Charles Starkweather biography
Born on November 24, 1938, in Lincoln, Nebraska, Charles Starkweather was bullied and became a high school dropout who worshipped rebellious, outlaw attitudes. He killed a gas station attendant in 1957 and, the following year, with girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate, embarked on a murderous rampage that would leave 10 people dead, including Fugate's family. Starkweather was tried and executed in Lincoln on June 25, 1959.
Charles Raymond Starkweather was born on November 24, 1938, in Lincoln, Nebraska. The third of seven children born to Guy and Helen Starkweather, Charles Starkweather grew up during the Great Depression. He left school at the age of 16, taking work as a lorry loader for a local newspaper business. He also became romantically involved with a kindred rebellious spirit, Caril Ann Fugate, who was only 13 years old at the time.
Murderous Rampage Begins
Starkweather left the newspaper haulage job to find work as a refuse collector, but the injustice of his poverty, as he saw it, began to consume him, and he convinced himself that crime was his only route to financial gain. Within a week of his 19th birthday, on November 30, 1957, Starkweather took his first victim, gas station attendant Robert Colvert, for $100. Shortly thereafter, he shot and killed Fugate's mother and stepfather, Velda and Marion Bartlett, and killed her 2-year-old half-sister, Betty Jean.
Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate were officially on the run, killing family friend August Meyer on January 27, 1958, and stealing food and money from his farm. They then robbed and killed a teenage couple, Robert Jensen and Carole King. After returning home to Lincoln, they sought refuge at the home of a wealthy industrialist, C. Lauer Ward. They killed both Mr. and Mrs. Ward and their maid, then headed to Washington state, where Starkweather's brother lived.
Surrender, Trial and Sentencing
En route to Washington, Starkweather killed shoe salesman Merle Collison for his car. A high-speed police chase ensued, ending in Starkweather's surrender.
Charged with multiple counts of murder, Charles Starkweather pleaded innocent by reason of insanity. He was found guilty, and was sentenced to death and executed in Lincoln, Nebraska, on June 25, 1959. Fugate claimed that she was a hostage, but the jury found her guilty. Because she was only 14 years old when she participated in the murders, she received a life sentence. She was paroled in June 1976.