Illinois · Massacres/Mass Murder

Man kills 8 nursing students in their dorm

July 14, 1966
Chicago, Illinois
Richard Speck kills 8 nursing students in their dormitory, leaving a sole survivor who escaped by hiding under a bed

The nurses were raped, tortured, and killed by being strangled or stabbed. The victims were:

  • Gloria Davy (22): strangled with strips of a bed sheet
  • Patricia Matusek (20): punched in the stomach hard enough to rupture her liver, strangled with strips of a bed sheet
  • Nina Schmale (24): strangled with strips of bed sheet, neck broken, superficial cuts to her neck in a ritualistic-looking pattern
  • Pamela Wilkening (20): gagged, stabbed through the heart
  • Suzanne Farris (21): sock tied around her neck, stabbed 18 times in the neck and chest
  • Mary Ann Jordan (20): stabbed three times in the chest, once in the neck, once in the eye
  • Merlita Gargullo (22): stabbed and strangled
  • Valentina Paison (23): throat slit, bisecting her voice box

Another student survived by hiding under a bed. How Speck missed her is unclear, but it is widely believed he simply lost count of the women.

Speck had also been connected to the rape of an elderly woman and the rapes and murders of 4 other women, but was not been charged or convicted for these crimes. When asked why he killed the nursing students, he replied “It just wasn’t their night.” Speck was sentenced to death but his term was later commuted to life in prison in 1972. He died in prison of a heart attack in 1991.

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