William George Heirens

William George Heirens

Birth
Evanston, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 5 Mar 2012 (aged 83)
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered, Specifically: Scattered in a garden.
Memorial ID 86317131 · View Source
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Serial killer. Born in Evanston, Illinois, to George and Margaret Heirens, but grew up in Lincolnwood, a suburb of Chicago, during the Great Depression. His parents had been in the floral business, but lost it due to the state of the economy. At 13 years old, he was arrested for carrying a loaded gun. A subsequent search of the home discovered a number of stolen weapons hidden in an unused storage shed on the roof of a nearby building along with furs, suits, cameras, radios and jewelry he had stolen. William admitted to 11 burglaries and was sent to the Gibault School for wayward boys for several months. William was reportedly a loner and enjoyed playing with technical things, such as chemistry sets and toy airplanes, and also liked drawing and repairing old clocks. William was again arrested for burglary. This time, he was sentenced to three years at the St. Bede Academy, operated by Benedictine Monks. During his time at the school, he stood out as an exceptional student, and his test scores were so high he was urged to apply for the University of Chicago's special learning program. He was accepted into the program just before his release and asked to begin classes in the 1945 fall term, allowing him to bypass high school. He was 16 years old. During his first years, things went well, even though his parents couldn't afford the tuition fees or the dorm fees, forcing him to do part time work at night as well as doing burglaries for money. He eventually started stealing War Bonds as well. During his second year, his grades started slipping due to dating and spending less time doing homework. In 1945, when William was 17, the Lipstick Killer murders began. In June 1945, 43-year-old Josephine Ross was found dead in her apartment in Edgewater, Chicago. She had been repeatedly stabbed, and her head was wrapped in a dress. She was presumed to have surprised an intruder, who then killed her. Dark hairs were found clutched in Ross' hand, indicating that she had struggled with the intruder before she was killed. No valuables were taken from the apartment. In December of that same year Frances Brown, a divorced woman, was discovered with a knife lodged in her neck and bullet wound to the head in her apartment in Edgewater, Chicago, after a cleaning woman heard a radio playing loudly and noted Brown's partly open door. Brown had been savagely stabbed, and authorities thought that a burglar had been discovered or interrupted. No valuables were taken, but someone had written a message in lipstick on the wall of Brown's apartment, "For heavens sake catch me before I kill more I cannot control myself." In January, 1947, the final victim was found, she was a six-year-old Suzanne Degnan, who was discovered missing from her first floor bedroom in Edgewater, Chicago. After searching the apartment and not finding the girl, her family called the police. Her disappearance earned significant publicity, and police vowed to find whoever was responsible. Police found a ladder outside the girl's window, and also discovered a ransom note which had been overlooked by the family. One of the few pieces of evidence linking William to the first two murders was a bloody fingerprint smudge found on the door jamb on the entrance door. It was compared to his prints and was declared not a match. Twelve days later, it was announced to have matched by 22 points, but a fingerprint expert testified during the trial that it only matched no more than eight points. Two fingerprints and a palm print found on the ransom note were compared to Williams' by the FBI, who found that they matched to nine points, three points too low to be declared a positive match. On August 7, William confessed to all the Lipstick Killer murders (he later claimed to have gotten several details about the crime from reading the newspapers). In prison, he was a model inmate. In 1972, he became the first prisoner in the history of Illinois to earn a BA degree. He also took up several trades and helped several inmates get their GEDs. He spent the last years of his life incarcerated in the Hospital Ward of the Dixon Correctional Center minimum security prison, suffered from diabetes and was confined to a wheelchair. There are people who believe he was innocent of the murders. Many books and movies have been made about this killer. William died of Natural causes at the age of 83.

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  • Created by: gordonphilbin
  • Added: 6 Mar 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 86317131
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William George Heirens (15 Nov 1928–5 Mar 2012), Find A Grave Memorial no. 86317131, ; Maintained by gordonphilbin (contributor 47346381) Cremated, Ashes scattered, who reports a Scattered in a garden..