Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

David Spanbauer, Serial Child Killer and Rapist

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Token Creek Park
Token Creek Park

He knew of Token Creek Park, and that is where he drove to rape the girl.  She was a 17-year-old waitress out hitchhiking.  He picked her up on Highway 51 by brandishing a knife and while driving to the park, he told her that he was going to rape her and when he was through with her, he would run her over with his car and toss her body in a ditch.  She started crying, and David Spanbauer cried along with her.  It was August 11, 1972.  He tied up her hands and had his way with her.

A lonely stretch of road known as Highway 51
A lonely stretch of road known as Highway 51

She told the police the man had a tattoo of the devil on his forearm, and later when Spanbauer was rounded up as a suspect, she identified him as the man who raped her.  Spanbauer tried to play it all off.  In his eyes they got along fine and that everything was cool and they had consensual sex.

Spanbauer was found guilty for abduction and rape and Assistant District Attorney John Burr asked for the maximum sentence of 50 years on top of what Spanbauer would receive for violating his parole.

With all of the facts of the case before him, Judge Richard Bardwell reasoned that the rape was much more "mild" than Spanbauer's previous rape—the one where he tied the victim down spread eagle, raped her at knife point and then blasted another man in the face with a handgun.  Therefore, the judge figured, Spanbauer has moved from being a "very dangerous sex offender" to now merely "just dangerous ... so there has been some improvement.'' He noted that Spanbauer was still a sociopath but his tendencies weren't so severe.  Bardwell gave Spanbauer 12 years in prison than ran concurrent with his revoked parole. ''The girl was in effect asking for it," said Bardwell, "They are tempting fate when they do it."

Assistant District Attorney Burr thought Spanbauer was a threat to society and was enraged by the light sentence.  Burr later said that Spanbauer was, "in the top ten of the most vicious and violent people I've ever had the displeasure of coming in contact with.''


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