Monday, 25 February 2008

3 Victims for Laughing Killer

By Martin Lomax
Master Detective
December 1979

AS A narrative on crime and the criminal mind, Dark Secrets is in a class by itself. This short manuscript of just 84 pages does not have the professional polish of the Vincent Bugliosi best-sellers Until Death Us Do Part and Helter Skelter. Nor does the author of Dark Secrets, a 24-year-old ex-marine, have the literary style of a Truman Capote, author of In Cold Blood. A London publisher might well be skeptical of publishing the manuscripts - for, outside southern California, little is known of the author and the rape-murders of two young women.

Despite these handicaps - and the various shortcomings of a manuscript written by a neophyte author - Dark Secrets is undeniably a powerful story. It is a memoir of a young man who became fascinated with torture and death. It is, too, the story of the victims: A 30-year-old secretary; a 28-year-old mother and her young son; a Las Vegas homosexual out on the make. The Diego judge, a "tremendous indictment against the California Youth Authority, Atascadero State Prison and the US Marine Corps."

Dark Secrets is not for the squeamish. When portions of the manuscripts were introduced as evidence in a murder trial, a man requested to do the reading. "I will not have a woman read those chapters to the jury," ruled Judge Earl Maas. "I may be a chauvinist in saying that, but I must insist that a man read them."

And no wonder. Dark Secrets packs a wallop. Members of the eight-woman, four-man jury and spectators in the tiny, windowless courtroom were visibly upset as portions of the manuscript were read.

The only person who remained calm during the proceedings was Billy Lee Chadd, the diminutive young author of Dark Secrets, on trial for rape and murder.

But Chadd's only concern was protecting the copyright to Dark Secrets. He wanted the manuscript published and he hoped it would make the best-seller list. He expressed no remorse for his victims - they represented nothing more than "research material."

Death was not to grieve over. To Chadd, death was a thrill, a sexual kick, something to enjoy. And when Chadd wrote or spoke of death, he did not leave out mention of his own.

"I fully expect a death penalty for my crimes," he wrote in Dark Secrets. And he went on: "If I don't receive one, I will take my own life, my final murder. I don't want to spend the rest of my life in a cage, animal though I may be. I could not ever live that way."

Few criminals have been so in love with death as Billy Chadd. He described creating the fear of death as a "power high. I am alive for the sole purpose of causing pain and receiving sexual gratification."

A demon ruled his life, he wrote. It urged and coaxed him, turned him into an animal. "I should have recognized it as a sickness and sought help. I thought of it from time to time, asking "Why?' But I could find no answer. Perhaps I just lost the ability to keep this ghastly animal in me in check.

"Do you have a monster in you?" Chadd asked rhetorically. "A monster lurking in the dark reaches of your mind? Wanting to spring out and take control of you?"

Chadd wrote that the monster inside him ruled his thoughts, urged him on to kill and kill again. The monster lived on death and human suffering and "it had to be fed again and again." In one murder, "my monster peeked out. He had been awakened and was watching how I was doing. I tried to stop what was happening, but I couldn't. It wasn't me anymore. It was the creature who thrived on fear and death, a creature who had lain dormant for so long that he would not be denied."

No doubt a "monster" had been responsible for the murder of Patricia Franklin, a 30-year-old secretary with the prestigious Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California. On the night of July 26th, 1974, Miss Franklin returned to her cosy home in Linda Vista and began to get ready for a date she had that night.

She never made it.

The following day, San Diego police found the woman's naked body tied to her bed. The house had been ransacked. Clothing, pulled from bureau drawers, was strewn about the floor. Detective Sergeant Ybarrondo, whose homicide team investigated the case, remembered the Franklin murder as one of the most vicious and savage crimes he had ever investigated.

The woman had been raped repeatedly before her death. One of her nipples had been nearly bitten off during the attack. Detectives counted 15 knife wounds in the neck.

From interviews with friends of the victim, Ybarrondo was able to reconstruct the events which led up to the murder. A boy friend had phoned Patricia about 7.30pm and spoke to her for several minutes. He then called back within an hour, but this time Patricia did not answer. It was during the time between the tow phone calls that police believed Patricia was raped and killed.

Detectives found a bath towel on the floor near the bed and the presence of water on the bathroom floor. They also found scratches on the exterior of the rear door. The house lights were still on when investigators entered the house. From this scanty evidence, Ybarrondo theorized that the victim, having returned home from work and spoken to her boy friend on the phone, entered the bathroom to take a shower. During this time, the killer forced the back door and entered the house. Confronting Patricia Franklin in the bathroom, he forced her into the bedroom. He cut down a Venetian-blind cord and tied up his victim. He then assaulted and killed her.

Investigators learned that Patricia Franklin was a diligent, kind person, not the type to make enemies. When police interviewed the victim's boy friends and acquaintances, they came up empty handed. Workers at Scripp's Clinic were unable to give probers a lead. Neighbours had seen nothing suspicious, heard nothing unusual that night. Police found no footprints outside the house, no physical evidence inside that they could attribute to Patricia's killer. A partial fingerprint was found in the bedroom, but it was not enough for identification purposes. After weeks of painstaking work, the investigators were no closer to finding a suspect in the murder.

Years were to pass before a solid lead developed. On February 15th, 1978, two schoolchildren returned to their Mira Mesa home for lunch and found the body of 28-year-old Linda Hewitt, their babysitter and mother of an infant son, sprawled on the floor, her body punctured by repeated stab wounds.

Detective Bob Quigley of San Diego was one of the probers assigned to the Linda Hewitt murder case. Quigley had investigated dozens of murders during his long career. The Linda Hewitt murder seemed to stand out from many of the others he had worked on. She had not died quickly. The killer had made the young woman suffer agonies before she died.

Her murder reminded the detective of another case he had investigated a few years before. Linda Hewitt and Patricia Franklin had not known each other. They had come from different backgrounds, had lived in different parts of the city and had been killed four years apart. Yet it appeared that the two women shared one thing in common - they had somehow met and been killed by the same man.

Linda Hewitt, like Patricia Franklin, had been savagely raped before her death. The young mother's hands had been stabbed repeatedly with a knife. The placement and repetition of the stab wounds caught the detective's eye. Her throat had been slashed, her spinal cord severe, her kidneys and back punctured several times.

Detectives learned that Linda Hewitt had lived in East San Diego, but had moved a few days before the murder to a trailer park in National City, a blue-collar suburb a few times from the Mexican border. Further investigation revealed that she had broken up with her boy friend only a few days before she moved. Detective Quigley interviewed the boy friend, a sailor, who was able to produce witnesses verifying that he was on board ship during the time the murder was committed.

Quigley next questioned bus drivers in an attempt to learn whether any remembered a passenger matching Linda Hewitt's description. None could. However, Quigley was able to turn up a witness who had seen Linda in Mira Mesa briefly on the morning she was killed.

A box of diapers had been found in the house where the victim had been babysitting. The investigator traced the sales receipt to a Mira Mesa drugstore, where an assistant said he remembered a customer matching Linda Hewitt's description. He said she purchased the diapers, while a man behind her pushed a baby pram. The assistant was unable to remember what the man looked like.

Quigley believed that there was a connection between Linda Hewitt and the man behind her pushing the baby pram. The baby was undoubtedly Linda's. It was unlikely that the mother would leave her baby at home alone while running to the drugstore to buy diapers. Quigley wanted very much to talk to the man. At the very least, he was one of the last person to see Linda Hewitt alive. At most, he could be a suspect in the girl's killing.

The drugstore assistant, although unable to describe the man with Linda, was willing to help in the investigation and agreed to be questioned by police under hypnosis. And it was soon apparent that he had observed more than he was consciously aware of. While in a hypnotic trance, he described the person to be a short man of medium build, somewhere in his early 20s. He wore a tight T-shirt and blue jeans. He was also clean-shaven and wore short hair, such as might be found on men in the military. And although the description was short on details and long on generalizations, it did lead probers to a suspect in the case.

One of the crime-scene investigators had discovered a fingerprint inside the home where Linda was slain. The location of the print indicated that it could have been left by the killer. Though smudged, the print appeared clear enough to be usable for a positive identification if probers located a suspect.

Not until a month later - on March 24th, 1978 - did police come up with a suspect in the two sex-related slayings. On that date, Louisiana sheriff's deputies, acting on an interstate fugitive warrant, arrested a young Marine corporal named Billy Lee Chadd. He was taken into custody in Lafayette, a small college town about 120 miles from New Orleans. The interstate teletype, issued by Chula Vista police, reported that Chadd was the primary suspect in a dual rape case which Chula Vista detectives were investigating.

ON MARCH 2nd, 1978, a Chula Vista woman had awakened to find a man standing in her bedroom, wielding a machete. He'd placed the blade edge of the weapon to her throat and raped her repeatedly. When her 17-year-old daughter entered the bedroom, the intruder assaulted her as well. The disturbance awakened other members of the family, which included the teenager's four sisters and her grandparents. The rapist held them at bay with the machete and herded everyone into the living room, where he directed the eldest daughter to tie and gag her sisters and grandparents.

The mother and daughter were bound and gagged, then forced into a car driven by the assailant. He drove east through Chula Vista and continued until he reached a remote and sparsely-populated section of the county, where he let them out. They were found walking along the roadway by a US Customs officer.

The mother, the wife of the Naval officer, told Chula Vista police that she recognized the man who raped her and her daughter. She told investigators she had visited Balboa Naval Hospital for a doctor's appointment. While waiting to see the doctor, she had talked briefly with a Marine corporal who was on duty at the hospital. The corporal, clipboard in hand, had asked the woman her name and address, saying that he merely needed the information to fill out a benefits form.

The next time she saw the Marine was in her bedroom, holding a machete knife in his hand. The Navy wife said she immediately recognized the Marine. Apparently the rapist was aware that she had recognized him, for on the car trip he kept saying: "You know me, don't you?"

With this information. Chula Vista detectives contacted the Navy, which checked through duty rosters and came up with the name of Billy Chadd, a Marine corporal who had been attached briefly to the hospital. Police rushed to Chadd's home on the small coastal town of Imperial Beach, where the suspect lived with his wife and 6-month-old child. The car was gone from the driveway. And neighbours told investigators that Chadd had been seen packing the car several days earlier, apparently preparing for a long trip. Chula Vista police, suspecting that Chadd was on the run, quickly issued a fugitive warrant.

After Chadd's apprehension, he was brought back to San Diego. The tow rape victims had no trouble in picking him out of a police lineup. After interviewing the suspect, detectives booked Chadd on rape, kidnapping and robbery charges. He was taken to the San Diego County jail to await trial.

Chadd was still awaiting trial when he received a visit from Detective-Sergeant Ybarrondo. The investigator had been tipped off by a prison inmate that Chadd might be responsible for the murder of Patricia Franklin. Chadd, in an expansive mood, had boasted of murdering a woman in Linda Vista in 1974.

Billy Chadd was at first unwilling to discuss the murder. Despite repeated attempts to draw information out of the inmate, the investigator was unable to get the quiet, soft-spoken Chadd to talk.

Then, some months later, in December, Ybarrondo again went to interview Billy Chadd, this time at the inmate’s insistence. Apparently the long months in jail had loosened his tongue, for the accused rapist was eager to discuss the rape and murder of Patricia Franklin and Linda Hewitt.

Under skilled questioning, Chadd detailed the gruesome events that led to the blood-frenzied stabbing death of the Scripp's Clinic secretary.

On the night of July 26th, 1974, Chadd said, he was driving around Linda Vista looking for a place to burgle. He was out of work - he had been fired from his job at a boatyard after he threatened to "rearrange the face of the foreman with a claw-hammer" - and had resorted to robbery to support himself and his family.

He said he saw a light on in a house and sized it up as "a good place to rob." He went to the front door with a 9-mm. pistol in his hand, but suddenly lost his nerve and returned to his car. A short time later, he returned, his courage now bolstered by a few quick beers. He went to the side of the house and forced the door.

"I surprised this chick coming out of the bathroom," Chadd confessed. He said he held the gun on the frightened woman and forced her to the bedroom, where he cut down a venation-blind cord and tied her to the bed. He then started to strangle the woman. When she passed out, he revived her with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Asked why he revived the girl, Chadd smiled. Creating the fear of death was a "high", a "trip" he enjoyed taking. He said he had raped a girl before and had enjoyed the experience. Murder was something new. He said he enjoyed torturing Patricia Franklin. "I brought her back to life so as not to be cheated of seeing her suffer more," he said. After reviving her, Chadd said, he finished her off by plunging his knife into her neck 12 times.

He said he felt no remorse over killing the defenceless woman. He was giddy with excitement when he left the Franklin home. "I laughed on the way home. I wasn't afraid or sorry. I felt good."

AS FOR Linda Hewitt, Chadd said their meeting came about by accident. He had dropped off his car in National City for repairs and was on a bus when he struck up a conversation with the young mother who was sitting near him. He accompanied Linda Hewitt and her 4-year-old boy to Mira Mesa. Chadd said he was attracted to the young mother with the pretty smile - and he became angry when she turned him away at the front door to the Mira Mesa home, where she babysat for the owner's children.

He forced his way into the house and dragged the terrified woman into the bedroom, where he stripped her and sexually assaulted her. Chadd said the woman did not resist him. He held his pocketknife to her throat and threatened to kill her and her son if she did not comply with his animal desires.

After he raped her, Chadd said, he let her get up and get dressed, but then changed his mind. In the living-room, he cut down a piece of cord and tied her hands. Once she was securely bound. Chadd began stabbing his victim.

"I stabbed her in the kidneys, severed her spinal cord, cut her throat," he said with a grin. At one point, he dropped the knife and began to strangle her. Linda's son began to move towards the knife on the floor and Linda cried out for Chadd to move the knife so that her boy would not be hurt. "I had already threatened to break the little bastard's neck," Chadd recalled. He said he picked up the knife and finished Linda Hewitt off, slashing her throat while her startled, uncomprehending offspring looked on.

Again, Chadd was remorseless. "I was laughing as I watched her eyes bulge and her body start to convulse," he recalled.

UNDER YBARRONDO'S questioning, Chadd admitted that the two women were not his only victims. In August, 1975, Chadd said, he was on holiday in Las Vegas and met Delmar Bright, a waiter at one of the city’s hotels. Chadd said Bright propositioned him and paid Chadd to pose in the nude. During the picture session, the waiter asked Chadd cared to engage in. "Bondage," was Chadd's one-word reply.

Chadd, who said he had experienced homosexual lovemaking while an inmate in the California Youth Authority, tied up Bright and stated that he was going to kill him. When Bright screamed for mercy, Chadd grabbed the helpless man and proceeded to strangle and stab him until he was dead. Las Vegas authorities later confirmed that a man named Delmar Bright had been killed in a motel room in the manner described by Chadd.

Chadd also admitted to killing a man in Ellsworth, Kansas, in June, 1974. Chadd related that he got into a fight with an older man and crushed the man’s skull with a rock. He then threw the body into a nearby river.

"I found myself thinking how easy it was to actually kill a person," he later wrote of the incident. "We die quite easily, you know. I wanted to share my new feelings with everyone."

Kansas authorities, however, had no record of finding the body of the man Chadd said he had killed. Though Chadd had no reason to lie, police needed more evidence in order to bring charges against the self-professed murderer.

Following his confession, Billy Chadd was returned to his cell. With time on his hands, Chadd began to write his memoirs, which he titled Dark Secrets - and to plot out his future. It didn't look good. He would be tried on murder, rape, robbery and kidnapping charges in California. If he managed to beat the courts there, then he would stand trial in Las Vegas.

At best, he would end up with a life sentence without possibility of parole. The way Chadd looked at it, a life sentence was a fate worse than death. The cold, grey walls were all he had to look forward to. And he knew he would not last long in that environment.

In the first weeks of December, 1978, Chadd complained of mental depressions and was visited by a county psychiatrist, who prescribed strong tranquillisers for the inmate. Chadd, however, managed to "tongue" the capsules until he had collected 40 pills - enough to literally kill a horse. On January 2nd, 1979, he attempted suicide by swallowing the pills in his cell. Only the quick actions of a sheriff's deputy saved Chadd's life.

THE INMATE'S brush with suicide, however, only whetted his appetite. Obsessed with the torture and murder of others in the past, Chadd was now consumed with the idea of his own destruction. When he first appeared in court, Chadd pleaded guilty to the murder of Patricia Franklin and Linda Hewitt and expressed his desire to sentenced to death.

The plea surprised Judge Charles Snell, who told Chadd that he could not plead guilty to a capital case in Municipal Court. He would have to wait until his case reached Superior Court.

Chadd received the news with little expression. He knew how the courts worked. Three weeks later, he again pleaded guilty to the murders, this time before Superior Court Judge Earl Gilliam. Judge Gilliam, like Judge Snell, refused to accept the plea and ordered Chadd to undergo psychiatric tests.

Two psychiatrists, Dr. Carl E. Lengyel and Dr. Bernard Hansen, gave independent examinations to the slightly-built inmate. On February 7th, they reported to Judge Ben Hamrick in a court hearing that Chadd was mentally competent and very much aware of what he was doing. When one of the doctors asked his why he was trying to plead guilty, Chadd replied: "To save a lot of my time in prison. It will cut the time in prison and bypass some courts. If I get death, I will not stay very long. I prefer death to life imprisonment. I am wanted in three states. One will give me the gas."

On February 16th, one year to the day after Linda Hewitt was raped, tortured and murdered, Billy Chadd pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.

Judge Gilliam listened while the defendant calmly recounted the grisly details of the murder of Patricia Franklin and Linda Hewitt and the rape and kidnapping of the Chula Vista mother and her daughter.

After detailed legal procedures, Judge Gilliam accepted Chadd's plea of guilty. The defendant was then scheduled to appear before a jury, which would decide whether he would get the death sentence former Marine to find pleasure in the torture and murder of three - possibly four - persons and now encouraged him to seek his own death?

Though the answer to that question might never be learned, a clue was provided when an envelope covered with drawings and scribbled Latin phrases was found stuck between pages of Chadd's manuscript.

The envelope showed drawings of a bearded goat's head with horns and a flowing beard, set inside a five-pointed star and a circle. Surrounding the drawing was the inscription: "In Nomine Di Nosiri Satanis, Luciferie Excelsie." The words, translated from Latin, were said to mean: "In the name of our Satan, Lucifer on highest."

A San Diego priest, who has studied cults and lectured on the subject of Satanic worship, said it was his belief that the inscription was a rough translation of Latin and that the writer perhaps meant to say: "In the name of our God, Satan Lucifer on Highest."

The cleric said that the goat's head was the Goat of Mendes, a Santanic symbol since medieval times. He added that the star was also a medieval symbol associated with devil worship.

All of this possibly gives some clue as to why Billy Chadd felt pleasure in torturing and murdering his victims and was able "to laugh on the way home" from the murder of Patricia Franklin.

Perhaps he did worship Satan. Certainly he reveled in the horrors and abnormal lusts that appeal to devil worshippers and other cultists. Or perhaps the trauma of his teenage years, several of them spent in juvenile reformatory, was to blame for his later depraved behaviour. In Dark Secrets, he wrote that he was a wild youth and was frequently in trouble with the police. In 1971, he was sentenced to the California Youth Authority on a rape charge - a crime he maintains he was innocent of. He escaped twice from CYA and "on my second escape, I really did rape a woman, mainly to see what it was like. Later that night, I thought about the rape and I decided it wasn't bad at all. I knew I would do it again."

After his arrest, he was sent to Youth Training School, a facility for juvenile offenders, which young Chadd laughingly referred to as a "Gladiator School." He tried to hand himself, failed miserably, then was sent to Atascadero State Hospital, an institution for the mentally ill.

Therapists and psychiatrists were supposed "to shrink" him back from the edge of madness. Instead, during his stay at the remformatory, Chadd was introduced to heroin use and homosexual relationships.

Such was the early life of Billy Chadd. The jury, however, did not have to determine the difficult question of motivation. Their job was much easier. They had to decide whether the crimes committed by Billy Lee Chadd warranted life imprisonment without possibility of parole - or the death sentence.

Defendant Billy Chadd had expressed his desire for the death sentence. He sat quietly in the courtroom while jurors listened to the evidence. He had refused to take the witness-stand during the penalty phase of the trial.

The evidence, which included portions of Dark Secrets and interviews with police investigators, was more than enough to convince the jurors. They deliberated less than two hours before reaching a verdict. On May 12th, 1979, Billy Lee Chadd was sentenced to die in the gas chamber at San Quentin.

"Death is an erotic experience for him." David Pitkin, the defendant's court-appointed attorney, told reporters after the trial. "He's looking forward to it."

And perhaps he was. As Billy Lee Chadd left the San Diego courthouse, he had a smile on his lips.

No comments: