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Arthur John SHAWCROSS

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


A.K.A.: "
The Genesee River Killer"
 
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Cannibal? - Mutilator
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 in 1972. Released on parole in March 1987. Sentenced to 250 years in prison, 1991. Died in prison on November 10, 2008
 
 

 
 
photo gallery 1 photo gallery 2 photo gallery 3
 
 
victims
 
 

 
 

Arthur Shawcross (born June 6, 1945) is an American serial killer, also known as The Genesee River Killer.

He claimed most of his victims after being paroled early following a conviction for murdering a child, which led to criticism of the justice system.

Early life

He was born in Maine, but the family moved to Watertown in New York State when he was young. Shawcross dropped out of school in the ninth grade, and when he was 19 he enlisted in the army. He fought in the Vietnam War where he was to later confess he had murdered and cannibalized two young Vietnamese girls, although there is nothing to back up this claim.

Back in civilian life, living in Watertown once more, Shawcross married four times, but his wives invariably left him after a short time because of his violent and erratic behavior. It was there, in May 1972, that he murdered 10-year-old Jake Blake. He lured the boy to some woods where he assaulted and strangled him. Four months later, he raped and killed an eight-year-old girl named Karen Ann Hill.

Arrested for these crimes, Shawcross confessed to both murders but was later able to obtain a plea bargain with the prosecutors. He would plead guilty to killing just Karen Ann Hill on a charge of manslaughter, instead of first-degree murder, and the charge of killing Jake Blake would be dropped. With little evidence to go on, prosecutors went along with this, and the self-confessed double child killer was given a 25-year sentence.

Shawcross served 15 years before he was released on parole in March 1987. He had difficulty settling down as he was chased out of homes and fired from workplaces as soon as neighbors and employers found out about his criminal record. Eventually he settled in Rochester, New York, and lived with a woman named Clara.

Second Spree

Starting in March 1988, Shawcross began murdering prostitutes in the area, claiming 11 victims before his capture less than two years later. The victims were:

  • 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

They were usually strangled and battered to death, and were often mutilated as well. Most of them were found near the Genesee River.

All the victims were murdered in Monroe County, except for Gibson, who was killed in neighboring Wayne County.

After the last victim's body was found in January 1990, the police decided not to remove it and instead keep surveillance on the area, based on a psychological profile that suggested the killer would return to the scene.

Sure enough, Shawcross was spotted masturbating as he sat in his car on a bridge over the creek in which the body of his final victim was floating. He was arrested and eventually confessed in custody.

Trial and Conviction

In November 1990, Shawcross was tried for the 10 murders in Monroe County. The trial was televised and drew high ratings. Shawcross pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but the jury found him sane and guilty. The judge sentenced him to 250 years' imprisonment.

A few months later, Shawcross was taken to Wayne County to be tried for Gibson's murder. Rather than claim insanity this time, he just pleaded guilty and was given a life sentence.

In 1992, true crime author Joel Norris wrote a book about the case. The paperback came with a tape that contained "the live confessions of Arthur Shawcross and his hideous crimes!" This drew some criticism that Norris was sensationalizing the case.

Imprisonment

Shawcross is currently held at Sullivan Correctional Facility.

In 2003 he was interviewed by a British reporter, Katherine English, for a documentary on cannibalism. The convicted serial killer bragged about slicing out and eating the vaginas of three victims, and also to eating the genitals of the boy he killed in 1972. Some criminologists have doubted these stories and suggested Shawcross embellished his crimes to impress the reporter and viewers.

References

Arthur Shawcross: The Genesee River Killer (1992) Dr. Joel Norris, Pinnacle Books ISBN 1558175784


Notorious N.Y. serial killer dies

By Gary Craig, Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle

November 11, 2008

ROCHESTER, N.Y. Serial killer Arthur Shawcross, convicted of murdering 11 women in New York state between 1988 and 1990, died Monday evening, state corrections officials said Tuesday

Shawcross, 63, was taken to the Albany Medical Center on Monday, according to Department of Correctional Services spokesman Erik Kriss. He was serving a sentence of 250 years to life for the murders. Ten of his victims were from Monroe County, N.Y. and the 11th was killed in Wayne County, N.Y..

Shawcross' three-month trial in the Monroe County slayings was considered the biggest and most complicated murder trial in county history.

The trial was televised gavel-to-gavel, as the New York law then allowed. The luridness of the case, coupled with the television coverage, drew big audiences.

The prosecutor, then First Assistant District Attorney Charles Siragusa, is now a federal judge. He said people would frequently approach him outside court to talk about the case.

For the prosecution, he and others dissected Shawcross' entire life so they would be prepared to challenge an attempted psychiatric defense.

Siragusa said he and others tracked Shawcross' school records back to the second grade and also accumulated all of his records from previous military service.

"By the time the trial came around, I probably knew more about Arthur Shawcross than he knew," Siragusa said today.

Shawcross did not testify during his trial, but jurors watched videotapes of him being interviewed under hypnosis by defense psychiatrist Dr. Dorothy Lewis. He switched in and out of a high-pitched woman's voice and told Lewis he had once been a cannibal in medieval England.

In sometimes graphic detail, he described incestuous relations with his sister as a child and wartime atrocities and cannibalism in Vietnam. In the most dramatic passage, he appeared to relive an episode in which he was sexually abused by his mother. He told Lewis his mother's voice told him to kill his victims, and that she "helped him" strangle and mutilate one of the women.

But in videotaped interviews with prosecution psychiatrist Dr. Park Dietz, Shawcross said he never heard voices or had different personalities. Dietz argued that Shawcross was faking mental illness to avoid being sent to prison.

The jury deliberated only 6 1/2 hours before convicting Shawcross in December 1990.

He later pleaded guilty in the Wayne County killing.

Two books have been written about Shawcross' crimes.

Shawcross, a native of Jefferson County, came to Rochester June 29, 1987, after killing two children in Watertown in 1972 and serving time in prison. Residents of Binghamton and the Delaware Count communities of Delhi and Fleischmanns ran him out.

On July 13, 1987, a senior parole officer in Rochester decided that local police officials "should be told" of Shawcross' "presence in the community, but not regarding his criminal background." The next day, Rochester, Brighton and Irondequoit police were told that Shawcross had settled in the city.

On July 10, 1997, Shawcross married his longtime sweetheart, Clara D. Neal, at a Sullivan County Correctional Facility ceremony. Neal said in 1994 that Shawcross' previous wife, Rose of Oneonta, Otsego County, had delivered him divorce papers on his birthday that June.

An uproar ensued over the issue of conjugal visits.

He then created controversy in 1999 by giving paintings and poems to people outside prison, who then marketed them on the Internet auction site eBay. Shawcross was given two years solitary confinement for profiting from the paintings. He appealed and got the time reduced to nine months.

After criticism in 2001 for allowing Shawcross to sell his artwork at its annual inmate art show, the state Department of Correctional Services in 2002 eliminated the show and banned the sale of art produced in prisons.

The "Corrections on Canvas" show had been staged for 35 years in the Legislative Office Building in Albany. Inmates bought their own art supplies and kept half the proceeds from their sales, with the other half going to the state Crime Victims Board.

Shawcross painted mostly muted pastel works that depicted scenes with butterflies and winged horses for the 2001 show. A portrait of the late Princess Diana was among 10 sketches and paintings by him that sold for as much as $540 each.


Arthur John Shawcross was born on June 6, 1945 at the U.S. Naval hospital in Kittery, Maine he was a small baby due to the fact he was born two months premature. His father, Arthur Roy Shawcross was a corporal in the army so Bessie, Sahwcross' mother decided to take the tiny infact to her sister-in-law's in Watertown, New York until Arthur Snr. had completed his military service.

During his time near Watertown, many other realted familes of Shawcross' moved in, the area would soon be known as Shawcross Corner due to the family's congregation. But Arthur was not fitting in with the many other children, to gain attention he talked like a baby all the time even when he was six, and chronically wet the bed, something the other's didn't appreciate. He also soon began to run away from home for the attention he received.

At school things weren't any better, though he maintained pretty decent grades he was always aloner, the other children would tease him and call him "Oddy", and he would bully the younger children until they cried. He would often fly into a rage at others in class and was in the habit of carrying and iron bar to school.

As time passed he became increasingly withdrawn, by the eighth grade he had fallen behind by two years compared to others and his grade suffered immensely, to avoid the conflicts at home he would often flee to his grandmother's house.

Arthur Shawcross can never remember a time when he was not preoccupied with sex, even from as early as eight he frequently masturbated and progress onto oral sex with both male and female friends. Though his sexual escapades were not limited to humans, he claims he aslo had sex with animals, in particular cows, sheep, a horse and also killed a chicken while having intercourse with it.

He also told of his initiation into sex by his "Aunt" Tina who made him perform cunilingus on her, this was always to be his favourite type of sexual intimacy. By the time he was fourteen, Arthur claims that he was regularly having oral sex with his sister Jeannie and his cousin Linda. He also claims that he had another relationship with a young girl who lived nearby and was caught by her brother while performing oral sex on the girl. The brother supposedly threatened to tell their parents unless Arthur performed oral sex on him as well. It was at this time that Arthur's craving for sex became insatiable and he continued to have oral sex whenever the opportunity presented itself.

However any pentration would be short-livd as Arthur would quickly lose his erection.

Soon an even happened that change everything Athur knew or felt about sex. On his way home from school one day he was picked up by a man in a car who held a knife to the boy's throat as he performed fellatio on him. In his fear Arthur was unable to reach orgasm so the man in anger turned Arthur over and brutally sodomised him and dropped him off at his house. Shawcross from that point on could not reach orgasm without pain being involved.

For the next few years Arthur went from job to job, mingled with petty theft for which he was sometimes caught. In 1964 he married, the marriage only lasted nearly 4 years and the couple had a son.

The turning point in Arthur Shawcross' life came in 1968, when Arthur was conscripted into the army and began a tour of duty in Vietnam. It was to be important because he was about to learn how to kill.

Just before being shipped to Vietnam he married again for the second time to Linda Neary after a very brief courtship.

Whil in Vietnam he was a dispatch clerk, responsible for flying out to the various war-zones with the ammuniation via helicopter. He was horrified with the savagery of war at first but soon was itching to be out among his fellow soldiers. He enjoyed hunting the enemy - being a predator.

Once in the thick of war, Shawcross later told of some of the atrocities he committed. One occassion he found two Vietnamese women hiding in the shrub, he shot one in the head and tied the other to a tree. Though the first woman was still breathing he cut off her head and put it on a pole for the enemy to find. he then took a slice from her thigh, cooked it and ate it. With the other woman he made her perform oral sex before raping her at gunpoint and shooting her in the head.

In fact, Vietnam became a living fantasy of horror and gore for lethal Arthur. He not only would shoot at the enemy he also savaged several asian prostitutes one only eleven years old. He said later that Vietnam brought out his animal instincts.

All of this bloodlust, he believed, was justified by the horrors of the conflict.

"The VC put razor blades up whores' vaginas. Shoved them inside a cup deep in where you'd never know until it was too late. When the GI's would fuck 'em they would slit their penises to shreds or cut 'em clean off... I was with some guys, ROK Koreans, who took a whore and put a firehose inside her and turned on the water. She died almost instantly. Her neck jumped about a foot from her body. Another time we took another whore and tied her to two small trees, legs to the trees, bent down. She had a razor blade inside her vagina. She was cut from her anus to her chin. Then the trees were let go. She slit in half. Left her there hanging between the trees. This may be why I did what I did to those girls."

When he returned hoe he was highly agitated and found it difficult to relax. He began to beat his wife and was incredibly aggressive. A psychiatriast told Linda, his wife, that he needed to be committed for treatment and rest. However linda, being a Christian Scientist, did not belive what the doctors ahd to say and refused to sign the papers for his commital.

Without the therapy he desperately needed, Arthur's mental state began to decline and he became increasingly irritated with Linda and her family, usually over their adherence to their religion, which he saw as nothing more than witchcraft.

he believed that the spirit of a thirteenth-century cannibal "Ariemes," possessed his body and drove him to rape, murder and cannibalism. In 1988 he was released from prison after serving fifteen years for the sadistic murders of two children in Watertown. Out on parole he was sent to Rochester to live after residents in two other communities objected to his presence. Right about then Ariemes came back to possess him and helped him with a twenty-month murder spree in which he bagged and chewed on eleven women.

Once in custody Art detailed his cannibalistic deeds explaining that he was possessed by his shrewish mother's spirit (as well as Ariemes). Mom -- whom he esteemed and resented simultaneously -- enjoyed ramming broomsticks up his ass when he was young. Recieving no mercy from the jury, in February 1991 Art was sent to the Sullivan Correctional Institute in Fallsburg, NY, to serve a 250-year sentence. Curiously, in 1990, he received ten write-in votes during New York's gubernatorial race.

On July 10, 1997, Art married his long time sweetheart, Clara Neal in a simple ceremony in the prison's visiting room. "It was nice and all," said the blushing bride. The two started dating before his conviction. However, at the time, Shawcross was married to another woman. "It took 10 years to make the grade, but I finally made it," said lovestruck Clara. His previous wife, Rose, died in the spring, making their union possible under the eyes of God. Under the state Department of Correctional Services policy Shawcross and Neal will be eligible for conjugal visits. Neal stated she loves him and stands by her cannibal "no matter what". Shawcross, of course, used Neal's car to pick up, have sex with, and then kill his victims.

On September 19, 1999, Shawcross was punished with two years in solitary confinement and lost his art privileges for five years for having agents sell his paintings on the Internet auction site eBay. Shawcross, 54, will be confined to a cell for 23 hours a day at Fallsburg's Sullivan Correctional Facility. Officials say he has been mailing drawings and oil paintings -- of Marilyn Monroe and stock-car driver Dale Earnhardt -- to dealers. In return, they would send him gifts like clothes and shoes instead of cash. Prison officials said Shawcross did not violate the state's "Son of Sam" law because he was not accused of benefiting from the actual crimes that led to his arrest.


Department of Correctional Services

Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Contact: Spokesman James B. Flateau at 518-457-8182

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MONDAY SEPTEMBER 13, 1999

DOCS suspends serial killer Arthur Shawcross' arts and crafts privileges

Convicted serial killer Arthur Shawcross has lost arts and crafts privileges, at least temporarily, after the Department of Correctional Services learned that he was having his autographs and artworks sold on the Internet, Commissioner Glenn S. Goord said today.

Shawcross' privileges were suspended last Friday, one day after the Department learned that eBay, a Web-based auction house, was conducting public auctions on a variety of items bearing Shawcross' signature. A preliminary investigation has determined that Shawcross would mail the autographs and artworks from the Sullivan Correctional Facility where he is housed, to others and receive a fee for those items. The items then would show up for public auction on the Internet.

The Department's rule book for inmates specifically prohibits them from conducting any type of business activity while incarcerated. Shawcross has been charged with two rule book violations: soliciting goods or services (in this case, money) and selling personal articles without approval (his artwork and signature). Inmates are on notice that they are subject to a hearing and disciplinary action if they commit any rule book infraction. Besides having his arts and crafts privileges suspended, Shawcross faces additional disciplinary action in light of the ongoing investigation. There is no violation under the state's "Son of Sam" law, because Shawcross is not accused of benefitting from the crimes that led to his arrest.

A formal hearing on the disciplinary charges is tentatively scheduled for Thursday at Sullivan to give Shawcross the opportunity to defend himself against the charges. While inmates are not entitled to counsel at such hearings conducted by DOCS personnel, inmates are entitled to an inmate assistant who can gather information for their use. If Shawcross is found guilty of the charges by the Hearing Officer, he could lose additional privileges and be subjected to Special Housing Unit (SHU) or "keeplock" time. The Hearing Officer will also decide the length of time that privileges will be revoked. Shawcross could also be transferred to another facility.

"We will not tolerate any inmates engaging in any type of business activity while they are in our custody," said Commissioner Goord. "Those inmates who chose to operate a business and capitalize on their heinous crimes and notoriety can be assured that they will face swift and severe disciplinary action, and a corresponding loss of privileges, following due process on the charges."

Shawcross, 54, is serving a term of 250 years to life for 12 second-degree murder convictions in 1991 in Monroe County. He was received into the state prison system on February, 1, 1991, and has been an inmate at the maximum-security Sullivan prison in Sullivan County since March 22, 1991. Shawcross is not eligible for parole until January 10, 2240.


Arthur John Shawcross was born on June 6, 1945 at the U.S. Naval hospital in Kittery, Maine he was a small baby due to the fact he was born two months premature. His father, Arthur Roy Shawcross was a corporal in the army so Bessie, Sahwcross' mother decided to take the tiny infact to her sister-in-law's in Watertown, New York until Arthur Snr. had completed his military service.

During his time near Watertown, many other realted familes of Shawcross' moved in, the area would soon be known as Shawcross Corner due to the family's congregation. But Arthur was not fitting in with the many other children, to gain attention he talked like a baby all the time even when he was six, and chronically wet the bed, something the other's didn't appreciate. He also soon began to run away from home for the attention he received.

At school things weren't any better, though he maintained pretty decent grades he was always aloner, the other children would tease him and call him "Oddy", and he would bully the younger children until they cried. He would often fly into a rage at others in class and was in the habit of carrying and iron bar to school.

As time passed he became increasingly withdrawn, by the eighth grade he had fallen behind by two years compared to others and his grade suffered immensely, to avoid the conflicts at home he would often flee to his grandmother's house.

Arthur Shawcross can never remember a time when he was not preoccupied with sex, even from as early as eight he frequently masturbated and progress onto oral sex with both male and female friends. Though his sexual escapades were not limited to humans, he claims he aslo had sex with animals, in particular cows, sheep, a horse and also killed a chicken while having intercourse with it.

He also told of his initiation into sex by his "Aunt" Tina who made him perform cunilingus on her, this was always to be his favourite type of sexual intimacy. By the time he was fourteen, Arthur claims that he was regularly having oral sex with his sister Jeannie and his cousin Linda. He also claims that he had another relationship with a young girl who lived nearby and was caught by her brother while performing oral sex on the girl. The brother supposedly threatened to tell their parents unless Arthur performed oral sex on him as well. It was at this time that Arthur's craving for sex became insatiable and he continued to have oral sex whenever the opportunity presented itself.

However any pentration would be short-livd as Arthur would quickly lose his erection.

Soon an even happened that change everything Athur knew or felt about sex. On his way home from school one day he was picked up by a man in a car who held a knife to the boy's throat as he performed fellatio on him. In his fear Arthur was unable to reach orgasm so the man in anger turned Arthur over and brutally sodomised him and dropped him off at his house. Shawcross from that point on could not reach orgasm without pain being involved.

For the next few years Arthur went from job to job, mingled with petty theft for which he was sometimes caught. In 1964 he married, the marriage only lasted nearly 4 years and the couple had a son.

The turning point in Arthur Shawcross' life came in 1968, when Arthur was conscripted into the army and began a tour of duty in Vietnam. It was to be important because he was about to learn how to kill.

Just before being shipped to Vietnam he married again for the second time to Linda Neary after a very brief courtship.

Whil in Vietnam he was a dispatch clerk, responsible for flying out to the various war-zones with the ammuniation via helicopter. He was horrified with the savagery of war at first but soon was itching to be out among his fellow soldiers. He enjoyed hunting the enemy - being a predator.

Once in the thick of war, Shawcross later told of some of the atrocities he committed. One occassion he found two Vietnamese women hiding in the shrub, he shot one in the head and tied the other to a tree. Though the first woman was still breathing he cut off her head and put it on a pole for the enemy to find. he then took a slice from her thigh, cooked it and ate it. With the other woman he made her perform oral sex before raping her at gunpoint and shooting her in the head.

In fact, Vietnam became a living fantasy of horror and gore for lethal Arthur. He not only would shoot at the enemy he also savaged several asian prostitutes one only eleven years old. He said later that Vietnam brought out his animal instincts.

All of this bloodlust, he believed, was justified by the horrors of the conflict.

"The VC put razor blades up whores' vaginas. Shoved them inside a cup deep in where you'd never know until it was too late. When the GI's would fuck 'em they would slit their penises to shreds or cut 'em clean off... I was with some guys, ROK Koreans, who took a whore and put a firehose inside her and turned on the water. She died almost instantly. Her neck jumped about a foot from her body. Another time we took another whore and tied her to two small trees, legs to the trees, bent down. She had a razor blade inside her vagina. She was cut from her anus to her chin. Then the trees were let go. She slit in half. Left her there hanging between the trees. This may be why I did what I did to those girls."

When he returned hoe he was highly agitated and found it difficult to relax. He began to beat his wife and was incredibly aggressive. A psychiatriast told Linda, his wife, that he needed to be committed for treatment and rest. However linda, being a Christian Scientist, did not belive what the doctors ahd to say and refused to sign the papers for his commital.

Without the therapy he desperately needed, Arthur's mental state began to decline and he became increasingly irritated with Linda and her family, usually over their adherence to their religion, which he saw as nothing more than witchcraft.

he believed that the spirit of a thirteenth-century cannibal "Ariemes," possessed his body and drove him to rape, murder and cannibalism. In 1988 he was released from prison after serving fifteen years for the sadistic murders of two children in Watertown. Out on parole he was sent to Rochester to live after residents in two other communities objected to his presence. Right about then Ariemes came back to possess him and helped him with a twenty-month murder spree in which he bagged and chewed on eleven women.

Once in custody Art detailed his cannibalistic deeds explaining that he was possessed by his shrewish mother's spirit (as well as Ariemes). Mom -- whom he esteemed and resented simultaneously -- enjoyed ramming broomsticks up his ass when he was young. Recieving no mercy from the jury, in February 1991 Art was sent to the Sullivan Correctional Institute in Fallsburg, NY, to serve a 250-year sentence. Curiously, in 1990, he received ten write-in votes during New York's gubernatorial race.

On July 10, 1997, Art married his long time sweetheart, Clara Neal in a simple ceremony in the prison's visiting room. "It was nice and all," said the blushing bride. The two started dating before his conviction. However, at the time, Shawcross was married to another woman. "It took 10 years to make the grade, but I finally made it," said lovestruck Clara. His previous wife, Rose, died in the spring, making their union possible under the eyes of God. Under the state Department of Correctional Services policy Shawcross and Neal will be eligible for conjugal visits. Neal stated she loves him and stands by her cannibal "no matter what". Shawcross, of course, used Neal's car to pick up, have sex with, and then kill his victims.

On September 19, 1999, Shawcross was punished with two years in solitary confinement and lost his art privileges for five years for having agents sell his paintings on the Internet auction site eBay. Shawcross, 54, will be confined to a cell for 23 hours a day at Fallsburg's Sullivan Correctional Facility. Officials say he has been mailing drawings and oil paintings -- of Marilyn Monroe and stock-car driver Dale Earnhardt -- to dealers. In return, they would send him gifts like clothes and shoes instead of cash. Prison officials said Shawcross did not violate the state's "Son of Sam" law because he was not accused of benefiting from the actual crimes that led to his arrest.


SEX: M RACE: W TYPE: T MOTIVE: Sex.

DATE(S): 1972/1988-89

MO: Sex slayer of two children (1972) and 11 female prostitutes.

DISPOSITION: 25 years on one count, 1972 (paroled 1987); 250 years on 10 counts, 1991.


The Arthur Shawcross Story: Sins of the Flesh

by Patrick Bellamy

Art Imitates Life

By his own admission, Arthur Shawcross has been obsessed by sex for as long as he can remember.  Like many other pubescent boys he conducted various sexual experiments, but for Arthur, it became more than just idle curiosity.  He claims that from age seven, he frequently masturbated and had oral sex with both male and female friends. 

Years later, he bragged to psychologists that he had also had sex with a sheep, a cow and a horse and had even killed a chicken in the process of trying to have sex with it.  He would also claim that his aunt Tina was responsible for his sexual habits because she "forced" him to perform oral sex on her, which, he says accounts for it being his preferred method of sexual contact.  He also claims that when he was fourteen, he had sex with his twelve-year-old sister Jeannie, an accusation she strenuously denies. 

Another favourite story is that his mother sodomised him with a broomstick when he was a child but that story is also suspect.  Whatever the reasons, be they real or merely the fantasies of a twisted mind, the pursuit of sexual gratification came to play a major role in the life of Arthur Shawcross, and eventually led to him becoming one of the most depraved and brutal serial killers in history.

Arthur John Shawcross was born in the early hours of June 6, 1945 at the U.S. Naval hospital in Kittery, Maine.  He was two months premature.  At the time of his birth, his mother, Bessie, was just eighteen and his father, Corporal Arthur Roy Shawcross was twenty-one.  Two weeks after the birth, Bessie took baby Arthur and moved to Watertown, New York to live with her sister-in-law until Arthur Snr. had completed his military service.

By 1958, the family had built a small house in a rural area six miles northwest of Watertown near the town of Brownville.  Three other related families soon settled in the same area, which became known as "Shawcross Corners."  This extended family, including thirteen children, lived a normal, happy existence.  Young Arthur, on the other hand, was beginning to show the first signs of abnormal behaviour, especially after his little brother Jimmy was born.  He became a chronic bed wetter and was still talking like a baby until he was six.  The following year, he started running away from home, which family members dismissed as merely a ploy to gain attention.

By the time he was eight, other behavioural problems began to surface.  He seemed to hate children younger than himself and teased them until they cried.  He became obsessed with his sister Jeannie and ignored his other sister and younger brother.  He invented imaginary friends and spoke with them in strange voices.  His classmates constantly teased him and called him "Oddie," which would send him into a rage.  By and large, Arthur was a loner whose "weird" behaviour made it hard for him to mix and communicate with others and he would often be seen sitting alone in an empty classroom while his peers were outside playing.  Curiously, his grades were above average but a school nurse remembers him as being "a troubled boy," who constantly ran away from home and often carried an iron bar on the bus to threaten other children with.

By the time he entered the third grade, Arthur's behaviour deteriorated as did his grades and he was given a series of psychological tests, which indicated that his behaviour was due in large part to his feelings of inadequacy and rejection and a growing hostility that he felt towards his parents, particularly his mother.  Regardless of the results, he was later promoted to the fourth grade where he stayed for two years.  During this time, he ran away yet again and was picked up at the Canadian border.

By the time Arthur was nine, the atmosphere at home was no better than the one at school, especially when Arthur's mother found out that Arthur Snr. had another wife and son in Australia.  Relatives believe that from that time on, his mother became a different woman who flew into jealous rages at the mere mention of another woman and raged constantly at Arthur Snr., who became quiet and withdrawn as a result.  Arthur Jr. did his best to stay out of her way by retreating to his Grandmother's house at every opportunity.

As the years passed, Arthur grew increasingly violent and would often beat up the neighbourhood children and became well known for his explosive temper.  He also began breaking into houses and stealing from local businesses and lighting fires. On one occasion, after falling into a river at a family picnic, he complained of sore legs and was given brain scans and a battery of other tests to determine the cause.  The tests revealed nothing.  His family later agreed that it was just one more attempt to gain attention.

Becoming increasingly withdrawn and antisocial, Arthur fell further and further behind with his schoolwork until, in the eighth grade, he was a full three years older than his classmates.  Arthur didn't seem to care; he had become a true outcast. 

By his mid teens, he was still wetting the bed and had almost completely withdrawn into his own private little world.  He spent hours walking in the woods talking to himself and was often observed yelling at inanimate objects and beating the undergrowth with a stick as if in torment from unseen demons.   

By the time he was fourteen, Arthur claims that he was regularly having oral sex with his sister Jeannie and his cousin Linda.  He also claims that he had another relationship with a young girl who lived nearby and was caught by her brother while performing oral sex on the girl.  The brother supposedly threatened to tell their parents unless Arthur performed oral sex on him as well.  It was at this time that Arthur's craving for sex became insatiable and he continued to have oral sex whenever the opportunity presented itself.  Curiously, Arthur never described any acts of penetration during this period, which could indicate that he was unable to sustain an erection from an early age.  That year also marked the period when Arthur claims to have first associated violence with sex.  It began after he was walking home from school and was picked up by a man in a red convertible who supposedly held him by the throat while performing oral sex on him.  When Arthur failed to reach orgasm, the man anally raped him and dropped him near his house.  From that time on, Shawcross claims that he could never reach orgasm without inflicting pain on himself.

The following year he was arrested for breaking into a Sears department store but was given probation because he hadn't removed anything from the store.  For the next few years, Arthur wandered aimlessly through life until, at the age of nineteen, he married for the first time.  The union lasted less than three years and produced a son.  In 1968 Arthur was conscripted into the army and began a tour of duty in Vietnam.  It was to be an important turning point in his life; he was about to learn how to kill.

The Making of a Monster

Just prior to his posting, Arthur married his second wife Linda Neary after a brief courtship.  Arriving in Vietnam, he was assigned to a unit in Pleiku as a supply clerk.  One of his duties was to arrange for the distribution of ammunition which entailed travelling to the outlying units by helicopter.  It was at that point, he later told psychiatrists, that he started going out on "fire missions" with various forward companies.  Initially, he claims, he was shocked by the violence but soon found that he craved the danger of going into the jungle alone looking for the enemy and eventually became what he referred to as a "predator." 

On one such mission, Shawcross claimed he encountered two Vietnamese women hiding guns in a hollow tree and shot one of them and tied the other to a tree.  The woman who was shot was still breathing when Shawcross cut her head off and put it on a post for the Viet Cong to find.  He then cut off a section of her thigh and roasted it over a fire and ate part of it.  Afterwards he had oral sex with the other woman and raped her before shooting her in the head and butchering her body.  He became an expert sniper and claimed that he fashioned a silencer out of a rubber nipple from a baby's bottle, which allowed him to pick off the enemy without giving his position away.  Even if such a device were effective, it would only be good for one shot, which brings to mind the question of how he was able to obtain a ready supply of rubber nipples in the jungles of Vietnam.

By his own admission, Shawcross became an "animal" in Vietnam and found it difficult to control the violent urges that drove him to rape and kill.  The enemy weren't the only victims of his sexual rages as he also claims to have attacked several Asian prostitutes, some as young as eleven.

When he returned home to Watertown in 1969, he was a changed man, for the worse.  He was continually agitated and found it hard to relax.  After visiting his mother he went to see his wife only to find that she had spent all the money that he had been sending home and was seeing another man.  Soon after, when he was transferred to Fort Sill Oklahoma to serve out the remainder of his term in the Army, Linda went with him.  It was at this time that Shawcross began to experience violent flashbacks and nightmares and began to beat Linda, which led him to consult with an Army psychiatrist.  The doctor suggested therapy and a period in a mental hospital to try and stabilise him but Linda, being a Christian Scientist, was wary of doctors and hospitals and refused to sign the commitment papers. 

Without therapy, Arthur's mental state began to decline and he became increasingly irritated with Linda and her family, usually over their adherence to their religion, which he saw as nothing more than witchcraft.  In April 1969, Arthur vented his frustration by setting fire to a local paper mill and later in the year, the cheese factory where he was employed at the time.  He was later arrested and convicted on two counts of arson and sentenced to five years in prison.  He served the first six months of his sentence at Attica prison where three black inmates allegedly raped him.  Shawcross claims he later extracted revenge by beating and raping each of his attackers in separate incidents and was transferred to Auburn prison to serve out his sentence.

In 1971, he was given early release when he saved the life of a prison guard who had been clubbed during a prison riot sparked by racial tensions within the prison.  He returned to Watertown to "start a new life," having been divorced by Linda while he was in jail.  His stay in prison did little for his already fragile mental state and by the time of his release he was in a highly agitated frame of mind and ready to do further damage to anyone or anything that took his fancy.

Death of the Innocents

In an attempt to settle into a normal routine, Arthur took a job at the Watertown Public Works Department as a handyman and married a third time.  His new wife, Penny Nichol, was a school friend of his sister Jeannie and had two children from a former relationship.  Shawcross claims that up to this time, he was still having a sexual relationship with Jeannie and that she had introduced him to Penny because she had fallen pregnant to her boyfriend and couldn't continue their relationship. 

By his recollection, after five months, the relationship with Penny seemed to be going well and at one stage she fell pregnant but later miscarried.  Sometime later, he claims that the marriage came under threat when Penny's father accused Arthur of sexually assaulting Penny's younger sister. 

Shawcross said he denied the allegation but from that time on, Penny's parents spent a great deal of time around the house watching him.  What makes both the miscarriage and the alleged assault interesting is the fact that, by his own admission, Shawcross was incapable of maintaining an erection or ejaculating making the possibility of him fathering a child very difficult.  Secondly, regarding the assault, during his interviews with Dr. Joel Norris for the book "Arthur Shawcross: The Genesee Killer," he seems confused wether Penny's sister is named Rose or Jill.

One thing is known to be fact; Arthur Shawcross spent a great deal of his spare time fishing in the creeks and rivers around Watertown.  As a result, he came to know many of the town's children and often shared the same spots with them.   One of his regular fishing companions was ten-year-old Jack Blake and on one occasion, Arthur had gone to the boy's house to ask Jack's mother Mary if Jack could go fishing with him.  According to Mary, when she refused, Arthur was polite and agreed that she had made the right decision.

Four months later, on the morning of June 4 1972, Jack went out to play near the Cloverdale apartment block where Shawcross lived and never came home.  Later that night, while out looking for her son, Mary Blake knocked on Arthur's door to ask where her son was.  He told her that he hadn't seen him since that morning.  The truth of the matter was that Shawcross had taken Jack into the woods and after stripping him naked and forcing him to run through the woods, had caught him and sexually molested him before finally strangling him and battering him about the head.  Later Shawcross would admit to removing the boy's heart and genitals and eating them.  Although Shawcross was a suspect in the boy's disappearance, no action was taken due to lack of evidence.

Three months later, while the police were still searching for Jack Blake, eight-year-old Karen Ann Hill was found dead under a bridge near Black River, she had been raped, mutilated and strangled.  When a police investigation revealed that Hill and Shawcross had been seen together earlier the same day, Shawcross again became a suspect.  After they received another report that Shawcross was seen eating an ice cream at the bridge near where the body was found, the police picked Arthur Shawcross up and took him in for questioning.

He was interrogated at police headquarters for a full day before he surprised police by asking them in front of his defence attorney, "What's going to happen to me if I tell you something?"

After several more hours of interviews and plea-bargaining, Arthur Shawcross pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Karen Ann Hill.  He was later convicted and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison.  To this day, he has never been charged with the murder of Jack Blake even though he later admitted to the rape and murder and showed police where he had dumped the body.  He later told prison psychiatrists that he had returned to the gravesite on several occasions to have sex with the corpse.

A Model Prisoner

Arthur Shawcross began his second jail term in the New York Penitentiary in Green Haven.  For the first eight years he spent much of his time protecting himself from the other inmates who considered child-killers the lowest form of life.  His record shows numerous reports of fighting, minor stealing offences, lighting fires and refusing to leave his cell.  Eventually he began to settle into prison life and behave himself until finally he was considered to be a "model prisoner."

During his incarceration he claims that he tried to tell the prison's psychiatrists that his problems were a result of the Vietnam War but they refused to listen.  One of the first psychiatrists to examine him, Dr. Albert Dresser, did not consider Shawcross a "psychological risk."  His report shows that he did not perceive any evidence of delusions, hallucinations or sensory deceptions in his patient Arthur Shawcross.

Some months later, in October 1973, another prison psychologist, Dr. J. R, McWilliams, also examined Shawcross and carried out a series of tests including the Bender Motor Gestalt test and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence test but found no evidence of any neurological impairment.  What he did find was that Arthur suffered from fits of deep depression and "relied heavily upon fantasy as a source of satisfaction." 

His final entry in the case file was that he considered Shawcross, "seems to be a normal individual who knows he has done wrong and would like to help himself get back on the right track for his eventual return to society."  Curiously, an unknown person crossed out the reference to "normal person" in the McWilliams report and wrote the words "a psychopathic killer" above it in pencil.

In 1976, Dr. Michael Boccia examined Arthur and found that he had not come to terms with the severity of the crimes that he was being punished for and constantly blamed others for his problems.  In his opinion, Shawcross had not requested the first examination to deal with his mental problems; he had done it merely to impress the parole board.  The following year, the "model prisoner" had taken courses in lock smithing and horticulture and began preparing for his General Equivalency Diploma.  With more than a touch of irony he also began working with mental patients as a counsellor.

In June 1977, yet another prison psychiatrist, Dr. Haveliwala gave him another psychological examination and found that although he had adapted readily to prison routine, he had a schizoid personality, was antisocial and had a distinct personality disorder.  In addition, Haveliwala wrote "This man does not show a good degree of evidence of successfully resolving or working out his psychosexual conflicts."

Two more years passed and yet another report was tendered which described Shawcross as, "a person of abnormal character traits with psychosexual tendencies.  It must be noted that the above-mentioned complications tend to be chronic in duration."

Basically, what most of the doctors were trying to say was that under normal circumstances, Arthur Shawcross was a passive individual but when subjected to stress he became a slave to his inner sexual drives and was unable to prevent himself from giving them full reign.  Regardless of these and other unfavourable psychological reports, Arthur continued to "improve himself" in prison and by 1985 had completed his high school education and enrolled in college courses at Penn State University.  A parole report during the same period further stated that Shawcross "exhibited a belligerent reaction representing a foreboding potential for a possible re-enactment of his tragic behaviour." The report went on to further criticise the prisoner for his disdain for the prisons Sex Offender Program and displaying his "fury" during the parole interview.

Incredibly, despite the numerous psychological reports to the contrary and the parole boards own misgivings, Arthur Shawcross qualified for early release in March 1987 and was deemed to be "fit to re-enter society."  After his release, Robert T. Kent, his parole officer in Binghamton County wrote to his superiors, "At the risk of being melodramatic, the writer considers this man to be possibly the most dangerous individual to be released to this community for many years."  They were to be prophetic words indeed.

On the Prowl

When Shawcross was released he was placed in the Binghamton area as the officials and residents of Watertown had made it plain that they didn't want him there.  He had also been maintaining a "pen-pal" relationship with a woman named Rose Walley and indicated that he would go and live with her and probably marry her.  His parole conditions, among other things, required him to restrict his movements to Broome county, observe an 11pm to 7am curfew, refrain from partaking of any alcoholic beverage and not to have contact with anyone under the age of eighteen and stay away from schools or any other place where children were present.

Learning that he would be placed in their area, the Binghamton parole officers asked the question that the parole board should have considered before his release, if he had to have such strict parole conditions, why release him in the first place? 

His stay in Binghamton only proved to be a short one when the residents objected to his presence and he was given approval to move to Delhi, New York where he moved into Rose Walley's apartment.  Shortly after he moved in however, the residents of his new community got wind of his presence and he was asked to leave.  He appealed to the parole board and was sent to live in the basement of the Baptist church in Delhi until suitable accommodation could be found.  He and Rose later moved to Fleischmanns, New York and moved into a large house and Arthur obtained work with a local building contractor.

Within a matter of days, he was recognised in the local post office and later that night an angry mob led by the town's mayor assembled outside his house and demanded that he leave the area.  In the following weeks, Shawcross and Walley were bounced around from one area to the other until finally they were given an apartment in Rochester, New York.  Eventually, according to Shawcross, he tired of the parole boards interference and he and Rose got their own apartment and new jobs and settled into their new surroundings.  The job that Arthur got was at a company called "Bognia's" where he was employed to pack salads in boxes.

His life seemed stable enough until Christmas 1987 when he asked his family to come to Rochester to meet Rose and they refused.  His mood darkened when his sister informed him that the family had visited her in Virginia and told her how they had returned the Christmas present that he had sent them.  He became angry and ranted about how his family didn't want him and went out on his bike and rode for miles until he cooled down.  Shortly after the Christmas incident, he started a relationship with another woman named Clara Neal and often borrowed her car.  For a year he maintained both relationships, explaining to Rose that he was just being nice to Clara so she would lend him the car. 

On one particular evening in February 1988, he rode his bike to Clara's and took the car and drove around until he reached Lake Avenue near the Genesee River.  It was an industrial area well known for it's cheap prostitutes and drug dealers.  As he drove slowly down the street, a woman called Dorothy "Dotsie" Blackburn signalled him to stop.  When he pulled over she asked him if he wanted a "date."  He agreed and she directed him to a car park behind a warehouse.  He told her that he wanted to have mutual oral sex and paid her thirty dollars.  She then undressed and complied with his request. 

Shawcross later described that at that point, the woman bit him on the penis, drawing blood.  He said he became incensed and bit her vagina in retribution and squeezed her throat until she lost consciousness.  He them attempted to stem the flow of blood from his damaged organ and tied the woman up with articles of her clothing before driving out of town along State Route 104 to an area in Northampton Park called Salmon River, one of his favourite fishing spots.

He told her that he was going to rape her and she began taunting him and calling him names.  He threatened to kill her but she continued the name calling until he took her neck in his hands and crushed the breath out of her.  He sat in the car with her body until nearly midnight then calmly carried her through the snow to the river bridge and dropped her body into the icy river below.  Walking back to the car, he drove back into Rochester and drove up and down Lake Avenue looking for any sign that indicated that "Dotsie" had been missed.  Satisfied that he hadn't been observed he went to a nearby coffee shop to relax.  After an hour or so, he returned to the car, collected the woman's clothes and other property and threw them into a dumpster bin.

The following morning, after cleaning up the car, he returned it to Clara and rode his bike home.  Because of his normally erratic behaviour neither of the women in his life realised anything different in his demeanour.  In the following months, Arthur became a Lake Avenue regular and was well known by the local prostitutes as "Mitch."  On March 24, police found the body of "Dotsie" Blackburn floating in the river some distance downstream from the area where she had been dumped.  Her body was well preserved by the icy waters but the water had also removed any evidence that might link her with her killer.  The one thing that they did notice about the body was the chunk that had been torn from the woman's vagina.

Arthur Shawcross had contained the urge to kill for several months but when his boss learned why Arthur had been in prison and sacked him, it triggered off his next wave of violence.  The second victim was a part-time prostitute named Anna Steffen who Shawcross had picked up and taken to the river 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.  From that time on he tried to resist the temptation to kill and got another job working nights packing salads for a company called G & G Food Services. 

He didn't kill again until June 1989.  His third victim was different to the first two in that she wasn't a prostitute.  She was a fifty-eight-year-old homeless woman named Dorothy Keller.  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 Keller.  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 Keller'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.

The next to die was another Lake Avenue prostitute named Patty Ives.  He claims that she offered him sex for twenty-five dollars when he approached the same diner where Dorothy Keller 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.

Two months later he killed another prostitute called Frances Brown in similar circumstances except that in this instance he claims 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.

Following Brown's murder, the media began to pick up on the story of the murders of five Rochester women within eighteen months calling the unknown perpetrator, "The Rochester Nightstalker," "The Rochester Strangler" and "The Genesee River Killer."

Some even suggested that the crimes were similar to the Green River killings in Seattle and speculated that the killer had merely changed localities. 

For his sixth victim, Shawcross again chose someone close to home.  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.

Arthur was now on a roll and in the same month 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. 

Two weeks later, on November 23, while police were examining the decomposing body of June Stotts, Shawcross killed again.  As before, the pattern was set.  He 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. 

The following month, he killed Elizabeth Gibson in a similar fashion when she got into his car to keep 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.

Two more weeks passed and even though the police were out in force in the Lake Avenue area, Arthur Shawcross picked up an attractive girl named 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.  It is not hard to see that, just as the prison psychiatrists had detected, Arthur Shawcross lived in a fantasy world and made up these fanciful accounts of his numerous "accidental" murders to hide the fact that he was a sadistic killer who could only "get off" when he was subjecting his victims to pain and anguish which eventually resulted in their deaths.

The final victim was another prostitute only this time Arthur chose 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.  It was this desire to keep the bodies where he could find them again that led to his capture.

Lunch By the River

On Wednesday, January 3 1990, he drove to Salmon Creek in Northampton Park to visit Jean Cicero's body.  He was aroused at the thought of having sex with her corpse.  Arthur hadn't been following the progress of the serial task force that had become prime news on TV and in the papers.  If he had, he would have known that police surveillance in and around the Northampton Park area had increased dramatically.  He was happy that there were no cars parked where he wanted to stop on a bridge overlooking the creek so he could view Jean's body while he ate his lunch, a salad that he had prepared at work.

What he did not know was that a police helicopter that had been checking the Salmon River had not only seen his car parked on the bridge but also the outline of the body under the ice.  As the helicopter approached, Shawcross left the area and drove along Highway 31 and turned left at Route 259 heading toward the town of Spencerport with the helicopter following his every move.  The helicopter crew then called in two patrol cars to follow the car and intercept it.  They followed it to an address in Spencerport where the car was parked and Shawcross got out and entered the Wedgewood Adult Home where his wife worked.

The police entered the home and asked the attendant about the man who had just entered and was told that he had gone down into the basement.  The police followed and approached Shawcross in the basement and asked for identification.  He produced a photo I.D. and asked what the police wanted.  They then asked him to step outside to answer some questions.  Later he was interviewed in the car by Paul DeCillis, one of the task force investigators and asked why he had been at Salmon Creek.  Shawcross answered that he had been out driving and stopped to urinate but when he saw the helicopter he decided to sit in the car and urinate in a bottle instead. 

For several hours, Detective DeCillis questioned Arthur Shawcross extensively about his movements that morning but found that Shawcross had a pretty convincing story.  While they were talking, Shawcross told him about his earlier conviction for the child murders.  DeCillis continued to ask him questions about his wives, his jobs, his sexual habits and even asked him details of the attacks on Jack Blake and Karen Hill.  Throughout the questioning he was completely cooperative even though he had not been arrested and was talking to the police voluntarily.

Later that night he was released and he went home, unaware that his house was under constant surveillance.  The following morning the detectives picked him up again to "clarify some inconsistencies in his story."  Again, Shawcross complied with their request and went with them.  They drove him to an area near a golf course where he had supposedly had a liaison with a prostitute who had testified that he had often frequented the Lake Avenue area picking up prostitutes.  When Arthur agreed with the assertion he was asked to accompany the detectives to their office where an official interrogation was conducted.

Later the same evening, Arthur Shawcross positively identified photographs of the eleven victims and confessed to their murders.  He then accompanied the police to the various gravesites and late that night after twelve straight hours of interrogation, Arthur Shawcross was officially charged with the Genesee River killings.

Epilogue

At his arraignment, Arthur Shawcross followed his court appointed attorneys advice and pleaded innocent on all charges and it was strongly rumoured that he would raise an insanity defence.  For the next several months, Arthur was given a battery of tests by numerous psychiatrists one of which, Dr. Kraus, compiled an extensive report which suggested that Arthur Shawcross was "an emotionally unstable, learning disabled, genetically impaired, biochemically disordered, neurologically damaged individual, psychologically alienated from significant others during his entire life, venting his frustration and rage, mixed with fear and defiance in a lifetime of ever more violent and destructive aggression, which ultimately turned to overpowering murderous fury."

The trial, although extensively covered by print and television media, was a boring foregone conclusion with the state rolling out a virtual plethora of psychiatric specialists including Dr. Park Dietz who was well known for his consultive work with the F.B.I.  The only defence witness was Dr Dorothy Otnow Lewis who testified that Shawcross had been "hideously traumatised" as a child, which had left him with a multiple personality disorder.  She also cited post-traumatic stress disorder caused by his war experiences as a root cause for his behaviour.  Shawcross also played his part and sat in court like a zombie day after day trying to give his impression of advanced psychosis to the jury.  They were less than impressed and took just six-and-a-half hours to return a unanimous guilty verdict and recommend a sentence of two hundred and fifty years in jail.

Shawcross in prison

The latest mention of Arthur Shawcross came in September 1999 when he was found to be selling his paintings and autographs on the Internet from within Fallsburg prison in New York.

The New York State Department of Correctional Services temporarily suspended his art privileges after learning that his artwork and autographs were listed for sale on eBay, the Internet auction service.  He received disciplinary actions for the breach, which included being locked in his cell for extended periods.  As always the question is why?  But while psychiatrists around the world battle with the question of the motivation and emotional triggers that caused a man like Arthur Shawcross to kill and keep killing, perhaps we would be better served by pondering the other why.  Why, when the prison authorities were blatantly aware of his fragile mental state after having served an extended period in jail for a brutal double murder, did they release him back into society and then have the audacity to impose incredible parole restrictions on him in the hope that the parole board and local police departments could succeed where they had dismally failed?

We may never know but one thing is certain, the deaths of eleven women stand as a testament to their gross incompetence.

Bibliography

The reference material for this story was drawn from the following sources:

"The Misbegotten Son," by Jack Olsen. - Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, New York.

"Arthur Shawcross: The Genesee River Killer" by Dr. Joel Norris. - Windsor Publishing Group, New York.

"The New Encyclopedia of Serial Killers," by Brian Lane and Wilfred Gregg. - Headline Book Publishing, London.

"Overkill - Mass Murder and Serial Killing Exposed," by James Alan Fox and Jack Levin. - Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, New York.

"Journey into Darkness," by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker. - Random House, London.

"Serial Murderers and their Victims - Second Edition," by Eric W. Hickey. - Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont California.

"Whoever Fights Monsters," by Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman. - Simon and Schuster, London.

"Mindhunter," by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker. - William Heinemann, London.

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