Arthur Shawcross' Chilling Motive For Murdering June Stott

Notorious serial killer Arthur Shawcross slaughtered 14 innocent people in a deranged frenzy of neurotic bloodlust, and the details of Shawcross's story become more and more disturbing the more you look into it. Given the resurrected interest in Jeffrey Dahmer after the release of Netflix's 2022 series based on his crimes, people have gotten a chilling look at what kind of effect incompetence from the legal system can have on a murder case, and Shawcross's story is a profound example of such incompetence. 

According to All That's Interesting, Shawcross became known as the "Genesee River Strangler" after his crimes surfaced before the public eye. Standing six feet tall and weighing no less than 300lbs, Shawcross had his victims at a disadvantage and was easily able to physically subdue them with little effort at all. He'd then go on to beat, sexually assault, and strangle them before leaving their bodies to be found by police in various spots along the Genesee River in Rochester, New York. 

Shawcross's first victims were children

Arthur Shawcross carried out his first murder on April 7, 1972. According to Biography, he took a neighborhood boy named Jack Blake, 10, fishing and returned home alone. Nobody knew what became of the boy until five months later when his corpse was found strangled, bloodied, and sexually violated near the spot he'd gone missing. Just a few months later, the body of one Karen Ann Hill, 8, was discovered beneath a bridge. Like Jack Blake, she'd been strangled and sexually assaulted, and authorities also discovered a mass of leaves and dirt that had been shoved down her throat by her assailant. The second mysterious murder ultimately led investigators to Shawcross's front door. He was arrested, brought in for questioning, and — shockingly — delivered an elaborate confession with little hindrance at all. 

Though he was tried and convicted, Shawcross only served 15 years behind bars. His release from prison in April of 1987 was naturally met with ferocious community opposition, and in an attempt to thwart any further unrest and chaos, Shawcross and his girlfriend Rose Whalley were sent by the state to live in Rochester, New York. Even more disturbingly, the legal system sealed his criminal records in an attempt to avoid more community backlash. Sadly, his state-sanctioned anonymity would become one of the prime vessels through which he'd carry out his crimes and furthermore evade justice for years (via Biography). 

Shawcross continues to kill

After moving to a new town with a new wife (Shawcross and Whalley were married shortly after moving to Rochester) and a virtually clean slate to start a new life upon, Arthur Shawcross resumed his heinous saga of cruelty and bloodshed. All That's Interesting reports that in March of 1988, a group of hunters discovered the body of Dorothy Blackburn, 27, floating in the Genesee River. Blackburn — a sex worker — had been strangled to death and left behind by her killer. Yet again, investigative efforts came up short, and despite the fact that Shawcross was a convicted rapist and murderer and was new to the area, nobody thought to turn a suspicious eye upon him. 

It wouldn't be for another year that Shawcross would strike again, and throughout the Fall of 1989 up to January of 1990, police would exhume 11 more corpses from the Genesee River and the area surrounding it. Most of the victims followed a pattern: young female prostitutes who'd been beaten, strangled, and sexually assaulted (both before and after their deaths). Then, on January 2 that year, a police helicopter that was aiding in the search for bodies observed an unknown man standing on a bridge near where some of the victims had been located. The individual managed to escape, but the van he was driving displayed a license plate that led authorities directly to Arthur Shawcross's home. At last, The Genesee River Strangler had been located and arrested (per All That's Interesting).

The murder of June Stott

Like most other serial killers, Arthur Shawcross exhibited repetition and consistency in his slew of murders, though a particular victim didn't seem to quite fit into the equation. June Stott was 26 years old when Shawcross overpowered and strangled her. Her body was discovered on Thanksgiving Day of 1989, and while she was around the same age as most of the other women who were killed — and had also been sexually assaulted after her death — her assailant went further with her than he did with the others. According to Biography, Stott had been cut open with a knife. A massive incision leading from her pelvic region all the way up to her throat had exposed her viscera, and her genitals were mutilated. 

It was a harrowing and cruel act that puzzled investigators because of its astounding display of brutality, and the fact that Stott wasn't a sex worker also made her an unlikely target. Upon questioning, Shawcross explained to police that he'd chosen to kill Stott after he became paranoid that she might tell someone about his crimes. However, it had already been established that Shawcross was a pathological liar and would regularly embellish stories from his past, so the truth of how June Stott came to know about his murders — or if she even did — remains a mystery (via All That's Interesting). You can watch an extensive television interview with Shawcross here