Caril Ann Fugate & Charlie Starkweather
In the early morning hours of December 1, 1957, teenage spree killer, Charlie Starkweather and his girl friend, Caril Ann Fugate, murder gas station attendant Robert Colvert for refusing to sell him a stuffed animal on credit. Starkweather returned several times during the night to purchase small items, then finally, brandishing a shotgun, forced Colvert to hand over $100, then drove Colvert to a remote area. After Colvert was injured during a struggle over the gun, Starkweather killed him with a shot to the head.
Starkweather later claimed that after killing Colvert he believed he had transcended his former self, reaching a new plane of existence in which he was above and outside the law.
Starkweather along with his 14-year old girl friend Caril Ann Fugate, murdered eleven people between December 1, 1957 and January 28, 1958, all but one during a two-month road trip through Nebraska and Wyoming. The couple was captured on January 29, 1958 in Douglas, Nebraska. Starkweather first claimed Fugate was captured by him and had nothing to do with the murders; however, he changed his story several times, finally testifying at Fugate's trial that she was a willing participant. He would later claim that Fugate was the "most trigger happy person" he had ever met. But Fugate always maintained that Starkweather was holding her hostage by threatening to kill her family, claiming she was unaware they were already dead. Judge Harry A. Spencer did not believe that Fugate was held hostage by Starkweather, as she had many opportunities to escape. Starkweather received the death penalty for the murder of Robert Jensen (the only murder for which he was tried), and Fugate received a life sentence on November 21, 1958. Her sentence was eventually commuted, allowing her to be paroled in June 1976. After her parole, Fugate settled in Lansing, Michigan, where she changed her name and worked as a janitor at a local hospital. Starkweather was executed in the electric chair at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln, Nebraska, on June 25, 1959. The Starkweather–Fugate case inspired numerous films such as The Sadist (1963), Badlands (1973), and Natural Born Killers (1994).
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