July 10, 2006


Dogged detectives, alert physician nailed Speck (SCOTT FORNEK, 7/10/06, Chicago Sun-Times)

The bloody guy on the gurney was brought in to Cook County Hospital as a Skid Row bum named B. Brian. He had tried to kill himself by cutting his arms with a broken wine bottle.

But something caught the eye of 25-year-old Dr. LeRoy Smith when he looked at the scruffy, sandy-haired man with the acne-scarred face.

"I said, 'This guy looks awful familiar to me,'" Smith remembers.

The first-year surgical resident went into the office where he had just tossed a fresh copy of the Sunday Chicago Tribune with a photograph of fugitive murder suspect Richard Franklin Speck. It looked like his patient.

Smith read that the man wanted for the murder of eight student nurses less than three days earlier had a bunch of tattoos, including one on his left arm reading "Born to Raise Hell."

The emergency room physician went back to the gurney, moistened his fingers with spit and rubbed away the dried blood caked on the man's arm, revealing a B, an O, an R, and finally the entire tattoo. Wanting to be sure, Smith grabbed the man's neck, pinched a nerve and whispered, "What's your real name?"

"Speck. Richard Speck," the man answered.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 10, 2006 9:16 AM

You could have titled this "Speck meets Spock"...

Posted by: Foos at July 10, 2006 10:07 AM

These days, wouldn't that have been a coerced confession (if not outright torture) and thus inadmissable in court?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 10, 2006 12:20 PM

Not at all, the person who coerced the ID wasn't a law enforcment officer, so no problem there. Interestingly enough they didn't use the confession Speck gave them because, as the article points out, he was under the influence of meds at the time. Didn't matter since they had an eye-witness to the crimes and they still got that monster in the end.

Posted by: Robert Modean at July 10, 2006 2:14 PM