Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Theo Durrant

The Origin of Monsters

The macabre scene in the little room off to the side of the death house at San Quentin was a fitting end to a gory and violent series of crimes. Even the actions of Theo Durrant's parents shed little light on what had caused the handsome, polite medical student to turn into a monster and violently murder two young women with whom he attended church.

As the recently hanged body of William Henry Theodore Durrant lay in repose in the state-issued coffin not four feet from their table, his parents sat down to a sumptuous meal of roast beef, fruit salad and tea, enjoying the repast as if they hadn't a care in the world.

Prison Photo of Theo Durrant with head shaved
Prison Photo of Theo Durrant
with head shaved

Perhaps they took solace in their son's strenuous assertion that he was innocent of the heinous murders of two young women with whom he attended church, Minnie Williams and Blanche Lamont. Their naked, ravaged bodies were found tossed aside like so much soiled linen.

If the parents believed that their son was innocent, then they were the only ones in San Francisco who did, for as the date of his execution neared, Durrant converted to Catholicism when his Baptist minister admitted he had trouble believing Durrant's claim of unjust prosecution.

The jurors who convicted medical student Theo Durrant certainly had no trouble with the state's case — they took just five minutes to return with a guilty verdict.

Maybe the question of why Theo turned into a sexual sadist was too perplexing for the Durrants and they simply chose to ignore it. No one ever asked them.

Theo Durrant went to meet his maker without admitting guilt and nothing in his many statements to the press during his incarceration and on the day of his execution shed any light on the one question that no scientist or philosopher seems able to answer: From where do such monsters come?

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