Who is Caril Ann Fugate?
Caril Ann Fugate is the youngest female in the history of the United States to have been tried for first-degree murder. At the age of 14, she, along with her boyfriend and teenage spree killer, Charles Starkweather, had murdered eleven people. Even though she claimed to be innocent, she reportedly had a hand in the murder of many of Starkweather's victims. While according to her, she was held captive by him, there were enough evidence to point to the fact that she didn't try to run from him. In his statement, Starkweather had claimed that she was the "most trigger happy person" he had ever met. She was sentenced to life imprisonment, but later was released on parole. She subsequently led a low-key life, speaking publicly about the murders during a radio interview.
At the age of 13, Caril Ann Fugate was introduced to 18-year-old Charles Raymond Starkweather by her older sister Barbara. Dropping out of school, he started working as a truck unloader at the Western Newspaper Union warehouse because it was close to the school Caril attended. The two kept meeting every day after school and he taught her how to drive. After she crashed Starkweather’s father's 1949 Ford into another car one day, Starkweather’s father banished Starkweather from his family home.
Starkweather developed the nihilistic view of life and committed his first murder on November 30, 1957, killing service station attendant Robert Colvert for refusing to sell him a stuffed animal on credit. However, he told Caril that he had only injured him. Starkweather went to her house on January 21, 1958, apparently with the aim of eloping with her. However, she was not at home, and her mother Velda and stepfather Marion Bartlett told him to stay away from her. Furious, he killed them with his shotgun, and also strangled and stabbed their two-year-old daughter Betty Jean. Caril, on coming back, helped him in hiding the bodies, even though she claimed she was held hostage by him. They stayed there the next few days, till her grandmother alerted the police a few days later.
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Cross-state Crime Spree
Caril Ann Fugate and her boyfriend first drove to Bennet, Nebraska, where he killed seventy-year-old August Meyer, a family friend, as well as his dog. They left the car there, and took ride with Robert Jensen and Carol King, two local teenagers, and forced them to drive back into an abandoned storm shelter. There, he shot Jensen in the head and, after a failed attempt to force himself on to King, killed her as well. However, he later claimed that Caril shot King.
They next took Jensen's car and drove into the home of industrialist C. Lauer Ward, where he stabbed his wife Clara and their maid Lillian Fencl, and snapped the neck of the family dog. They waited for Ward to return and shot him once he was back home, and stole his 1956 Packard car, as well as a lot of jewelry, and fled Nebraska. However, as the search for the murderers intensified, they needed to get rid of Ward's car. Along the highway outside Douglas, Wyoming, they killed traveling salesman Merle Collison, who was sleeping in his Buick. Starkweather claimed that Caril performed a coup-de-grace after his shotgun jammed. Once they tried to flee in his car, Starkweather realized that the car had a push-pedal emergency brake, which he could not control. After a passing motorist tried to help him with starting the engine, they became involved in an altercation.
As a deputy sheriff arrived on the scene, he was approached by Caril who claimed Starkweather was going to kill her. Starkweather tried to run away in a speeding car, but was hurt after a bullet shattered the windshield and flying glass cut him deep. Thinking he was bleeding to death, he surrendered and was later convicted of murder. Caril claimed innocence, and while he initially gave statement that he kidnapped her, later he claimed she was an accomplice. He was executed by electric chair, while she received a life sentence at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women in York, Nebraska. She was later paroled in 1976 after serving 17 years.
Caril Ann Fugate was born on July 30, 1943 in Lincoln, Nebraska to William Fugate and Velda M Bartlett and had an elder sister named Barbara. Her mother later married Marion Bartlett and had another daughter named Betty Jean.
Following her release on parole, she changed her name and took up the job of a janitor at a Lansing hospital. In 2007, she married Frederick Clair and started living in Stryker, Ohio. Her husband died in a car crash on August 5, 2013, in which she was also seriously injured.