Editorial, August 2007, By Irv “The Trapdoor Spider” Metcalf
(By Patrick M. Tracy)
Raymond Starkweather’s life changed the day his older brother slipped a noose around the family dog’s neck and hoisted it, kicking and yelping, from the branch of their maple tree. “As I saw the life go out of little Markie’s eyes, something inside me just shook, like the skin on a big bass drum. I dreamed about that for years. Still do, sometimes,” he told me during our prison interview. I’d love to include the correctional facility’s name, but I’m afraid that our lawyers here at the magazine had advised against it.
As you may remember from the news articles, our friend Mr. Starkweather made quite a splash nine years back. He was linked to the ligature strangulation murder of the actress Eugenia Musgrave, a crime he later described in his court elocution, pursuant to his plea agreement. Here is an excerpt:
“I loved seeing her die. It was so beautiful. I had to see that light go dim in her eyes over and over again. She was in such great shape. I must have strangled her out twenty or thirty times before she finally gave up. That’s what they do after a while. The body just gives up. It doesn’t want to breathe, the heart doesn’t want to beat. With Eugenia, her heart was…just full of strength…”
In our private conversation, Mr. Starkweather revealed to me that his victims, five in all, had varied in this respect. The least determined individual, a gas station attendant, succumbed after only four ligature strangulations to the point of unconsciousness. The best of the others had managed twelve survivals. When he spoke of Eugenia, he became visibly emotional. The depth of craftsmanship and pride that went into her slaying showed clearly to any who examined the postmortem photos. She had clearly been his masterwork.
Mr. Starkweather expressed to me that his impulse to kill came upon him suddenly, often after he would view the television show, “The Honeymooners”. When asked how this program acted as a trigger for him, he expressed unease and could shed little light on the phenomenon. Because of the suddenness of his creative process, he rarely took pains to hide his crime. “I just had to get them, right then. I’d put them into my trunk and get out of town, anywhere so that I could get to work. I had to work right away, or the feeling would pass.”
Though he used a variety of ligature materials, including polypropylene rope and a leather boot lace, his preferred strangling cord remains plastic coated lamp wire. “It’s easy to get a hold on it, you know? It doesn’t slip through your hands, unless you get really sweaty.”
When asked what he’d like to do if he should be released at some time in the future, he responded thusly:
“I’d love to get back to my garage, really. Turn a wrench on my old Pontiac…that’d be nice. They say I’m cured of the killing, Irv, but who knows? I never knew when it’d come on. I tell ’em I’m over it, but who can ever be over that moment when the life goes out of the other person’s eyes?”
A fine question, Raymond. A question we’re examining every month here at bloodcraft.org. May your parole boards go well, and the authorities abridge your art no more.
Editor’s Note: Bloodcraft.org is not real. There is no newsletter for serial killers and mass murderers. Any resembelance to real persons or crimes is purely accidental. We do not endorse or encourage any sort of murderous behavior. Furthermore, we take no responsibily for the behavior of our audience. We serve only to entertain, not as some sort of “handbook” for the budding serial killer.