William Heirens “The Lipstick Killer”Sorrel Devlin Pd. 6
Childhood Heirens was a mischievous boy, but no onetook his foolish antics for anything dangerous.He had a niche for engineering, always taking things apart and putting them back together, and sketching things such as cars and boats.
Home Life Heirens parents fought often about money. The quarrels started small but then escaladed violently. Heirens wanted nothing to do with the arguments and sought ways to escape them. Some considered him a loner. Soon the need to escape his home life introduced him to the world of burglary.
Adult LifeHeirens did not have much of an adult life. Burglary obsession got him into trouble quickly. While in juvenile detention, heshowed excellent academic skills. He was accepted into a program at University of Chicago at the age of 16. A year later he started to live on campus, away from his family.
Motives? It is hard to determine a motive to Heirens killings because he still proclaims his innocence, but one can determine a few potential triggers such as his parents flawed relationship and/or his love of stealing.
Methods of KillingIn two of the murders Heirens wasaccused of, the women were both stabbed in the neck. However, the most notorious mark of this killer was the message written in a victim’s lipstick. “For heavens sake catch me before I kill more.” This plea was only written once but shocked all regardless.
The Victims:Josephine Ross: A three time divorce that was foundin June of 1945, naked with a dress wrapped around her head and multiple stab wounds to the neck Frances Brown, who did not live very far from Josephine was last seen December 10, 1945. She was found with a butcher knife in her neck and a bullet hole in her head. Along with her body, the message “For heavens sake catch me before I kill more.” was written on a wall in her lipstick. Suzanne Degnan was the most gruesome of the three murders. At six years old, she was found missing from her room. Soon after her disappearance, various parts of her dismembered body were found in different sewers, while a discarded bathtub revealed blood stains and matching blonde hairs.
Getting Caught?Heirens was apprehended by police for oneof his many burglaries. While in custody he became the main suspect in the Suzanne Degnan. He was then found guilty and charged for the three womens’ murders. Some say, Heirens included, that he is innocent. He claims that the police pressured and roughhoused him into a confession, even going as far as using “truth serum”. It is true that the police were in a panic to find the killer of the child quickly. Heirens innocence is still argued to this day.
Why are serial killers so difficult to spot?Serial killers are not easy to spot because they blend into society. They act polite and charming, and usually never show any signs of how unstable they truly are.
The Four Types of Crime ScenesOrganized Crime Scene: the killer has shown signs of planningand avoids being caught by leaving little or no evidence. Disorganized Crime Scene: the killer has killed spontaneously with whatever he/she has on hand with no regard for being caught Mixed Crime Scene: the crime scene shows characteristics of both organized and disorganized crime scenes; possibly indicates staged scene, two offenders, or an interrupted act Atypical Crime Scene: a crime scene that does not match any of the other types, such as decomposed bodies
What I Found Interesting:The use of truth serum in William’s interrogation was appalling. His arrest was also shocking because itseemed as though the police just wanted to place the blame on him.