Thrill killer Roger Lynn kept an audio diary of his “very deep thoughts.” On that diary, police found the following poem:
The bullet enters its chest, Then pierces lungs, heart and breast, The second shot comes thundering through, And brains and skull are thrown astrew; The man lies bleeding and dying, Crying of happiness, victory at last, Victory from the second blast.
Roger Lynn had a bit of a reputation as a young teen. He was a well-known “chronic truant” with some very strange hobbies. Rather than obsess over cars, sports, or any number of the other, more socially-acceptable hobbies available to boys in the late 1960s, Roger preferred over-indulging in pornography, guns, and the macabre stories of Edgar Allen Poe. He played cruel jokes on his family, like putting mineral oil in his grandfather’s liquor bottles. Then there was his disturbing habit of killing pets… a couple of dogs here, a cat or duck there.
Neighbors, acquaintances, and even his own mother believed there was something was strange – and possibly even dangerous – about the boy.
Time passed. Lynn grew up, but he didn’t move on. At nineteen, his life remained roughly the same as it had been as an adolescent. Although he managed to marry, he continued living with his mother. He briefly held a job but quit within six months. He still fetishized porn, guns, and Poe. Even his best friend was the same. Lynn and Orval Lee Baker had been buddies ever since elementary school. They remained close right up until the moment Lynn shot him, making sure to get it all on tape.
According to the audio diary he kept at the time, Lynn became fixated on assassination following the deaths of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, Jr. In a rambling, unfocused entry the day before the murder, he recited bible verses then discussed his “urge to kill.”
I will now describe a little of my plan. I will bring Lee Baker up here and have him look at these books I’ve got up here – pornographic books, magazines – then while he is looking (at them) I will shoot him once in the chest area and once in the head.
Later, he continued:
Report, it is 10 minutes after two. Lee doesn’t have to be at work until 4:30. I called up and he is supposed to come down in a few minutes. I will record the entire incident today, and there will be music in the bacground to hopefully cover up some of the noise, the two shots, so I will leave off now until I resume with the recording of the assassination.
Because he planned to kill himself after the murder, Lynn recorded a goodbye message for his wife. Then ELO’s song “Evil Woman” abruptly began playing into the tape. There was a roar of a rifle and the sound of a shell casing hitting the ground. A few seconds later, another shot.
Reluctant to relinquish what he no doubt saw as his moment in the spotlight, Lynn recorded another message for his wife. “This is it,” he vowed. “I’m sorry, but I have to do this Linda. Goodbye, Linda.”
However, that wasn’t “it” for Roger Lynn. Upon closer review, the would-be wordsmith decided not to kill himself but to call the police and confess instead. When officers arrived at the crime scene, he turned over his weapon and surrendered without incident. Scratched into the rifle’s stock was a single word: Nevermore.
Despite an insanity plea, a jury found Lynn guilty of first degree murder 0n September 29, 1976. He died in prison while serving a life sentence.
Historians refer to the years 1905 – 1915 as the “Golden Age of Postcards” in America. Advances in printing and photography, as well as the expansion of Rural Free Delivery mail, were just a few of the factors which led to the widespread popularity of postcards during this period.
Back then, cars and telephones were distant dreams for most people, and they relied on the postal service to stay in touch with distant friends and relatives. It was quite common to send “news from home” via postcard – and there was no bigger news story at the time than that of Belle Gunness.
Gunness, born Brynhild Paulsdatter Størset in Norway, was a serial killer whose grisly crimes were revealed after her LaPorte farmhouse was destroyed by fire. A subsequent investigation found four bodies believed to be Belle and her children inside the charred ruins, plus the dismembered remains of at least eleven others buried in the yard and pig pen. It was discovered that the Widow Gunness had been luring lonely men to her farm, robbing, and murdering them for years, all without arousing suspicion. Her luck had recently run out, however, when the brother of one of her victims was able to trace the missing man to her.
Ray Lamphere, Belle’s handyman/side piece, was convicted of arson but claimed he’d acted at the behest of the murderess: burning down the house with her children inside had been her desperate attempt to mislead investigators. Despite the fact her dentist had identified dental work on a jawbone found in the fire as belonging to Belle, Lamphere insisted the remains were that of yet another victim. According to him, Belle had murdered a housekeeper for the express purpose of faking her own death before disappearing into the dark LaPorte night, probably to kill again.
Lamphere died in prison soon after his conviction, but Belle Gunness lived on in the public consciousness. There were sightings of the Lady Bluebeard all over the United States for more than twenty years after her official death.
The full extent of Belle Gunness’s crimes may never be known. She is believed to have killed as few as 14 and as many as 4o people, including both her husbands and the step-children from her first marriage. Some of her victims still remain identified.
May 13, 1931 – James Warren Jones was born to James Thurman Jones and Lynetta Putnam in the small community of Crete. By all accounts, little Jim was a strange, lonely child who was obsessed with religion and death. He also showed signs of delinquency, often stealing and cursing at his adult neighbors.
Forty-seven years later, then-Reverend Jim Jones coerced his followers to commit mass suicide/murder in a Guyanese jungle under the guise of political activism. More than 900 people died that day.
April 28, 1978 – Divorced mother Terry Lee Chasteen was taking her three small children – Misty (5), Stephen (4), and Mark (2) – to the babysitter when another driver motioned for her to pull over. Terry pulled to the side of I-465, and the man pulled in behind her, explaining something was wrong with one of her rear tires. He offered to look at it for her, and the young mother gratefully accepted.
Tragically for Terry and her children, their supposed Good Samaritan was actually a conniving, violent criminal named Steven Timothy Judy. Once he had access to Terry’s car, Judy disabled it under the guise of fixing the nonexistant problem with her tire. Then, when she was unable to drive away, he convinced her to accept a ride.
Within an hour, Terry and all three children were dead.
After initially proclaiming his innocence, Judy later confessed to raping Terry before strangling her to death in full view of her children. Then the remorseless killer threw each of the kids, one by one, as far as he could into the cold water of White Lick Creek and watched as they drowned.
Steven Timothy Judy was executed in Indiana’s electric chair on March 9, 1981.
Gangster, gang leader, armed robber, depression-era antihero and Indianapolis native John Dillinger became a federal fugitive when he drove a stolen Lake County sheriff’s car across the Indiana-Illinois state line, violating the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act.
April 7, 1947 – On this day in Indiana Infamy, Herbert Richard Baumeister was born in Indianapolis to Herbert E. Baumeister and his wife Elizabeth. Almost 50 years later, he was posthumously identified as a serial killer believed to have been responsible for the deaths of at least a dozen men, some of whom he disposed of on his Westfield property.
March 7, 1949 – Charles Manson, a 14-year-old petty criminal from Indianapolis, learned Juvenile Court Judge Joseph O. Hoffman had granted his request to be transferred to Boys Town in Nebraska. Local priest Reverend George Powers, who helped facilitate the request, referred to the future cult leader and mass murderer as “a very genuine lost little kid.”
March 6, 1994 – Convicted killer and Indiana native Larry William Eyler (41) died of complications related to AIDS in the infirmary of the Pontiac Correctional Center (IL). Two days after his death, Eyler’s defense attorney released a posthumous statement in which Eyler confessed to the murders of at least 21 young men. In the confession, he also alleged Robert David Little (52) of Terre Haute had been his accomplice in some of the killings, and was the sole person responsible for the death of Daniel Bridges. Little, an Indiana State University professor with whom Eyler had lived for seven years, was brought up on charges in connection with one of the murders but later acquitted. He then returned to teaching.