Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Richard Trenton Chase

The FBI Interview

While interviewing killers all over the country to add information about criminal psychology to their database, FBI profilers visited Richard Chase and learned about some of his oddities. Robert Ressler recounts his encounter in a book, Whoever Fights Monsters.

He describes how Chase had believed in 1976 that his blood was turning to powder and that he thus needed blood from other creatures to replenish it. Nevertheless, the psychiatrists had released him, despite protests from some of the staff that he was dangerous.

From the time he was arrested in Nevada in August, 1977, until the murders began in December paints a clear picture of a deteriorating mind. It was after that that he killed his mothers cat and bought two dogs to kill. He also tormented a neighborhood family about their missing dog. He then collected articles on the Hillside Strangler. Then, in December, he acquired his gun. After the Griffin killing, he bought a newspaper and kept an editorial page about the senseless nature of that shooting. Then he bought more ammunition. He also set a fire in his neighbors garage to drive them from the neighborhood because their music annoyed him.

He told a psychiatrist that the first killing had happened after his mother would not allow him to visit for Christmas. He was just shooting his gun out the window of his car. That he had fired shots at other houses indicated it was not altogether an accident.

Chase told the FBI profilers that he had killed to preserve his own life and he was developing an appeal based on that. He mentioned soap-dish poisoning. Ressler asked him what that was and he explained that everyone has a soap dish. If you lift the soap and find that underneath it is dry, youre all right. If its gooey, you have the poisoning, which turns your blood to powder. The powder then depletes your energy and eats away at your body.

Chase also said that he was Jewish-which he was not-and that hed been persecuted by Nazis because he had a Star of David on his forehead-which he didnt. He explained that the Nazis were connected to UFOs which had telepathically commanded him to kill to replenish his blood. These UFOs followed him around and the FBI should be able to pinpoint them by putting a radar on him. He then shoved a cup at Ressler filled with part of a macaroni and cheese dinner. He wanted it analyzed for poison.

Ressler learned that the other inmates taunted Chase and urged him to kill himself. They did not want him near them. Ressler, along with the prison mental health professionals, felt he ought to be transferred to a psychiatric hospital. Although he was sent to one for a short time, he soon returned to San Quentin.



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