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Cold blooded killers, p.8
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       Cold Blooded Killers, p.8

           R. J. Parker
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  The hearing started on October 14th, 2010 with witness testimonies from soldiers who had survived the shootings. On November 15th, the military hearing ended when Hasan’s lawyer declined to offer a defense case on the grounds that the White House and Defense Department refused to hand over requested documents pertaining to an intelligence review of the shootings. Neither the defense nor prosecution offered to deliver a closing argument. On November 18th, Colonel James L. Pohl, who served as the investigating officer for the Article 32 hearing, recommended that Hasan be court-martialed and face the death penalty. His recommendation was forwarded to another U.S. Army colonel at Fort Hood who, after filing his own report, presented his recommendation to the post commander. The post commander made the final decision on whether Hasan faced a trial and the death penalty.

  On July 6th, 2011, the Fort Hood post commander referred the case to a general court-martial for trial. The court-martial was authorized to consider death as an authorized punishment. On July 27th, 2011, Fort Hood Chief Circuit Judge Colonel Gregory Gross set a March 5th, 2012, trial date for Hasan’s court martial. Hasan declined to enter any plea and Judge Gross granted a request by Hasan's attorneys to defer the plea to an unspecified date. Hasan subsequently notified Gross that he had released the civilian attorney who had been his counsel in his previous court appearances. At his court martial, Hasan will instead be represented by three military lawyers at no cost to him. Hasan continues to receive paychecks and medical treatment from the military.

  - 15 - Joseph T. Wesbecker

  At the Standard Gravure Plant in Louisville, Kentucky, on September 14th, 1989, eight people were killed and another twelve injured by Joseph Wesbecker, forty-seven, before he committed suicide. Wesbecker was only thirteen months old when his father died, leaving his sixteen year old mother to raise him on her own He was not a very intelligent student in high school and dropped out in the ninth grade; later he obtained his G.E.D. He married, had two sons, and in 1971 moved his family to Kentucky where he worked at a printing plant. In 1978, however, his personal life took a downward turn. His wife left him, they had a custody battle of their children, and Wesbecker admitted himself to a hospital for psychiatric treatment. In 1983 he married again, but it didn’t last long and soon he became separated from his family, withdrawn, and living a lonely life off work on disability for his mental illness.

  Wesbecker had a long history of psychiatric illness and was treated in hospitals at least three times between 1978 and 1987. He was diagnosed as suffering from alternating episodes of deep depression and manic depression. He was plagued by confusion, anger, and anxiety, and made several attempts to commit suicide. Hospital records suggested that Wesbecker posed a threat to himself and others.

  In the years prior to the shooting, Wesbecker more than once threatened to "kill a bunch of people" or to bomb Standard Gravure; at one point he considered hiring an assassin to kill several executives of the company. Apparently he’d even discussed these things with his wife before their divorce. When Wesbecker left Standard Gravure in August of 1988, he told other workers that he would come back, wipe out the place, and get even with the company. Shortly before the shooting, he told one of his aunts that he was upset about things at work, and told her that they’d get their payback. These were things he said all the time, however, and she didn't take the threat too seriously.

  At 8:30 a.m., on September 14th, 1989, Wesbecker parked his car in front of the main entrance to the Standard Gravure Plant where he used to work. Before entering the building, he took the following weapons from his car: a SIG Sauer 9mm semi-automatic handgun, a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson Revolver, a bayonet, an AK-47 assault rifle, two MAC-11 submachine guns, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in a duffel bag.

  Taking the elevator to the executive reception area on the third floor, as soon as the doors opened, he began firing at receptionists Sharon Needy and Angela Bowman. Needy was killed, and Bowman paralyzed by a shot in the back. Searching for Michael Shea, president of Standard Gravure, and other supervisors and bosses of the plant, Wesbecker calmly walked through the hallways, deliberately shooting at people. He killed James Husband and injured Forrest Conrad, Paula Warman, and John Stein, a maintenance supervisor, who he shot in the head and abdomen, before heading down the stairs to the pressroom, where he killed Paul Sallee. He then wounded two electricians from Marine Electric that were working on a broken machine, Stanley Hatfield and David Sadenfaden, and left the duffel bag under a stairwell. Wesbecker walked down to the basement where he encountered pressman, John Tingle, who, alerted by the loud noises, wanted to see what was happening. Tingle greeted his colleague, and asked him what was going on. Wesbecker replied, "Hi John...I told them I'd be back. Get away from me." Wesbecker continued his path through the basement, shooting Richard Barger in the back, killing him. According to witnesses, Wesbecker approached Barger's body and apologized; apparently he’d killed him accidentally as he didn't see at whom he was shooting. Back on the press floor, he shot at anyone in his way, killing James Wible and Lloyd White, and finally entered the break room where he emptied his magazine, hitting all seven workers present, killing William Ganote with a shot to the head. Wesbecker then reloaded and resumed firing, fatally wounding Kenneth Fentress. When Wesbecker stepped out to the pressroom, he pulled his SIG Sauer, put it under his chin and shot himself, ending his shooting spree that had lasted for about half an hour. He’d fired about forty rounds of ammunition, and left eight people dead and twelve wounded. Additionally, one person suffered a heart attack.

  When police searched Wesbecker's house, they recovered a shotgun, a Colt 9-millimeter revolver, a .32 revolver, and a starter's pistol. They found Wesbecker's will, as well as a copy of Time Magazine on the kitchen table featuring an article about Patrick Purdy who had killed five children and injured thirty others with a Type 56 assault rifle, the same weapon as used by Wesbecker, at a school in Stockton, California, earlier the same year.

  - 16 - George Hennard

  Luby’s Massacre

  George Hennerd was once referred to as a nice young boy with long hair. He used to be in a band; he was cool and likeable. All that appeared to change one day when he and his father had a vicious altercation that he would never talk about. After that, Hennard changed into a very cold hearted and mainly vicious person. He would regularly fight with other people and shout obscenities. He was always irritated and very reserved. He had a female neighbor with two daughters that he would stalk, going everywhere they went, and he often wrote letters to the girls. When the girls’ mother went to the police, she was told that they could not do anything about it because he hadn’t committed any crime.

  On October 16th, 1991, in Killeen, Texas, Hennard drove his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck through the front window of a Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, and yelled, "This is what Bell County has done to me!" He then opened fire on patrons and employees with a Glock 17 pistol and later a Ruger P89. He walked around, shooting; about eighty people were in the restaurant at the time.

  Thinking that the driver had accidently crashed into the building, Dr. Michael Griffith ran to the driver's side of the pickup truck to offer assistance and was shot instantly. During the shooting, Hennard approached Dr. Suzanna Hupp and her parents, who happened to have a handgun in her vehicle? Her father charged at the gunman in an attempt to restrain him but was gunned down. A short time later her mother was shot and killed also. Another patron, Tommy Vaughn, threw himself through a plate-glass window to allow others to get away. Hennard allowed a woman and her four year old child to leave. He reloaded his guns several times, and still had ammunition remaining when he ended his own life after being cornered and wounded by police. But by then he’d killed twenty-three people while wounding another twenty.

  In the aftermath, in 1995 the Texas Legislature passed a shall-issue gun law which requires that all qualifying applicants be issued a Concealed Handgun License, removing the personal good judgment of the issuing authority to deny such
licenses. To qualify for a license, one must be free and clear of crimes, attend a minimum of ten hours of classes taught by a state certified instructor, pass a fifty question test, show proficiency in a fifty round shooting test, and pass two background tests, one shallow and one deep.

  The proposal to change the law was campaigned by Dr. Suzanna Hupp who had been present at the massacre where both of her parents were shot and killed. She later expressed regret for obeying the law by leaving her firearm in her car rather than keeping it on her person, thinking at the time that it could mean losing her chiropractic license. She testified across the country in support of concealed handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The law was signed by then Governor George W. Bush.

  Authors Note: I really admire Dr. Hupp and her efforts of getting this law passed.

  - 17 - Howard Barton Unruh

  The Walk of Death

  September 6th, 1949, in Camden, New Jersey, Howard Barton Unruh, twenty-eight, killed thirteen innocent people.

  Unruh was the son of Freda and Samuel Unruh, and had a younger brother James. He graduated Woodrow Wilson High School in 1939, enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was sent overseas to fight during World War II. During the war, he was purportedly a heroic tank soldier who served in the Battle of the Bulge and kept scrupulous notes of every German killed, down to details of the corpse. He was honorably discharged in 1945 and returned home with an assortment of medals and firearms. He decorated his bedroom with military items and set up a target range in his basement. His mother supported him by working at a factory while Howard hung around the house and attended daily church services. He briefly attended a pharmacy course at Temple University in Philadelphia but dropped out after only three months.

  Unruh had difficulty getting along with his neighbors, and his relations with them worsened in the three months previous to his killing spree. Considered a mama's boy, Unruh was the subject of teasing, and often harassed by neighborhood teens who thought he was homosexual. He was reported to have been unhappy about having had homosexual liaisons in a Philadelphia movie theater. He had only one brief association with a girl prior to his arrest. Ultimately, Unruh became obsessed with his neighbors and started to keep a diary detailing everything he thought was said about him. Next to some of the names was the word, ‘retaliate.’ He arrived home from a movie theater at 3 am on September 6th to discover that the gate he had just built in front of his house had been stolen. This appears to have been what set him off. Unruh later told the Police, "When I came home last night and found my gate had been stolen, I decided to kill them all."

  After sleeping until 8 am, he got up, dressed in his best suit, and ate breakfast with his mother. At some point, he threatened his mother with a wrench, and she left for a friend's home. At 9:20 am, Unruh left the house equipped with a German Luger handgun, seeking his first victims. In only twelve minutes he shot and killed thirteen people with fourteen shots and injured several others. Although, in general, the killing was premeditated, the victims seemed to be chosen haphazardly. Unruh's first shot missed its planned victim, a bakery truck driver, but then he shot two of five people in a barber shop, sparing the other three that were in the shop. One victim was killed when he happened to block the door to a pharmacy. A motorist was killed when his car slowed to view the body of a victim. Intending to kill a local tailor, Unruh entered his shop, but the tailor was not there; Unruh killed the man's wife instead.

  When he heard the sound of sirens from the approaching police, Unruh returned to his apartment and initiated in a standoff. Over sixty police personnel surrounded Unruh's home and a shootout developed. During the blockade, Philip W. Buxton, a reporter from the Camden Evening Courier, phoned Unruh's home and spoke to him for a short time. On a gut feeling, Buxton had looked up Unruh's number in the phone book. Buxton later recounted the conversation, which was cut short when police hurled tear gas into the apartment:

  "What are they doing to you?"

  "They haven't done anything to me yet, but I'm doing plenty to them."

  "How many have you killed?"

  "I don't know yet. I haven't counted them. But it looks like a pretty good score."

  "Why are you killing people?"

  "I don't know. I can't answer that yet. I'm too busy.

  I'll have to talk to you later. A couple of friends are coming to get me."

  Just minutes after that conversation, Unruh was arrested by the police and taken for interrogation. He told the police that he had spent the previous evening sitting through three showings of a double feature: The Lady Gambles, and I Cheated the Law, stating that he’d thought that actress Barbara Stanwyck was one of his hated neighbors. He provided a careful description of his actions during the killings. Only at the end of the questioning did the police discover he had received a gunshot wound in the left thigh which he had been keeping secret. He was consequently taken to Cooper Hospital for treatment.

  Charges were filed for thirteen counts of willful and malicious slaying with malice aforethought, and three counts of atrocious assault and battery. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia by psychologists, and found to be insane, making him invulnerable to criminal prosecution. When he was able to leave Cooper Hospital, Unruh was sent to the New Jersey Hospital for the Insane (now Trenton Psychiatric Hospital). Unruh's last public words, made during an interview with a psychologist, were, "I'd have killed a thousand if I had enough bullets."

  Unruh’s is considered to be the first single event of mass murder in U.S. history. He died in 2009 after a lengthy illness at the age of eighty-eight. The incident became known as the Walk of Death.

  - 18 - Michael Robert Ryan

  On August 19th, 1987, Michael Robert Ryan, twenty-seven, shot and killed sixteen people, and wounded another fifteen, before killing himself, in Hungerford, Berkshire, England.

  Michael Ryan was born on May 18th, 1960, to Alfred and Dorothy Ryan. He grew up in South View, Hungerford, where people remembered him as sullen and quiet. In school he was an underachiever and was never involved in social events or sports. After graduating, he attended college to become a building contractor, but soon dropped out and continued living with his parents. His mother would indulge him with anything he wanted: cars, insurance, gas, his first rifle. When Ryan was old enough, he purchased a shotgun and other weapons, which he proudly displayed in a glass cabinet in his bedroom. Ryan’s guns gave him the feeling of power and control that he had always needed but lacked.

  Ryan would brag to people about his false exploits, making himself out to be far more talented and experienced than he actually was. He told people that he had served in the Second Parachute Regiment of the British Armed Forces, that he was getting married, and that he owned a gun shop. He would become exceedingly annoyed if people did not believe him, and his mother would often corroborate these lies to people in a frantic effort to help her son feel better.

  He was obsessed with the military and purchased army jackets, survival gear, and masks. He even convinced the police to permit him a license to own more powerful firearms. They were unable to refuse him as he had no record of psychological instability and no criminal record; however, they specified that Ryan install a suitable Chubb steel cabinet in which to safely lock his weapons. Ryan also subscribed to magazines on endurance skills and guns, including Soldiers of Fortune, and was an admirer of violent films such as Rambo: First Blood. In 1985, when Ryan was twenty-five, his father died of cancer. The loss affected him intensely and he became more and more inhibited, frequently going off alone to the shooting range, or working on cars by himself. It was during this time that he lost his caretaker job at a girls’ school.

  Just months before the massacre, Ryan joined the Tunnel Rifle and Pistol Club in Wiltshire. The manager later accounted that Ryan spent a lot of time at the club and that he was “a very good shot,” showing unswerving accuracy over large distances.

  On December 11th, 1986, Ryan was granted a firea
rms certificate which covered the ownership of two handguns. He later had the certificate amended to cover a third handgun in April of 1987. One month before the shooting, Ryan applied for another variance to cover two semi-automatic rifles, and that was approved on July 30th. At the time of the shooting spree, he was in possession of, and fully licensed to own, the following weapons:

  1 x Zabala Shotgun

  1 x Browning Shotgun

  1 x Beretta 92FS 9mm Semi-automatic Handgun

  1 x CZ ORSO .32 Caliber Semi-automatic Handgun

  1 x Type 56 7.62x39mm Semi-automatic Rifle

  1 x M1 Carbine .30 7.62x33mm Semi-automatic Rifle

  On August 19th, 1987, in Hungerford, Berkshire, England, Michael Ryan, then twenty-seven, armed with his Beretta and both Semi-automatic rifles commenced his killing spree. At 12:30pm, Susan Godfrey, thirty-five, and her two little children, were approached by Ryan who told her to put the children in her car. He then took Susan into the nearby bushes and shot her fifteen times in the back. The Police arrived shortly after, but Ryan had already begun shooting at another location by that time.

  He drove his silver Vauxhall Astra GTE to a gas station where he pumped gas and shot at the cashier, but missed her. He then entered the store and attempted to fire at her again at close range, but the magazine fell out from the Rifle; it’s believed he inadvertently hit the release mechanism. He left the gas station and continued towards Hungerford.

  At about 12:45pm, Ryan was seen at his home in South View, Hungerford. After loading his Vauxhall Astra with his weapons, Ryan attempted to leave, but the car would not start. Ryan fired five shots into the back of his Vauxhall. Neighbors reported seeing him frantically moving between the house and the car before he returned indoors and killed his mother, Dorothy, sixty-one, and the family dog. Ryan then soaked his home with the fuel he had bought earlier in the day and set his house afire. The fire consequently destroyed three surrounding properties. He then removed the shotguns from the trunk of his car and went next door where he shot and killed husband and wife, Roland Mason, seventy, and Sheila Mason, sixty-nine, who were in their back garden. Sheila was shot once in the head and Roland six times in the back. Jack Gibbs, sixty-six, and his sixty-three year old invalid wife, Myrtle, were next to die.

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