Caril Ann Fugate Teen Killer And Charles Starkweather

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Caril Ann Fugate was the youngest woman in United States history to be convicted of first degree murder.  When Caril Ann Fugate was thirteen years old she began dating Charles Starkweather who was eighteen years old.  After they were dating for awhile Caril Ann Fugate mother and father were murdered allegedly by Charles Starkweather though there is some belief Fugate had a hand in it.  The duo would then go on a multi state crime wave where six people were murdered.  In the end Charles Starkweather would be sentenced to death and would later be executed.  Both of the young lovers tried to blame each other for the murders.  This teen killer would serve seventeen years in prison before being released.  The movie Natural Born Killers is loosely based on Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate

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Mass murderer Charles Starkweather’s teen girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, is planning another request for a state pardon, and her attorney is trying to turn the request into a campaign issue. John Stevens Berry, a Lincoln attorney and co-author of a recent book about Fugate, said he plans to submit a request soon for a hearing before the State Board of Pardons. Along with the request, Berry said he will survey the candidates for governor, attorney general and secretary of state — the three offices that comprise the Pardons Board — so voters know where they stand on the request. “People want to know how candidates stand on a lot of issues. I want to know,” the attorney said. “And I want everyone else to know.” Representatives of gubernatorial candidates Democrat Chuck Hassebrook and Republican Pete Ricketts declined requests for comment. Fugate was 14 years old when Starkweather, 19, went on a killing spree that began in Lincoln and ended in Wyoming. Among the 11 killed were Fugate’s mother, stepfather and 2-year-old half-sister. It stands as the largest mass killing in state history — a notorious crime that has been the subject of movies, books and songs. Starkweather was sentenced to die and was executed on June 25, 1959. Fugate, who said she was forced to accompany Starkweather, was found guilty of being an accessory to first-degree murder in connection with the robbery and murder of one of the victims, Robert Jensen, 17, of Bennet, Nebraska. She admitted taking $4 from Jensen’s wallet just before he and a friend, Carol King, 16, were shot to death. Fugate was sentenced to life in prison. Later, the sentence was commuted to 30 to 50 years in prison, which opened the way for her to be paroled in 1976. In 1996, she asked for a pardon, saying: “The sentence did not fit the crime.” “Everyone knows I never killed anyone,” Fugate told The World-Herald in 1996. But the board voted 2-0 to reject her request for a hearing. The two members present at the meeting, then-Secretary of State Scott Moore and then-Attorney General Don Stenberg, said mercy wasn’t warranted given the horrendous string of crimes. “In my mind, the State of Nebraska has already been very generous to Caril Ann Fugate,” Stenberg, who is now state treasurer, ssaid of her earlier release from prison. But that decision hasn’t quelled the debate over Fugate’s guilt or innocence. Those who believe she was guilty say she knew her family had been killed and should have escaped from Starkweather. Those who disagree feel the 14-year-old was terrorized by Starkweather, who was five years older, and they say she was not aware of the slayings of her family until the pair were arrested. That debate was given new life earlier this year by the publication of a book, “The Twelfth Victim,” which argues that Fugate should have been found innocent. Berry co-wrote the book with Linda Battisti, an Ohio lawyer who befriended Fugate and interviewed her several times. One goal in publishing the book, they have said, was to obtain a pardon for Fugate, now 71 and living in Michigan. Berry, a longtime defense attorney, said Starkweather told investigators several times that Fugate was not involved in the slayings, only to change his story just prior to her trial. Starkweather, the attorney said, was baited into changing his story by Lancaster County Sheriff Merle Karnopp, who had Fugate write a note saying that she didn’t want to see Starkweather again. Starkweather ultimately testified that Fugate was a willing participant in the murder spree. Berry said the manipulation of Starkweather’s testimony was just one aspect of the unjust prosecution of Fugate. “His lies convicted Caril,” Berry said. “We are convinced not only that she was treated illegally and unjustly, but was, in fact, innocent.”

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