The Early YearsJerry Brudos' love for shoes began at the age of five, after he rescued a pair of high-heel shoes from the garbage. As he grew older, his unusual interest in shoes developed into a fetish which he satisfied by breaking into homes to steal shoes and women's underwear. When he was in his teens he added violence to his repertoire and began knocking down girls, choking them until they were unconscious, then stealing their shoes.
At age 17 he was sent to the Oregon State Hospital psychiatric ward after he confessed to holding a girl at knife-point in a hole he dug in the side of a hill for the purpose of keeping sex slaves. There he forced her to pose nude while he took pictures. Brudos was released from the hospital after nine months, even though it was clear he had developed a need to act out his violent fantasies towards women. According to his hospital records, his violence toward women developed from a deep hatred he felt for his mother.
Married With ChildrenOnce out of the hospital he finished high school and became an electronics technician. Whether he refrained from acting out on his obsessions over the next few years or he just didn't get caught is unknown. What is known is that he married, moved to Portland, Oregon and he and his wife had two children. His mother later joined the family in their small suburban home.
Brudos' relationship with his wife began to falter after he approached her dressed in women's underwear. Up to that point she had gone along with his strange bedroom habits, including his request that she walk around the house nude. Rejected by her lack of understanding of his need to wear women's underwear, he retreated to his workshop which was off-limits to the family. No longer intimate, the two remained married despite his wife discovering pictures of nude women and an odd molded breast among her husband's possessions.
Brudos' Known VictimsBetween 1968 and 1969 women in and around the Portland area began to disappear. In January 1968, Linda Slawson, 19, working as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesperson, happened to knock on Brudos' door. He later confessed to killing her, then cutting off her left foot to use as a model for his collection of stolen shoes.
His next victim was Jan Whitney, 23, whose car broke down while driving home from college in November 1968. Brudos later admitted to strangling Whitney in her car, then having sex with her body and bringing her corpse back to his workshop where he continued to violate the body for several days while it hung from a hook on his ceiling. Before disposing of her body he cut off her right breast in order to make a mold from it in the hopes of making paperweights.
On March 27, 1969, Karen Sprinker, 19, vanished from the parking garage of a department store where she was to meet her mother for lunch. Brudos later confessed to forcing her into his car at gun point, then bringing her to his workshop where he raped her and forced her to put on various women's underwear and pose for pictures. He then killed her by hanging her from the hook in his ceiling. As with his other victims, he violated her corpse, then removed both breasts and disposed of her body.
Linda Salee, 22, became Brudos' next and last known victim. In April, 1969 he kidnapped her from a shopping mall, brought her to his home and raped and then strangled her to death. Like all of his victims, he disposed of her body in a near by lake.
The End of the Killing SpreeDuring the two-year killing spree, Brudos attacked several other women who managed to escape. The clues they were able to provide police eventually led them to Brudos' door. While in custody at police headquarters, Brudos gave a detailed confession of the four murders.
A search of his home gave police the additional evidence they needed to convict Brudos of three of the four murders. Included in the evidence were various photographs he took of his victims posed in his collection of women's underwear, parts of the corpses which had been found in a lake, along with some of his victim's body parts stored in his home. He was convicted and given the death penalty and a life sentence.
On March 28, 2006, Brudos, 67, was found dead in his cell at Oregon State Penitentiary. It was determined that he died of natural causes.
Books: Lust Killer by Ann Rule