Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Texas Eyeball Killer

Developmental Issues

Matthews and Wicker, as well as Hollandsworth, provide a detailed portrait of Albright's childhood. He was born on August 10, 1933.  His mother, Delle, and father, Fred, had adopted him from an orphan's home, and it was clear from the start that Delle was in control. She was a strict elementary schoolteacher and she used that position to shape and form her precocious young son. She doted on him and overprotected him but did not show much outward affection.  Bedford et al says that she sometimes dressed Charles as a girl and gave him a doll to play with. Other sources confirm this, and Hollandsworth says that she would change him frequently to keep dirt off him. She also accelerated his education, getting him skipped ahead two grades.

Whatever he set out to do, he did well. When he was given a gun, Charles killed small animals and told his mother he wanted to be a taxidermist, so she helped him to learn how to skin and stuff his dead birds. His products were lifelike, but he was not allowed to complete them with the glass eyes sold in taxidermy shops because they were too expensive and Delle was frugal in the extreme. Instead, she had him use buttons. In other words, "eyes" were forbidden. He may well have developed a desire to get the eyes that his mother had denied him.

In school, although he was a good student, he became a bit of a troublemaker for petty thefts, and at age 13 was arrested for aggravated assault. He also went to a prostitute during adolescence. By the time he was 15 in 1949, he'd made sufficiently decent grades to graduate from high school and with the help of forged transcripts got into North Texas State University. But then his luck ran out.