Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Nebraska: Not Starkweather, but close

Today's tragic news from Omaha takes us back to the story of Charles Starkweather, the 19-year-old psychopath who took his 14-year-old girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate on a killing spree 50 years ago this month. He'd kill 11 people, a few more than today's murderer managed, but it took Charlie more than a month and two states to do it. His story was the basis of the movie Badlands, which made a star out of Martin Sheen, who'd go on to narrate All The Presidents' Movies, the classic Bravo doco series from our pals at Frozen Pictures. The case also became a tabloid TV classic when A Current Affair nabbed an exclusive interview with Caril Ann thirty years after the crimes. A production assistant on the story later sold the segment as the basis for a TV movie starring Tim Roth, which allegedly influenced a couple of kids in Canada to embark on a spree on their own. And the circle of death continues...

The Omaha World-Herald
December 5, 2007

Shooter lost his job today, left suicide note

The 19-year-old Sarpy County man behind the deadliest shooting spree in Nebraska in almost 50 years left a suicide note.

A Sarpy County law enforcement official identified Robert A. Hawkins as the man who shot and killed eight people and himself at Westroads Mall Wednesday afternoon.

His address is listed as 4302 McCarty Drive in the Quail Creek subdivision just outside of Bellevue.

He was fired from a job at a Bellevue McDonald's restaurant Wednesday after several months on the job, said Debora Maruca, whose family Hawkins had been staying with.

Maruca said Hawkins told her he was accused of stealing $17 from the restaurant.

A Papillion-La Vista Public Schools spokeswoman said Hawkins attended district schools since kindergarten but withdrew from Papillion-La Vista High School in March 2006.

Hawkins left a suicide note, which was found by Maruca's family. A woman brought the note to the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office about 30 minutes after the start of the shooting spree.

Sarpy County Capt. Rolly Yost said the woman was unaware that a shooting had taken place. Based on the contents of the note, authorities believe the person who wrote the note is connected to the shooting.

Hawkins' previous criminal history includes an arrest Friday in Sarpy County on suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of a child, being a minor in possession of or dispensing alcohol and being a minor in possession of an open alcoholic container.

He was also found guilty in 2005 of disorderly conduct and sentenced to seven days in jail. Also in 2005, he was charged with intent to deliver a controlled substance, but the charge was dismissed by prosecutors.

Charles Starkweather killed 10 Nebraskans in a multiday spree in December 1957 and January 1958.


olof said...

I just don't understand why media play right into this psychopath's hands by posting his name, image and life story. If the media really has to, emphasize on how pathetic his life was and how his lack of empathy and self esteem led him to commit such an aweful crime. In short: Don't put this guys face on every single frontpage in the world!

Sister Rags said...

Censorship won't solve a problem like this.

olof said...

It's not about censorship. It's a way to avoid encouraging more alienated kids from doing the same thing. In a life where they've played the role of the complete loser, this is their chance (what they believe to be their only chance) to be the "hero" or the lead character. I mean seriously, why do you think most of these crimes are well documented and in some cases even sent to the media? Face it, media plays a huge role in this "game".

Anonymous said...

There is no comparison between Starkweather and Hawkins. Starkweather was a serial killer, Hawkins is a mass murderer. It's a completely different type of crime.

Anonymous said...

Starkweather would have done this sort of crime, given the opportunity. I also interviewed Caril, on a syndicated show called Crimes of the Century, which is probably still on the air somewhere in the world.

Anonymous said...

I will say it again. Hawkins is a mass murderer, while Starkweather was a serial killer. The motives for those crimes are completely different, so they cannot legitimately be compared.

If Caril Ann Fugate said Starkweather would have engaged in mass murder, she is wrong. Starkweather had every opportunity to do that, but he didn't. There weren't any shopping malls back then, but he could easily have gone to the town square when it was busy, and just started shooting people. He didn't do that. So saying he would have committed mass murder is a provably wrong statement.

Stick to the tabloids, and leave crime reporting to the people who actually know what they're talking about.

Anonymous said...

They're both spree killers.
They both killed people in Nebraska.
Starkweather held the record until this new kid came along.
I think that's why they're linked here (as in the Omaha paper).

Anonymous said...

I agree that this is not like Starkweather , who killed with sociopath girlfriend, Caril Fugate . She was a willing participant in the killings of her family and others. This loser acted alone

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