The Misbegotten Son
A Serial Killer and His Victims : the True Story of Arthur J. Shawcross
Little Artie Shawcross bullied classmates, insulted teachers, started fires, tortured animals, and roved the woods of New York's hardscrabble North Country with imaginary friends, talking in a high squawk. He also scored top grades, excelled in sports and shared his money and toys with the children who ridiculed him. From the second grade on, he was subjected to psychiatric examination, regularly confounding the experts. Years later, while serving in Vietnam, Arthur John Shawcross wrote bloodcurdling letters about his battlefield ordeals, then returned to Watertown to commit a string of arsons and burglaries. He served two years in prison, was paroled to his respectable parents - and murdered a boy and a girl. Back in the penitentiary, he proved as enigmatic as ever. Some counselors saw him as a Frankenstein monster, beyond hope, irredeemable. To others he was a troubled young man who could be saved. No two psychiatrists seemed to agree. Shawcross served fifteen years, then conned a parole board into an early release. He settled in Binghamton, but angry citizens learned of his bloody history and ran him out of town. After two smaller communities turned him away, desperate parole authorities finally smuggled the child-killer into Rochester in the dead of night - neglecting to alert the local police. Soon the corpses started turning up, locked in winter ice, covered by reeds in swamps, floating in streams. The homicidal pedophile had changed his M.O., this time murdering diminutive women. As the body count grew, Rochester streets swarmed with police, and still the serial killer managed to snare his tenth victim, then his eleventh.
New York, N.Y. : Delacorte Press, c1993
520 p. ; 24 cm