Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Thrill Kill: The Murder of Kimberly Cates

The Apprehension


Autumn Savoy
Autumn Savoy
The hours after the murder must have been quite hectic for killers as dimwitted as the Disciples of Destruction. The end came quickly. None of the killers could keep silent about their crimes, apparently as devoted to their own destruction as much as they had been to that of their innocent victims.

According to authorities, by 5:30 a.m. Gribble and Spader had rendezvoused with their friend and accomplice Autumn Savoy. Spader's failed attempts to recruit Savoyfor the actual murders did not keep the youth from assisting with the murder's cover-up. Gribble, Spader and Savoy allegedly dumped bloody clothes, shoes, as well as some of the stolen belongings into the Nashua River. After the disorganized, incomplete disposal of evidence, the group called it a day and went home for sleep.

Kyle Fenton
Kyle Fenton
After their beauty rest, Gribble and Spader met at a mutual friend's house, Kyle Fenton, around 5:30 p.m. to discuss the murder, a mistake that helped bring the group to justice. According to a police timeline, on the morning of October 5 Fenton's mother visited the Amherst, N.H., police. The woman had overheard her son's conversation with Spader and Gribble and she began to fear that her son was somehow implicated in the vicious killings that were being discussed in the news and on the television.

This bragging — not 24 hours after the last machete blow — was a hallmark of the killers' impulsive, immature personalities. Over the next year, residents of New Hampshire would learn that this impulsive braggadocio lay at the root of the savagely violent attack on the Cates family, terrorized for no other reason than that four teenagers thought they could get away with it. They did it for kicks. They did it for thrills. They killed because there were people that could be killed. This wouldn't be the last time that the group, Spader in particular, discussed their handiwork. As Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeff Strelzin said at Spader's trial, "[Spader] admitted his work. He enjoyed it. He liked running it through his head afterwards...."

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