The Murders of Richard Chase
On December 29, 1977, Chase killed his first victim in a drive-by shooting, in an apparent “warm up” for the crimes he planned on committing. The victim was Ambrose Griffin, a 51-year-old engineer and father of two, who was helping his wife bring groceries into their home. After the shooting, one of Griffin’s sons reported seeing a neighbor walking around their East Sacramento neighborhood with a .22 rifle. The neighbor’s rifle was seized, but ballistics tests determined that it was not the murder weapon.
On January 11, 1978, Chase asked his neighbor for a cigarette and then forcibly restrained her until she gave him an entire pack.
Two weeks later, he attempted to enter the home of another woman but, finding that her doors were locked, went into her backyard and walked away; Chase later told detectives that he took locked doors as a sign that he was not welcome, but that unlocked doors were an invitation to come inside. While wandering around, he encountered a girl named Nancy Holden, with whom he attended high school. He attempted to get a ride from her, but frightened by his appearance, she refused.
He went down the street where he broke into the home of a young married couple, stole some of their valuables, urinated into a drawer of their infant’s clothing, and defecated on their son’s bed. The couple came home while Chase was still in the house; the husband attacked him, but Chase escaped.
Chase continued to attempt to enter homes until he came across the home of David and Teresa Wallin. David was at work; Teresa, three months pregnant, was in the middle of taking out the garbage and thus had left her front door unlocked. Chase surprised her in the home and shot her three times, once in the hand (a defensive wound) and twice in the head, killing her; it was the same gun used to kill Ambrose Griffin.
Chase then dragged her body to her bedroom and raped it post-mortem while repeatedly stabbing it with a butcher knife. When he had finished, he carved the corpse open and removed several of her internal organs, using a bucket to collect the blood and then taking it in the bathroom to bathe in it. He then sliced off her nipple and drank her blood, using an empty yogurt container as a drinking glass; before leaving, he went into the yard, found a pile of dog feces, and returned to stuff it into the corpse’s mouth and throat.
On January 23, 1978, two days after killing Teresa Wallin, Chase purchased two puppies from a neighbor, which he then killed and drank the blood of, leaving the bodies on the neighbor’s front lawn.
On January 27, Chase committed his final murder, which also qualifies as a mass murder. He entered the home of 38-year-old Evelyn Miroth, who was babysitting her 22-month-old nephew, David; also present in the home was Evelyn’s six-year-old son Jason, and Dan Meredith, a neighbor who had come over to check on Evelyn. Evelyn was in the bath while Dan watched the children; he went into the front hallway when Chase entered the home, Dan Meredith was shot in the head at point-blank range with Chase’s .22 handgun, killing him (again, this was the same gun used in the Griffin and Wallin murders). Chase then turned the corpse over and stole Dan’s wallet and car keys. Jason ran to his mother’s bedroom, where Chase fatally shot him twice in the head at point-blank range; on the way to killing Jason, Chase also shot David in the head.
Chase then entered the bathroom and fatally shot Evelyn once in the head. He dragged her corpse onto the bed, where he simultaneously sodomized it and drank its blood from a series of slices to the back of the neck. Medical examiners reported an inordinate amount of semen in the corpse’s rectum, indicating an “unusual amount” of ejaculations.
When Chase had finished, he stabbed her “at least half a dozen times” in the anus, the knife penetrating her uterus. He stabbed her in a series of vital points on the body, which caused blood from her internal organs to pool into her abdomen, which he then sliced open and drained into a bucket; he then consumed all of the blood. Chase then went to retrieve David’s corpse; he took it to the bathroom and split its skull open in the bathtub, and consumed some of the brain matter. Outside, a six-year-old girl with whom Jason Miroth had a playdate knocked on the door, startling Chase; he fled the residence, stealing Dan Meredith’s car; the girl alerted a neighbor. The neighbor broke into the Miroth home where he discovered the bodies and contacted the authorities. Upon entering the home, police discovered that Chase had left perfect handprints and perfect imprints of the soles of his shoes in Evelyn’s blood.
Chase, meanwhile, took David’s corpse home with him, where he chopped off his head and used the neck as a straw through which he sucked the blood out of the body. He then sliced the corpse open and consumed several internal organs and made his grotesque “smoothies” out of others, finally disposing of the corpse at a nearby church.