Richard Chase was a serial killer whose infatuation with blood and tendency to drink his victims' blood earned him the nickname Vampire Killer.
Richard Chase was one disturbed serial killer.
Technically all serial killers are disturbed, but there’s a sliding scale. And Richard Chase, the “Vampire of Sacramento,” definitely skewed towards the tippy top of that scale.
Chase’s spree included six victims in Sacramento, California in the late 1970s before he was caught in 1980. Not surprisingly given his nickname, Richard Chase’s trademark was drinking the blood of his victims after he killed him, also earning him the nickname of the Vampire Killer.
But believe it or not, drinking the victims’ blood wasn’t even the Vampire of Sacramento’s most disturbing trait.
Chase was already a troubled child, thanks in large part to his abusive parents. He showed early signs of his future behavior in the form of arson, bedwetting, and cruelty to animals. These three habits are sometimes called the Macdonald triad, or the triad of sociopathy, proposed by psychiatrist J.M. Macdonald in 1963.
Chase turned to alcohol and drugs as an adolescent, which quickly turned to substance abuse. A slew of other odd behaviors also pointed to potential trouble.
He would complain that on occasion his heart had stopped beating. He thought that he lacked vitamin C and as a result would hold oranges up to his head with the belief that his brain would absorb the nutrients.
Chase also shaved his head because he believed that the bones in his skull had become detached and were moving around. Shaving his head was a means of monitoring that activity.
Labeled a paranoid schizophrenic, Chase was institutionalized in the mid-1970s after he was found injecting rabbit’s blood into his veins. This is when he first got his vampire nickname roots after the staff dubbed him Dracula due to his infatuation with blood.
Richard Chase was eventually released and moved from his mother’s house out of fear that she was poisoning him. He moved into a shared apartment with friends. But as they grew fed up with his behavior, particularly that he was high all the time and constantly walked around naked even with company over, they asked him to leave.
When Chase refused to move out, his roommates did instead. Left alone in the apartment, Chase’s tendencies became more extreme and more gruesome.
It started with capturing and killing small animals.
He then would eat them raw or blend the organs with soda and drink the mixture.
December 29, 1977 was the Vampire Killer’s first murder. Ambrose Griffin was a 51-year-old man who was helping his wife bring in groceries when Chase killed him in a drive-by shooting.
His subsequent murders all hinged on his ability to enter homes whose owners left their doors unlocked. Chase would later state that he saw unlocked doors as an invitation.
On January 23, 1978, Chase entered the home of Teresa Wallin, who was pregnant, through her unlocked front door. He shot her three times using the same gun he used to shoot Griffin. Chase proceeded to stab her with a butcher knife and have sex with her corpse before cutting out her organs and drinking her blood. He reportedly used a yogurt container as a cup.
The final murder spree Chase went on before getting caught was the most gruesome of all.
It was January 27, 1978, just four days after Wallin’s murder. The victims included Jason Miroth, his mother Evelyn Miroth, and a friend named Dan Meredith. They were all killed by Chase inside Evelyn’s home.
Meredith was murdered in the hallway, dead by a gunshot wound to the head. Chase subsequently stole his car keys.
Evelyn and Jason were found in Evelyn’s bedroom. Six-year-old Jason had been shot twice in the head.
Evelyn was partially cannibalized. Her stomach was cut open and she had multiple organs missing. There was also a failed attempt to remove one of her eyes and she had been sodomized as well.
22-month-old David Ferreira was Evelyn Miroth’s nephew who she was babysitting, and was the only one missing from the scene of the crime.
The child’s decapitated corpse was found months later behind a church.
It came out during the trial that the knock of a visitor startled Chase, who took Ferreira’s body and fled via Meredeth’s stolen car. The visitor alerted a neighbor who then called the cops. The authorities were able to identify Chase’s handprint in Miroth’s blood.
When the police searched Chase’s apartment, they found that all of his utensils were stained with blood. He was arrested shortly after.
The trial of Richard Chase began on January 2, 1979 and lasted five months. The defense attorneys rejected the suggested death penalty on the grounds that Chase was not guilty by reason of insanity.
In the end, after five hours of deliberation, the jury took the side of the prosecution. Richard Chase, the Vampire of Sacramento, was found guilty of six counts of murder and sentenced to death by gas chamber.
His fellow inmates who knew of his crimes were frightened by him so they often encouraged him to kill himself.
Richard Chase did just that, overdosing on the stockpile of drugs he was keeping. He was found dead in his jail cell the day after Christmas in 1980.