January 27

This Day in History

Crime

Jan 27, 1978:

The so-called Dracula killer

On this day in 1978, Richard Chase, who becomes known as the "Dracula Killer," murders Evelyn Miroth and Daniel Meredith, as well as Miroth's 6-year-old son and another woman, in Sacramento, California. Chase sexually assaulted Miroth with a knife before killing her and mutilating her body. He removed some of the organs of the body and filled them with blood before taking them with him. Meredith was found shot in the head.

The previous year, the 28-year-old Chase had been found in a field, naked and covered in cow's blood. His behavior did not come as a complete surprise to those who knew him. As a child, he had been known to kill animals, drinking the blood of a bird on one occasion. He had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals for most of his life. A year prior to the killings, Chase was released because his psychiatrist found that Chase had a handle on his problems.

Upon his arrest, police found that Chase's home was filled with human blood. It was found in the blender and in the sinks, suggesting that Chase had been drinking it for some time.

In 1979, Chase went to trial and his attorney argued that he was insane. However, a jury found that he was sane, convicted him of six counts of first-degree murder and sentenced him to death. Chase killed himself in his cell at San Quentin on December 26,1980.

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