Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Russell Obremski: A Killer's Luck

A Killing Spree

February 1, 1969, was a cold Saturday. Russell Obremski jumped into a truck loaded with hay along with Don Slaughter, 26, in his hometown of Klamath Falls. They were headed 70 miles away for White City, Oregon, to deliver the hay. Slaughter had arranged for them to deliver the hay and then stay at the home of Clifford Lowe, a friend in Medford, for a couple of nights before returning to Klamath.

While they were traveling down Dead Indian Road, a .22 caliber handgun on a shelf above the driver's seat fell down, landed on the seat and discharged, hitting Slaughter in the right leg. Obremski drove Slaughter to Providence Hospital, where he stayed for four days.

Obremski continued to White City, unloaded the hay, then went to the home of Clifford Lowe, as had been arranged. Lowe and Obremski had known each other for a few years when they were younger, but were not close friends, and had little contact over the years. Lowe generously opened his home to Obremski to stay for a couple of nights with his family, which included his pregnant wife and their five children.

The next day, Obremski used the hay truck to deliver a load of auto parts to Ashland, and in the process, Cliff Lowe happened to see the handgun.

La Verna Rowe
La Verna Rowe

On Monday, Lowe had to go to work. Their five children, ranging from 8 to 15 years old, were going to school, and Lowe was having a hard time leaving the house, knowing his wife would be alone with the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Obremski.

Ken Rowe, Cliff's son
Ken Rowe, Cliff's son

Despite his misgivings, his wife assured him she would be fine. Lowe should have paid attention to that inner voice.


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