We’ve talked about Jack the Ripper, who is arguably considered the first serial killer, and the deaths of Thelma Todd and Marilyn Monroe so murder and mayhem are not an uncommon topics here at History’s Mistress. Today we will talk about an American serial killer. Not Ted Bundy or Jeffery Dahmer but a man named Richard Chase. Chase was known as the Vampire of Sacramento and the Dracula Killer. (This is the point in the blog where I tell you all I was going to write about a man named Albert Fish who was a serial killer in the 1900s in NYC, who was known as the Boogey Man and the Werewolf of Wysteria. That was until I read about him. I cannot unread what I have read and will likely have nightmares from it.)
Chase was a nutbar of the highest caliber. He claimed to have been abused by his mother at an early which led to him develop psychological problems that fall into the MacDonald Triad. (I had no idea what this was until I read about Chase.) It means he suffered from Enuresis, Pyromania, and Zoosadism all at the same time. He claimed his cranial bones were moving around in his skull so he shaved his head to watch it happen…like you do. He was constantly high on LSD and other drugs and drunk out of his skull. Probably to kill the mental problems. Didn’t help.
At first he would kill, disembowel and capture various animals sometimes eating them raw other times mixing them with Coke in a blender. (Grossed out yet?) In 1975 he was institutionalized after injecting rabbit’s blood into his veins. He was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and given drugs. Now, I know what you’re thinking….why and how did he get out?? He was deemed safe and given into the custody of his mother…who promptly stopped giving him the meds and made him move out.
In December of 1977, Chase took his first human victim. It was drive-by shooting of 51 year old father, Ambrose Griffin. He then claimed 5 more victims. All shooting deaths.
In January of 1978 he surprised Teresa Wallin in her home, shooting her three times. Now here comes the part that earned him the name “Vampire of Sacramento” Chase engaged in Necrophilia with Wallin…who was 3 months pregnant, as well as cannibalism.
Four more victims happened in one house. He entered the home of 38 year old Evelyn Miroth and shot her friend Danny Meredith with his .22 caliber. He then rampaged through the house killing Miroth, her 6 year old son, and her 22 month old nephew. With Miroth’s body, Chase engaged in the same acts as with Wallin’s. Miroth’s son Jason, who had been out at a play date, came home startling Chase, who then ran from the house with the nephew’s body. The police found bloody shoe prints and handprints around the house; helping them to identify him as the killer.
The police also followed the lead of a 20 something woman who had gone to high school with Chase. He had approached her car and she was wigged out by his appearance. He was gaunt, eyes sunken in, and had bloodstains on his clothes. When the police made the arrest, Chase has to be forcibly detained. A gun was found on site that matched the Miroth murders. They also found a 12 inch knife, some rubber boots, several blenders containing blood, and dishes in the fridge containing body parts. (I keep eggs and lettuce in my fridge) Later they found the mummified, decapitated remains of a baby. It was believed to be the body of Miroth’s nephew.
In 1979 he stood trial for the murders, six counts of murder to be exact. It all hinged on whether they found him crazy or if he premeditated the murders. On May 8 the jury found him guilty and sentenced him to death by gas chamber. They didn’t care if he was crazy or not, they just wanted him dead. His fellow inmates were actually freaked the hell out by him and constantly tried to get him to commit suicide.
On December 26, 1980 while a guard was checking on the cells Chase was found lying in an awkward lump on his bed, not breathing. The autopsy showed he had committed suicide by taking an overdose of anti-depressants which were doctor prescribed. He had been hoarding them for weeks.
I have always had a morbid obsession with serial killers and what makes them tick. I believe that part of our history is made up of the bad stuff and men like Chase, Dahmer, Fish, and Bundy are truly the bad stuff. While it is vile and sadistic and most of us won’t ever understand and may even want to sweep under the rug and hide it from view, this is part of our history.
The film, Rampage, is loosely based on Chase’s crimes as well as episodes of CSI and Criminal Minds.