Arthur Shawcross sat here

Monday, November 10, 2008, Arthur Shawcross’ 250-year prison term came to a halt when he died of heart failure. He’d been serving time since 1990 for brutally murdering eleven women here in Rochester, NY. This week some local people who had been involved in the investigation – reporters and cops – recalled publicly his brutality and lack of remorse. One radio commentator, Bob Lonsberry, pointed out that Shawcross should have been long dead, even before he killed the first woman; he had already raped and murdered two children In Watertown, NY, fifteen years prior to coming to Rochester. Our justice system convicted him on only one of the murders and let him out on parole after fifteen years.

In the 1980s Shawcross patronized the same diner I do today – Gitsis, an innocuous little place on Rochester’s Monroe Avenue, just three blocks from his apartment on Alexander Street.

“I remember when they showed him on the news when he was arrested,” says ‘D,’ a long-time waitress at Gitsis. “He was wearing the same jacket he wore when he came in here, and he looked just like he looked when he came here…gave me the creeps…

“Yep, he came in here a couple times a week. Sat right there,” she nods. “Ordered coffee; just coffee. Didn’t talk; just kinda stared straight ahead.”

“How did he drink it,” I ask.

“I dunno; I don’t remember…gave me the creeps.”

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2 Comments on “Arthur Shawcross sat here”

  1. paolo. Says:

    Shawcross was given that disgusting 15-year sentence on a plea deal with the prosecutor. Basically he got the short time by agreeing to show the authorities where he buried the kids’ bodies. The grief stricken parents agreed and it was a done deal.

    Certainly everything that can be done, should be done out of compassion for the victims’ families BUT in this case I think they went too far. By agreeing to this blackmail, the prosecutor opened an ocean of grief for 11 other families.

  2. Joseph Belle-Isle Says:

    A 15 yr sentence to show where the bodies were. How come we can waterboard the meanest enemies of America but have to be nice to child killers? Public executions done with a LET’S MAKE A DEAL motiff. One door with a waterboard behind it, another a castrating machine, and another with-oh let your imagination run wild. Try burying him up to his neck in very spongy soft sand so his lungs dont compress irreversibly immediately, and have a parent add water to the sand a little at a time. Heck put the sandbox next to a biker bar and let the scooter tramps pee on him until the dirt starts to suffocate him. Doing away with public executions was a dumb idea. How can a country that uses napalm and white phosphorous to bomb the enemy seriously contemplate humane methods of execution. In reality the Guillotine was the most humane method of execution ever designed. In just a fraction of a second all nerves were seperated. AND at the end of a day the other guys on death row had a whole bucket of heads to play with.


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