Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Punk Rock Romeo and Juliet: Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen

"I Killed Her... I Can't Live without Her"

Spungen & Vicious, cuffed
Spungen & Vicious, cuffed

Shortly before 5 a.m., Rockets Redglare left Sid and Nancy's room and spotted 'Steven C,' the couple's "regular Quaalude and Tuinal dealer," getting on the elevator in the lobby. At about the same time, the guest in Room 228 called the front desk to complain about all the noise coming from downstairs. The desk clerk sent a bellhop named Kenny to check it out, and he found Vicious wandering the halls, making a ruckus. Vicious challenged Kenny, who was black, using racist language. A fight ensued. Kenny beat Vicious into submission, bloodying his face. As Vicious lay on the floor, he looked up at the bellhop and said, "Is this what you do to a drunk?" At 5:15 a.m., the bellhop returned to the lobby. He didn't stick around to see where Vicious went.

At about 7:30 a.m., the sound of a woman moaning woke Vera Mendelssohn, a 48-year-old sculptor who lived in Room 102. She believed the moaning came from the room next door, Room 100. Mendelssohn later described the sound as "coming from a person who was alone." She said she was "very frightened" and stayed in bed rather than getting up to investigate. The moaning eventually stopped, and Mendelssohn went back to sleep.

Two hours later Herman Ramos, the clerk on duty, received a phone call from outside the hotel. "There's trouble in Room 100," the unidentified caller said. Ramos sent Charles, the bellhop who had replaced Kenny for the day shift, to check on Room 100. Moments later Sid Vicious called the front desk, saying "Someone is sick... need help." Ramos called for an ambulance.

At 10:30 a.m., Vicious was seen in the hallway, heading toward his room. Fifteen minutes later the paramedics and police arrived. They found Nancy's body in the bathroom and determined that she was dead, then called for homicide detectives. The officers on the scene located Vicious in the hallway and held him for questioning. According to author Malcolm Butt, by this time Vicious had taken enough Tuinal to kill a horse.

Sid Vicious, mugshot
Sid Vicious, mugshot

Vera Mendelssohn came out of her room when she heard a commotion in the hallway. She saw Vicious surrounded by policemen. According to the Soho Daily News, she said, "His face looked battered." He was distraught and crying, moaning "Baby, baby, baby." When he noticed Mendelssohn, he said to her, "I killed her... I can't live without her." Mendelssohn was so "stunned," she couldn't recall afterward if he'd said, "She fell on the knife," or "She must have fallen on the knife."

Vicious was taken to the Third Homicide Division on 51st Street where he was questioned and made a statement, confessing to the murder of his girlfriend.

"I did it because I'm a dirty dog," he allegedly told police. Early that afternoon he was charged with murdering Nancy Spungen. At 5:20 p.m., Nancy Spungen's body was removed from the Chelsea Hotel in a green body bag.

The next day at his bail hearing, Vicious could barely stand. He was dressed entirely in black and wore black shoes without socks. The proceedings took 10 minutes, and bail was set at $50,000. He was then taken to the prison facility at Riker's Island and admitted to the prison's detox unit.

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