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4 Seemingly Normal People Who Make Dexter Look Like a Model Citizen

Showtime's Dexter Has Plenty of Real Life Peers

By Joe Oesterle     September 25, 2009
Source: www.joeartistwriter.com


4 Seemingly Normal People Who Make Dexter Look a Model Citizen
© Bob Trate

 

 For millions of otherwise well-adjusted television viewers, the long-suffering months of cruel and calculated deprivation are finally coming to an end. Dexter, Showtime’s dark drama returns to put these tormented souls out of their collective misery.
What makes title character/serial killer Dexter Morgan, America’s most beloved mass-murdering psychopath is this amiable enough anti-hero lives (and slaughters) by his own unique moral code. It turns out watching a fictional good-guy serial killer, from the safety of your own couch is much preferred to actually spending any time at all at the homes of this anti-social bunch of reprobates.
 

4. Albert Fish

Albert Fish, a.k.a., The Brooklyn Vampire, The Gray Man, The Werewolf of Wysteria - believed God had ordered him to castrate, kill and eat dozens, if not hundreds of young children, mostly boys.
 
At age five, Fish was sent to an orphanage where discipline often meant naked and communal beatings, which were administered by the teachers. Already deemed a strange child by faculty and fellow orphans alike, Fish found the punishment so pleasurable, he would often grow erect in front of the entire class. This only further alienated him from his peers.
 
As an adult, Fish entered into an arranged marriage and successfully managed to keep his secret dark side away from his wife and six children. He became a male prostitute when he moved to New York at 20 years old, and evidence suggests it was around this time he started molesting young boys. His morbid sexual fantasies turned to reality shortly after and he added castration and cannibalism to his list of grisly atrocities.
 
Fish was eventually apprehended in 1935, after sending a letter to the parents of 10-year-old victim, Grace Budd. In the note he described in graphic detail how he tortured the innocent girl. 
 
First I stripped her naked. How she did kick–bite and scratch. I choked her to death, then cut her in small pieces so I could take my meat to my rooms. Cook and eat it. How sweet and tender her little ass was roasted in the oven. It took me 9 days to eat her entire body. I did not fuck her tho I could of had I wished. She died a virgin.”
 
After being taken into custody, an x-ray revealed at least 29 needles that were self-embedded into Fish’s pelvis and perineum. Before his execution by electric chair in 1936, Fish bragged that he had tortured, murdered, raped and/or eaten children in every state.
 

 

3. Josef Fritzl

The recent discovery of 18 year captive, Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped at the age of 11, reminded many of the horrifying story of Elisabeth Fritzl, and her monster of a father, Josef Fritzl.
 
For 24 years, Josef Fritzl managed to not only imprison his own daughter in an underground dungeon in the family home in Austria, (a dungeon which Elisabeth ironically helped build) but he also was able to keep the appalling secret from his wife and mother of Elisabeth, Rosemarie Fritzl.  
 
Josef Fritzl reportedly started sexually abusing Elisabeth when she was only 11 years old. Elisabeth had tried moving out and even ran away at the age of 15, but she was found by Vienna police, and brought back to the Fritzl home. When she was 18, Josef lured her down to the hidden cellar, asking if she could help him carry a heavy door. It was then that he drugged his daughter with ether, locked her away behind heavy doors. (One was 1,000 pounds, the other 600 pounds.)
 
Rosemarie immediately filled out a missing persons claim and within a month, a letter, addressed to the couple showed up in their mailbox. It was in Elisabeth’s handwriting, and Josef, who had coerced Elisabeth into writing it for fear of her life, handed over to the police immediately. The note suggested that Elisabeth had joined a religious cult, and never wanted anything to do with her parents or six other siblings.
 
The real story sadly, is far more disturbing. Elisabeth was confined to her small makeshift prison cell and would be visited by Josef once every three days for food, supplies and often forced sexual intercourse. The incestuous relationship resulted in seven children–three of whom were kept in the dungeon with Elisabeth. Three other children were “found” on the doorstep as infants by Josef, accompanied by notes from Elisabeth begging the Fritzl’s to raise the babies. The other child died of respiratory problems after surviving just three days. Josef incinerated the tiny body in his own yard.
 
Josef Fritzl was eventually discovered after he agreed to allow the eldest of the children he produced with Elisabeth, nine-year-old Kerstin, to a hospital after a she became ill due to kidney failure.
It took a week, to assure the youngster that no harm would come to her mother, siblings and even Josef, but police soon discovered the shameful sickening truth about Josef Fritzl.
On March 19, 2009, Josef Fritzl was found guilty of murder by negligence of his infant son/grandson, Michael, as well as the enslavement, incest, rape, coercion and false imprisonment of his daughter, Elisabeth, and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
 

2. John Wayne Gacy

John Wayne Gacy is easily one of America’s most frightening serial killers. Strangely, thanks to a strange pop culture fascination, Gacy has become as well known for his amateurish death row artwork, as he is infamous as a murderer.
 
While married to his first wife, Gacy seemed to live the life of a contented suburban husband and father. He managed a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Waterloo Iowa, was named “outstanding vice-president” of the local Jaycees, and often dressed up as a children’s clown during neighborhood block parties which he often organized.
 
Behind the satisfied facade however, Gacy was charged with sexually assaulting two teenage boys, and later paid another teenager to beat up his accusers. Gacy was eventually found guilty of sodomy with under aged boys and was given ten years in the Iowa State Pen. While in prison his wife divorced him, and he never saw his children again. After serving only 18 months, Gacy was paroled for good behavior.
In 1971, Gacy moved to the outskirts of Chicago, married and divorced his second wife after she was sick of finding ID’s of young men around the house.
 
Between the years 1971 and 1978, John Wayne Gacy had managed to avoid numerous arrests--from accusations of disorderly conduct, to suspicion of murder--thanks to the utter incompetence of the Chicago police.
 
In 1978, 15-year-old Robert Piest disappeared from a pharmacy in Des Plaines, Illinois where he worked after school. The owner of the pharmacy recalled Gacy speaking to Piest the night before the teenager vanished, and while Gacy denied ever talking to the adolescent, the Des Plaines police checked into Gacy’s records and noticed his jail record. A quick search of Gacy’s home the next day revealed a 1975 class ring, driver’s licenses from other missing persons, a syringe and a receipt from the very pharmacy where Piest worked.
 
In no time Gacy confessed to the murders of between 25 and 30 people over the years, often young male prostitutes. He would lure them back to his place with promises of drugs and payment, and then while his victims were handcuffed, sometimes thought to be part of a harmless fetish, other times frighteningly against their will, he would choke them with a 2x4 board while having his way sexually with the terrified victims.
Police soon discovered the remains of 29 bodies on his property, many were found in the crawlspace underneath his home.
 
Many celebrities had been embarrassed by their own connections to the serial killer. In 1978, he was photographed with First Lady, Rosalynn Carter. Later, a painting Gacy completed while awaiting execution, was signed by 46 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, including; Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Sandy Koufax. President Richard Nixon also wrote his signature on the canvas. None of the signers were aware Gacy had created the painting.
 

1. Dorothea Puente

Lest anyone feels this list is biased towards men, we present Dorothea Puente. Born Dorothea Helen Gray, Puente married five times, was charged with nine murders is currently serving time for three of those.
 
A career criminal, Puente served her first stint of 90 days at the age of 31 for owning and operating a brothel in Sacramento. Her second 90-day sentence, almost immediately after her release was for vagrancy. After that stay, Puente managed to keep her illicit activities on the down low for a few years, and spent her free time searching the local bars for elderly men who were receiving benefits. She would then make herself comfortable in their homes, and now and then she’d steal their money or forge their signatures on pension checks.
 
Robbing the old and the invalid became easy enough, and Puente figured she might be able to make some steadier income if she didn’t have to hustle as much. In 1981, the 52-year old shady lady began renting an upstairs apartment from her own. Before long she was running a boarding home for the elderly, the infirmed and the drug addled–anyone who she felt might be an easy mark. A few tenants complained when they didn’t receive their full share of whatever small amounts of money they were collecting, but Puente usually was able to convince her boarders that she was depositing their checks for them, and in reality she was–only in her account. 
 
Eventually someone would threaten to report her to the authorities, but after an argument of that nature the person never again questioned Puente’s integrity, that’s because she killed them and buried the bodies in the basement.
 
Business was good for Puente in the 1980’s, as she earned an extra $5,000 a month siphoning funds from her renters, and the money continued to roll in long after their death, as Puente would simply forge the check, and cash them herself.
 
In 1988 however, at the behest of a social worker, police inquired as to the whereabouts of a mentally challenged resident, Alvaro Montoya. While conducting a routine search, law enforcement observed a recent patch of disturbed soil on the property, and they discovered the body of 78-year-old Leona Carpenter. Seven more bodies were subsequently found and Puente was charged with a total of nine murders.
The 80-year-old Puente is currently serving two consecutive life sentences. 

 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 23
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Chopsaki 9/25/2009 4:11:53 AM

Dexter is a great show, can't wait till it's back. John Lithgow will be an interesting addition.

LittleNell1824 9/25/2009 6:55:02 AM

I can't watch Dexter. I have a serial killer phobia. When I was a little girl, I saw footage of Ted Bundy in the courtroom, looking all charming and innocent. Even the judge said he had trouble believing Bundy was guilty. I also saw a TV movie about the Kitty Genovese murder - the woman whose murder by a serial killer was both heard and witnessed by people in her apartment complex. No one intervened.

As a young girl, this taught me that predators walk among us, and people allow it even when they know better. They do this because predators can be charming, or invisible everymen. Or because they believe the victim knows his/her attacker which makes it a personal family matter. No one wants to get involved, or believe that one of their nieghbors/peers could do such a thing.

So, I occassionally read about serial killers to try to understand what isn't understandable. I listen to radio interviews by law enforcement and psychologists who are experts in serial killers. It helps for a little while, but ultimately it makes me feel sick and helpless. The idea that Dexter is a hero, a man who enjoys killing, makes me sick. I should be happy that he's killing what scares me, but I don't. Why?

When you look at the list above, everyone but Dorothea was motivated by sex. It's an incredibly strong impulse - these men just could not get it going unless they were in control to the point of - or after - death occuring. So, when I think of Dexter, I can't help but think of him doing what most serial killers do after a kill. Yuck. Dexter the sad vigilante, I could sympathise with. Dexter the serial killer, I can't. Not at all.

ddiaz28 9/25/2009 8:15:12 AM

Nell, you should try thinking of Dexter as a supernatural killer.  They only allude to the Dark Passenger in the show but in the books, Dexter is motivated by his bonafied inner demon.  So if you think of it like that, he's like Freddy, Jason or Mike Myers.  He's not motivated by human urges, just the need of his demon to kill.  Unlike these real life killers, who's behaviors always evolve and become ever sicker, Dexter seems to keep to Harry's code quite well with one or two slip ups here and there.  He's a vigilante with a sadistic twist.  In the end he's bringing justice to those who never would get it and most likely saving lives in the process.  That is why the audience can accept what he does and empathize with him.  Even though we know he's doing wrong, we all love to see him serve out his brand of justice.

LittleNell1824 9/25/2009 8:49:48 AM

Yeah, ddiaz28, I didn't mean to imply that people who enjoy Dexter are sick. I've heard it's a great show and I can relate to the justice aspect. It's just that I've read and heard too many details about real serial killers.

But, if there's a demonic aspect, and Dexter's not a real serial killer as we know them, but more vampiric because he's connected to a supernatural entity, then maybe I could let go of everything I know and enjoy it. I should give it a try. My sister gets the DVDs... I'll think about it.

superrichtheman 9/25/2009 9:01:09 AM

Can't wait for Season 4, even though Season 3 was kind of lame.

jedibanner 9/25/2009 9:48:41 AM

In a way Nell, you bring up a good point where reality of real serial killer VS fantasy killer is sometime a line we forget in our fantasy world and the reality of a serial killer is to always be taken seriously.

Punisher, Dexter, Wolverine, they are fictional character that all have a dark past which includes killing and murder...yet we love them and admire them. Sure, it's fantasy and fiction but yet, we sometimes  forget that serial killers are out there and anyone who killes more then one person is usually by definition a serial killer, regardless of why they did it. In our world of comics, we try to justify what they do with morality and reasoning yet in real life, serial killer will often use those same excuses as their drive to act the way they did and as a society, we don't accept that....but we forget Wolverine and the Punisher.

Obviously the fantasy characters have not done anything close to what these mentioned killers have done but still, morality (or more specifically, my morality) defines that regardless if you kill someone for ''good'' reasons or not, it's still murder. We forget that when murderers are trying to justify their actions, serial killers act the same way. Some view those reasons as acceptable while others don't but it comes down to the same reflex: heroes, villains, murderers, serial killers, all act within their own mentality of reasoning which in their view, is justifyable and it's up to the society that we are to accept or not certain venues of their personalities and actions.

I studied spychology in my youth because I had a great interest in the minds of serial killers. I loved to learn what Ted Bundy or Charles Manson or any other killer had though and explained for their murders. Imagine my reaction when I saw a character called the Punisher who was killing almost everyday...I included that into my theasis and it was greatly appreciated to come up with a sense of reality VS fantasy.

And the strangest part...I saw Dexter once and never really got into it....he murders people.....that's it.....for me, it doesn't matter if he has ''good'' reasons to do it, he's still a killer. He's not fully portrait that way and that bugs me.

But hey, fun article.

Thorn 9/25/2009 10:33:59 AM

 Actually, Charles Manson has never actually killed anyone himself.

tjanson 9/25/2009 10:40:21 AM

Good job but where's Ed Gein?  He was viewed as pretty normal...until they found lamp shades made out of human skin and bowls made out of skulls....

LittleNell1824 9/25/2009 10:46:23 AM

Thorn, that's popularly accepted, but experts don't believe it. There are suspected murders besides the famous massacres and Manson himself alluded to murders he had personally committed. Some of the suspected victims were people who went to the ranch but were never seen again. I don't know if they were followers who were seen as unreliable or people who were just murdered for their money.

LittleNell1824 9/25/2009 10:54:49 AM

Good point Tim. Ed Gein should be listed because he was so inspirational, giving birth to both Psycho's Norman Bates and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. His story almost reads like fiction. A single man, a single house, a crazy controlling mother. Did you know that the neighbors liked to use Ed Gein as a babysitter? 

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