Arthur Shawcross: the aftermath (Part I)

In 1990 Arthur Shawcross, a.k.a. The Genesee River Killer, was sentenced to 250 years in prison for the murder of eleven women, here in Rochester, NY. His victims were strangled or beaten to death; many were mutilated. Prior to coming to Rochester, he had sexually abused and murdered a ten-year-old boy and an eight-year-old girl, in separate incidents in the 1970s, in Watertown, NY. Through plea bargaining, he got a 25-year sentence, of which he served fifteen. He also claims to have murdered and cannibalized two Vietnamese girls while serving there.

Shawcross, who’d been married four times, lived in an apartment with his girlfriend in a 19th-century mansion on Rochester’s popular “Restaurant Row” – the 200-block of Alexander Street. I was interviewing a resume client recently (I’ll call her Fran) who mentioned that as an apartment superintendent, she had been his landlord. She proceeded to share with me several vignettes of his daily life that only a landlord-tenant relationship might reveal.

I asked her if I could do a story on her for City Newspaper; I periodically do features for them on a freelance basis. She consented. I contacted the editor, who expressed interest. I then tried unsuccessfully to contact Fran, leaving three messages before I decided she must have had a change of heart. Perhaps she was afraid to expose herself as someone associated with this serial killer. Perhaps she was afraid of him.

So there would be no story, at least not for City. But, starting next post I’d like to share with you some interesting glimpses into the life of someone Fran termed “the perfect tenant.”

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