Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Fetish Killer

The Confession

In 1960, less than a decade earlier, Alfred Hitchcock had released Psycho. It was a grainy black-and-white film based loosely on the story of Ed Gein, showing a demented, mother-dominated nerd who could present a personable front while harboring a compulsion to fatally stab a woman who aroused him. In effect, he was killing an unacceptable part of himself. His condition of multiple personality disorder shocked the nation, especially with its creepy cross-gendered manifestation. Now the police were about to see something like the real thing, only without the mental illness excuse.

As Brudos admitted to his crimes and provided details, it was evident that he thoroughly relished describing his fetish for shoes, panties and bras. He grew more excited when he described these things, as if his passion would become contagious and infect the officers sitting with him in the room. They weren't buying.

From January 1968 until April 1969, Frasier indicates, Brudos killed four women. (Some newspaper reports indicate there were five, but a fifth incident failed to match the MO and under interrogation Brudos denied knowing the victim). He also attacked or attempted to kill several more. Most of what is known about his encounters with these victims comes from his confessions, which he freely gave over a period of three days. The detectives who interrogated him noted his complete absence of guilt or remorse (though he mourned his fate and felt badly for his wife and kids), and the fact that he never lost his appetite, despite how grotesque his descriptions were.

Brudos admitted to having killed and mutilated four of the women, throwing their bodies into a river after he cut parts from them. His first victim, Linda Slawson, was minus her left foot, and he had kept the foot for a while after he got rid of the rest of her, trying shoes on it and taking photographs. Two others had their breasts removed. He also photographed them while under his power, and had sex with their bodies.

With Linda Slawson, who had naively followed him to the workshop out back to pitch her encyclopedias, he had hit her with a two-by-four hard enough to knock her out. He'd then strangled her. His wife, children and mother lived right there in the home with him, and even as he had a dead girl on the floor of his workshop, he held calm conversations with his family, urging them to go out and get some dinner at a fast food place. All of this he told to the police, as related by Ann Rule.

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