True Crime On This Day December 20th

True Crime On This Day December 20th

December 20th

On December 20th in true crime, serial killers, murder, vanished without a trace, and the Diamond Head Crater murder.


Less than two weeks after his previous kill, Harold Shipman killed 88-year-old Annie Campbell. Another of his confirmed 215 murders.

Shipman would go on to become the United Kingdom’s most notorious ‘angel of death’ serial killer and the killer with the highest amount of murder convictions against his name.


In Martel, Florida, Jeannette Dyer, a shop assistant at the Little Country Store was found on the floor with a gunshot wound to her head. She died of her injuries in hospital the same day.

The store had been robbed by Sonny Boy Oats Jr. who had shot Dyer when she tried to fight back. Oats was arrested four days later and subsequently sentenced to death.

In 2020, Oats had his death sentenced commuted to life in prison due to an intellectual disability appeal.


In Vicenza, Italy, Alice Maria Beretta was brutally murdered by German-Italian serial killing duo, Wolfgang Abel and Marco Furlan.

At each crime scene they left a leaflet, written in Italian, it showed a Nazi Eagle and swastika and each of them had a different slogan. “We are the last of the Nazis” and “Death comes to those who betray the true god” being two of them.

Between them, they took part in the murders of at least 10 people from 1977 to 1984 in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. It has since been suggested they may have claimed up to 28 victims.

They were caught in 1984 and were both sentenced to 30 years each on February 10th 1987. Furlan was subsequently released in 2010. Abel was discharged to house arrest and then finally released to live amongst us in 2016.


In Pennsylvania, Nicholas Yarris was arrested for the murder of 33-year-old Linda Mae Craig who had been stabbed to death on December 15th.

Despite claiming his innocence and with minimal evidence against him, Yarris was sentenced to death. In January 2004, DNA tests proved that genetic material found on the victim belonged to an unidentified suspect.

Yarris was exonerated as a free man, despite spending over two decades on death row for a murder he did not commit. Linda’s real killer has never been caught.


In Morongo Valley, California, 27-year-old biker Ron Walter Knutson disappeared under suspicious circumstances. His blue Dodge vehicle was later found abandoned in Los Angeles.

Knutson was a member of the Mescaleros motorcycle gang who were known to have been involved in violent confrontations with other gangs.

No trace of Knutson has ever been found, dead or alive, and investigators have long suspected foul play. Some databases list his disappearance on the 18th but he was last seen on the 20th. The case remains unsolved.


At the Diamond Head Crater, Hawaii, 26-year-old public safety officer Thad Fumio Sugai was shot and killed with his own service weapon.

He was responding to reports of a naked man harassing visitors to the tourist site, throwing rocks at them, and jumping on the hoods of cars in the parking lot. Sugai confronted the man, who was high on drugs, and he ran off into the secure Hawaii National Guard facility inside of the crater.

When Sugai drove up to the man, he was immediately attacked. The suspect was able to drag Sugai out of his patrol truck, disarm him, and then shoot him multiple times.

Another guard arrived at the scene then shot and wounded the suspect. The suspect was subsequently found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a state department of health facility.

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