Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Richard Speck, Born to Raise Hell

Rock Bottom

Speck found him and again insisted they hop a freight right away. One Eye told Speck he wanted to stay in Chicago and make more money as a day laborer. Giving up, Speck split to go sell some of his possessions.

On Saturday July 19, 1966, Homicide Commander Flannagan, still on the streets all night looking for Speck, received a call on his car radio. Lieutenant Emil Giese, the police department's fingerprint expert, told Flannagan that Speck's prints were a match from the prints taken from the townhouse. The word spread fast. Officers were in tears. The frenzied search had wearied them both physically and spiritually. Now, they hit pay dirt. Their hard work was paying off. Everyone knew Speck would be caught soon.

Prosecutor Wm. Martin
Prosecutor Wm. Martin

A police delegation of sergeants, Clancy, Murtaugh, Vrdolyak, with the detectives from the case were sent to the state's attorney office for an arrest warrant. There they were met by State's Attorney, Daniel P. Ward, Louis Garippo, Criminal Division Chief, and Assistant State's Attorney, William J. Martin.

Martin nervously typed up the arrest warrant, knowing that this would be the most significant case of his young life. State's Attorney Ward was concerned about the press. He didn't want anything jeopardizing the case. He called Police Chief Wilson to give him the guidelines, but was too late — the chief was giving a press conference while Ward was on the phone. An all points bulletin was now out for Speck. The public would know the identity of the murderer.

Meanwhile, Speck had sold some of his belongings on Skid Row. Ready for another drunken binge, he picked up a pint of wine at the local liquor store and several newspapers with his name and photo splashed across. Speck went back to the Starr Hotel, sucked down the wine, slipped into the bathroom down the hall, smashed the bottle and cut his wrist and inner elbow. A blood trail led to a cubicle, not Speck's cubicle, but his buddy One Eye. Still trying to hide his identity, he switched cubicles. Speck lay on his cot bleeding, newspapers spread all over the floor, guilty eyes staring up from his own photo. He called out to his neighbor for water and help. He was ignored.


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