Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Richard Chase killed six people in a month’s time in California. He also drank their blood and ate some of their internal organs, earning him the moniker of the Vampire of Sacramento. Chase had a history of mental illness too. He believed the Nazis had put poison under his soap, that would turn his blood to powder.
Richard Chase was born in 1950 and was raised in a very strict household and was often beaten by his father to discipline him. He had a proclivity for killing and torturing small animals, as is a common thread in the lives of most serial killers. His mental illness worsened as he got older and began acting more and more peculiar. Chase’s father got him an apartment when he was an adult and Chase began to use this apartment to kill and mutilate animals, including some of the neighbor’s pets. He thought his heart was shrinking and that it may shrink so much it will disappear. He ate the internal organs of the animals to prevent his heart from shrinking.
In 1975, Richard Chase was remanded to a mental health facility after being taken to the hospital for blood poisoning. He injected the blood of rabbits into his veins and this caused the blood poison. The Vampire of Sacramento had struck in the mental facility as well. One day someone on the staff saw blood around Chase’s mouth and found out that he had caught a couple of small birds from the window in his room. He snapped their necks and drank their blood. The staff even referred to him as Dracula, when talking about Chase. After a strong regimen of psychotropic drugs for about a year, Chase was no longer deemed a threat and was released from the institution in 1976.
Richard Chase committed his first murder on December 29, 1977. It was a drive-by shooting and he killed a 51-year-old man named Ambrose Griffin. Griffin was helping his wife bring in groceries when he was shot and killed.
On January 21, 1978, Chase broke into a young couple’s home. The husband was at work at the time and the wife, three months pregnant, was bringing groceries into her house. Richard Chase sneaked into the house when she left the door open and when she walked into the house, Chase shot her three times.
The third and final murder occurred about a week later when Chase broke into a home of a woman who had her two children there, a neighbor, and a child she was babysitting. The neighbor was watching the children so the woman, Evelyn Miroth, could take a bath. The neighbor, Dan Meredith, walked to the front hallway when he heard someone entering the home and Chase shot him at point-blank range, killing him. Evelyn’s six-year-old son ran into his mother’s bedroom. Chase followed him in there and shot him as well. He then walked into the bathroom and shot Evelyn dead and also shot and killed the 22-month old nephew, that Evelyn was babysitting.
Richard Chase was caught a few days later after the FBI received a tip. The caller said she knows a man who fit the description that the FBI gave. The FBI checked it out and arrested Chase as he was leaving his apartment carrying a blood-stained box. In the box were pieces of bloody wallpaper and the .22 caliber pistol that was deemed as the murder weapon.
His trial took place in 1979 and on May 8, the jury found him guilty of six counts of murder in the first degree. After a clemency hearing, the judge found Richard Chase not legally insane and sentenced him to die in the gas chamber. He wouldn’t make it there because in December 1980, Richard Chase was found dead in his cell. It was found that he died from an overdose of prescription antidepressants that he had been hoarding for some time.