Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Richard Speck, Born to Raise Hell

Gone to Ground

By evening, Speck hit the dive bars — walking distance from the Raleigh — each one the same as the others: the stench of stale beer, piss-perfumed air, low lights, sticky carpets that have never seen the light of day. A perfect place for those needing to get lost in the folds of darkness. Speck holed up in the Pink Twist Inn, hugging the jukebox and slugging down Jim Beam cokes.

The coppers were still checking the leads on the South Side, never realizing Speck had escaped. Back at headquarters, the Chicago Police Department asked the FBI to check on Speck's fingerprints. His whereabouts had been tracked to the Shipyard Inn and the Commercial Cab Co. The cabby told the police he dropped Speck off at Cabrini-Green. Police were dispatched there with rifles.

Clancy hooked up with Speck's sister, Martha Thompson, and got a good itinerary of his travels since leaving Dallas. They picked up Speck's drinking buddy Red, still in a drunken stupor, but able to give an account of Speck's actions. The police put out a stop order for Speck at the union hall.

While armed police canvassed Cabrini-Green, Speck bumped into two winos, Claude "One Eye" Lunsford and "Shorty" Ingram, passing a bottle back and forth outside a resale shop. Never one to pass up a drink, Speck hung around fascinated with One Eye, a hobo who had recently come up from Dallas on a freight. The winos were staying at the Starr Hotel. Quickly, Speck shot back to the Raleigh, packed his bags, and headed to the Starr to meet his new buddies. Otha Hullinger and Algy Lemhart spotted Speck leaving. "I'm going to the laundry," he said, as he walked out the door, never to return. Exactly 15 minutes after Speck left, two detectives came in and showed a photo of Speck to the clerks. Mrs. Hullinger stared at the photo and her eyes widened. "It's him, it's Richard, he just left."

Claude "One Eye" Lunsford

Speck hit bottom when he entered the Starr Hotel. The "rooms" were 85 cents a day. Actually, the place was divided into windowless cubicles with cement floors. Inside, a cot, footlocker and chicken wire over the cubicle gave the place a Third World feel. The foul air smelled of booze, puke, sweat and feces. Hacking coughs, delirious ranting, moaning forgotten men, and someone vomiting their guts up was the music that filled the air.

Speck dropped his bundle on the bed and left to meet One Eye and Shorty on the fire escape for some serious drinking. Sharing a bottle of cheap wine, they swapped stories about life. Speck always brought the subject back of hopping a freight. One Eye agreed to show Speck the ropes but felt there was something about Speck he didn't like.

In the morning, Speck rose early, packed his bags, ready to hop freights. He banged on One Eye's door. One Eye told Speck he would meet him down stairs. Instead, One Eye, fed up with Speck's insistence, ditched him and went down the street to a restaurant.


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