Richard Trenton Chase is one of the most notorious serious killers, whose crimes are appalling but still they could have been prevented, if he stayed under mental health care professionals’ supervision. At the same time, his crimes were investigated fast and he was arrested soon after he had committed his crimes. However, in spite of his soon arrest, he still had managed to kill six persons, whereas the number of killed and tortured animals is countless. In such a context, the analysis of his crimes, their motives and methods may be very helpful in terms of understanding the behavior of such criminals as Richard Chase.
Richard Chase committed his crimes being out of ability to control his behavior. At the same time, his murders were preceded by earlier violent acts committed by Richard chase. To put it more precisely, since the early childhood, he had been torturing and murdering animals and drinking their blood as well as eating their organs. Specialists (Mathiesen, 1998) argue that one of the major causes of these unusual behavior was the repressed anger and the violence and abuse in relation to Chase from the part of his mother. On the other hand, his mother failed to consider him mentally deranged and she refused from treating him or establishing strict supervision over him. Even when she eye witnessed her son murdering a cat and drinking its blood, she still did not report on this case and she did nothing to help her son to cope with his mental health problems. In contrast, she left him on his own. Therefore, one of the motives of Chase’s crimes was coping with a serious psychological trauma he got in his early childhood from his mother. The repressed anger led to the outburst of Chase’s anger in his adulthood and prevented from the normal cognitive development. In addition, he suffered from the erectile dysfunction that also contributed to his abnormal behavior, violence, and perverted actions. Furthermore, Richard Chase developed a strong trend to violence through tortures and murders of animals. As he grew older, torturing and murdering animals failed to bring him satisfaction and he looked for other options to solve his problems that led him to manslaughter. At this point, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that he committed his crimes to prevent his heart from shrinking. He strongly believed that his heart would shrink, if he failed to drink blood. He explained murders of animals by this reason and, therefore, murders of humans were likely to be justified by this same reason.
Moreover, his lifestyle also contributed to his criminal behavior. To put it more precisely, alcohol and drug abuse aggravated his mental health problems and they could have provoke the excessive violence and aggressive behavior of Richard Chase. Alcohol and drugs influenced consistently his behavior and they could have been a trigger that Chase pulled, when he started to consume alcohol and drugs. Probably, under the impact of psychological trauma in his childhood and impact of alcohol and drugs, he developed schizophrenia, which became the major cause of his crimes.
Richard Chase killed six persons in raw. His first victim was Teresa Wallin, 22 and three months pregnant. She was found by her husband in their home laying just inside the door, on her back. Her sweater was pulled up over her breasts and her pants and underwear down around her ankles. Her knees were splayed open in the position of a sexual assault. Her left nipple was carved off, her torso cut open below the sternum, and her spleen and intestines pulled out. Chase had stabbed her repeatedly in the lung, liver, diaphragm, and left breast. He also had cut out her kidneys and severed her pancreas in two. He placed the kidneys together back inside her (Rice & Harris, 1997). In such a way, Chase drank blood and took the organ from his victim.
Moreover, there was blood in the bathroom and it was later learned that Chase had smeared Terrys blood all over his face and hands, licking it off his fingers. The discarded yogurt container near her body was also bloodstained, as if he had used it to drink her blood. His most heinous act, however, was to stuff animal feces into her mouth. There were odd rings of blood around the body, as if someone had placed a bucket there (Rice & Harris, 1997).
Another victim of Richard Chase was Danny Meredith, who was found laying in the hallway in a pool of blood. The deputy who checked him saw a gunshot wound on his head, and then saw blood in the bathroom, and what looked like bloody water in the tub. Then he found Evelyn lying naked on the bed in her bedroom, her legs splayed open. She had a gunshot wound to the head, and her abdomen had been cut open and her intestines pulled out. Two carving knives, stained red, lay nearby. It appeared that she had been taking a bath when surprised by her killer, and then dragged to the bed. He sodomized her, stabbed her through the anus into her uterus at least six times, made several slices across her neck, and tried to cut out an eye. Bloody ringlets on the carpet indicated that he had once again used some kind of container to collect blood. He stabbed several internal organs as well, which the coroner later noted would facilitate getting at blood in the abdomen. Inside Evelyns rectum was a large amount of semen. On the other side of the bed, police officers discovered the body of a boy, who turned out to be Jason. He had been shot twice in the head at close range (Warwick, 2006).
The intruder had left bloody footprints behind which resembled the shoe marks found at the Wallin murder scene. Then they located an eleven year-old girl in the neighborhood who described a man near the victims residence around eleven o’clock. She described him in his early twenties. He fit the description of a man seen repeatedly in that area walking around asking people for magazines (Siegel, 2003).
Chase had drunk Evelyn’s blood and had mutilated the baby’s body in the bathroom, opening the head and spilling pieces of the brain into the tub. A knock on the door must have interrupted him and he had fled with the body he took the baby to his home and severed the head. He removed several organs and consumed them (Hayward, 2004).
Richard Chase was soon arrested after the first murders had been committed. The search of his home was conducted by law enforcement agents. What they found in the putrid-smelling place was disgusting. Nearly everything was bloodstained, including food and drinking glasses. In the kitchen, they found several small pieces of bone, and some dishes in the refrigerator with body parts. One container held human brain tissue. An electric blender was badly stained and smelled of rot. There were three pet collars but no animals to be found. Photographic overlays on human organs from a science book lay on a table, along with newspapers on which ads selling dogs were circled. A calendar showed the inscription Today on the dates of the Wallin and Miroth murders, and chillingly, the same word was written on forty-four more dates yet to come during that year (Mathiesen, 1998).
In fact, Richard Chase could committed much more crimes and murders if he had not been stopped by law enforcement agents. He was mentally ill and he needed the professional assistance from the part of health care professionals but he failed to receive the proper treatment. As a result, his mental health deteriorated. Neither his family, nor health care professionals had proved to be able to help him in time.
Thus, Richard Chase committed a series of murders, which completed the uncontrollable development of his mental health problems. He committed his crimes because he believed sincerely that his heart was shrinking and he consumed blood and organs to prevent his heart from shrinking. He was apparently mentally ill and needed the effective treatment and isolation, whereas his family left him on his own that led to a series of murders.
Hayward, K. J. (2004). City Limits: Crime, Consumerism and the Urban Experience. New York: Routledge.
Mathiesen, T. (1998). “Selective incapacitation revisited.” Law and Human Behavior, 22(2), 455-469.
Rice, M. E., & Harris, G. T. (1997). “Cross-validation and extension of the Violent Risk Appraisal Guide for child molesters and rapists.” Law and Human Behavior, 21(2), 231-241.
Siegel, L. J. (2003). Criminology, 8th edition. New York: Thomson-Wadsworth
Warwick, A. (2006), “The Scene of the Crime: Inventing the Serial Killer”, Social and Legal Studies, vol. 15, pp. 552–569.