10 August 1933 |
Amarillo, Texas, USA
|Other names||The Dallas Ripper
The Dallas Slasher
The Eyeball Killer
|Criminal penalty||Life imprisonment without parole|
|Number of victims||3|
|Span of killings||December 13, 1990–March 18, 1991|
|Date apprehended||March 22, 1991|
Charles Frederick Albright (born August 10, 1933) is an American serial killer and diagnosed psychopath from Dallas, Texas, convicted of killing three women in 1991. He is incarcerated in Clemens Unit in Greater Houston. He was only convicted of killing one of the three women.
Charles, born in Amarillo, Texas, was adopted by Delle and Fred Albright, from an orphans' home. His mother, a schoolteacher, was very strict and overprotective of Charles. She accelerated his education, helping him to skip two grades. When he got his first gun as a teenager, he would kill small animals. His mom would help him stuff them due to his interest in becoming a taxidermist. His mother was unable to afford the true glass eyes used in taxidermy, so he used buttons instead.
His criminal career started early. At age 13, he was already a petty thief, and was arrested for aggravated assault. At age 15, he graduated from high school and forged his way into North Texas University. At age 16, the police caught him with some petty cash from a cash register, two handguns and a rifle. He spent a year in jail. After his release he attended Arkansas State Teachers College and majored in pre-med studies. Found with stolen items, he was expelled from the college before graduation but not prosecuted. Unfazed, he simply falsified his degrees, stealing the right documents, forging signatures, and giving himself fictitious bachelor's and master's degrees.
He married his college girlfriend and they had a daughter. His wife was a teacher, but he failed to hold a job for long. He continued to "cheat" by forging checks and claiming false credentials, and he was caught in his deception while teaching at a high school, but he always managed to get probation for his illegal acts. In 1965, he and his wife separated, finally divorcing in 1974.
Albright was caught stealing hundreds of dollars' worth of merchandise from a hardware store and received a two-year prison sentence. Yet he served less than six months before he was out again. In this time he began to befriend and gain the trust of his neighbors; so much so, that he was even asked by local residents to babysit their children, including future radio broadcaster Arnie States. In 1981, after his mother died, while visiting some friends, Albright sexually molested their nine-year-old daughter. They reported him and he was prosecuted. He pled guilty and received only probation. He later claimed that he was innocent but had pled to avoid a hassle.
In 1985, Albright met a woman named Dixie, in Arkansas. He invited her to come live with him and it wasn't long before she was paying his bills and supporting him. Charles took a 'paper route' in the early morning, apparently to visit prostitutes without raising his wife's suspicion.
December 13, 1990 – Mary Lou Pratt, 33, a well-known prostitute in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. Her body was found lying face-up. She was wearing only a T-shirt. She was shot in the back of the head with a .44-caliber bullet. The medical examiner discovered that this killer had removed both eyes without making much of a mark on the eyelids, and apparently had taken them with him.
February 10, 1991 – Susan Peterson, a prostitute, was found nearly nude, with her T-shirt pulled up to display her breasts in the same manner as Pratt. She had been shot three times: in the top of the head, in the left breast and point-blank in the back of the head. One bullet had pierced her heart and another entered her brain. A clump of her hair lay on her chest. She had been dumped in south Dallas, just outside city limits, and the medical examiner found that this victim bore another grisly similarity: her eyes had been surgically removed.
March 18, 1991 – Shirley Williams, a part-time prostitute, was found naked, lying on her side near a school, with her eyes removed. Williams also had facial bruises and a broken nose, and she had been shot through the top of her head and in the face.
Arrest and trial
On March 22, 1991, Albright was arrested and charged with three counts of murder. His trial began on December 13, 1991. The prosecution suffered many blows and their case seemed circumstantial at best. The only solid evidence was forensic – hairs found at the Williams murder scene matched Albright's. On December 18, 1991, the jury deliberated and found Charles Albright guilty only of the murder of Shirley Williams.
- Ramsland, Katherine; Gina Malatesta. "The Texas eyeball killer: Developmental issues". truTV Crime Library.
- "Top 5 Serial Killers; audio file on Unheard & Uncensored page". Rob, Arnie & Dawn. 2008-12-14. Retrieved 2009-08-05.