When Richard Speck was asked if he had killed the nurses. Speck responded, "Sure I did." When asked why, Speck shrugged and jokingly said,"It just wasn't their night." When asked how he felt about himself in the years since, he said, "Like I always have felt ... If you're asking me if I felt sorry, no."
On July 13th, 1966, a young nurse in a dormitory hides under the bed listening to the screams of eight of her friends who one at a time are taken into a back room and murdered by a crazed killer. Terrified she lays still hoping that he has forgotten about her and will not look under the bed!
In the mid-1960s, 23-year-old Corazon Amurao had obtained a nursing degree in the Philippines and had been working for two years for Manilla before she applied and accepted a position as a nurse in an American hospital. Her new job was in Chicago where she resided in a townhouse with eight other young women in her field.
Five of her new roommates were also from the Philippines whilst the other three were American born. Amurao had been born and raised in a tiny village with a population of only 200 people. Standing at 4’11 and weighing barely 100 pounds, life in one of America’s toughest cities did not intimidate her. She loved both her new home and friends.
After a long shift at work, Amarao had been relaxing in her normal nightly routine. At about 10.30 pm, she headed off to bed. The sound of knocking on her door woke her up half an hour later.
Richard Benjamin Speck came from a large religious family with seven other siblings. He lost his father at age six and his mother remarried moving the family from Illinois to Texas. His stepfather was a cruel and abusive drunk. Speck still young had started drinking and his misconduct quickly escalated to petty crimes.
In November 1962, Speck married and his wife gave birth to their daughter. His criminal tendencies soon returned leading his wife to file for divorce. He spent the next four years in and out of jail for charges of theft, check fraud and aggravated assault.
By April of 1966, Speck had become the main suspect in the disappearance or murderers of nine women. He was expert at evading the police who were trying to track him down for questioning. He had been working as a sea merchant and thus rarely stayed for very long in one place. The victims ranged in age from nine years old to 70.
Born to Raise Hell
During Speck’s incarceration he had had the words “Born to Raise Hell” tattooed on his arm. Those words rang true that night he broke into the Chicago townhouse and knocked on Amurao’s door.
Earlier that morning Speck had gone to the National Maritime Union in Deering, Illinois to pick up his sea merchant’s card for a job. He lost the position out to a more experienced sailor. Speck had counted on the work and found himself stranded and without money for a room that night.
Frustrated, he spent the day drinking at taverns and then raped a 53-year-old woman from whom he stole her mail-order handgun. Dressed in black he headed towards the townhouse armed with the pistol and a knife.
Six women were at the townhouse when the blonde haired man with the pocked marked door made his entrance. He herded them into a bedroom and promised not to hurt them. Speck explained that he just needed some money to make it to New Orleans.
Shortly after, the other three Phillipino residents returned home where they tried to hide in a closet. Speck ordered the other women to get them out. The American girls told them they were safe and it was just a robbery,
Speck now had all nine nurses trapped in the room.
And the Killing Began…
Speck always claimed that his original intent had been to go simply rob these women. However, one of them had angered him and this snapped him into a rage. He had bound their hands with bedsheets torn to strips. He spent the next five hours torturing and killing each woman one by one. Two of them had tried to unsuccessfully escape but Speck had caught them and instantly stabbed them to death. He slit six of their throats, strangled the other two and raped the final victim.
The women endured mental torture as they listened to screams of their friends. The same fate that awaited them. Completely lost in his frenzy of madness, Speck miscounted the women and forgot Amurao. When he left the room, the petite nurse had managed to squeeze her frame to barely just fit under the bed. She lay for there for hours after Speck had left fearing the possibility he could still be nearby.
By 6am she had wiggled her way out, freed her hands from the bed strips and ran to the window climbing over the ledge. For twenty minutes she screamed “My friends are all dead!”.
She had stepped over seven bodies on the way. Finally, a man walking his dog heard her cries for help and the police were called.
A few days later Speck was lying in a hospital room after a unsuccessful suicide attempt. The doctor who treated his wounds noticed the “Born to Raise Hell” tattoo and took initiative to ask if he was who they were looking for regarding the nurse killings.
Speck still fairly sedated had nodded his head. Soon after he received an unexpected visit from Amurao fully dressed in her nursing uniform and accompanied by the police. few days later. Again his tattoo made his identification very simple.
Nine months later, Amarao faced Speck in court. Showing strength and courage she walked over to his chair and pointed at him stating”this is the man” leaving no doubt in the mind of the jurors. They found him guilty in less than an hour.
His defense team had claimed that he had obsessive-compulsive disorder to explain the mental torture that each nurse must have gone through as she awaited her turn for death. He was drunk and high, had a childhood brain injury, planned only to rob them and finally struggled with a madonna-whore complex that triggered his hatred of women.
The court were not sympathetic to his pleas sentencing Speck to the electric chair. Amarao returned to the Phillippines where she married and raised a family.
Speck Gets More Bizzarre!
Finally, in 1988 Speck made a full confession to the murders and described all the gory details on a film produced by fellow inmates. He stated in it that although he was under the influence, he could just have well have done it sober.
He also described in detail the experience of strangling someone: “It’s not like TV … it takes over three minutes and you have to have a lot of strength.”
The film was shown to a packed auditorium by the Illinois legislature. People had been waiting years to finally hear Speck’s confession. However, the film wasn’t exactly what they were anticipating.
A shocked audience witnessed Richard Speck appear on the screen snorting large quantities of coke in the jailhouse and performing oral sex on another inmate. He was sporting large fake breasts grown from hormones smuggled into the facility. And in some scenes, he proudly paraded around in silk panties. Needless to say, it was awkward and the movie was abruptly shut off.
Richard Speck died in 1991 of a heart attack at age 50.