking his dog in the Memorial Recreation grounds, Douglas Wainwright was house-hunting, and Ian Payle was enjoying a shopping trip with his wife and two children.

To these people, as well as others who would soon cross paths with a rampaging killer, it seemed like a perfectly fine day. The weather was good and there was no particular reason to worry about anything. Someone needed shoes, others sought fresh air, and still others were simply relaxing.

Except, perhaps, for Dorothy Ryan, who was home in South View, not far from Hungerford. She was concerned about her 27-year-old son, Michael. Unemployed once again, he seemed irritable and restless. Lately, he'd been tense but she'd been unable to learn what the trouble was. The incident that was about to unfold would make it a day that Britain would never forget. Mrs. Ryan went out shopping before going to work as a waitress, unaware of what she would face when he returned.

Past Specials

Murder by the Book
The Investigators
Forensic Files

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