Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Crimes Below the Belt II: Beheaded

The Castration Dungeon

North Bay Medical Center
North Bay Medical Center

On December 5, 1997, Alan Hall, a 48-year-old pipefitter and Vietnam War veteran, was found by a passerby lying drenched in blood on the lawn in front of his trailer parked outside his brother's home in Fairfield, Calif. Hall was rushed to the North Bay Medical Center where doctors immediately assessed the situation and determined that Hall's penis had been savagely cut off. They worked frantically to reattach his organ but their efforts failed. Lt. Bill Gresham was quoted by Martha Irvine of the Associated Press as saying, "It was just too deep a cut... How do I put this? It was cut down to the base."

Fairfield Police Department patch
Fairfield Police Department patch

Several days later, when he had recovered enough to finally talk with police, Hall said that he had met a woman named Brenda at a gas station eight hours before he was discovered, whom he had taken back to his trailer. He alleged that the two had engaged in sexual relations and whilst in the midst of passion, Brenda had brandished an X-Acto hobby knife and sliced off his penis before running from the scene. Fairfield Police Sgt. Brent Baird said that he had been informed that "the woman made a comment which caused the man to believe that she was seeking revenge for a previous incident involving the man and a friend of the woman," the Associated Press reported.

The "incident" to which the police referred seemed to be the murder of Denise Denofrio, 22, who had been found dead in her car outside a Denny's restaurant in Fairfield in February 1983. She had been strangled with a sweatshirt cord, a crime to which Hall later confessed. He claimed that he killed her because she had laughed at him when he was unable to obtain an erection during sex. He was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and served three years of a six year sentence. Police speculated that Brenda was a friend of Denise's, and was seeking revenge when she mutilated him.

 X-Acto hobby knife
X-Acto hobby knife

Police launched a massive search for Brenda, who was described as a five-foot seven-inch, 135 pound white female who drove a Ford pickup truck. Yet, she was nowhere to be found. In an attempt to help police in their search, Hall went to the Fairfield Police Department to assist in the development of a composite sketch of the purported assailant.

During questioning, Hall shocked investigators when he admitted that he actually cut off his own penis. The reality was he made up the entire story about Brenda in order to spare his family from embarrassment Detective Dave Walsh was quoted in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It is believed that Hall suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following his war experiences, accompanied by alcohol and drug dependency, which were believed to have been major factors in his self-mutilation, although the diagnosis has not been substantiated.

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