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Arthur John SHAWCROSS

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


A.K.A.: "The Genesee River Killer"
 
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Mutilation - Cannibalism?
Number of victims: 13
Date of murders: 1972 / 1988 - 1990
Date of arrest: January 5, 1990
Date of birth: June 6, 1945
Victims profile: Jake Blake, 10 / Karen Ann Hill, 8 /// Patricia Ives, 25 / Frances Brown, 22 / June Cicero, 34 / Darlene Trippi, 32 / Anne Marie Steffen, 28 / Dorothy Blackburn, 27 / Kimberly Logan / June Stotts, 30 / Marie Welch, 22 / Elizabeth Gibson / Dorothy Keller, 59
Method of murder: Strangulation / Suffocation / Beating
Location: Monroe/Wayne Counties, New York, USA
Status: Sentenced to 25 years in prison. Released on parole in March 1987. Sentenced to 250 years to life in prison, 1991. Died in prison on November 10, 2008
 
 
 
 
 
 

Known victims
 

Name: Jack Blake
Age: Ten-year-old
Killed: April 7, 1972
Body found: September 1972

He was found in a shallow grave outside town, beaten to death and sexually abused.

 

Name: Karen Ann Hill
Age: Eight-year-old
Killed: September 1972
Body found: September 1972

She was found four days before they found Jack Blake's body. She was raped and suffocated, with grass stuffed in her nose and mouth, her body discarded beneath a bridge spanning the Black River. Shawcross was an immediate suspect, known for his trouble with neighborhood children, having lately paid a fine for spanking one small boy and stuffing grass into his pants. Now, residents remembered seeing Shawcross with Karen Hill on the day she vanished; one reported Arthur sitting on the same bridge, eating ice cream, on the very day her body was discovered.

 

Shawcross was arrested on October 3, 1972, Shawcross stalled for two weeks before confessing both murders. A bargain was struck: in return for a guilty plea to Karen Hills slaying, no charges would be filed in the death of Jack Blake. Furthermore, the Hill case was reduced from murder to first-degree manslaughter, under a statute that acknowledges the killers extreme emotional disturbance. Shawcross was sentenced to twenty-five years, Pennys divorce action adding insult to injury.

No one was more surprised than Arts prosecutor when Shawcross was approved for parole in April 1987, after serving less than fifteen years. The state sent him to Binghamton, New York, where his well-publicized arrival sparked an instant public furor. Parole officer Robert Kent described Shawcross as possibly the most dangerous individual to have been released to this community in many years, and private citizens were also taking up the battle cry.

 
 

More victims


Name: Dorothy Blackburn
Age: Twenty-seven-year-old
Killed: March 15, 1988
Body found: March 24. 1988, bearing deep bite marks around the genitals.
Location: Salmon Creek, northwest of Rochester, USA.
Note: She was a prostitute and drug addict who specialized in oral sex, mistakenly believing it would keep her safe from AIDS.

Shawcross strangled her, later he complained that she had bitten his penis and called him a faggot.

 
 

Name: Anna Steffen
Age: Twenty-seven-year-old
Killed: She was last seen alive on July 8, 1989
Body found: September 11, 1989

Shawcross had picked her up and taken to the Genesee River gorge near Driving Park Bridge. Shawcross claimed she had offered him sex for twenty dollars but when he was unable to get an erection she began to make fun of him. He became angry and punched her to the ground. Trying to get away from him she crawled into the water but he went in after her and held her under the water by the throat until she drowned. He later told police that he couldn’t be bothered trying to conceal her body and just let it float downstream. It later became caught up in debris downstream where, because of the warmer conditions, it rapidly decomposed.

 
 

Name: Dorothy Keeler
Age: fifty-nine-year-old
Killed: She was last seen on July 29, 1989
Body found: October 21, 1989, on Seth Green Island

Dorothy Keeler a homeless woman became the second Genesee River victim.

Shawcross had met Dorothy when she worked as a waitress in a diner that he frequented. The two struck up a friendship, which had quickly turned into an affair. On a fine afternoon, Arthur was on his way to the river to fish when he stopped to talk to Keeler. When she found out where he was going she asked if he would take her with him, he agreed.

According to Shawcross, they spent the morning fishing and making love until around midday when it started to rain. They huddled under a crude shelter that he had built and shortly after got into an argument about her stealing money and about his relationships with Clara and Rose.

He claims that when she threatened to tell the other women about their affair he became angry and picked up a small log and beat her on the side of the head killing her instantly. After hiding her body under a fallen tree he returned home. He later told police that he returned to the spot several months later and removed the skull and dumped it in the river.

Fishermen eventually found Keeler’s remains but Shawcross was never connected with the woman even though he had been seen with her regularly and often went to the fishing spot where he had left her body.

Her severed skull is missing to this day. (March 2003)

 
 

Name: Patricia Ives (She was known as Crazy Patty)
Age: Twenty-five-year-old
Killed: Sept 29, 1989
Body found: October 27, 1989.

Shawcross claimed that she offered him sex for twenty-five dollars when he approached the same diner where Dorothy Keeler had worked. He agreed and they went to a construction site and lay down on a mound of earth.

While they were having sex, Shawcross says that he caught Ives trying to remove his wallet and pushed her hard against the ground. When she began to cry he anally raped her and began strangling her until she lay still.

He hid her body under some scraps of construction material and waited until dark and went home.

 
 

Name: Frances Brown
Age: Thirty-two-year-old
Killed: Sometime in October, 1989.
Body found: November 11, 1989, in the Genesee River gorge.

Shawcross he claimed to have choked Brown with his penis while having oral sex and continued to have sex with her body after she died.

When he dumped her body down a nearby embankment, so much debris was dragged down with it that police thought the body had been covered intentionally.

 
 

Name: Maria Welch
Age: twenty-two-year-old
Killed: She was missing since November 5, 1989
Body found: 1989

Shawcross picked up Maria Welch from Lake Avenue and took her to a small beach near the banks of the Genesee River where they argued over a suitable price before they began having sex. Again he claims that she tried to take his wallet and he strangled her.

He later changed his story and told investigators that he had become angry and killed her when he realised that she was menstruating. He drove further down the road next to the river and dumped her body in some bushes.

On November 11, police investigators from the sixty strong serial crimes unit identified the body of Frances Brown. Incredibly, no one in the newly formed task force uncovered the fact that a known sex offender and child killer who was still on parole was living in their midst.

 
 

Name: June Stotts
Age: Thirty-year-old
Killed: She Disappeared on October 23, 1989
Body found: November 23, 1989, in the Genesee River gorge

June Stotts was a friend of Arthur and Rose and a regular visitor to their home. She was also mildly retarded. Shawcross had seen June sitting near the river on a warm November day and asked her to go for a ride with him. She gratefully accepted and they drove down to a local beach where they played on the sand and fed the birds before they walked to a deserted area and lay down on the ground to make love.

At some point in their lovemaking Shawcross claims that he made an innocent comment about her not being a virgin and she started screaming. He then held his hand over her mouth to silence her but soon realised that he had suffocated her.

He then cut her open with his knife so that she would decompose quicker and covered her with a blanket and brush and left her. He later claimed to have removed her vagina and some of her organs and ate them.

Her boyfriend waited three weeks to report her missing.

 
 

Name: Elizabeth Gibson
Age: ?
Killed: 1989
Body found: November 27, 1989

She got into Shawcross car to keep herself warm while he was getting coffee from a diner. They had oral sex in the car and again, he claimed that she tried to take his wallet and he got angry and strangled her.

Shawcross later told police that she had struggled so hard that she had broken the gearshift in his car. He disposed of Gibson’s body in a new area near Wayne County, as he feared that the police were getting too close.

 
 

Name: Darlene Trippi
Age: Thirty-two-year-old
Killed: On or about December 15, 1989

Shawcross picked Darlene Trippi up from the Lake Avenue area and drove to an isolated car park. After the money was paid they indulged in oral sex but Shawcross failed to get an erection. She became frustrated and called him names and he choked her until she lay dead under him. He dumped her body in open woodland.

 
 

Name: June Cicero
Age: Thirty-four-year-old
Killed: December, 1989

Shawcross picked up June Cicero and took her to another isolated area and attempted sex with her before strangling her. Virtually right under the noses of the investigating police, "The Genesee River Killer" had struck again. This time he dumped the body off a bridge over the Salmon River. Two days later he returned to the dumpsite with a small hand saw and cut the vagina from her frozen body and ate it.

 
 

Name: Felicia Stephens
Age: Nineteen-year-old
Killed: She was last seen alive on December 26, 1989
Body found: January 3, 1990

The final victim was another prostitute, a black woman named Felicia Stephens. In later interviews he stated that he could not recall any details of Felicia’s murder only that she was black and he had strangled her and dumped her body near those of Jean Cicero and Dorothy Blackburn.

On december 31, 1989, hikers found a pair of blue jeans with her I.D. in the pocket. An aerial search found the body on January 3; it also spotted a vehicle cruising the area and recorded its license number, tracing the plate back to Arthurs live-in girlfriend.

He was arrested on January 5, 1990.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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