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True CrimeVelma The Hammer-Wielding Killer
Early in the morning of December 7th, 1927, a call from one of Eddie’s relatives brought Sheriff Edward Rasmussen speeding to Eddie and Velma’s home. Eddie West’s battered, blood-spattered corpse had been found in the newly-weds’ bedroom.
The relative told the sheriff that he had gone to the house to find out why Eddie hadn’t arrived for work that morning. No one had answered the phone when he called.
“I found the door open, even though it’s freezing,” he said. “But the house was warm, I found lights on and got worried. I ran to the bedroom – and I found Eddie.”
The sheriff, a deputy, a photographer, Coroner O.O. Hausch and Dr. Carl, the Wests’ family doctor, went to the death room. The evidence there clearly indicated that the battered bridegroom had given up his life only after a titanic struggle. The room was a bloodstained shambles. Furniture was overturned and broken. Signs of violence and carnage were everywhere.
Eddie’s body lay on the bed, covered to the neck with a blood-drenched quilt. His head and face had been bludgeoned into a shapeless mask which bore no resemblance to the handsome features of the 26-year-old nurseryman.
Someone wondered aloud who could have done such a horrible thing, but no one had an answer. Only one thing seemed to be certain at that moment. Eddie West was over six feet tall and weighed 14 stone. It was reasonable to surmise therefore that his killer must be a fearsome bruiser.
Under a newspaper on the floor the investigators found a blood-caked claw-hammer, to which adhered wisps of hair and particles of flesh. Sheriff Rasmussen had it tagged as the murder weapon.
Velma was nowhere to be found. The Dodge roadster was not in the garage. The victim’s relative told the sheriff that Eddie had often permitted his wife to spend the night at the home of a Cleveland girlfriend, but the relative said he had no idea who she was.
When the officers pulled back the quilt to uncover the body they saw that Eddie West was bound hand and foot with heavy cord. A ball of similar cord was found in a bureau drawer.
Examining the victim, Dr. Carl and Coroner Hausch suspected that the killer had used a heavy table leg as a bludgeon, in addition to the claw-hammer. With these two weapons, Eddie West’s head had literally been split apart…The rest of this case is essential reading – only in True Crime April – out now! more »
Master DetectiveThe Weekend Murderer
He has been behind bars for 30 years now, but the horror of Milton Johnson’s killing spree in the summer of 1983 hasn’t been forgotten. Released early from a prison sentence for rape and torture prior to the slayings, he left many dead – and countless other lives shattered...
“A stone-cold killing machine,” was how one prosecutor described him. The media called him “The Weekend Murderer,” while for two horrific months the Illinois town of Joliet and its neighbouring communities were terrorised by a series of weekend slayings.
The first was discovered on Saturday, June 25th, 1983, when arson investigators found the bodies of two sisters in the remains of a burned-out house in Joliet. Both had been shot prior to being burned, and the murder weapon had been powerful enough to drive bullets right through each body.
On the following Saturday, July 2nd, one bullet killed a 33-year-old businessman and a 19-year-old housewife, whose bodies were found in a field near Joliet. There was little evidence, apart from the bullet, found badly deformed after passing through one skull into the next.
For the police, a murder with no evidence was frustrating enough. What was of more concern was that this was the district’s second double-killing in seven days.
On the third Saturday following the discovery of the two bodies in the burned-out house, a 32-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman, both from Lemont, Illinois, were parked on a farm road a little east of Joliet. It was about midnight on Saturday, July 16th, when suddenly two men approached the car and there was a rapid volley of shots…

More were to die that night – Read the full report in Master Detective May – out now! more »
True DetectiveWhy Morgan Had Her Husband Murdered
It’s late afternoon when Kevin sits down to sign some invoices, and picks up his Snapple. He takes a few mouthfuls, but there’s a nasty after-taste, and he pushes it aside. He thinks it must be past its sell-by date.
A few minutes later, he feels dizzy and slightly woozy and lays his head on the desk. But nausea overwhelms him, and he reaches for the metal waste bin. He’s bending over retching when Stephen creeps up behind and strikes him on the back of the head with a shovel.
The blow is so hard the shovel breaks, but it’s still not enough to kill him, and Kevin tries to sit up. Stephen seizes another shovel and crashes it down on the swooning, bloodied man. Again, the shovel splinters.
Papers are flying everywhere, and still Kevin refuses to die, though his skull is a pulp and there are broken shards of tool embedded in the bone.
Stephen feels his pulse. It’s still beating, though faintly, and Stephen wheels round for a third shovel to finish the job. He can’t believe Kevin is still alive.
He raises the tool above the quivering man and brings it down with all the force he can muster. He tells himself he’s doing it for Morgan and their life together. This time the body is still, and next to it lies a third broken shovel.
Amazingly, the couple swap mobile messages throughout the entire operation, providing a detailed narrative of Kevin’s death:
Morgan: You’d better not chicken out. I love you. You going to chicken out? Are you ready to do it?
Stephen: Everything’s okay. I told him I left his Snapple on his desk.
Morgan: Make sure you shake it?
Stephen: He’s had it. Just waiting for him to bend over. I have shovel in my hand ha-ha.
Morgan: You backing out?
Stephen: Oh, okay. Well actually now I’ve hit him once. Oh, it seems it didn’t work. I’m going to hit him again. It’s done. Get up here now.
Morgan: Seriously? Did it happen? Is he dead?
Stephen: Dead serious.
Morgan: Pulse?
Stephen: You kidding?

Read the complete case report in the new issue of True Detective May – out now! more »
Murder Most FoulThe Shots That Slew 20 Million
At the age of 19 Gavrilo Princip wasn’t exactly a matinee idol. A tall, thin, gawky student with deep-set dark eyes, his shabby clothes betrayed the poverty of his downtrodden upbringing.
He turned no heads, caught no admiring glances, and if you had been told that history was reserving a special place for him you might have shaken your head in disbelief.
Yet Princip was the young man who was directly responsible for 10 million deaths in the First World War and, by virtue of its link with that global catastrophe, all the millions more deaths in the Second World War too.
Perhaps a total of 20 million violent deaths.
Princip’s single act that inflicted that catastrophic blight on the first half of the 20th century was the shots he fired from the crowd on June 28th, 1914, killing the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Archduke’s wife, the Duchess Sophie.
For Princip this was the moment of glory he had dreamed of. For the rest of the world, it was the onset of a disaster that should never have happened.
Gavrilo Princip was born in Bosnia, possibly in July, 1894. He was one of nine children, of whom only three survived. He was always in poor health and contacted tuberculosis at an early age.
He was 14 when the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the Hapsburgs annexed his homeland of Bosnia, and its neighbour Herzegovina, in 1908. That didn’t suit Princip. He hated the Hapsburgs. With schoolboy enthusiasm, he began clamouring for an independent Serbian nation, with Bosnia a part of it.
Thrown out of school in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo in 1912 because of his political activities, he walked 100 miles to Belgrade, a Serbian city, enrolled as a student and spent most of his spare time there agitating for Serbian political union. He volunteered for the Serbian army, but was rejected as totally unfit.
There were many in central Europe who supported the views of Princip and the students and other political agitators. They agreed that the militaristic style of the Hapsburgs was wildly out of step with the times. But the Hapsburg ruler, the aging Emperor Franz Joseph, was deaf to all protest.
Europe in the early 20th century was a seething continent, waiting to explode. Besides the growing pressure from its smaller nations to throw off the creaky apparatus of the ruling dynasties, there were the bigger nations flexing their muscles and vying for power…Read how war on a previously unimaginable scale came to Europe a century Murder Most Foul 91 – out now! more »
True Crime
True Crime May 2014
In UK shops April 24th, 2014

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Master Detective
Master Detective
May 2014
True Detective
True Detective
May 2014
Murder Most Foul
Murder Most Foul
No. 92

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