Monday, November 14, 2005

Starkweather redux?

Today's unfolding story about missing teen Kara Beth Borden and her murdered parents bears -- at this early stage -- a striking resemblance to the story of mass killer Charlie Starkweather and his girlfriend Caril Fugate, who murdered 10 people one week in Nebraska in 1958.

Today, a relative reportedly says she saw Borden's boyfriend kill her parents in an argument over the teen girl's curfews, and travelers say they've seen Borden and her boyfriend on the road. Right now, nobody knows who shot whom, or why, but the case has captured the national media's attention -- and more than a few haunting comparisons to Starkweather's case 47 years ago. [UPDATE 12:25 a.m. on Associated Press: "An 18-year-old man wanted in the murder of a Pennsylvania couple and the apparent abduction of their 14-year-old daughter was captured today after the car he was driving crashed in Indiana following a police pursuit, Indiana State Police said."]

Starkweather, 19, and his girlfriend Fugate, 14, began their killing spree by murdering her parents and their 2-year-old daughter. It's said that Fugate calmly made their lunch while Starkweather choked her baby sister to death. When they were captured in Wyoming, Fugate claimed she had been Starkweather's hostage although the facts suggest she actually participated in some of the killings.

"The country that uncomfortably watched James Dean's Rebel Without A Cause in 1956 suddenly saw a Dean-like figure in Charles Starkweather to make them really uncomfortable. What was the world coming to? Were the violence and the alienation of Starkweather just the beginning of some uncontrollable trend that would destroy the fabric of society?"

[From Court TV's Crime Library]
Starkweather was executed in Nebraska's electric chair in 1959, and Fugate was jailed for life (but was paroled in 1977 after 18 years.) She lives in Michigan but refuses to talk about the case.

And back in 1957, Starkweather and Fugate's murderous rampage was compared to another cold-blooded couple, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, in the early 1930s.

Sometimes, the news just doesn't seem new enough. Although it's interesting to wonder if 1958 authorities would have considered issuing an Amber Alert for Caril Fugate (Bonnie Parker was 20 when she met Clyde.)


Anonymous said...

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Ron Franscell said...

Tell me more at