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Stephen William BEATTIE






A.K.A.: "The Spa Murderer"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: To collect insurance money
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: July 23, 1978
Date of birth: ???
Victims profile: John Mitchell, 33, Carol Raduazzo, 34, and Patricia Lynn Beck, 18
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: North Miami Beach, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on February 1, 1979. Committed suicide in prison by an overdose on August 9, 1981

Motive: To claim the $100,000 insurance he had taken out on Mitchell's life.

Crimes: Murder of John Mitchell, 33, Carol Raduazzo, 34, and Patricia Lynn Beck, 18, in the World of Health Spa, Miami.

Method: They were shot several times each.

Sentence: He was given 3 consecutive death sentences. The reason for this was that if they were ever commuted to life, he would have to serve a mimimum of 25 years for each one. This is 75 years in total, meaning he would never get out of prison.

Interesting facts: Some chewing gum was found on the naked body of Beck. However, tooth marks were too vague to be of any use. The saliva type was the same as Beck, so it could have been her gum. A fingerprint was found on her body as well, which proved to belong to Beattie.

Beattie took an overdose and died on the 9th August 1981.


The Spa Murders

(State of Florida v. Stephen William Beattie (1978))

By William C. Sampson and Karen L. Sampson

The spa murders occurred on July 23, 1978 in North Miami Beach, Florida.  This case was the first case on record where a latent fingerprint developed from a homicide victim's skin was identified with an offender and introduced as evidence in court.

Three victims (1 male and 2 females) were found shot to death in the World of Health Spas.  One of the victims, a young female, was found nude, posed and her clothing strewn about.  It appeared as though she may have been sexually assaulted. 

She was processed for latent print evidence with black magnetic powder and three prints were developed on the left ankle area.  One of the prints was determined to be identifiable and was identified to the subject.  The other two victims were also processed for latent print evidence with KromeKote cards, yielding negative results.

There are many misconceptions connected with this case, which have perpetuated over the years, resulting in urban legend.  One is that the print was deposited on the surface of the victim's skin with sun tan lotion or oil.  This is unsubstantiated and unfounded but has contributed to over embellished statements that all prints recovered from human skin have been in the state of Florida and are due to sun tan oil.

The causative factor of the print is irrelevant and was definitely not sun tan oil. 

The fact was that a latent print was developed and recovered from the surface of the skin of a murder victim and was subsequently accepted in court as evidence.

On January 31, 1979, Stephen William Beattie was found guilty of three counts of 1st degree murder.  On February 1, 1979 he was sentenced to three consecutive death sentences.  Beattie committed suicide within three years of his sentence in prison while awaiting execution.  He maintained his innocence even to the end.



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