Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Larry and Danny Ranes: Serial Killers in the Same Family

Another Oddity

Danny had married a girl, Kathy, and they had three children together, but in 1971, before he commenced his murder spree, she divorced him.  Yet she continued to see him and thus she noticed the scratch on his cheek just after the Howk murder.  She testified against him in court and told Hilberry that she'd had vague impressions on two occasions in 1972 that Danny had murdered someone.  Those impression had coincided with the times of the murders.  After one incident, he had forgotten to pick up the boys for his time with them. 

After leaving him, she had married another man, a union that produced another child, but that had lasted only two years, and she found herself getting involved with Larry.  They finally married in March 1975, and she took the last name, Steppenwolf.

She told Hilberry that in school, of the two Ranes brothers, she had been drawn to Larry, who was more reclusive and quiet. But he apparently did not return her interest sufficiently to hook up with her.  Kathy attended Larry's trial in 1964 as much as she could, hardly believing that he was capable of five murders.  When Larry went to prison, she was ready for Danny's attentions.  He moved in with her, and soon she was pregnant, so they got married.  But eventually she and Larry started to write to each other and apparently fell in love via correspondence.  This became a source of fights between Kathy and Danny — and was yet one more thing over which the brothers had to compete.

Then Hilberry received word in 1979 from Larry (Monk) that he no longer had a wife, meaning that Kathy had ended their marriage.  He was awaiting a visit from a woman whom he calculated would become his next wife and was married again by 1980.  While the details of the breakup with Kathy are unknown, it was clear in Hilberry's book that she had maintained hope that Larry would one day be free while he stated quite clearly that he had no desire to be out of prison.  Surely this produced some tension, but it's also the case that some women married to men behind bars tire of having an unavailable husband, or they meet someone who offers more and they end the prison relationship.

As for what made the brothers tick, especially in terms of violence, let's look a little deeper.


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