A photo of Caril Fugate and Charles Starkweather in happier times while the two were ‘dating.’
The horrific murder spree of Charles Starkweather and his fourteen-year-old girlfriend Caril Fugate ended much like bank-robbing folk heros Bonnie and Clyde—in a hail of bullets. The only difference was that both Fugate and Starkweather survived and were finally apprehended after leaving eleven people dead in their wake—including Fugate’s parents and her two-year old sister who Starkweather stabbed to death.
The pair served as inspiration for actor Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis’ portrayals of “Mickey and Mallory Knox” in Oliver Stone’s over-the-top 1994 film Natural Born Killers. Their gruesome story is also paralleled in Quentin Taratino’s script for 1993’s splatter-fest True Romance, and was the basis for the 1973 flick Badlands. The character of “The Kid” from Stephen King’s epic 1978 novel The Stand was (according to King) based on Starkweather. The brutality of the crimes committed during Fugate and Starkweather’s spree at times rivals the cinematic exploits of their Hollywood counterparts. After Starkweather murdered Fugate’s stepfather, mother and sister the couple brazenly took up residence in the home posting a note on the door stating that everyone inside had the “flue” and that all visitors should stay away. The note itself gave credence to the speculation that Fugate was being held against her will as it was signed “Miss Bartlett.” A tactic allegedly used by Fugate in an attempt to arouse suspicion as to the legitimacy of the note being written by Velda Bartlett (Fugate’s mother) who as she was married would have signed it as “Mrs. Bartlett” as well as spelling the word “flu” correctly.
When Fugate’s grandmother finally resorted to threats of calling the police the pair left town and quickly added three more victims to their growing body count. The details regarding the deaths of two teenage victims—Robert Jensen Jr. and Carol King, who unfortunately gave their killers a ride—are when things really go off the rails and they escalate the savagery of their crimes. Both Jensen Jr. and King were murdered in a storm cellar—but not before Starkweather raped King (who rather resembled Fugate). When the police recovered the bodies they found that King’s genitals had been slashed, a heinous revelation that Starkweather insisted was committed by Fugate saying that his young (and likely unwilling) accomplice was motivated to assault King because she was “jealous” of her.
The details of Starkweather and Fugate’s eventual apprehension are as violent as the fictionalized depictions of their exploits. After murdering three more people in Lincoln, Nebraska and stealing their car, the pair then attempted to ditch that car for another occupied by Merle Collison. When Collison refused to give up his automobile Starkweather filled the car and Collison with nine bullets. Shortly after what would be Starkweather’s last homicide another motorist happened upon the scene and after noticing the bullet riddled car and bloody body inside attempted to subdue Starkweather. During the scuffle Deputy Sheriff William Romer rolled up to what he thought was merely a manly roadside dispute that suddenly saw a frantic Fugate hurtling toward him screaming “He’s crazy! He just killed a man!” Starkweather jumped back into the car he’d stolen back in Lincoln and began a high-speed chase that would end in Douglas, Wyoming with the arrest of both young fugitives.
To end this grim tale I’ve got a large assortment of photos of Starkweather (who as you will see was a huge admirer of James Dean) and Fugate (now 72 who has always maintained her innocence—a claim supported by many including the authors of the 2014 book The Twelfth Victim: The Innocence of Caril Fugate in the Starkweather Murder Rampage), as well as other crime-scene artifacts from the couple’s bloody rampage through Nebraska and Wyoming for which Starkweather went to the electric chair in 1959.
Some are definitely NSFW.
The mugshot of Charles Starkweather, the spree-killer who terrorized Wyoming and Nebraska in 1958.
Charles Starkweather, then nineteen, covered in blood after being taken into custody in Douglas, Wyoming.
A body being removed from the home of C. Lauer Ward. Ward, his wife and maid were all murdered by Starkweather who then stole their car.
The body of August Meyer whom Starkweather killed with a shotgun blow.
A shackled Starkweather looking very much like an evil version of James Dean.
The body of unfortunate salesman Merle Collison dead in the front seat of his car. Starkweather fired nine bullets into Collison’s car after he refused to get out.
Fourteen-year-old Fugate in police custody.
The storm cellar where both Robert Jensen Jr. and Carol King were found murdered and partially mutilated.
Starkweather on his way to court.
Images of all eleven of Starkweather’s victims.
Starkweather’s grave marker at the Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The trailer for 1973’s ‘Badlands’ starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek based on Charles Starkweather’s 1958 murder-spree with Carin Fugate.