On April 10th in true crime, good luck charm cold case, the freeway serial killer, 1981 Brixton Riots, murder, arson, and missing persons.
In Harris County, Texas, Leon Rutherford King killed 26-year-old Michael Clayton Underwood by bludgeoning him with the butt of a shotgun.
Along with an accomplice, King robbed Underwood and his date as they left a nightclub in the area. The couple were then driven to a field where King beat Underwood to death.
The woman survived the attack. King’s accomplice was given a life sentence while King was sentenced to death. King was executed by lethal injection on March 22nd 1989.
In Middlesex County, New Jersey, the partially nude body of an unidentified female was discovered in a wooded area just off the New Jersey Turnpike.
She still had chewing gum in her mouth and was wearing a rose-coloured dress that had been ripped. Investigators believed she had been a victim of foul play.
The only clue to her identity was a silver chain with a black and white striped curved good luck charm horn. As of 2022, the death of the Good Luck Charm Jane Doe remains a mystery.
In Los Angeles, 16-year-old Steven Wood was going about his business in the early afternoon when he was picked up serial killer William George Bonin.
Wood’s nude body was discovered the next morning in an alley on an industrial estate. He had been raped, brutally beaten, and strangled to death with a ligature. Bonin became known as The Freeway Killer. He would usually dump his victim’s bodies on the side of freeways.
Bonin killed at least 21 people from 1979 to 1980 and was sentenced to death for multiple murders. He was executed in February 1996.
In England. The local African-Caribbean community had been hard hit with unemployment and poor housing and was at constant loggerheads with the police and public authorities.
In the early evening of the 10th, a black youth named Michael Bailey was found with a stab wound and the police tried to help him but were met with a group of youths believing that the police were killing him. Rumours spread of an attack on a black youth by police and the crowds began to grow.
By the early evening of the 11th, mass riots and shop looting was taking police throughout Brixton. At the height of the uprising, over 2,500 police officers were in Brixton trying to quell the violence.
They were met with vehicle fires and an army of rioters throwing bottles and bricks. Two pubs, almost 30 shops and business, schools and other buildings were set on fire.
The fire brigade were forced to retreat and didn’t return until the following morning.
By the end of the riots on the 12th, 28 premises had been entirely destroyed and another 117 had been damaged. 56 police vehicles and 61 private vehicles had been destroyed.
Almost 300 police officers and 65 members of the public were injured in the riots, some seriously. At the height of the riots, an estimated 5,000 people were involved.
A later inquiry concluded that the police force was institutionally racist and recommended a new code for police ‘stop and search’ powers. They remain some of the largest riots in Britain’s history.
In Leeds, England, 27-year-old Julie Keshmiri was killed in a horrific arson attack at her home. Despite numerous suspects, no one has ever been charged with the murder.
The case remains open and active but investigators are no closer to solving it. Her case is one of 30 murders in Leeds that have never been solved.
In King County, Washington State, 23-year-old Gail Lynn Mathews disappeared. She was last seen sitting in a pickup truck on Pacific Highway South.
Her skeletal remains were found at the base of a fir tree by two people looking for a lost animal near Star Lake Road later in 1983.
She had been abducted and murdered by Gary Ridgway, AKA: The Green River Killer. Ridgway was arrested in 2001, convicted of 48 murders, and sentenced to life in 2003. His true victim count is believed to be much higher.
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I'm honoured. Thank you and stay safe.
I really enjoy reading your short clips about the crimes committed. I like the books you write too.
The number of victims is always contentious.
Why not Jack the Ripper? He could have had different MO's.
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I think this was no way an accident or a case of getting lost, this was murder. If they got…