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The Crime of the Century: Richard Speck and the Murder of Eight Nurses
     

The Crime of the Century: Richard Speck and the Murder of Eight Nurses

by Dennis L. Breo
 

On July 14, 1966, Richard Franklin Speck murdered eight student nurses in their quiet Chicago town house. He broke in as his helpless victims slept, bound them one by one, and then stabbed, assaulted, and strangled all eight in a sadistic sexual frenzy. By morning only one young nurse had miraculously survived. The barbarity of the attack shocked a nation and

Overview

On July 14, 1966, Richard Franklin Speck murdered eight student nurses in their quiet Chicago town house. He broke in as his helpless victims slept, bound them one by one, and then stabbed, assaulted, and strangled all eight in a sadistic sexual frenzy. By morning only one young nurse had miraculously survived. The barbarity of the attack shocked a nation and opened a new chapter in the history of American crime: mass murder.

Here is the never-before-told story of Richard Speck by the prosecutor who put him in prison for life.In the Crime of the Century, William J. Martin has teamed up with Dennis L. Breo to re-create the blood-soaked night that made American criminal history, offerning fascinating behind-the-scenes descriptions of Speck, his innocent victims, the desperate manhunt and massive investigation, and the trial that led to Speck's successful conviction. In 1991 Richard Speck died of a heart attack in prison, but the horror of his crime still haunts the conscience of a nation.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Former prosecutor Martin and Chicago journalist Breo present a fast-paced, solid reconstruction of Martin's biggest case: the fatal stabbing, strangling and sexual assault of eight young nurses by drifter Richard Speck in Chicago in 1966. Drawing on a wealth of research (including interviews with surviving nurse Corazon Amurao), the authors cannot resist certain cliches but eschew reconstructed quotes and excessive melodrama. They amply detail Speck's ``bragging, drinking and lying'' before his violent sexual rampage in the nurses' townhouse. Their account of the search for Speck ranges through Chicago; after police missed opportunities to capture him, a doctor identified the injured suspect, who had slashed himself in a suicide attempt. The authors render Martin's investigation in the third person; most important was his effort to keep Amurao in a safe place. Inquiring into Speck's background, Martin discovered an abusive stepfather and a history of violence but not of mental illness; Speck was found competent to stand trial. The jury took 49 minutes to decide his guilt. Though jurors called for the death penalty, Speck's execution was halted by the U.S. Supreme Court, and Speck, who never confessed his crimes, died in prison of a heart attack in 1991. (Apr.)
Joe Collins
Young children growing up in Chicago in the 1960s knew how to strike terror into the hearts of their playmates with one word: Speck. Even the name itself suggests the word "specter", and the specter of the most shocking mass killing of its time still haunts many lives some 27 years later. Now, the prosecutor of Richard Speck in the 1966 murder of eight student nurses, William Martin, in collaboration with Dennis Breo, has written the definitive account of the murders, the pursuit and capture of the suspect, the trial, and its aftermath. Martin was a young state's attorney at the time, and his aggressive prosecution of the laconic Texas drifter with the tattoo "Born to Raise Hell" led to the death penalty for the killer--a sentence that was later overturned. The book is written in matter-of-fact style, so, despite its length, "The Crime of the Century" is fast-paced. Unfortunately, one of the things the book does "not" do is offer any insight into why Speck committed such a heinous crime; apparently he took that secret to his grave (he died in 1991). Martin cites the courage of Corazon Amurao, the Filipino exchange student and survivor of Speck's night of terror; it was Amurao's testimony that ensured the killer would never be free. Most significantly, the book leaves us thinking about another era--when mass murder was a shock and not such a common occurrence.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553560251
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/01/1993
Pages:
480
Product dimensions:
4.22(w) x 6.88(h) x 1.41(d)

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