Monday, January 25, 2016
The Vampire of Sacramento Claimed his Final Victims (January 27, 1978)
This week (January 25-31) in crime history – The BTK Killer sent message to Kansas TV station (January 25, 2005); Charles Manson and three followers were convicted of murder (January 25, 1971); The Mad Butcher of Cleveland claimed his third victim (January 26, 1936); Richard Chase, The Vampire of Sacramento claimed his final victims (January 27, 1978); Spree killers Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate murdered three victims in Nebraska (January 28, 1958); Teenager Brenda Spencer opened fire at San Diego school killing two and injuring dozens (January 29, 1979); Mohandas Gandhi was assassinated (January 30, 1948); The McMartin Preschool molestation trial began (January 31, 1990)
Highlighted Crime Story of the Week -
On January 27, 1978, serial killer Richard Chase, murdered his final victims Evelyn Miroth, Daniel Meredith, as well as Miroth’s 6-year-old nephew in Sacramento, California. Chase who would be nicknamed “The Vampire of Sacramento “sexually assaulted Miroth with a knife before killing her and mutilating her body. He removed some of the organs of the body and filled them with blood before taking them with him. Meredith was found shot in the head.
The previous year, the 28-year-old Chase had been found in a Nevada field, naked and covered in cow’s blood. His behavior did not come as a complete surprise to those who knew him. As a child, he had been known to kill animals. He had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals for most of his life. A year prior to the killings, Chase was released because his psychiatrist found that Chase had a handle on his problems.
Upon his arrest, several days after the triple homicide, police found that Chase’s apartment was filled with human blood that suggested he had been drinking it for some time. His other murder victims included Ambrose Griffin (December 29, 1977) and Terry Wallin (January 23, 1978). In 1979, Chase’s trial began and his defense attorney argued insanity but the jury found him to be sane and convicted him of six counts of first-degree murder and sentenced him to death in the gas chamber. On December 26, 1980, Chase killed himself in his cell at San Quentin with an over dose of prescription medications.
Check back every Monday for a new installment of “This Week in Crime History.”
Michael Thomas Barry is a columnist for www.crimemagazine.com and is the author of seven nonfiction books that includes the soon to be released In the Company of Evil Thirty Years of California Crime, 1950-1980 and the award winning Murder and Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California, 1849-1949. Visit Michael’s website www.michaelthomasbarry.com for more information. His books can be purchased from Amazon through the following links: