Lust Murder: Prostitutes as Victims of Throwaway Capitalism
Continued from previous page
Krafft-Ebing attempted to apply an empirical approach to the 237 case studies he chronicled and was the first to categorize "lust-murder" as a modern condition. He defined it as "lust potentiated as cruelty, murderous lust extending to anthropophagy." He chronicled 13 cases of lust murder, only one of which demonstrated sexual sadism; most cases involved the quick murder of the victim and postmortem activities such as sexual penetration, blood drinking, evisceration, mutilation, organ removal and cannibalism. Case 19 drew much attention for it involved a 19 year old man named Legar who murdered a 12 year old girl in a forest, raped her, mutilated her genitals, tore out her heart, ate it, drank her blood and then buried her remains.
A century later, American serial killers have become celebrities, the subjects of numerous media reports, TV shows and movies. Their names have become familiar to everyone: David Berkowitz, know as the Son of Sam who killed six people; Ted Bundy, who confessed to approximately 30 murders; Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed, dismembered and cannibalized 17 young men; John Wayne Gacy, whose property concealed the bodies of 29 young men and boys; and Charles Manson, whose "Family" were held responsible for killing the actress Sharon Tate and others.
Unfortunately, over the last decade or so, America has witnessed a steady increase in lust murder often targeting female prostitutes. Since 2003, six Rocky Mount, NC, women were found murdered and their bodies dumped along rural roads outside the city. The victims had been strangled and left nearly naked; all were black with reported histories of drug abuse and suspected prostitution. So far two men, one white, the other black, have been arrested in relation to these killings.
During the 2006-2007 period, the bodies of four prostitutes were discovered in and around Grand Rapids, MI. On Thanksgiving 2006, Starkinya Vance's body was found in southwest side of the city after been seen getting into a car a few hours before her body was found. In March 2007, Shakara Carter's body was found about 400 yards away from where Vance was discovered. Both women were strangled. On September 5, 2007, the city's fire department found the body of Linda Gardner, 45, burning in a fire in a vacant lot. Cocaine was found in her system but, because Gardner was so extensively burned, no cause of death could be determined.
In 2008, Jacob Etheridge murdered two prostitutes, Rosanna Cruz and Teresa Tingey, in Ogden, UT. He was subsequently tried and sentenced to two concurrent 20 years-to-life in prison terms for the murders.
Earlier this year, 50-year-old Walter Ellis pleaded guilty in Milwaukee, WI, to the killing of six prostitutes. Ellis, who had a long police record, was known as the "North Side Strangler" and committed the murders over a 21 year period, from 1986 to 2007; two women were killed 1986, three in 1995, one in 1997 and one in 2007. Ellis is African-American and his victims were black women ranging in age from 19 to 41 years.
In should not be forgotten that some of the celebrity serial murders have never been solved. The most famous is probably the Zodiac Killer who murdered five people in Northern California from December 1968 to October 1969.
Between 2001 and 2009, eleven reputed sex workers were murdered in Albuquerque, NM, in what is known as the "West Mesa Bone Collector" case; one of the victims was pregnant and the fetus died bringing the number of murders to twelve. The victims were young Hispanic women, ranging from 15 to 32 years, and many were mothers. The murders took place in the city's War Zone, a neighborhood where prostitutes and drug dealers ply their trade. One victim, Cinnamon Elks, told friends shortly before her August 2004 disappearance "a dirty cop was chopping off the heads of prostitutes and burying them on the West Mesa."