Friday, August 3, 2012

Gerard Schaefer


Pamela Sue Wells and Nancy Ellen Trotter were lucky to be alive, police said later. The two attractive teenagers, 18 and 17, respectively, were thumbing for a ride in Stuart, Florida, their second day in town on July 21, 1972. Deputy Sheriff Gerard Schaefer stopped in his police cruiser, took their names and told them that hitchhiking was illegal in Martin County (it isnt). He drove the girls back to a halfway house where they were staying, then offered them a ride to the beach the next morning. Trusting him as an officer of the law, Trotter and Wells agreed.

Martin map with Stuart marker
Martin map with Stuart marker
The next day the sheriffs deputy kept their date, but instead of heading for nearby Jensen Beach, he drove to swampy Hutchinson Island, off State Road A1A, telling the girls he wanted to show them a Spanish fort. Once there, the 26-year-old lawman started making sexual remarks, then drew a gun and told the girls he planned to sell them as white slaves to a foreign prostitution syndicate. Forcing them out of the car, he handcuffed and gagged both girls, leaving them balanced on tree roots with nooses around their necks, at risk of hanging if they slipped and fell. Still making threats, Schaefer left them there, promising to return shortly, but while he was gone the girls managed to escape.

Stuart map, showing Hutchinson Island
Stuart map, showing
Hutchinson Island
When he returned to find them missing Schaefer telephoned his boss, telling Sheriff Richard Crowder, Ive done something foolish. Youre going to be mad at me. Schaefer had overdone his job, he said, trying to scare the girls out of hitchhiking for their own good.
Crowder ordered him back to the station and went looking for the girls, finding them both still in handcuffs as they emerged from the forest. Returning to headquarters, Crowder fired Schaefer on the spot and arrested him, charging him with false imprisonment and two counts of aggravated assault. Schaefer made his $15,000 bond and was released on July 24.
With no defense against the charge, he cut a plea bargain the following November, pleading guilty to one count of aggravated assault, while the other counts were dismissed. At his sentencing three days before Christmas, Judge D.C. Smith pronounced Schaefer a perfect jackass and a thoughtless fool. Schaefer was sentenced to one year in jail and three years probation. The good news: if he kept his nose clean in the lockup, he could be released in six months.
By June, he would be free to hunt again.

Blind Creek

Gerard Schaefer in 1970, applying for a police job
Gerard Schaefer in 1970, applying for a police job
Schaefer spent most of his time in jail writing stories. Emerson Floyd, his cellmate for the first six weeks, recalled that no one was permitted to see the work, but Schaefer enjoyed reading the tales aloud. They were mostly just brutal, Floyd said, and included some hair-raising things.
Two months after his arrest for the Trotter-Wells assault, on September 27, two more girls17-year-old Susan Place and 16-year-old Georgia Jessuphad vanished from Fort Lauderdale. Susans parents said the girls were last seen at her house, leaving with an older man who said his name was Jerry Shepherd on their way to play guitar at a nearby beach. They never returned. Susan Places mother Lucille had been suspicious and had written down the license number of Shepherds blue Datsun. Unfortunately, she copied the tags prefix as 4 (Pinellas County) instead of 42 (Martin), and six months passed before she realized her mistake. A new trace led her to Schaefer. On March 25, 1973, she arrived at the Martin County jail carrying a photo of her daughter. But Schaefer denied ever seeing the girls.

Martin County Sheriffs Dept.
Martin County Sheriffs Dept.
On April 1, 1973, hikers found human bones near Blind Creek, on Hutchinson Island. Upon hearing the news, Schaefer shredded his short stories and threw them away. The two teenage victims were identified by dental records on April 5. Susan had been shot in the jaw. The crime scene indicated the girls were tied to a tree and butchered. Based on the M.O. and Lucille Places testimony, Schaefer was the only suspect in the case.
Police searched Schaefers mothers home on April 7. The objects seized from his room included: a purse owned by Susan Place; three pieces of jewelry belonging to 25-year-old Leigh Bonadies, missing since September 1969; two teeth and a shamrock pin belonging to 22-year-old Carmen Hallock, who vanished in December 1969; news clippings on the Bonadies and Hallock cases; an address book belonging to 22-year-old Belinda Hutchens, missing since January 1972; a passport, diary and book of poetry owned by 19-year-old Collette Goodenough, last seen in January 1973; the drivers license of 19-year-old Barbara Wilcox, who vanished with Goodenough; a piece of jewelry owned by 14-year-old Mary Briscolina, missing with a female friend since October 1972; an envelope addressed to Jerry Shepherd; 11 guns and 13 knives; photos of unknown women and of Schaefer dressed in womens underwear; and more than 100 pages of writings and sketches, detailing the torture and murder of whores.
Schaefer had glib explanations for everything. The weapons were perfectly legal, some of them war souvenirs. Lucille Place was mistaken about Susans purse; Schaefer had purchased it on a 1970 trip to Morocco. He had found the Wilcox-Goodenough documents while on patrol and kept them on a whim. Ex-neighbor Leigh Bonadies had given Schaefer her jewelry, as a gift. The murder plans were fantasies transcribed on orders from a psychiatrist who treated him in 1968, telling Schaefer to write down everything that crossed his mind. As for Carmen Hallocks teeth, they must have been planted by Schaefers ex-roommate, who he said had privately confessed the murder. (Detectives interviewed the roommate and absolved him of the crime.)

Gerard Schaefer headshot
Gerard Schaefer headshot
Prosecutor Robert Stone didnt buy Schaefers explanations. On May 18 he charged Schaefer with two counts of murder, telling reporters the case might represent the greatest crime in the history of the United States. Schaefer declared, Im sick and I hope to God you can help me. Held in lieu of $200,000 bond, Schaefer refused to sit for a polygraph test. Judge C. Pfeiffer Trowbridge ordered mental evaluations, four psychiatrists agreeing that Schaefer was legally sane and fit for trial.
That trial began on September 17, 1973. Living kidnap victims Nancy Trotter and Pamela Wells appeared for the state, confirming Schaefers fondness for abducting teenagers and tying them to trees. Lucille Place did her part, describing the last night she had seen her daughter, leaving the house with Schaefer and Georgia Jessup. Three alibi witnesses testified that Schaefer was home, sick in bed, the night Jessup and Place disappeared, but jurors disregarded that testimony, convicting him on September 27the first anniversary of the slayings. On October 4 Judge Trowbridge imposed the maximum legal sentence, two concurrent terms of life imprisonment.
The monster was caged, but how many had he killed?

Death Wish

Gerard John Schaefer Jr. was born on March 25, 1946, in Wisconsin. He was the first of three children for Gerard and Doris Schaefer, describing himself in later life as the illegitimate product of a forced marriage. His father did well as a traveling salesman for Kimberly-Clark, soon moving the family to an affluent suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. There, young Gerard did well at Marist Academy, a Catholic parochial school.
While one observer called Schaefers early life idyllic, but Schaefer didnt feel that way. He recalled that his parents never had a good relationship; his father was always critical, his mother always on my back to do better. Gerard Sr. favored daughter Sara, which made his firstborn want to be a girl. He also had thoughts of suicide. I wanted to die, Schaefer told psychiatrists. I couldnt please my father, so in playing games I always got killed. At age 12 he discovered womens panties and began to masturbate while wearing them. He also practiced masochistic bondage: Id tie myself up to a tree, struggle to get free, and Id get excited sexually and do something to hurt myself. Soon, the violent images turned outward. I would fantasize hurting other people, he said, women in particular. Schaefer admitted that he had a large preoccupation with death, sometimes reaching the point where he didnt know what was fact and what was fantasy.
The Schaefers moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1960, promptly joining the local yacht and country clubs. Gerard Jr. met his girlfriend, Cindy, at age 14 and saw her steadily for the next three years. They were lovers, but Cindy would only perform in scripted scenarios, demanding that Schaefer tear her clothes and rape her each time they had sex. When he balked at continuing the game, in 1964, Cindy dumped him. The same day, Schaefer went into the woods and played his bondage games again for the first time since leaving Georgia.
Yearbooks from St. Thomas Aquinas High School list Schaefer as a member of the football team in his sophomore and junior years, but no one remembers him playing or joining in any other group activity. Classmates recall him as a loner, labeled weird and out of it. One noted that Schaefer would practically stand on his head to see up a girls skirt. In class, he angered the nuns by questioning religious dogma, once writing a long essay scientifically challenging the virgin birth of Christ.
Mostly, he preferred solitary pursuits, especially hunting in the Everglades. Neighbor Gary Hainline remembered that Schaefer enjoyed shooting things you cant eatsongbirds, land crabs, that sort of thing. Schaefer sometimes played tennis with Garys sister, Leigh, though sources disagree on whether they dated. Leigh Hainline was two years older than Schaefer, and he sometimes crept around her house at night, masturbating while he watched her undress. She was not the only female target of his voyeurism, but Schaefer blamed them all for taunting him, despising them as sluts and whores.
In the spring of 1964, Schaefer met 17-year-old Sandy Steward at a school dance. She later described him as a dazzling young stranger who swept her away and became her first lover, all the while impressing her family with his impeccable manners. Schaefer took her on excursions to the Everglades, seeming amused when Sandy couldnt bring herself to kill an animal for sport. She found him a sensitive and enthusiastic lover, eager to please. Schaefer graduated in June 1964 but the romance continued. He traveled with Sandys family and became a fixture at their home. For the first time, his life seemed truly idyllicbut it was all a charade.


Despite his ongoing affair with Sandy Stewart, Schaefer considered joining the priesthood in 1964. He applied to St. Johns Seminary and was promptly rejected. As he recalled the incident, They said I didnt have enough faith. I didnt think it was fair. After years of daily Mass attendance, Schaefer decided that he had been under a certain Catholic mind control thing and abandoned the church.
September found him at Broward Community College, where he turned in a mediocre academic performance. Schaefer spent more time hunting in the Everglades, and his relationship with Sandy soon felt more like therapy than romance. Schaefer poured out angry, tearful revelations of his urge to kill the women who aroused himlike neighbor Leigh Hainline, who stripped before an open bedroom window, or another who dared to sunbathe in her own backyard. Sandy witnessed violent clashes between Schaefer and his father, listened to his tales of girlfriend Cindy and her rape games. Finally fed up, she ended the relationship. Schaefer pined and stalked her while she dated other boys, before he finally gave up.
Next, Schaefer confessed his homicidal urges to his creative writing teacher, who in turn referred him to the colleges counselor. Schaefer told Dr. Neal Crispo he wanted to join the army, because he would like to kill things. I even like to shoot at cows now. There was more to it than simple sniping, though. He had begun to kill livestock, beheading the animals with a machete before he raped their carcasses.
Back at school in the autumn of 1965, Schaefer completed one semester before leaving to travel with Sing-Out 66, the musical road troupe of the super-patriotic Moral Rearmament movement. Future movie star Glenn Close was part of the chorus, but Schaefer preferred Boston native Martha Fogg. They dated that summer, Schaefer planning to join the groups European tour, but he was sidelined by measles and lost touch with Fogg, returning to college in September of the following year.
Schaefer graduated in 1967 with an associate degree in business administration. He entered Florida Atlantic University in January 1968, seeking a teaching certificate. His grades failed to support a student deferment, and Schaefer was ordered to report for his army physical in April 1968. Instead, he left a suicide note in his dorm room and fled. Roommate Jerry Webster found him at their favorite shooting range, Schaefer admitting that he did it to help him get the deferment. Dr. Raymond Killinger referred Schaefer for emergency psychiatric testing on May 17, 1968. The test revealed no suicidal urges, but found that his psychological disorganization is severe and his frustration level low. Nothing supports Schaefers later claim that he wore womens underwear to beat the draft, but he did receive a 1-Y deferment for mental, moral or physical reasons. No one from FAU recalls him cross-dressing, though Schaefer insisted he was very open about it. The draft-dodge claim surfaced only after police searched his mothers home in 1973 and found snapshots of Schaefer dressed in lingerie.
Meanwhile, the 22-year marriage of his parents was falling apart. Gerard Sr. had been drinking heavily for years, seeing other women on the side. In May 1968 he lost his sales job and things went from bad to worse. Doris filed for divorce on July 2 and her husband moved out. Schaefer promptly quit his construction job and embarked on a hunting trip to Michigan. He returned to Florida accompanied by Sing-Outs Martha Fogg and startling news of their engagement. The two married in December 1968.
The newlyweds moved in with Schaefers mother and began attending Florida Atlantic University in January 1969. Schaefer was assigned as a student teacher at Plantation High School on February 27, but he soon ran into trouble. Persistent efforts to impose his moral and political views on the students alarmed staff members, and Plantations principal removed him a few weeks later, citing Schaefers totally inappropriate behavior.
Jobless for several months thereafter, Schaefer idled at home or in the Glades, but his mind was working overtime. He brooded on his failure as a priest and teacher. Increasingly, Schaefer found himself convinced that indecent women and prostitutes should be destroyed for the welfare of society.
And who was better suited for the job?

Missing Persons

Schaefers parents finally divorced in September 1969, as he returned to Florida Atlantic University. Three days after classes convened, on September 8, a mysterious fate overtook a former neighbor, the object of his teenage lust and rage.
Lee Hainline had married Charles Bonadies on August 21, 1969. It was a rocky union from the start, with frequent quarrels. One bone of contention was Leighs announcement that her childhood neighbor and sometime tennis partner had offered her a $20,000 salary to join the CIA. Charles laughed at the idea and told her to forget it. On September 8, he came home to find a note from Leigh, saying the she had gone to Miami. She never came back, and her car was later found in a Fort Lauderdale parking lot. Leighs brother called Schaefer and heard a strange story: Leigh had phoned him, Schaefer claimed, to say that she was leaving Charles and asked him for a ride to the airport, where she meant to catch a flight to Cincinnati. Schaefer agreed, but Leigh never called back with a departure time. Charles filed for divorce on October 6, his petition granted on March 10, 1970. Nothing more was heard of Leigh Bonadies until her jewelry surfaced at Doris Schaefers home, in April 1973. Her fate remains unknown.
Schaefers second try at student teaching fared no better than the first. FAU administrators placed him at Stranahan High School, but supervisor Richard Goodhart removed him on November 11, 1969, after a series of classroom harangues. I told him when he left, Goodhart recalled, that hed better never let me hear of his trying to get a job with any authority over other people, or Id do anything I could to see that he didnt get it. Schaefer withdrew from school, blaming marital problems. Four years later, he would tell psychiatrists that he was barred from teaching because they only wanted black people.
The next to vanish from Broward County was Carmen Marie Hallock, a 22-year-old cocktail waitress. She had lunch with her sister-in-law on December 18, 1969, discussing a date she had planned for that evening. Hallock said she was meeting a teacher who had offered her a job involving some kind of undercover work for the government. The position featured international travel and lots of money. Hallock missed work the next night and when she had not been seen by Christmas Day, her relatives used a spare key to check her apartment. They found the bathtub full and her dog unfed. Hallocks car found in a nearby parking lot a few days later. When Schaefers stash of souvenirs was seized in 1973, police recovered two of Hallocks gold-filled teeth and a shamrock pin identified by her family. Her body has never been found.
In March 1970 Schaefer petitioned FAU administrators to alter his records, changing the November withdrawal to an incomplete and allowing him to resume study. They obliged, and Schaefer returned as a full-time student, along with his wife. The marriage was doomed, though. Martha filed for divorce on May 2, citing Schaefers extreme cruelty. He rebounded with a months vacation in Europe and North Africa, including forays into the Sahara Desert. Schaefer would later boast of victims on three continents, and while given his record the claim might be plausible, no slayings outside the U.S. are confirmed.
By October 1970, to make tuition money, Schaefer was working as a security guard at Florida Light and Power. There, he met secretary Teresa Dean and they became engaged, tying the knot soon after Schaefers August 1971 graduation from FAU, with a bachelors degree in geography. It was useless without a teaching credential, but Schaefer had chosen a new career path.
Having failed to do right as a priest or teacher, he set his sights on law enforcement. Hired by the Wilton Manors Police Department on September 3, 1971, Schaefer was sent back to Broward Community College, this time to the schools police academy. He graduated on December 17, 1971 and hit the streets to begin his six-month probationary term. Schaefer was on the job barely three weeks before another local woman disappeared.
Belinda Hutchens was another 22-year-old cocktail waitress, married to a drug addict who later told police that she had her own lifestyle and did what she wanted to do. Arrested for prostitution in November 1970, she had paid a $250 fine in Fort Lauderdale. There were no more arrests, but Hutchens flaunted her extramarital affairs. On January 5, 1972 her husband and two-year-old daughter watched her climb into a blue Datsun sedan, a strange man at the wheel, and vanish from their lives forever. In 1973, the search of Doris Schaefers home revealed an address book containing the name, address and phone number of Belindas husband. Days later, he identified Schaefers blue Datsun as the car that took Belinda on her last ride. No other trace of her was found, no charges were ever filed.
In Wilton Manors, Schaefer proved himself as poorly suited for police work as he had been for the classroom. Chief Bernard Scott told reporters, He used poor judgment, did dumb things. I didnt want him around. Colleagues called Schaefer badge happy, obsessed with writing traffic tickets. Ex-FBI agent Robert Ressler claims Schaefer stopped young women and asked them for dates. Years later, detectives asserted that one of those womennever publicly identifiedvanished forever, soon after Patrolman Schaefer stopped her car.
Chief Scott was ready to fire Schaefer on March 16, 1972, when Schaefer surprised him by winning a commendation for a drug arrest. It saved his job, but only briefly. The dumb mistakes continued, and Scott called him in for their last talk on April 19. Schaefer begged for another chance, almost with tears in his eyes, and Scott relented. The next day, Scott learned that Schaefer had applied for a job with the Broward County Sheriffs Department and he fired Schaefer on the spot.
There would be no Broward County badge for Schaefer, though. He failed the departments mandatory psychological exam and was rejected. Applications to other local departments set Chief Scotts telephone ringing in Wilton Manors. I told them, he recalled, I would put on a uniform and walk the streets myself before I would have him back.
On June 30, 1972 Schaefer was hired by Sheriff Richard Crowder in Martin County. He came with a glowing letter of recommendation from Chief Bernard Scott of the Wilton Manors P.D. It was only a month later, with Schaefer charged in the Trotter-Wells case, that Crowder checked the letter out and learned it was a forgery.

Doing Doubles

At some point, Schaefer tired of killing victims singly. Doing doubles, he later wrote, is far more difficult than doing singles, but on the other hand it also puts one n a position to have twice as much fun. There can be some lively discussions about which of the victims will get to be killed first. When you have a pair of teenaged bimbolinas bound hand and foot and ready for a session with the skinning knife, neither one of the little devils wants to be the one to go first. And they dont mind telling you quickly why their best friend should be the one to die.
We cannot know when Schaefer started doing doubles. Seven years after the fact, his name was linked to the disappearance of 21-year-old Nancy Leichner and 20-year-old Pamela Nater, Pinellas County residents who vanished on a 1966 picnic in the Ocala National Forest. The case remains unsolved and both women are still missing.
A better case exists for Schaefers involvement in the murders of 9-year-old Peggy Rahn and 8-year-old Wendy Stevenson, in Pompano Beach. Both vanished from the beach on December 29, 1970. A day later, a clerk at a nearby convenience store reported a man buying ice cream for two young girls on the previous afternoon. The clerk identified photos of Peggy and Wendy, describing their companion as a white man in his 20s, six feet tall, around 200 pounds. The girls remain missing and Schaefer was never charged, though prosecutors publicly accused him of the crime in 1973. Schaefer denied the slayings publicly, but later confessed in a letter dated April 19, 1989. I am annoyed by all this murder talk, he wrote. Peggy & Wendy just happened along at a time when I was curious about [1930s cannibal Albert] Fishs craving for the flesh of young girls....I assure you these girls were not molested sexually. I found both of them very satisfactory, particularly with saut�ed onions and peppers.
Schaefer was free on bond, awaiting trial for the Trotter-Wells abduction in Martin County, when his next known victims were murdered on September 27, 1972. The double slaying of Susan Place and Georgia Jessup would land him in prison for life and would be the only murders for which he was ever tried.
Less than four weeks after Place and Jessup vanished, on October 23, 14-year-olds Mary Alice Briscolina and Elsie Lina Farmer were added to the missing list. Farmers family reported her missing on October 24, while Briscolinas waited another week, assuming she had run away from home. Farmers skeletal remains were found on January 17, 1973 (eight days after Schaefer went to jail), at a construction site near Plantation High School. Briscolina was found on February 15, 200 yards away. (Both girls were identified by dental records.) Following the April search of Doris Schaefers home, Farmers relatives identified a piece of jewelry taken from the murdered girl.
Schaefer was never charged with those murders, but he later admitted the crimes, in a letter referring to one of his published stories, titled Murder Demons. What crimes am I supposed to confess? he wrote on April 9, 1991. Farmer? Briscolina? What do you think Murder Demons is? Fiction? You want confessions but you dont recognize them when I anoint you with them.
Schaefer was sentenced for the Trotter-Wells assault in December 1972, but he did not actually enter jail until January 15, 1973. One week earlier, 19-year-old Iowa residents Collette Goodenough and Barbara Ann Wilcox left Biloxi, Mississippi, hitchhiking to Florida. No trace of either girl was seen until April, when searchers found evidence of their fate in Schaefers stash. Among the items retrieved were Barbaras drivers license, along with Collettes passport, diary and a book of poems. Skeletal remains of both victims were found at Port Saint Lucie in January 1977, but no cause of death could be found and no charges were ever filed.


Gerard Schaefer mugshot
Gerard Schaefer mugshot
Teresa Schaefer made her one and only prison visit on November 17, 1973, to serve Gerard with divorce papers. Outside the walls, reporters trumpeted that lawyer Elton Schwarz, age 45, was dating Schaefers 21-year-old wife. He also handled Teresas divorce and they were married on November 30 with Schwarz announcing that his client had suggested the arrangement. Inmate Schaefer, undismayed, maintained correspondence with Schwarz for several years afterward, waiting nearly a decade to charge the attorney with legal malpractice.
Meanwhile, Schaefer was busy exposing another conspiracy, claiming that he had been framed by drug-dealing lawmen and Martin County prosecutors. (This despite his statements to psychiatrists that he enjoyed working for Sheriff Crowder because everybody was honest.) In Schaefers new scenario, he was framed for killing two narcotics informants because he refused to play ball with powerful drug lords. Ironically, one of Robert Stones aides was convicted of drug trafficking in the 1980s, but no evidence linked the case to Schaefers crimes.
Schaefer would ultimately file 19 appeals, each of which was dismissed. In 1987 a weary judge declared, There has to be an end, a conclusion to litigation and to the abuse of the judicial process. The defendant should realize, once and for all, the die is cast, the mold is made, the loaf is baked. Therefore the judgment is final and forever. They were strong words, buttressed by a state parole board ruling that Schaefer was ineligible for release before February 2017, but still the hopeless lawsuits continued, at public expense.
Schaefer found other ways to amuse himself, too. In 1979 he declared himself married to a Filipina picture bride. The young woman appeared in July 1980 and moved in with Schaefers father. A marriage license materialized, sans ceremony, and was accepted by authorities at Avon Parks minimum-security prison. Several contact visits were permitted, before Schaefers wife got her green card in 1985 and dropped him like the proverbial hot potato.
A few weeks later, in September 1985, Schaefer was accused of plotting to escape from Avon Park and murder a hit list of victims including his ex-wife, Elton Schwarz, Robert Stone and Judge Trowbridge. State police confirmed the plot, and Schaefer was packed off to maximum security at Starke, home of Floridas death row.
Despite being closely watched, Schaefer still managed to run a mail-fraud operation from his cell, collaborating with cohorts outside to post ads in sex magazines, soliciting money from various kinky tricks. To that end, Schaefer adopted various pseudonyms, always female. He became Mistress Felice, a dominatrix; prostitute Jessica Zurriaga; stern Matron Miller; a husband-killer on death row; and so on. Some of his slaves paid cash for the privilege of washing Mistress Felices soiled panties (delivered by mail, for a price). Schaefer also enjoyed writing to inmates of other prisons, posing as the great love of their lives, laughing behind their backs.
When not scamming freaks, Schaefer worked as a jailhouse lawyerwith a twist. While writing briefs for fellow cons, he milked his clients for information on their cases, then sold them out to authorities. One such inmate, awaiting trial for murder, told Schaefer where his victims body could be found and Schaefer relayed the directions to police, landing his client on death row. It was a deadly game, perhaps an extension of his childhood death wish, and he played it recklessly, as if he were invulnerable.
In 1986, collaborating with police from North Miami, Schaefer adopted the guise of Dee Dee Kelly, a 14-year-old prostitute who offered nude photos to pedophiles. Responses to his ads were collected by U.S. Postal inspectors, but none of Schaefers correspondents were prosecuted. Instead, authorities discovered he was working with another inmate, Mervyn Cross, to run a child pornography network from prison. Cross paid Schaefers father a monthly stipend for use of his telephone line, to communicate with Filipino colleagues. Prosecutors convicted Cross, adding time to his sentence at Starke, but no charges were filed against the Schaefers.

Ted Bundy (AP)
Ted Bundy (AP)
Even as the Dee Dee sting collapsed, Schaefer had his first encounter with condemned killer Ted Bundy. According to Schaefer, Bundy was always 100% respectful of me. I treated him as a supplicant, while others were hanging on his every word. Bundy allegedly confessed that he had been inspired by Schaefers case to kill two victims on a single day in 1974. With Bundy, Schaefer debated such fine points of murder as the maggot problem and techniques of cleaning upholstery after dying victims urinated in their cars.

Ottis Toole, police photo
Ottis Toole, police photo
Another sometime confidante of Schaefer was self-described cannibal Ottis Toole. Sentenced to life for six murders, Toole was suspected of many more, most notably the 1981 kidnap-slaying of young Adam Walsh. By 1988, when he met Schaefer, Toole had several times confessed to Walshs murder, always recanting his statements when detectives asked for proof. Schaefer wrote to Adams fatherJohn Walsh, host of Americas Most Wantedposing as Toole and demanding $50,000 for Adams remains, so you can get them buried all decent and Christian. Walsh ignored the offer, and Toole soon soured on Schaefers mercenary attentions. Aside from the sadistic pleasure of tormenting Adams parents, Schaefer gained nothing from the episode except a new addendum to his reputation as a snitch.

True Crime

Schaefer lost an admirer on January 24, 1989, when Ted Bundy kept his long-delayed date with Floridas electric chair. Around the same time, ex-girlfriend Sandy Stewartnow divorced mother Sondra Londonpicked up a copy of Ann Rules The Stranger Beside Me, detailing Rules friendship with Bundy, and decided to write a book on her relationship with Schaefer. London wrote to Schaefer on February 8, 1989, asking, Remember me? She pitched the notion of a book about your experiences and requested samples of his writing.

Gerard Schaefer in jail
Gerard Schaefer in jail
Schaefer responded enthusiastically, touting his case as virgin territory, adding: Naturally, Im favorably disposed toward someone who has known me intimately. He recalled London as a former great love of my life and denied any hostility over their breakup. At their first prison meeting, London found Schaefer transformed into a nebbish: portly, pale, balding and half-blind. He reminded her of a middle-aged, deskbound clerk gone to seed.
There was nothing soft about Schaefers stories, though. They sported macabre titles such as Blonde on a Stick and Flies in Her Eyes. Between March and May 1989 Schaefer sent London seven grisly tales. She added drawings and fragments of writing seized from Doris Schaefers home in 1973, releasing the lot as a volume of Killer Fiction in June 1989. A second book soon followed, along with independent stories, poems, sketches, and a killer serial that aimed to satirize Schaefers own case. The leading character: a rogue cop who slaughters prostitutes in his spare time.
At Starke, a guard examined Schaefers work and deemed it pornographic filth, confiscating the latest manuscript as contraband unsuitable for a prisoner. The work was released after Floridas attorney general admitted the stories played a role in Schaefers latest legal appeal, but Schaefer himself was forbidden from keeping a copy in prison. Critics in the press and prosecutors office branded Killer Fiction a blueprint for murder, masking details of Schaefers own crimes in the guise of entertainment.
Schaefer worked hard to impress his ex-lover. On one hand, he claimed to be innocent, framed by drug-dealing cops and attorneys who feared his integrity, casting himself in a martyrs role. I let Satan get control of me, he wrote. I hated Evil. I wanted to destroy Evil. I went and immersed myself in the battle but destroyed myself in the process. God saved me by allowing me to be framed by corrupt people. A week later, he wrote: My battle has been to overcome the problem [of serial murder]. I believe I have accomplished this through Jesus Christ. He added, My own personal belief in Jesus...assures me of my future as a child of God, but that does not excuse me from helping my fellow man. This he sought to do by writing graphic tales of rape and murder, declaring that My reward, if any, will be a spiritual one.
The bizarre flip-side of that pious fa�ade was Schaefers effort to pose as a leader of organized crime. On March 21, 1989 he wrote: I am, factually, a captain of the Dixie Mafia...I have, factually, the power to have you killed. I have, in the past, used these powers. Three days later he added, I am a Syndicate man... When I put on my [mob] subchiefs hat I am Don El Tigre...and I can scare the living shit out of you.
Where that left child of God Schaefer was anyones guess, but he did not stop with claims of mob connections. Schaefer also insisted, on January 20, 1991, I am the top serial killer and I can prove it. He was an expert hangman, Schaefer wrote, dispatching victims so quickly that they wouldnt even pee on the rope. Furthermore, he added, I never at any time required more than two strokes to behead a woman. Never. I was absolutely skilled at it. Schaefer was vague on numbers, but once estimated his body count somewhere between 80 and 110 victims. One whore drowned in her own vomit while watching me disembowel her girlfriend, he smirked. Im not sure that counts as a valid kill. Did the pregnant ones count as two kills? It can get confusing.
Always, though, he balked at the notion of sex as a motive. I did not have sex problems, Schaefer wrote on March 22, 1989. A problem means you are unhappy, discontented. And again, on April 9, 1991: A sex killer I was not. I am unique. I guarantee it.
Killer Fiction and its sequels flopped commercially, leaving London short of cash in early 1991. On January 18 Schaefer proposed marriage, noting that his wife could not be forced to testify even if I were to show you a basket of severed heads. The next day, he reconsidered, blaming London for his crimes. I will tell you here and now, he wrote, that plenty of your women died because you couldnt help me solve my various crises in 1965. I tried to tell you about it but you couldnt deal with it. You bolted, abandoned me; thats when it started.
Prison officials began intercepting mail between Schaefer and London in March 1991. On May 16, guards opened a letter and discovered outlines for new stories. They filed a disciplinary report and Schaefer spent 30 days in solitary for conspiracy to conduct a business from his cell.
With book sales stagnant, London sought new avenues of income. Producers for the television show A Current Affair offered her $1,000 for a segment on Schaefer. Reluctantly, Schaefer agreed to an interview with reporter Steve Dunleavy. In place of his frame-up defense, though, viewers heard London proclaim, He was normal, except he had a compulsion to kill. Robert Stone branded Schaefer one of Americas worst serial killers ever. Dunleavy called Schaefer a monster and a diseased specimen, closing the segment with a prayer that Schaefer find his hell on earth.
Were through, Schaefer wrote London on April 12, 1992, after viewing the program. Youve tapped a Black Hole of genuine rage and its focused on you... Just never speak my name to anyone, anywhere ever again... Ive met a number of people from the Satanist underground. To express my appreciation for what you said [on TV] Ive explained to them about your daughter. Theyll probably get in touch with her personally... If you want to make an issue of this then the kid is gonna be the one to pay the tab. Am I clear?


On April 24, 1992, Schaefer wrote to London, Im poised to sue everyone... I may not win but Ill break everyones bank and make the lawyers richer. A month later, on June 19, he wrote again, this time announcing that he had sold book and film rights to the true story of his frame-up to a major publisher. Schaefer could not resist signing off with a warning: The very next time you say or do anything that causes me problems...I am going to encourage my dope addled Satanist pals in Georgia to go pick up your slut daughter and teach her some sex education.
London returned to Starke in February 1993, but not to visit Schaefer. This time, the object of her attention was condemned Gainesville Ripper Danny Rolling. Looking beyond his grisly crimes, London found Rolling handsome, charming, and really quite wonderful. The feeling was mutual: the couple soon announced their engagement although the warden vowed there would be no marriage. Undeterred, London wrote a book about Rollings case, splitting the proceeds from his prison prose and artwork with Dannys brother.
Schaefer learned of Londons new romance from prison sources and fired off another letter on February 13, 1993. It read, in part: Hello, Whore. The word on the yard is that the Queen of the Sluts was...romancing Danny Rolling ...Valentine, youre mine...I know what youre up to: money. Youre gonna get Danny Boy fried while you make a buck off his misery. Right? Well, go for it! Just make sure you keep my name out of it. This time, instead of Satanists, he threatened London with reprisals from the Ku Klux Klan.
Londons relationship with Rolling galvanized Schaefer, precipitating his first wave of frivolous lawsuits. Pleading poverty to avoid filing fees, Schaefer issued a series of handwritten complaints, expanding over time to sue virtually everyone who had publicly called him a serial killer. Most of his claims alleged libel, but some claimed civil rights infringement, pretending that published false charges had stalled his parole. Despite reminders from the state that he was ineligible for release until 2017, courts ranging from the Florida to Indiana and New York accepted Schaefers pleadings and began the slow, expensive process of reviewing each in turn.
Cheated of the sadistic pleasure he had once derived from hanging women, Schaefer now had found another way to make his victims dance. The jailhouse lawyer cherished an illusion of control over his enemies.
One of the first to suffer was Patrick Kendrick, a paramedic and would-be author who spent five years researching the case, concluding that Schaefer had slain at least 11 women. Schaefer sued him for $500,000 over comments in a private letter to a friend of Schaefer (posing as a journalist), wherein Kendrick stated that Schaefer had once been accused of 36 murders. That was libel, Schaefer claimed, since Prosecutor Stone had mentioned only 34 victims in 1973. Worse yet, Kendricks letter described Schaefer as a middle-aged, pale and doughy, bookish kind of wimp. Raging from his cell, Schaefer told reporters, People think prisoners are powerless, that we cant do anything. But Im showing you I can do a lot. Im showing him Im not a wimp.
And so it went. In swift succession, Schaefer sued true-crime authors Joel Norris, Michael Cartelis, Jay Nash, Michael Newton and Colin Wilson. Robert Ressler was sued for writing about Schaefers case and for mentioning him in lectures on serial murder. Forensic dentist Richard Souviron, who identified Carmen Hallocks teeth in 1973, received a summons for providing photos and fragments of Schaefers writings to a British magazine. Kentucky academic Ronald Holmes included Schaefer on a list of serial killers, appended to journalist Anne Schwartzs book on Jeffrey Dahmer. In response, Schaefer sued Schwartz, her publisher, Holmes and the University of Kentucky (urging that Holmes be fired to defer litigation).
Despite Schaefers frequent claim that he never lost a lawsuit, the very opposite was true. Across the board, his claims were dismissed as frivolous or untimely, filed after the statute of limitations for libel actions had expired. In Schaefer v. Colin Wilson, Schaefers loathsome reputation was declared libel proof under the law. July 1994 saw him formally branded a serial killer undoubtedly linked to numerous murders by Judge William Steckler, in the case of Schaefer v. Michael Newton. Steckler went on to note that Schaefer boasts of the private and public associations he has had based on the reports that he is a serial killer of world-class proportions, and it is only arrogant perversity which propels him toward this and similarly meritless lawsuits.
Sondra London bore the brunt of Schaefers malice. He sued her three times (all dismissed) and tried to have her arrested for stealing his literary works valued in excess of $110,000 (likewise dismissed). London fought back, petitioning for a protective order, weighting her brief with 500 pages of Schaefers death threats and murder confessions. Finally barred from writing to London directly, Schaefer penned a furious letter to her publisher on December 5, 1993. Referring to a fellow convictan Anointed Fourth Prince of the Hand of Deathhe raved: All I need to do is ask this gentleman to have SL and her kid murdered and it would be done. SL is alive at this moment because I choose to allow it.
As it happened, though, Schaefer had survival issues of his own. Following dismissal of his last two lawsuits in Florida, he wrote to the appellate court: While working in the prison law library Plaintiff was attacked by another inmate and stabbed repeatedly in and about the face, body and hands. Due to the trauma sustained incidental to this attack, Plaintiff is now unable to prosecute his appeal; therefore Plaintiff withdraws the appeal in this case.

Case Closed

Things went from bad to worse for Schaefer after the November 1994 attack. Danny Rolling wrote to Sondra London that Schaefer had encountered big time problems from inmates who pegged Schaefer as a rat and pain freak ...[and] a manipulating snitch. Over the next year, he was harassed by convicts who splashed him with urine and pelted him with feces. Twice his cell was set afire, any surviving papers ruined by the prisons sprinkler system.
Trouble also surfaced on the legal front, unrelated to Schaefers frivolous lawsuits. In fall 1995, Fort Lauderdale homicide investigator Tim Bronson reopened the Hallock, Hutchins and Bonadies cases, reviewing the files with an eye toward prosecuting Schaefer for one or more slayings. Bronson hoped one indictment might persuade Schaefer to cut a plea bargain and close all three cases. Cautiously optimistic, he telephoned Starke on Friday, December 1, 1995, and made arrangements to interview Schaefer on Monday.
But he never got the chance.
On Sunday, December 3, prison guards found Schaefer slaughtered in his cell. His throat was slashed and he had been stabbed 42 times around his head and neck. A bloody handprint on the wall of Schaefers cell appeared to be the only clue.
Two months later, on February 1, 1996, prison officials filed a murder charge against 33-year-old Vincent Faustino Rivera, confessed slayer of two Hillsborough County victims, who had begun serving a sentence of life plus 20 years in January 1991. According to the states scenario, Rivera and Schaefer had quarreled after Schaefer took the last cup of hot water from a dispenser on their cell block. Rivera had brooded a while, then settled the argument with a homemade shank.
Or had he?
In November 1996 Rivera wrote to Sondra London, pleading innocence and claiming that the bloody print from Schaefers cell matched neither Schaefer nor himself. Schaefers mother and sister accused Ottis Toole of the murder, alleging that Toole had felt threatened by Schaefers ongoing efforts to help the Walsh family recover young Adams remains. The National Enquirer reported that Schaefer had arranged to speak with detectives concerning the case, angling for a transfer back to Avon Park if he could produce Adams bones. Toole denied any role in Schaefers slaying, and the Walsh case remained officially unsolved at Tooles death, from cirrhosis, in September 1996.
Justice moved slowly for Vincent Rivera. On June 8, 1999, three and a half years after Schaefers death, Rivera was convicted of second-degree murder, sentenced to an additional 53 years and ten months. With life plus 20 on his plate beforehand, it was what lifers call a freebie. As for Schaefers major book and film deals, they were merely so much smoke. Six years and counting since his death, neither have seen the light of day.

1 comment:

  1. This is cut and pasted from the old CrimeLibrary site, with some misspellings and poor punctuation added.