Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Richard Speck, Born to Raise Hell

The Trial

The courtroom was packed with the families of the murdered nurses and curious onlookers. The judge gave Martin the go-ahead to proceed. He took 75 minutes to explain how Richard Speck systematically murdered the nurses one by one. Glancing over his shoulder at Gloria Davy's father, Martin saw the terror in his eyes as if he were living through the last moments of his daughter's life.

Several key pieces of evidence had to be omitted. Martin knew that the gun had been obtained in an illegal search and he knew that the testimony of the hooker was questionable. The T-shirts found in the hotel had blood on them, but one of the detectives cut himself, opening the Speck's suitcase. Martin couldn't take a chance on the blood not being Speck's.

Getty's words gave Martin the clue to his opponent's strategy. Getty called the fingerprint evidence "smudges," claiming that the police planted the fingerprints. Getty was unaware that the radio announcer that was on the crime scene before the detectives had seen clear fingerprints. "The-cops-framed-Speck" accusation made Martin furious as his pen flew across his legal pad. Evidence or not, the whole trial revolved around Cora Amurao, the only eyewitness.

The petite woman took the witness stand. The courtroom was riveted to every word that came from her mouth. Asked to identify the man who killed her friends, Cora calmly opened the door to the witness box, walked up to Speck, looked him in the eye, and said that he was the man.

Speck looked disinterested. Dressed in a suit and black glasses, he looked like boy next door. Meticulously, she demonstrated how she and her friends were herded into the bedroom and tied up. Often she pointed to the small-scale model of the townhouse, never faltering once. This was her day in court.


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