Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Thrill Kill: The Murder of Kimberly Cates

The Murder

Steven Spader
Steven Spader
The pre-dawn hours of October 4 were calm. David Cates, Kimberly's husband and Jaimie's father was away on business, leaving the two women home alone at the end of dark Trow Road. If either Jamie or Kim had been awake just before dawn, watching TV or reading, they would've known something was wrong when their ranch house went dark. The house's power lines were cut in preparation for the slaughter.

According to testimony, Steven Spader and Christopher Gribble intended to make chloroform in order to render their victims unconscious. What their actions would've been if they'd succeeded are unknown, but given the callous disregard for life it seems safe to assume that they would've sunk to even more depravity. Quinn Glover seemed to think so.

Christopher Gribble
Christopher Gribble
As Glover testified at Steven Spader's trial, "[Spader] wanted to break into houses, steal stuff, kill people, stay the night and make scenes for the press with their bodies. He talked about eating people, roasting people, putting heads on stakes, making scenes for the press." Although the group's handiwork wouldn't be as cinematic as Spader had wished, they nonetheless made their bloody mark.

Since they were forced to locate the sleeping family in a strange house without power, Spader used the faint glow from Jaimie's iPod to help them navigate through the Cates' darkened home. It was over quickly, in a manner of minutes. As Glover testified at Spader's trial, "Spader asked me about the Zodiac Killer. I told him what I learned. [That] his victims were so random that he didn't stay long enough at the scene of the crime to leave evidence." Glover continued with an assertion, seemingly borne out by the swiftness of the crime, that Spader's plan for the swift, random attack was inspired in part by the Zodiac killer.

According to court records, neither Glover nor Marks participated in the actual killing. According to their separate testimony, Glover retreated into the Cates' living room when the assault commenced. Marks, likewise did not participate, but allegedly stood at the bedroom door and watched the attack.

In addition to killing Kim Cates and brutally attacking Jaimie, the "Disciples of Destruction" made off with a small amount of property: one of David Cates' old wallets, a pearl necklace and two wooden jewelry boxes. Approximately seven hours after the killing, Gribble allegedly pawned much of this property. The group's grand financial earnings? A few cents more than $130.

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