Arthur Shawcross: the aftermath (Part III)

I should be castrated or have an electrode in my head to stop me…I am a lost soul looking for release of my madness” – Arthur Shawcross, 1990

One night about 9:30, Fran woke to loud knocking at her front door. Living on Alexander Street in the heart of the City of Rochester, she was accustomed to seeing panhandlers, disoriented mental patients from Genesee Hospital – directly across the street – and other characters of dubious intent in her front yard. Pulling her bathrobe securely around her she cautiously opened her door…to a porch full of police.

“We need you to let us in Arthur Shawcross’ apartment,” they said, presenting a search warrant.

“He’s asleep up there; I think he’s working midnights this week; I don’t want to go up there and disturb him,” the dumbfounded Fran said of her ‘perfect tenant’ who was friendly, prepared venison soup for her, and paid his rent on time.

“M’am, we need you to let us in…”

Fran grabbed a  key, led the police across the driveway and up the stairs. She knocked on Shawcross’ door. Silence. She knocked again. Nothing. She opened the door. Shawcross and his live-in girlfriend were gone. Although Fran lived virtually on top of him for five years, she was as oblivious as everyone else who knew him to the fact that he was The Genesee River Killer, brutal murderer of eleven women.

These last three posts come from conversations I had with Shawcross’ landlady, who I’ve called Fran. She had agreed to let me do a newspaper story about her time as Shawcross’ landlady. She then reneged – would not return my phone calls. It seems the power of Shawcross’ neck strangling arm and bat smashing hand reach 18 long years, all the way from violence in 1990 to inflicting reticence – maybe even fear – in 2008.

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One Comment on “Arthur Shawcross: the aftermath (Part III)”

  1. Frank Paolo Says:

    This society is so strange. In his trial it was shown that Shawcross had dramatically abnormal levels of certain chemicals in his blood which is a common symptom among killers. So why isn’t this animal subjected to countless research projects to see if we can predict future killers while they’re still lighting fires and killing animals? Maybe they can be helped before they get to the killing human stage. Believe it or not, some killers would volunteer for this research even knowing they will never leave prison. But whether it’s voluntarily or forced, we should start focusing on prevention rather than punishment.


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