Richard Chase; A Serial Killer Dubbed "The Vampire of Sacramento".
Richard Chase was a man who had an unusual fascination with blood, and after a string of violent murders in the late 1970s, he was nicknamed "The Vampire of Sacramento".
Birth & Childhood
Richard Trenton Chase was born on May 23rd, 1950, in Sacramento, California. Chase was unhappy and displayed symptoms of mental illness during his childhood, but he received little to no help as he was raised by an abusive father.
By the age of 10, Chase began setting small fires, was cruel to animals, and frequently wet the bed. These habits are linked to the Macdonald triad, which is a predictor of psychopathy in patients.
Chase's issues did not end there. As he grew older, his father kicked him out of the house, and Chase began to abuse alcohol and drugs.
He developed severe hypochondria, which is a condition where someone has extreme worry about having a serious illness. Chase often believed that his heart had stopped beating or that his pulmonary artery was stolen. He had an unusual belief that his brain can absorb nutrients externally, so he would hold oranges to his head in an attempt to absorb Vitamin C.
Chase also thought that his cranial bones had split apart and shifted around under his skin, so he decided to shave his head to monitor these "movements".
In 1975, at the age of 25, Chase was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and admitted to a psychiatric hospital. What led to his institutionalization? He had attempted to inject himself with rabbit blood, which gave him a terrible case of blood poisoning.
During his time in the hospital, Chase continued to display a fascination with blood by killing and attempting to drink the blood of birds. He believed this would curb the effects of a poison that was turning his own blood into powder. The psychiatric hospital assistants witnessed this, and they nicknamed him "Dracula".
Despite showing no signs of being "cured", hospital officials believed that Chase was rehabilitated, and they released him into his mother's care in 1976. Everything went downhill from here.
Chase's Mind Deteriorates
Chase shortly moved out of his mother's home, believing she was poisoning him. He moved in with some friends, but this arrangement did not work out either.
According to his roommates, Chase was constantly abusing drugs and alcohol and even walked around their apartment naked. He was asked to move out, but after refusing, his roommates decided to move out.
Once Chase was alone, his obsession with blood came rushing back. He began capturing, killing, and dismembering small animals and would eat them raw or mix their organs with soda in a blender and drink the mixture. Chase believed doing this would stop his heart from shrinking.
He developed an interest in firearms and purchased several handguns. Chase was also interested in the Hillside Strangler case and believed the Strangler was a victim of the Nazi/UFO conspiracy that he believed he himself was a victim of.
In August 1977, Nevada police spotted Chase's car in a sand drift near Pyramid Lake, Nevada. A search of the vehicle was conducted, and police found two rifles, some clothing, a bucket filled with blood, and a cow's liver. Chase was found naked and covered with cow's blood, but authorities decided not to file charges after questioning.
The Vampire of Sacramento Strikes
Chase murdered his first victim, 51-year-old engineer Ambrose Griffin, in a drive-by shooting on December 29th, 1977. Griffin was killed while helping his wife bring groceries into their home. The murder weapon was a .22 handgun.
Murder soon became an obsession for Chase and a new source of blood.
On January 23, 1978, Chase entered the home of Teresa Wallin through her unlocked front door and shot her three times. Wallin was three months pregnant at the time of her murder. He then had sexual intercourse with her corpse and stabbed her repeatedly with a butcher knife at the same time. Chase then removed several organs, cut off one of her nipples, and drank her blood. Before leaving, Chase stuffed dog feces taken from the front yard down Wallin's throat.
Chase's last murders were particularly horrific.
A few days later on January 27th, Chase entered the home of 38-year-old Evelyn Morith and encountered her friend, Danny Meredith. He shot Meredith first with his .22 and stole his wallet and car keys.
He then shot Morith in the head, along with her 22-month-old nephew David Ferreira and her 6-year-old son Jason.
Chase was more interested in Morith's body. He cut open Morith's stomach and removed multiple organs. Chase partially cannibalized her and sodomized her corpse. When Chase was done with this act, he stabbed her in the anus several times. There was also evidence that Chase attempted to remove one of Morith's eyeballs.
A knock on Morith's door by a visitor shocked Chase, and he fled in Meredith's car, taking David's body with him. The police were called after the visitor alerted a neighbor, and Chase's handprints were found along with his shoe imprints in Morith's blood.
Police executed a search of Chase's apartment and found blood on the walls, floors, ceiling, and kitchen utensils. Human brains were found in his refrigerator, but David's corpse was not in the apartment. The child's decapitated body was found months after Chase's arrest behind a church.
Trial and Death
The trial of the Vampire of Sacramento began on January 2nd, 1979, and lasted five months. Chase faced six counts of murder and to avoid the death penalty, his attorneys suggested that he was not guilty by reason of insanity.
On May 8th, 1979, Chase was found guilty of six counts of first-degree murder after just five hours of deliberation and sentenced to die in the gas chamber.
His fellow inmates were afraid of him and tried to persuade Chase to commit suicide.
He started hoarding anti-anxiety medication that was provided by the jail staff. Chase was found dead in his cell on December 26th, 1980, after committing suicide with the medication.