Richard Laurence Marquette

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Richard Marquette
Richard Laurence Marquette.jpg
Born 1934
Nationality United States of America
Criminal penalty
life in prison
Criminal status incarcerated
Conviction(s) Robbery, 1956, first degree murder, 1961, 1975
The Oregon State Penitentiary has held Marquette for over 35 years. He is not eligible for parole.

Richard Laurence Marquette (also known as Dick Marquette; born December 12, 1934) is an American convicted murderer. Marquette was a serial killer who killed three women, drained their blood, mutilated and dismembered their bodies and scattered their remains. He was the first person ever to be added as an eleventh name on the FBI Ten Most Wanted List, in connection with the 1961 murder of Joan Caudle in Salem, Oregon.[1] He has been incarcerated at the Oregon State Penitentiary since June 1975.

Personal background[edit]

Richard Laurence (Lawrence) Marquette was born on December 12, 1934 in Portland, Oregon.[2]


Joan Caudle[edit]

On June 8, 1961, Portland Police received a phone call from a local housewife whose dog had brought home a human foot in a paper bag. While detectives were at the woman's house investigating the dog returned again, this time with a hand. The area was then subject to a thorough search which uncovered several more body parts, all fresh and bled dry, with no attempt to bury them. After cross referencing with missing persons reports investigators determined the remains were that of Joan Caudle, a 23-year old housewife and mother of two who had been reported missing by her husband. He said that she was out shopping for Father's Day gifts when she vanished. A witness was found who reported seeing Caudle leaving a local bar with a man. Although her husband said she was not a habitual drinker, she had been depressed as of late because her mother was gravely ill and so it was entirely plausible she might have stopped in a bar. Further investigation led detectives to the home of Dick Marquette. Marquette had fled the area, but further remains of Joan Caudle were found in his refrigerator, butchered and wrapped in the manner of any normal meat. Also found inside were bloodstained lingerie. The only missing piece was her head, which later turned up near the edge of a river. An arrest warrant was issued and a manhunt began. Oregon Governor Mark Hatfield appealed to the FBI for help and the agency took the unusual step of expanding their most wanted list to eleven names, the first time it had ever done so.[3] The tactic worked, Marquette was arrested in California the day after being added to the list.[4] Marquette claimed that he had met Caudle in the bar and the two recognized each other from elementary school. He said they went back to his house where she agreed to sex. Marquette claimed that he got drunk and strangled her afterwards. Since he had no vehicle to dispose of her remains, he panicked and dragged the corpse into the shower where he dismembered it. The prosecution found his story questionable and asked for him to be charged with rape as well since they did not believe he and Caudle had consensual sex. Marquette was found guilty of first degree murder but the jury recommended leniency. Marquette was sentenced to life in prison. After an 11 year sentence during which time he was described as "a model prisoner", he received parole in 1973.[1]

Betty Wilson[edit]

In April 1975 a fisherman discovered mutilated human remains floating in a shallow slough in Marion County, Oregon. Once again, the corpse had been bled dry, savagely mutilated, and dismembered before being dumped with only a minimal effort at concealment. Detectives determined the remains were those of 37 year old Betty Wilson, a North Carolina native who'd led a hard life of poverty and had 11 children since marrying at the age of 16. They lived for a time in an abandoned school bus at the edge of the city dump with no electricity or running water and she claimed that her husband was abusive. With all of her children in foster care, Wilson stowed away in the trunk of her sister's car one day to begin a new life far away from North Carolina and had been living with her in Salem. She had last been seen alive at a crowded nightclub. Wilson's husband was the initial and obvious suspect, but it was quickly verified that he'd been working in North Carolina at the time and could not possibly be responsible for a murder that happened on the other side of the country. Marquette thus became the prime suspect. Detectives began a stakeout of his home and obtained a search warrant. They searched both inside and outside the mobile home where Marquette was living and uncovered several small but damning pieces of physical evidence that tied Marquette to the murder of Betty Wilson. 55 hours after the first remains were found, Marquette was once again arrested for murder. Given the overwhelming physical evidence and the close similarity to the Caudle murder, Marquette pleaded guilty to the Wilson murder. His story was similar to the one he'd used earlier; that he brought Wilson back to her house and she agreed to sex, but then refused, after which he strangled and dismembered her. He was sentenced in May to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole. Criminal psychiatrists working with Marquette came to the conclusion that he was a perfectly normal, socially adjusted individual unless women turned him down. The sting of rejection, they concluded, set off a murderous rage.[1] He has been incarcerated at the Oregon State Penitentiary since June 1975.[2]

Jane Doe[edit]

While confessing to the murder of Betty Wilson, Marquette also confessed to another murder in the same style in 1974. He picked up a woman at a bar, convinced her to come to his home, and proceeded to choke her to death and mutilate and dismember her corpse. Marquette led detectives to two shallow graves where he had disposed of the bulk of the remains, but the head was never located and there was no evidence that could aid investigators in determining who the victim was. Marquette said that he didn't know her name and since he never heard anything more about it, he figured that nobody missed her. Her identity remains unknown.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Rule, Ann (1993). "Rehabilitation of a Monster". A Rose for Her Grave and Other True Cases. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0671793531. 
  2. ^ a b "Offender Search". Oregon Department of Corrections. 
  3. ^ "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" Program Frequently Asked Questions". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved May 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ "The First Top Tenners". Federal Bureau of Investigation Portland. Retrieved May 16, 2011.