Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

« Links to Like | Main | Capote, a Sort of Film Review »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


This is a great story. Nice.



I loved the comments of Edmund Pearson. It's as true today as it was back then, not only for poisoners but all convicted murderers.

Gary Bernklow

Interesting take on Caril Anne Fugate. Imagine the nerve of those evil prosecutors! I especially enjoyed your sympathetic view that she "did not realize that Starkweather had killed her family until long after the fact". Would that be long after the lived in the same house with her dead family for several days? Would that be one, two, three hours after it happened? Would that be when she heard the shots since she admitted she was in the house when it happened? Please. Get a grip and do some research. She was a murderer and no more deserves to have avoided all of the "fuss" (nice euphemism for 11 murders) than her boyfriend.


Gary, Gary! We are on the same page. Kindly reread my post with sarcastic inflections.


i got the (obvious) sarcastic inflections. sheesh.

Janet Currie

I have recently read a book detailing Caril's life after her sentence. I know that she was released in 1976, but does anyone know whether or not she ever married? One site says she never has, but someone checked to see whether she had a driver's licence under her married name. Could anyone help?

JT Thornton

I have an old Life Magazine dated Dec. 1, 1958. (It has Ricky Nelson on the cover) On page 35 there is a large photo of Caril Ann Fugate being escorted by two women on either side of her (no handcuffs) with this caption:

"Grim-faced Caril Ann Fugate was firmly gripped by Attendant Dora Sawyer in a court in Lincoln, Neb. where she was sentenced to be imprisoned for life. A jury found the 15-year-old eighth-grader guilty of helping her boyfriend, Charles Starkweather, murder 17-year-old Robert Jensen during a spree of killings they went on together last January. Starkweather, already sentenced to die in the electric chair, testified that Caril carried a shotgun and took Jensen's billfold."

Caril Ann is clutching a handkerchief in her left hand and her eyes are closed as they walked, perhaps anticipating the photographer's flash bulb. Behind them is a sign that reads:


jim mccord

I was a year older than Charlie and Caril's youngest victim when the spree took place.Fugate was in it up to her neck.She had the prescence of mind to shut down during her initial interrogation and sometimes simply played dumb.I have read several books on this duo's ill gotten murder spree and am convinced that she should have received a life sentence in Nebraska due to her involvement in commission of the crimes.The lie detector test consisted of two very general questions at best,so basically nothing new was gleaned from that token gesture.Eighteen years is small potatoes after what those two left in their wake.She had more influence on Starkweather during the spree than many will ever admit.She should still be a ward of the State of Nebraska,plain and simple.

Chelsy Starkweather

Charles Starkweather was my grandfathers, uncle.
He had been 17 when he commited the first , and Caril was only 13.
a EFFING 13 year old had helped he boyfriend kill people, so that they would love eachother.
Thats total bull.
But whatever.
I would like to know if Caril is still alive today, and if she had the baby that they reported that she was pregant with.
It would help me out a lot.

Jim Burke

I think you did a good job on this blog. Obviously Carol ann served her sentence and went on to have a "peaceful" life. I am sure she knew, but who really knows anything for sure except her or Starkweather. I hope she has found inner peace and solitude.

Ray George Granger

As I remember reading about the case, her dead family were not 'in the house', but stashed in an outhouse. She would, though, have definitely found out about them from the morning paper delivered to the Ward house when she and Charlie were holed up there.
I agree she was probably involved to some extent – though Charlie was such a fantasist it's hard to put trust in anything he said – but it's hard to see any 14-year-old girl as hard-bitten, and it seems possible to me that she may have been in such a dissociative state that she firmly believed she was not culpable and was acting under duress, and that, although the issue was never raised at trial because she insisted on her innocence, that she may have been legally insane at the time of the killings.

Peggy of Philadelphia

I dont care that she paid her debt to society. She hasn't paid her debt to humanity yet.
It upsets me to think that she will be forgiven and allowed to go to heaven along with those she murdered or allowed to be murdered by her boyfirend Charlie.
After her sentence was over she, and others like her, should have to then serve humanity by doing community service in places that are hard to find help....prisons, mental hospitals, fatal disease institutions, etc!!!!
People like Caril should also be used for medical testing when it is needed!!!


I just watched the movie Starkweather on E-MYS channel. Guilty guilty guilty!!! He had no conscience. I guess he got it beat out of him by the local kids and he snapped. I don't know what to think of Caril. She could have mentally shut down, but on the other hand, perhaps what drew them together was each others lack of humanity. Like 2 peas in a pod. SHe should not have been allowed to go free. She should have either gotten out of jail and then gone to a mental house, or been sentenced to stay in the mental house for the rest of her life. 11 dead, and she gets to have a life. Thats wrong.


Wow!!! Its been almost 50 yrs since this happened and people still won't let my great-aunt live in peace. It's so amazing to me that people who only have the media's depiction on what happened have such harsh things to say about her. I can't believe the audacity of "Shannon" to say people like her should be used for medical testing. How would you like it if someone said that about you or your family member? People should really educate themselves before saying such cruel things.


I am a friend of Caril, and as a friend of hers I will not disclose any of her personal information. However the great aunt woman up their is a liar, Her family would not post anything about her in any sense.
She is living well and I do say this it is well deserved. She was a victim of Charles pure and simple. The young man murdered her family, and she was in a state of shock and fear when the police caught up with them. This story has been dramatized, spun out, and totaly mistold by media and so called realitives of both Caril and Charlie. The guilty was punished, and unfortunately so was Caril. She lost alot of years of her life, but she did recieve a great education and is the best nurse the world has ever seen. She is the kindest person I have ever met.

Del Harding

I was the only newspaper reporter who was at the scene of all the murders, who covered both Starkweather's and Fugate's trials, and his execution. In response to one of the earlier comments, Charlie WAS given lie detector tests, both by the Lincoln police and by the state highway patrol. He said Caril was not a hostage and that she herself killed or helped kill at least two of the 11 victims. Based on my extensive personal knowledge of the case, I have NO doubt at all that she was guilty.
Correcting earlier postings: when the murders took place he was 19 and she was 14; the rumor in 1958 that she was pregnant was not true; and, she could not have read about her parents' murders because because the first news story (mine) didn't run until Jan. 28, the day after they had left the Bartlett house and the same day three more victims were discovered near Bennet, Nebr.
This my first post in this forum. Much of what has been written about this case since Dec. 1957 (when the first murder took place) is exaggerated or just plain wrong.


Whoever this Martha lady is yes i am the great niece of Caril Fugate and I can prove it. I did not give any personal information in my blog and you shouldn't say what her family would and would not do if you are not a part of our family. I have gladly came to her defense any time I have heard bad things said about her throughout my life and she knows it. As a matter of fact I just seen my great aunt at the beginning of the summer. We had a wonderful time together.


Someone please tell me this woman was not allowed to be a nurse? This woman is clearly not someone who should be allowed around sick people based on her history it is to risky. She should be a landscaper, electrician a mechanic even, but not a nurse! How scary.

jim mccord

This comment is for Mr. Harding.I bought an autographed copy of "Headline Starkweather" online several year ago.It was signed for Margo Harding by the author,Earl Dyer.Below this inscription is Bat 5/3/93.Several of your newspaper entries are included in this informative book.They had previously been highlighted by someone.This book and William Allen's 1976 offering "Starkweather" are the best written studies of this bizarre case imho.Ninette Beaver's "Caril" was very interesting as was James Reinhardt's "The Murderous Trail of Charles Starkweather".I appreciate your thoughtful reflections regarding this meaningless killing spree almost 50 years ago.So many lives were needlessly taken and the surviving family and friends suffered with their losses.Thanks again for your dedication to your proffession and reporting the truth.Respectively,Jim McCord

Janet Currie

Dear Del:

I was interested to read that you are the great niece of Caril. I guess your grandmother is her sister Barbara, right? I have seen a photo of your grandparents when they were young.

My own feeling is that Caril was so young and was so scared of her boyfriend, Starkweather, that her feelings just froze. I also think that Starkweather was affected by the accident he had at the newspaper plant where he was hit on the head by a lever. He had never been in trouble with the law before that. Maybe the accident just triggered something in him.

I am just a year older than Caril, and though I don't remember the case at the time (I don't think it made the papers in England) I read about it in the 1970s.

I hope that Caril has achieved some peace in her life now.

jim mccord

Pardon me Ms. Currie but the person who posted that they were Caril Fugate's relative did not state their name.Her great niece posted anonymously,which is understandable.Mr. Harding, who you refer to,is a retired reporter from Lincoln,Ne. who covered this story when it broke.Jim McCord

Janet Currie

Sorry Mr McCord, I guess I looked up instead of down - the posts are a little confusing. I don't recall Mr Harding's name. I have the book written by several reporters in, I think, 1974. I guess I'll have to read it properly.

I still don't think that Caril was as bad as, say, Myra Hindley, whose name was anathema in England, even after she died five years ago. Caril at least had the excuse that she was very young; Hindley was 21.

jim mccord

Not a problem Ms. Currie.It's understandable the way the posts are cataloged.I've done the same thing.I agree that Caril was probably not as evil as Myra Hindley but still feel that she was not Starkweather's hostage in the 8 day killing spree.Maybe she didn't anticipate additional victims after her immediate family was killed.There are still alot of unanswered questions.Charlie certainly took many to his grave.The glaring statement that Fugate made to the Wyoming deputy that she saw her family killed has always stood out to me.There are some other statements that she made to the authorities in Lincoln that also didn't serve her well in her claim of innocence.She will always have her supporters as well as her detractors I suppose.After almost 50 years the mystery remains.Best wishes,Jim McCord


The idea of this person being a nurse is terrifying! The fact that she was able to eat, sleep, and lounge in the houses of all the victims, and was able to allow her immediate family including her baby sister to be brutally murdered is enough to sicken the hardest of souls, but to be paroled and able to " care for" other people is horrendous. I sure hope if I ever need a nurse, they've had a background check.

sandra mccann

I prefere caril ann fugate has a nurse than beverley hallittwho murdered a quite a few children in england.


From what I've seen and read I think she was manipulated, traumatized, scared and confused. Scared into a state of shock where you shut down your feelings in order to deal with and survive what you are experiencing. Not enough focus was given to her mental state at the time. And why Charlie Starkweather's testimony, a convicted murderer who changed his story over 7 times, was given any credence at her trial is beyond me. Plain and simple he didn't want to burn alone just like he didn't want to murder alone so he took her along for the ride.

Starkweather & Fugate was and still is overly romanticized and exploited by the media with their comparisons to the likes of James Dean and Rebel Without A Cause that I don't think anyone got a pure sense of what really went on. But what's done is done and I wish all involved peace.

g fugate

Th@$ mY KiN riGhT ThuR!! 187


Don't worry, Peggy, she's not going to heaven -- that is a myth anyway. Once she's gone, she's gone, as are we all -- the only thing to make our lives worth anything is to be as kind to each other as we can. Anything other than that is a waste of life.

Donna Breck

There were many victims of this horrible, horrible murder spree. All the families of the victims had to cope with their loses while knowing Fugate was alive living her life.
She served 16 years. Eleven people were killed. That's a little more than a year a life.
Liza Ward said her book "Outside Valentine", was her way of coping with the death of her grandparents. Such a sad, sad situation. Maybe the woman Fugate is today is not the murderous teenager of yesterday. it still happened and it
will always stay in the minds of those that lived through it.


I am first cousin to the 17 yo Robert Jensen Jr. whose murder was the only crime for which Starkweather and Fugate were tried. I was alive, but too young to remember. In fact I was/am 11 days younger than Caril's murdered stepsister Betty Jean. All the life I've had while she has laid in her grave! I understand how people can say, "My God! She was only 14" in defense of Caril. I can imagine how a 14 yo might "shut down" or go into a state of shock at the sight of someone's head being blown open by a point blank shotgun blast (August Meyer). Over the years though, being a blood relative, I've met many people who were involved with the case; my Uncle Bob, who testified at the trial, lawmen and reporters who had contact with Caril Fugate. Without exception, all said they had no doubt but that she was a participant in the robbery/murder of my cousin. I suppose that doesn't necessarily make it so, but I thought I would make that statement for those who might be interested.

anna lee

I just saw this story on A&E. The show was only an hour but from what I saw..Caril was a victim herself. Look at her expressions in the pictures they took. She was hurting..confused. Maybe she was afraid of being shot by Stark-Weather? She was a child herself.

To the person who keeps complaining about her being a more about her. She was not a nurse but an orderly. If she was a nurse..I would trust her!

To her family..send her my well wishes and support!

Jim McCord

For those interested,the Lincoln Journal Star has recently published an issue titled "Starkweather 50 Years Later".It can be read in it's entirety by Goggling the title.It is a very detailed account of The Fugate-Starkweather murder spree that took place in the Winter of 1958.Some may not care to revisit this tragedy,and understandably so.Each person can draw their own conclusion as to whether C.F. was voluntarily along for the ride or taken against her will.The Courts decided she was an accomplice and she served 18 years before being paroled.She has been a free woman for over 30 years now and has married according to one of the articles included in this project.Of course,only Charlie and Caril know for certain the extent of her involvement and Charlie isn't with us anymore,thank God.The three victims from Bennet were murdered on this day 50 years ago.Thank heavens Charlie and Caril were apprehended two days later in Wyoming.God bless the victims and their families and friends as well as the families' of Fugate and Starkweather.Life for all of them has been very difficult even after 50 years.There is a section in the project from retired L.J.S. reporter Del Harding who covered much of the story from the day the news broke on the Barlett murders.He has posted in here previously incidently.

Anne Brewbaker

The so-called "lie detector" tests are so described in order to frighten and intimidate peoples. The reality is less sophisticated than that. Actually the polygraph machine is merely a simple recorder of physiological responses to verbal stimulus. What it doesn't do is detect the cause of a reaction to a question. There is no scientific formula that establishes that a person is lying rather than responding to other factors. Some inner insecurities besides deception can cause changes in blood pressure, heart pulse, or respiration. We all experience times of stress due to burdens, problems, anger, frustration, helplessness, and many others emotions that we cannot control. No machine can accurately decipher the human mind. This assumption is a monumental deception, but it works because peoples believe it.!!!

It is the test validity and reliability that is in question. It relies on the interpretation of the examinor entirely. So he is the entity that decides if you are a liar or a person of integrity. But examinors cannot read our minds either, so polygraph testing can be compared to astrology or alchemy even phrenology.! No science is involved in polygraph testing-----only deception. It is a fraud, voodoo science, but it is an accepted abuse by Law Enforcement. It creates fear not truth. It is not admissible in Court.

The real purpose is to intimidate the examinee and elicit a confession which itself, only, can be used in a Court of Law.

I do not condone the idea that peoples must go through a test that is inconsistent with the Fifth Amendment, hence inadmissible as evidence in Court.

That applies to Caril too.

-Anne Brewbaker. Dallas

carole gill

I don't believe that the passage of time lessens anyone's culpability in heinous acts of murder or collusion to murder.
Perhaps Caril has lived quietly and didn't upon release from prison participate in any crime. I suppose that's postive that there aren't more murdered people rotting somewhere.
Personally, I just wish she had been Starkweather's age so she could have been punished as he was.
A strong opinion, perhaps but nevertheless, there were a lot of victims who were suffered cruel deaths. And I never heard that Caril ever tried to get away or call for help. It seeems to me she was an extremely cunning young teenager and she knew exactly what to say or not say at the time.

Charlene Morehead

My husband and I met on January 28th, 1958. We'll never forget that day. We were driving through Bennett, Nebraska and I had a 52 Ford. Starkweather had a Ford and we were stopped by police with guns drawn. No, we will never forget the day we met.

As for Caril Fugate...I don't believe there was anyone in Nebraska at that time who believed she was innocent 'and a hostage' for 8 days! Charles Starkweather said she should be on his lap when he was executed. Sad that she was so young...easily swayed at that age...perhaps she has blocked much of it out now. Charlene Langholz Morehead


I beg to differ. Her surviving relatives believes she is guilty, and has nothing to do with her. So no, you did not spend the summer then, or any other time with her. To answer the questions if she is a nurse, No. But I assure you, she knows enough to have been a great nurse, and has helped my children out when they had been ill. She legally is unable to be a nurse.
By the way, great grand niece, What is on her coffee table?


I wouldn't say that all of her relatives don't accept her because she is in direct blood line. No one really knows the truth other then the Lord so lets just let it be and let it rest.

carole gill

Just wanted to say to Sandra McCann, I prefer Caril Fugate nursing Beverly Allit--preferably in a prison setting wherein both women were inmates.
Sorry, but I never believed her story--nor did I ever understand just why she was paroled. She didn't deserve to be. Her association with Starkweather was not forced--she could have left at anytime.
I have no doubt that she was terribly sorry after she was caught. She was sorry she was caught and she didn't want to remain in prison. Of course she didn't. Her tears I venture to say were for herself and no one else.
I just hope that whatever fate awaits us all after our lives have ended awaits Caril Fugate--Fugate without highly emotional and sympathetic supporters.

Jim McCord

I personally prefer C.Fugate pressing license plates for the State of Nebraska.She was caught in too many lies after her and Charlie's apprehension to be credible in my estimation.When she realized that she was hurting herself talking to the Wyoming deputy on the way to the Douglas jail she clammed up.She did the same with the Lancaster Co. sheriff's wife on the trip back to Lincoln.It was all in the testimony at her trial.She was less than forthcoming with the Lancaster Co. District Arttorney's office according to those on staff who interviewed her after her return to Nebraska.I don't base my opinion on Charlie's trial testimony against her because Starkweather was a pathological liar among his many character flaws.Because of her age when the spree occurred the verdict was the proper one,as was Charlie's sentence.I've read that either Charlie or his father Guy stated that when Charlie rode the lightning that Caril should be sitting on his lap.Both have been credited saying that in any event.I wouldn't go that far but her parole after serving 18 years of a life sentence was a slap in the face to the 10 victims of the killing spree.The controversy surrounding her role in the crime spree will live on regardless.

carole gill

Jim McCord, I agree with you. And thank you for your detailed information about the case.
Unfortunately, I fear that we live in a society that thinks the passage of time lessens guilt. It doesn't. She was young, yes. But she was guilty and, in my opinion, a very evil young teenager.
I don't believe she has any remorse for the victims or their families.
I think she was clever enough and manipulative enough to say or not say what she did.
And yes, making license plates in a prison atmosphere is totally in accordance with my wishes also. If only.

A Voice of Sanity

I remember my own relationships when I was around that age and have no difficulty in believing that Fugate was an unwilling --and generally unknowing -- participant, considering her age and situation. Her conviction proves only that the desire for bloody revenge runs deep in the USA and reflects poorly on the 'justice system' which all too often lets the truly guilty walk free while punishing the barely involved or the factually innocent.

Jim McCord

Totally disagree with you Voice,and condolences for some of the acquaintances you had growing up.It must have been very difficult for you.C.Fugate was given the benefit of the doubt by the authorities when their killing spree was discovered but from the time of their capture in Wyoming she incriminated herself over and over again.That much has been documented.Yes the justice system here isn't perfect,hence her receiving parole after serving 18 years of a life sentence.

A Voice of Sanity

"... she incriminated herself over and over again. That much has been documented".

The gang convicted for the Central Park Jogger rape and attack confessed on videotape while their parents were outside the room - and were still not guilty. Cops - like Drew Peterson - know to shut up at all times as nothing they say will be used to help them. What the cops' interpretation was of what she said is unlikely to convince me.

Without Starkweather, would Fugate have committed any crimes? Without Fugate, would Starkweather have committed any crimes? The answers will tell you all you need to know.

Jim McCord

I see where you're coming from Voice.I decline the kool aid offer though.We have very different opinions on this case obviously.That said,I'm willing to agree to disagree.The parallels that you draw to this case ring hollow to me as well and with or without each other they were "cold,dull killers" to quote reporter Del Harding.They had their day in court and were sentenced accordingly.That's the only"answer that I need to know".

carole gill

Just a question for you then: do you think you might have travelled with a boyfriend who was a killer? Had he murdered your family would you have stayed in the house for a week and not tried to tell anyone? Caril answered the door I believe, what an opportunity to have asked for help!
I suppose we have to be greatful as a society that you never met anyone like Starkweather in your youth! I don't mean to be flippant, but come on!
Please, think about it. You may call yourself the voice of sanity, but I think you're more like a voice crying in the wilderness attempting to defend the indefensible.
Sorry, but that's what I think.
There was no blood thirsty justice at all, had there been, she would have been executed for being his willing accomplice. Blood thirsty justice as you put it, would have seen to it that her age was no obstacle. That is blood thirsty. She is alive and has been free for a long time. I don't call that blood thirsty justice at all.

A Voice of Sanity

In the first place, I am a male. And I am thinking back to that time and the girls I knew. IME teenage girls will accept a great deal because they don't have the confidence to put their own judgment ahead of that of the male. If they are very, very, very unlucky they will wind up with a Starkweather.

And let's not forget Patty Hearst, aged 19, who appeared to be part of the SLA, but who, however, makes a valid case that she acted under duress. I believe Hearst's conviction was wrong, and I believe Fugate's was as well. You may have an actus reas, but where is the mens rea?

carole gill

A guy. very interesting. didn't realize that at all. sorry.
and sorry again for so disagreeing with you.
Caril Fugate: is free, got away with the rest of her life, not in prison, not executed. problem?
Patty Hearst: ambiguous that--or at least there's two ways of looking at it. not sure I believe she was brainwashed at all, sorry.
p.s. what is the problem you have about Caril Fugate? she was paroled when still a young woman! She's had over thirty years of freedom. oh wait a minute! you don't actually think she shouldnt have served any time at all, do you? do you?! if you don't think she shouldn't have served anytime (despite being in the family home with her own family decomposing around her--and despite answering the door and not making a run for it, and despite never, ever calling for help or (heaven forbid) trying to get away--! then what do you think they should have done with her? I wince as I anticipate your reply.
I think Caril Fugate herself thinks herself lucky! that's the funny part of it.
but you're quite entitled to your opinion as I am to mine.

A Voice of Sanity

No, I don't think she should have been convicted. Would you have let her drive at that age? Drink alcohol? Get married? Own a gun? The law wouldn't even let her make a valid contract and yet it wants to hold her liable for not knowing what to do. Many adult women couldn't have coped with the situation either. ISTM that as soon as she was in a safe place where she was sure Starkweather couldn't get back in control she absolutely repudiated him. He said as much himself until he realized that the cops were offering him the chance to make her his last victim. Shame on them for that.

carole gill

Voice, I so disagree with you and, as I understand it, so do most people whose hearts don't do a great deal of copius bleeding for cold, vicious, calculating, manipulative, evil killers.
The state of Kansas did one terrible thing in my mind. They decided that a young woman should never be punished as harshly as a young man. So whereas a man of the same age as Caril Fugate would never, in all likelihood have been paroled as she was (a young man who was an accomplice to serial murder as she was).
I apologize if I sound a bit strong. But I cannot forget the faces of those people she and Starkweather murdered. You do know, of course, the authorities thought it was quite possible that she herself murdered the Carol King (think that was her name) girl--the one on the date that Starkweather gave a ride to, because she was jealous of her?
Hope you don't get picked for jury duty, or if you do, hope it's not a murder case!
Your totally biased agenda is showing. I mean is there anyone currently in prison or on parole that you think was guilty?! ANYONE?
A question for you:
do you think Manson and the Manson women (Atkins, Van Houten and Krenwinkel) should be freed?

carole gill

Did I say Kansas?!
Sorry, Nebraska was the state that got it wrong)with their two tier justice.
If you wear a skirt transvestites, need not apply) you get paroled more easily as Caril Fugate did (one lucky young woman, Voice)!

A Voice of Sanity

It's not just women who get a special discount on crime. So do cops and the wealthy. However I look at Charles Manson and his female followers. They were relatively mature and well educated women and they still obeyed Manson. What was their motive? Why didn't they run away? What could they possibly gain from their crimes? Manson wanted revenge for his failed career and life - what did they want?

However they were rightly held responsible for what they did. I require proof that a 14 year old was in a place of safety and chose, while there, to commit a crime. What she did under duress does not rise to the point where I would condemn her. We don't always hold adults to that standard - I won't hold a child to it.

I am not a 'bleeding heart liberal'. I merely expect the law to be honest - to hold itself to the standards it claims it does. Sadly, it all too often falls woefully short of that standard.

She was no Superwoman - she survived while the police fumbled. Sometimes that's all you can do.

Laura James

I hate to concede this point because I think her entirely culpable despite her tender age, but I think our anonymous Voice of Sanity raises some provocative points. This is not a black-and-white case - that's why it's still being actively debated decades later, and reasonable people can come down on either side of the debate. But I still look back to the words of the journalist who was there from the beginning and witnessed things we have not, and believe, as he does, that all things considered (including her immaturity), she was at least partly responsible morally and legally for that murder spree.

carole gill

point taken with regard to manson and co.
I understand your points about Fugate, truly. I just never thought she was really innocent or coerced or intimidated.
I could be wrong, but it's just my opinion.
but I do respect yours. You have a right to feel as you do.
I'll tell you a case in which I have a problem--the William Heirens case ("lipstick killer")--just reading an excellent book about it. by Dolores Kennedy. btw Heirens at 17, never had a trial! I never knew that.
He's been in prison since 1947.
Ever hear of it, voice? wondering what your views are on that.
and you, too--Laura, if you care to comment!

Ernest Brown

It's always been difficult to get a death penalty against a youth, even ones as depraved as Jesse Pomeroy.


this is to caril's friend: before i start out, i want to say i was a teenager. i am embarrassed to say i did 18 months at nccw. caril lived caty corner from me, in the last room on the left of the trustee bldg. i was paroled to the dorm at the univ. of ne. at lincoln just a few weeks before she was. she may not remember, but will you tell her thank you for lending me her old 50's/60's tv (it was cream colored) towards the end while we were both there? tell her also i am still writing ms. "h"; she was hired on as a social worker when i was 1st admitted in late '74. of coarse i'm still apologizing to her! ha! i tried to apologize to warden crawford, but she moved on. my name was suzan broughton; i was somewhat quiet, she may or may not remember.

A Voice of Sanity

Laura James said: "I hate to concede this point because I think her entirely culpable despite her tender age .... But I still look back to the words of the journalist who was there from the beginning and witnessed things we have not, and believe, as he does, that all things considered (including her immaturity), she was at least partly responsible morally and legally for that murder spree".

With regard to her age, there are many, many reports of teens who are aware of school shootings ahead of time and do not act - when all they need to do is make a safe phone call. I would put their responsibility well ahead of that of Fugate. As for your friend the reporter, I tend to discount comments from those there at the time because of the all too human tendency to look for someone, anyone, to blame when public outrage is extreme. Sometimes one person isn't enough to satisfy the blood lust - see the David Camm case and that outrageous conviction.

My very first question in the Fugate case is what objective evidence is there that she in some way made his crimes worse - that she wasn't just an unwilling witness to his rage? Is there any evidence that her absence, or the presence of someone else, would have made a qualitative difference in his crimes?

A Voice of Sanity

carole gill: I'll tell you a case in which I have a problem--the William Heirens case ("lipstick killer") --just reading an excellent book about it. by Dolores Kennedy. btw Heirens at 17, never had a trial! I never knew that. He's been in prison since 1947.
Ever hear of it, voice? wondering what your views are on that. and you, too--Laura, if you care to comment!
Yes, I know the case. Heirens, a teenager at the time, was savagely beaten by the Chicago cops but would not admit his guilt. They even hired a doctor to use medical methods to torture him, and they used truth serum on him. Finally, when all else failed they were able to pollute the jury pool so he knew he was doomed and they forced a plea of guilty out of him that way. The three crimes were quite unrelated, and the guilty persons are almost certainly all dead now, but Heirens still lingers in prison, a victim of the vilest methods Chicago could use. I note that Chicago was torturing confessions out of prisoners until very recently - and possibly is persisting today.

carole gill

Yes, I feel as you do.
It is a most uncomfortable case. I never knew he didn't have a trial!
How ever did they get away with that?
And did you know that there is the school of thought that it was a REPORTER who wrote that 'Stop Me Before I Kill Again 'message?!
And a p.s. for you on my hugely opinionated rants about Fugate. Sorry, and I mean that! You are indeed the voice of sanity (as well as a gentleman)!

A Voice of Sanity

They couldn't have a trial because there was no evidence against him. The three crimes didn't match and the handwriting didn't match. Only a confession would do and he knew a confession was a death sentence so they offered to take death off the table with three concurrent life sentences. Then they leaked a confession he never made to the papers to pollute the jury pool. He knew he would be quickly executed if he didn't agree so he did, but at the end they cheated him - they got the life sentences made consecutive, not concurrent, because he refused to publicly confess.

carole gill

thanks for that.
It's so disillusioning!
I watched an excellent documentary on the crime station here (in the U.K., where I now reside) and they brought out there is so much feeling (in Chicago, particularly) against him--apparently, so few people have any doubts with regard to his guilt!
I find it hugely upsetting.
A recent appeal (April) has already been turned down.
I suppose he'll just die in prison. It's difficult to imagine with circumstances such as they were how his guilt was never questioned for so many years.

Laura James

As to Heirens - he has VERY few defenders. I've written of it here:

And a nice look at the case appears in the links there. . . .

carole gill

thanks Laura,
going to check that out.
It's a case I'm interested in but certainly want to read far more than I have on it.
Don't know that much about it.
and what I did find out I reacted to emotionally, which isn't particularly intelligent.
so I will give it a close study.

A Voice of Sanity

carole gill said: "I watched an excellent documentary on the crime station here (in the U.K., where I now reside) and they brought out there is so much feeling (in Chicago, particularly) against him--apparently, so few people have any doubts with regard to his guilt!"

You might want to search for "cognitive dissonance". I can show people step by step that Scott Peterson is innocent. Instead of accepting what their eyes and minds tell them, they regard it as some sort of trick - as if I just proved that gravity works in reverse. "It's a trick but I can't figure out how you did it" is the usual response. When they are really backed into a corner they resort to insults, not logic. They are simply incapable of reversing their world view in less than, say, 8 years (a la Iraq).

percy harbour

"Had the state of Nebraska held more faith in lie detectors, maybe they could have avoided all that fuss to begin with."

I hope that was a facetious comment. Lie detectors are notoriously ununreliable. (reliability rate = ~60%.) Thier results are not even worth mentioning.

A Voice of Sanity

"Lie detectors are notoriously unreliable. (reliability rate = ~60%.)"

Actually, in good controlled tests they are about as accurate as a coin toss. They 'work' as a result of a bluff and a lie. Factually innocent people often fail them; factually guilty criminals often pass as they often have no conscience or feeling of guilt.

Yes, the remark about having faith in lie detectors was a facetious comment. From beginning to end this piece on Caril Fugate is sarcasm, though those who read hastily might not understand that. Thanks.


I love the nurse assertion by her friend but Caril Ann is a retired medical janitor, according to Wikipedia's research. Much more fitting, I feel.


Kath:I love the nurse assertion by her friend but Caril Ann is a retired medical janitor, according to Wikipedia's research. Much more fitting, I feel.

She does not even go by her birth name anymore, and has not since 78, so wikipedia, will not give you anything. However, she legally can not be a nurse, she got an education, and would have been a great nurse, but did carry title of Nurses assistant, until she retired a couple of years ago.She is a good clean and kind hearted Christian woman. Unfortunately, met C.S., (Much older) who had manipulated her and scared her, and killed her family. Truth is she was also a victim. Her family shunned her, and from reading a lot of these post, society continues to do so. luckily, she is in our lives, she has been a wonderful friend and a great addition to our family.


I was only about one and a half years old when this happened. But I remember reading a book about this story in '77 while in a USMC library in Okinawa. I am from New York so I have no connection obviously to that part of the country and it appears that several of the comments in here are posted by people who lived there at the time and experienced it and so that may be why some have a harsh point of view toward Ms. Fugate. As an outsider, I can provide an unbiased opinion.

Ms. Fugate was only 13 at the time and didn't have any older siblings to look up to for guidance. She got caught up with someone five years older than she was and found herself in a trapped situation of fear and intimidation. I strongly believe that she, at that age, didn't really believe what was happening, it was just a very surreal experience for her to comprehend it all. Also, what 13 year old girl would knowingly go on a murder spree with someone who killed her entire family. She is guilty of nothing as far as I am concerned, except for maybe a lack of maturity which alot of young teens go through at that age. If Starkweather had not murdered her family, they would have still been around to shield her from him. When she said that she did not realize that he killed her family, I believe her because as I've just mentioned, the thought of such an act happening before the fact, could never have entered her mind at her age. As far as Starkweather saying that she "killed or helped kill at least two of the hostages," I believe to be an absolute lie. A brutal mass murderer has no conscience, and, therefore, they can pass a lie detector/polygraph test with flying colors very easily because they have no sense of remorse or guilt.

It feel that Ms. Fugate has paid a high price for a crime that she had no involvement in other than being trapped in out of fear.

I feel sorry for the families who have lost loved ones at the hands of Starkweather, it is very sad and traggic.

But Ms. Fugate has shown herself to be the kind of person she was destined to be, a decent person who has a love for her fellow man. Not too many people have the compassion to work in her field and do it with a good heart and spirit.

carole gill

So Robert,
Let me understand your position. You are saying that, assuming Fuguate knew nothing of the murders, she then stayed several days in her home without having any recourse to see her parents and baby sister. She then left without having seen them or spoken to them--the sister being a very young child. Is that what you're saying?



Yes, she stayed there for several days with a crazed gunman and dared not to bring up much about her family to avoid making him angry at her, because, who knows what he would have done if she did. I am sure that Caril knew better than anyone in this forum what he was capable of at that point.

Without anyone else being there besides Starkweather and Caril Fugate, and Starkweather, without a doubt, killing Caril Fugate's family and hiding their bodies before she got home from school and then Caril arriving at her home only to find Starkweather there with his guns, and Caril knowing what kind of madman Starkweather was, yes, at that point, I am sure that Starkweather gave Caril some kind of story and she didn't believe Starkweather but acted as if she did or she would have been next. Do you honestly believe that she would have stayed in that house if Starkweather would let her go? Keep in mind that she already suspected that Starkweather killed that gas station attendant. Suddenly, she finds him at her house and her family is missing. I have no doubts that she was in a state of panic and fear and Starkweather was watching her like a hawk. Another thing you have to consider, she was just 14 years old, alot of people are judging her based on how they would feel, however, there feelings are based on an adults way of thinking, she was just a kid. As soon as she saw the police car, she got out and ran to him. I think that too many people believe that she was a cold and callous person because she was involved with him, I don't think so. She was just very naive, immature and rebellious as alot of teens are at that age. But she was no cold blooded killer. I also don't think that they just made sandwiches and sat around eating them while watching tv. There is too much that went on that no one knows but they are sure in a hurry to put all the missing pieces together in their own minds and come up with their own conclusion.

I am certain that she missed her family very much, she was in a state of shock and fear that it just didn't hit home until afterwards, but, make no mistake, she was devastated over the loss of her family as well as the other lives that Starkweather took.

In my prior comment, as far as I am concerned, the only inaccuracy I made was in not realizing that she had an older sister, I originally thought that she had no other siblings other than her 2 year old sister. And, that she was 14, not 13.

As far as I am concerned, she was innocent but was found guilty by association.

It was a vicious killing spree that she had nothing to do with other than being in a trapped situation with a sick cold blooded killer and people in that area understandably wanted vengeance so she was unjustly imprisoned for what 17, 18 years.

Even an FBI investigator who reviewed the case many years later said that she was innocent, gave her "a clean bill of health," using the words of a journalist who covered the story in that area at the time.

If people want someone to blame, blame the keystone kops, they're response was, in my opinion, outrageous, when they went to the house, TWO TIMES!!! And left after speaking to a 14 year old!!!

carole gill

You are entirely justified to have the opinion you have. I however, don't share that opinion.
I have no idea at all what went on in her head at the time. I can't presume to know.
No one can really, we can believe what we like.
It's a lot more comfortable to feel as you do--far less disturbing than how others including myself feel about it.
Having said that, it also must be very unsettling to you to see the huge percentage of people who would have (in the recent poll) placed her in Starkweather's lap when he was executed.
I wouldn't have because of her age but that's the only reason I wouldn't have.



I think that after all these years, people should just let it go. Whether they believe her to be innocent, as I do, or not. She spent many years in prison, a heavy price for a 14 year old. Starkweather got what he deserved, there are plenty of people in this world who are bullied, picked on, laughed at and even beaten up by other kids in school, and they turn out to be great people. There was no excuse for his murderous outburst.

It is very sad that his victims died in such a cruel manner and also their surviving family members suffered alot as well. Unfortunately, these kinds of attrocities continue to happen to this day.

Look at the Colombine high school shootings and the Korean who gunned down all those students in Virginia, the Son of Sam killings, etc.

You see, the list goes on and on, and yet, people still talk about the Starkweather killings in Nebraska, an incident that occurred 50 years ago.

No one will ever know what happened because people refuse to believe Caril Fugate. Instead of giving her the benefit of the doubt, they want to continue to villainize her.

She did serious time, why don't people just give her a break and let her live the rest of her life in peace.

Suppose she is telling the truth, people can't prove otherwise so why not just let it go.

As I mentioned in my last commentary. The police failed her, they failed Starkweather's victims.

A 14 year old home alone.

Two people urged the police to check their home. Both were adults, one, a responsible business owner, was the second to urge the police to check in on Mr. Fugate.

Both times, the cops went over there, and each time they left the property after speaking to a 14 year old. Never even stepping one foot inside the house.

For all we know, Caril Fugate had a gun pointed at her head from a few feet away.

Both times she told the cops that everyone was sick.

The second time around, don't you think that if the cops had any brains, they would have gone in to check how sick they were, maybe they were dangerously ill and an ambulance should be called. Don't you think that maybe they should have thought or reasoned among themselves, here is a 14 year old girl who says, "everyone is sick with the flu," that is what she told us last time, maybe we better check to see if an ambulance should be called, this girl might not realize how grave the situation may be.

During both of those calls an adult never came to the door.

I mean, there are red flags all over this with how the cops handled it.

I'm sorry, but I rest my case, she was innocent.

carole gill

I actually agree that she should by all means be left alone. She did serve her time and no right thinking person would want to punish her all over again.
I agree with your criticsm about the inept police response--absolutely!
There have been horrific crimes since then, and you make that point and I agree.
I think what holds a lot of people back, fixating on her case is the fact that her family was killed, etc. And it seems many people (myself included) question her actions.
Having said that, it is time to move on.
However, this was a discussion on the case including a poll.
So that's where the strong opinions came from.
There are actions of people involved in crime (intentionally or not) that make us wonder. And this was so infamous that you get a lot of strong feeling (one way or the other).
But you're quite right to say she has been lawfully punished, she served her time and she most definitely (I agree) should be permitted to live the rest of her life in peace.


Why don't they pay Caril money today, for her side of the story. I am sure for the right price she will sing like a canary.


I remember kneeling on the sofa and peeking through the curtains at our street which was full of police cars because Charlie and Caril were spotted near our neighborhood during their rampage. Later, our family became close friends with one of the people who helped prosecute Charlie. During one of this friend's and Charlie's interviews Charlie told him (paraphrased) "Sir, I admit to all the people I killed, but I did not kill Caril's little brother. She did that. She was with me when I killed her parents. I didn't see the sense in killing the baby, but she took the gun and shot him and then laughed." At that point, Charlie knew he was going to be electicuted; and, all along he bragged about the people he killed. He had no reason to lie about Caril killing her brother. She loved the adventure of killing and participated in the murders with him. When caught, she lied to save her own skin.

A Voice of Sanity

"He had no reason to lie about Caril killing her brother."

He tried to make her his last victim. He was a cunning killer, filled with rage, trying to kill again. Why do you believe the criminal?

carole gill

Hi Kay, wasn't it the little sister that was killed?


Caril Fugate was employed by Ingham Regional Medical Center for more than twenty years after she moved to Lansing, Michigan. She retired in 2007 from I.R.M.C. (Lansing, MI). When I last talked to her she planned to retire, get married and move ot of state. She retired as a E.V.S. Tech. (Janitor).

Janet Currie

Robert, I would just like to comment about your comment about the police taking the word of a 14 year old when they went to the house after being alerted by Caril's grandmother. As I read the case, apparently it was one of Charlie's brothers and Bob von Busch (Caril's brother-in-law) who found the bodies in the outhouse. Maybe if the police had found the bodies earlier they could have apprehended the two of them earlier and thus saved the lives of seven people.


i think she is innocent


I actually think the story of Charles and Caril is romantic. It is also sick, but no matter how sick it is, I do believe that they were caught up in each other so much, they were willing to do anything to be together. Now if you look at it as they were willing to kill 11 innocent people to be together, it's twisted. I just watched Starkweather last night and I am reading "Waste land" The story of Charles and Caril interests me very much so. Now I do not believe at all that Caril is one bit innocent. What I do think is that she was very young and could easily be tricked into believing that all the killings went to the fact that she loved Charles very much. The whole hostage thing was just made up so she wouldn't have been guilty either, which now, she isn't. Charles was right when he said that she "ought to be sittin in my lap" when he rode the electric chair.

lilian's daughter

All i have to say about caril are kind words. my mum worked with her from 78-84. And she always had a smile and never a bad thing to say. Sadly i lost my mum to cancer in 04. But I still have the leavin card that she and the others gave my mum. So caril whatever ever you are upto keep that smile and keep up the good work

A Voice of Sanity

I find Nicole's comment unpleasant. Not everybody will wreck their lives for money and Ms Fugate, so badly treated so often by the public, has no reason to trust them to give her a fair hearing now.

Another Fugate


lauren kelly

i think that caril was innocent.When that poor girl got home from school she must have made the conection from the fact that her family where missing. so many what ifs must have been going through her head at the time that in itself would root me to the spot.

when the police visted he could have well been standing behind the door ready to shoot her or the cop u never know. it is my full belief that that during those days she was still in the house she tryed her damnedest to stop him killing her or anyone else. if the cops had twigged wot was going on and enter the house they would have certainly died and that would have made more victims. of course after they left the house there wasnt much she could do, a sniff of a cry for help or running would have meant she was dead. she was quite obviously scared of him as i would have been at that age.

if she was a cold blooded killer who really wanted to kill these people she would have been proud and only slightly sad that she had been caught. the remorse and the fear in her face and the misery i have seen in her face in pictures speaks to me.

PEOPLE SHOULD NOT TRUST THE MEDIA SO MUCH!!!! they only highlight the bad stuff never the good stuff and when they do it in the backs of the papers all the media are interest in are sales and money, n where there next promotion is coming from.


This absolutely amazes me. Anybody that would believe that she didn't notice all the blood, etc in her house and didnt know that her family had been killed,well, there is ocean front property in Arizona I would like to sell you.i remember reading that not only did her family not want her dating Starkweather, Starkweather's mother did not want him with Caril as she was considered "too wild". I lived 60 miles away from these two murderous waste of air and having Mom lock the doors for the first time in years. I agree with Starkweather on one thing, she should have been sitting right on his lap when he was fried. I still, after all these years can not believe that they let her out.

Beth Port

I just finished watching a program called Notorious, about Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate. The whole story bothered me but what really made me upset was when Charles Starkweather killed a child. Anyone who does that is pure evil and instead of being executed quickly, should die a slow, agonizing death. As for Caril, only her and God knows what happened with all those murders.

carole gill

Have to say I agree with grannygripes.
It is amazing that she was even paroled.
She's one lucky woman.
She's been free for years and is probably smart enough to be grateful for that.
As for this notorius case being discussed (and her role in it) I guess that's just something all concerned parties will have to live with.
People have a right to debate the issues and discuss the case.
We all have the right to view our opinions whatever they are.

Cari's great niece

I haven't really gone through everyone's comments because I don't really care what everyone on here has to say but I just want everyone to realize if you believe my great aunt is innocent or not while you are all on here debating her innocense or guilt she is recovering from a stroke and heart attack that she had in March, we were very lucky not to lose her. I did notice this Martha lady that questions my credibility of being her great niece, my mom's name is Caril after my great aunt and her mother Barbara is my great aunt Caril's sister, I thought asking me what she has on her coffee table which was a funny question, I live in Nebraska, she does not I've only visited her at her home in Michigan twice once in 2001 and once in 2002, when I was 17 and 18, so I don't remember what was on her coffee table then, she usually comes here to visit, her last time here was this September, she is doing better but has a long way to go in her recovery. Her real family has never abandoned her and have always stood by her so I don't know what family Martha is talking about that has abandoned her if you want proof that she is my great aunt I can email you a picture of us together the last time she was here, but I don't really care if you believe me or not, because I know the truth.


Several years ago I was chatting with some retired Lincoln police who were rookie cops in the late 1950s. I asked them if they thought Caril was guilty. Hands down, they said guilty as sin. Apparently Caril had a newspaper article about her family being murdered in her pocket when she and Charlie were apprehended. She claimed she didn't know they were dead.

Interesting, huh?


Caril Anne Fugate was never a nurse, that is a misconception. She was a medical assistant. She was never directly responsible for care of patients.

I've read quite a few books about the case. There is a picture in one of them when Caril was arrested. The man in the picture with her was a very tall Sheriff with glasses and wearing a huge Stetson. Was this Sheriff Karnopp or one of the Deputies from Wyoming, where the couple were arrested? Does anyone recognise him?

Lisa G

Caril knew what was going on and she Participated in everything. I think they both should have been sent to death.

PAJ, London,

Let's see if I can understand this.

Posters on here are of the view that someone who was aged 14-15 at the time of the offences should have been executed?

Just a canadian...

"The idea of this person being a nurse is terrifying!"

Let me tell you what is really terrifying, that's the way people seem to think in the U.S.

She did 18 years of jail time and the author of the article says "Evidencing its reluctance to treat young girls who kill with anything approaching severity, the state of Nebraska paroled her in the mid-'70s."

Give her a well deserved break... Give us all a very serious break!

Considering she was 14 at the time of the events, this is just plain child torture!

Almost 50 years after the events, people are still trying to cause stigma and persecute her. What a sick society! No wonder kids go mad and start killing sprees.


She is not a nurse. She was a housekeeper at a hospital. She is now retired. I used to work with her and was shocked to hear this story

Jane P

Caril Ann Fugate should still be in prison. She is just as guilty as Charles Starkweather and was a willing participant. The families of the victims obviously was not heard during the bogus paroling and then exhonoration of her. Thankfully God is the ultimate judge and I really don't think she will be rewarded with angel wings.

Jane P

Caril Ann F was just as guilty as Charles S. and should still be in the pen.


I am proud to say Caril is a friend of mine.We worked at the hospital together and she was a caring and reliable caregiver and always in a good mood.She has shed many tears over her past and still suffers and probably will for the rest of her life!She had a nice man who cared for her but she denied herself the happiness of marriage because she felt any husband of hers would suffer.shame on anybody who holds the grudge against her,Jesus forgave his executioners from the cross and you can do no less!Caril has not had so much as a parking ticket and also served as nanny to a child who to this day adores her.God bless you Caril.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Search CLEWS

  • Google