William Heirens, the Lipstick Killer, Dies

on March 6, 2012 in Serial Killers by

William Heirens, the so-called Lipstick Killer, died at a Chicago hospital Monday, March 5, 2012. He had been found unresponsive in his cell at Dixon Correctional Center.

His death is believed to be of natural causes, but an autopsy will be performed. At the time of his death, the 83-year-old Heirens was the longest serving prisoner in the world.

In 1946, the then 17-year-old University of Chicago student confessed to having killed two women the previous year and a 6-year-old girl that year.

He is most famous for having written in lipstick on the mirror in one of his victim’s homes:

For heaven’s sake, catch me before I kill more. I cannot control myself.

His murder of Suzanne Degnan terrified the city of Chicago. The girl was abducted from her home after Heirens used a ladder to climb into her bedroom.

She was strangled, taken to the basement of a nearby building, and dismembered. Heirens then spread pieces of the girl in sewers and catch basins throughout Chicago’s North Side.

He was captured in June 1946 while engaged in a home burglary. Fingerprints on a ransom not left at Suzanne house connected him to her murder.

Heirens later recanted his confession, seeking release about thirty times. He claimed he gave his 19-page confession after police sedated him.

At his 2007 parole hearing, he insisted that he was no longer a threat to society because of his age and his being wheelchair bound. Thomas Johnson, a member of the parole board, replied:

God will forgive you, but the State won’t.

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