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Charles Montaldo

Serial Killer Arthur Shawcross Dies in Prison

By November 12, 2008

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A New York man convicted of strangling and mutilating 11 women in the downtown Rochester area has died while serving a life sentence in prison. Arthur Shawcross, who was on parole for two other killings at the time of the Rochester murders, died at an Albany hospital after complaining of leg pains.

Evidence of mutilation and cannibalism highlighted Shawcross' 13-week trial.

In 1972, Shawcross was sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing two Watertown girls. He was out on parole when the series of murders of 11 women began in Rochester. Police said his victims were primarily prostitutes that he raped and mutilated before disposing of their bodies throughout the city.

During his trial, his defense attorneys tried to argue that Shawcross was insane as a result of brain damage, his abusive childhood and his experiences in Vietnam. Shawcross said he heard voices that told him to kill.

Faking Insanity

However, in interviews with prosecution psychiatrist Dr. Park Dietz, Shawcross said he never heard voices or had multiple personalities. Dietz testified that Shawcross was faking mental illness to avoid prison.

During the murders, he was known as the Genessee River Killer. His case was the subject of the book, "The Misbegotten Son," by Jack Olsen.

See Also:
Serial Killer Arthur Shawcross Dead at 63

Read the Book:
The Misbegotten Son
True Crime Books About Psychopathic Killers

Photo: Mug Shot


November 12, 2008 at 9:02 am
(1) Kathy says:

There is an error in this story. He was on probation for murdering a boy and a girl. Not 2 girls. I live in the Rochester area. Shame on our state judicial system for ever allowing this freak to roam our streets. He should been put away for life, better yet, executed the first time. The NYS judicial system is seriously flawed.

November 12, 2008 at 6:48 pm
(2) victor says:

this is why there should be no parole.and how in the world do you only get 15 years for killing 2 people??an eye for an eye is the only justice.

November 13, 2008 at 11:44 am
(3) leavette says:

I honestly think that the justice system stinks anyways if you got money and your in major trouble with the law money will help your situation and also if your white that helps to if your black and commit the same crime a white man commits the black mans punishment is ten times worse there are some ignorant people in this world today

November 13, 2008 at 7:27 pm
(4) Anonymous says:

Arthur shaucross was and still is an evil monster in human form. Why in gods name was
he allowed parole for killing two children?
It should have been a life sentence without
parole with the first conviction. Their would have been a lot of lives spared, I could give a rats ass about his disfunctional childhood.
He should have got the death penalty so he can reunite with the devil. The insanity plea
give me a break he knew exactly what he was doing he is nothing but a cold blooded psychopathic killer.The judicial system protects these monsters they know how to manipulate the judges and the system.

March 13, 2009 at 8:48 am
(5) marissa says:

im glad hes dead!!! he killed someone i knew and i hope he is burning in hell !!!!

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