The Untold Truth Of Murderer Richard Speck

Richard Speck was a murderer notorious for killing eight student nurses in 1966. On the night of the crime, 24-year-old Speck snuck into a townhouse in Chicago where the nurses lived. There were nine women staying at the townhouse and one by one, Speck tortured and killed the student nurses. Perhaps losing track of the number of women present, one student nurse, Corazon Amurao, hid under the bed until the carnage was over (via NBC News).

After the grueling attack, which lasted for almost six hours, Speck forgot about Amurao and fled the scene. Amurao screamed for help when she was sure the intruder was gone. Authorities soon came and Amurao provided details regarding Richard Speck, including his unique tattoo that read "Born to Raise Hell." Speck was not aware that he was careless and left a witness, and Corazon Amurao testified against Speck in court (via Insider). Richard Speck was initially sentenced to death, which was later changed to the equivalent of eight life sentences. He was one of the murderers featured in Netflix's "Mindhunter."

Richard Speck had a good childhood for a time

Richard Speck was born in 1941 in Kirkwood, Illinois. He was the seventh of eight children, having four older sisters, two older brothers, and a younger sister. His mother stayed at home with the children while his father worked as a packer. Reports say that Speck looked up to his father and often went on fishing trips with him. He had somewhat of a normal childhood until his father had a heart attack and died when he was 6 years old (via The Famous People).

After his father's death, Richard's mother remarried and the family moved to Dallas, Texas. Richard's stepfather was an abusive alcoholic who often lashed out at his stepchildren — the opposite of the father he idolized. As Crime and Investigation reports, Speck started acting out and doing petty crimes. He also did poorly in school, and soon, he turned to drinking heavily, just like his stepfather.

Speck was briefly married

When he was 20 years old in 1962, Richard Speck met Shirley Malone, a girl five years his junior. They started a relationship, which ended up in pregnancy. Richard and Shirley soon wed, and they had a baby girl named Bobby Lynn. Despite getting married, the relationship wasn't a loving one, and Shirley reportedly suffered abuse at the hands of her new husband. According to Thought Co., Speck sexually abused Shirley and even raped her at knifepoint.

Apart from purportedly abusing his wife, Richard was also barely present at home due to being in and out of prison during his short marriage to Shirley. Speck robbed and assaulted people, landing him in jail multiple times, as reported by ATI. He was also charged with fraud. On one aggravated assault charge, Speck was sentenced to 16 months in prison, but was released only after six months due to good behavior. That was when he got his "Born to Raise Hell" tattoo, which Shirley took as a sign to leave her abusive husband. They divorced in 1966.

He was almost apprehended before the nurses' murders

Richard Speck's crimes only escalated after his divorce from Shirley. He would get into fights, steal from businesses, and even burgled and raped a 65-year-old woman in 1966. That same year, a barmaid named Mary Kay Pierce was found beaten to death at her place of work called Frank's Place. Richard was doing a side job as a carpenter for Pierce's workplace, and police questioned him briefly (via ATI).

During questioning, Speck faked feeling sick but promised to return later on for further interrogation. Investigators let him go, as they had no concrete evidence at that time to connect Speck with Pierce's murder, as reported by Galesburg. Speck did not show up on the interrogation date they previously set, and investigators went to the hotel where he stayed. There, they found stolen items from reported thefts, but Speck was nowhere to be found. He had already left town and headed to Chicago, where one of his sisters resided and the murders of the eight student nurses took place.

Speck's attempted suicide led to his arrest

On the evening of July 13, 1966, Richard Speck snuck into the boarding house of the student nurses where he would take the lives of his final victims. He knocked on the door of a bedroom and immediately pointed a gun at the person who opened the door, Corazon Amurao — the only victim who survived. He tied up the women and went on his rampage.

After the killing spree, Speck was able to evade authorities for a few days. He stayed at a cheap hotel in hiding. He knew that the authorities were after him as his sketch, as well as a description of his tattoo, was all over the news, thanks to details Amurao provided, as reported by History. Speck attempted suicide by slitting his wrists and left elbow using a broken bottle, but he was found and taken to a hospital.

The attending physician, Dr. Leroy Smith, was treating his patient and thought to himself that he looked familiar. He went back to his office and looked through the newspaper, and that's when it dawned on him that his patient looked just like the wanted man. Since the newspaper also had descriptions of the criminal's tattoo, Dr. Smith returned to his patient and cleaned off the blood caked on his arms. Sure enough, the tattoos matched the descriptions, according to the Chicago Tribune. The doctor called the authorities as soon as possible, and that was how the killer was caught.

Richard Speck allegedly received hormone treatments in prison

Richard Speck was sentenced to life in prison for his crimes, and he died from a heart attack in 1991. Five years after his death, a videotape of inmates at the maximum-security prison where Speck was incarcerated was sent to the media. In it, Speck can be seen among other inmates ingesting cocaine and doing sex acts. At one point, Speck removes his clothing only to reveal a set of women's underwear. He was also heard saying, "If they knew how much fun I was having in here, they would turn me loose," as reported by AP News. Speck's chest was also noticeably different in the video.

There was widespread controversy regarding the released tape, as the criminals were seemingly able to enjoy themselves and engage in illicit activities even in a maximum-security prison, according to the Independent. There were questions regarding Speck's appearance and whether he was illegally provided with female hormones. One physician who checked up on Speck said, "His pockmarked face was much fleshier and had taken on female characteristics. He had been taking female hormones, grown breasts and gained weight," he told the Chicago Tribune.