Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Richard Speck, Born to Raise Hell

Speck Lucks out Again

When a cabby came in and yelled "Commercial," Speck slugged his drink down, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and slipped out the side door. He piled his belongings and Red into the taxi and told the cabby to go north. Before heading north, Speck told the cabby to drop off Red. He told Red he had a job on the Sinclair starting at 7 a.m. the next morning. The cabby, a full-time bartender and part-time cabby, became suspicious when Speck couldn't give him the address of his sister, claiming she lived in a real poor slummy section of town. "You know," said Speck, "where all the beatniks are."

The cabby drove north, asking his customer about the address. Speck, clueless about his whereabouts, pointed to a building, Cabrini-Green, in the projects. Speck made sure he watched the cabby drive off.

Fanny Jo Holland watched her husband walk to his job down the street. She was shocked to see a white man getting out of a cab with suitcases in the middle of the projects. The sun was so bright, she could see his tattoos. Speck walked toward Rush Street, a trendy area packed with singles bars. Antsy in the nice area, he headed down Dearborn for the Raleigh Hotel, another flophouse. Originally a luxury apartment building built in 1882, known for its red and green terracotta stone, now, the Raleigh had dissolved into single rooms, devoid of its earlier elegance. Speck was at home. Neat, clean and using that special charm, he rented a room from manager Otha Hullinger under the name of John Stayton, one of Speck's friends from back in Texas.

At the Raleigh, Algy Lemhart, a clerk, remembered a drunken Speck and his "cracker" accent coming in with a "colored girl" giving him the wrong room number. He remembered he did not want to wake his boss, Mrs. Hullinger, so he let Speck go up. He watched the couple and before the elevator closed he heard the girl call him "Richard." A half-hour later, the girl came down and told the clerk that Speck had a gun.

In the morning, Lemhart told Hullinger about the man with the gun. From the description, Hullinger figured it was "Stayton." Suspicious and perturbed, she called the police to sort it out. Two officers showed up at 8:30 a.m. from the 18th District Police Station a few blocks away. Speck, groggy from booze, woke up to see two cops standing over him. He lay fully clothed on his bed with a gun sticking out from the pillow. The cops asked Speck why he had a gun. He denied it and told him it belonged to the hooker. When asked what his name was, he told them Richard Speck.

The police checked his wallet and found his seaman's I.D. and passport. Nothing connected yet. Not all the police were alerted to the identity of the killer. For 15 minutes, Speck was questioned. The officers confiscated the gun and left. However, they did not report the gun. Cops told the clerk Speck was harmless. He lucked out again.


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