Richard Chase

Richard Chase

Infobox Serial Killer
name=Richard Trenton Chase

caption=Richard Trenton Chase's mugshot
alias=Vampire of Sacramento
birth=May 23, 1950
location=Santa Clara County, California
death=December 26, 1980
cause=suicide, overdose
country=United States
beginyear=December 29, 1977
endyear=January 27, 1978

Richard Trenton Chase (May 23, 1950 – December 26, 1980) was an American serial killer who killed six people in the span of a month in California. He was nicknamed "The Vampire of Sacramento" because he drank his victims' blood and cannibalized their remains. He did this as part of a delusion that he needed to prevent Nazis from turning his blood into powder via poison they had planted beneath his soap dish.


A self-described victim of abuse at the hands of his mother, Chase exhibited by the age of 10 evidence of the MacDonald triad: bedwetting, pyromania, and zoosadism (allegations which were later called into question). In his adolescence, he was known as an alcoholic and a chronic drug abuser. He suffered from erectile dysfunction due to "psychological problems stemming from repressed anger".

Early adulthood

Chase developed hypochondria as he matured. He often complained that his heart would occasionally "stop beating", or that "someone had stolen his pulmonary artery". He would also hold oranges on his head, believing the Vitamin C would be absorbed by his brain via diffusion. Chase also believed that his cranial bones had become separated and were moving around, so he shaved his head in order to watch this activity.

After leaving his mother's house (believing she was attempting to poison him), Chase rented an apartment with friends. Once he moved in, he immediately boarded up his bedroom door and created an "escape hatch" through his closet wall so "no one can sneak up on me". Chase's roommates complained that he was constantly intoxicated on alcohol, marijuana, and acid. Chase would also walk around the apartment nude, even in front of company. Chase's roommates demanded that he move out. When he refused, the roommates moved out instead.

Once alone in the apartment, Chase began to capture, kill, and disembowel various animals, which he would then devour raw, sometimes mixing the raw organs with Coca-Cola in a blender and drinking the concoction like a milkshake. Chase reasoned that by ingesting the creatures he was preventing his heart from shrinking.


In 1975, Chase was involuntarily committed to a mental institution after being taken to a hospital for blood poisoning, which he contracted after injecting rabbit's blood into his veins. He often shared with the staff fantasies about killing rabbits. He was once found with blood smeared around his mouth. Chase said "I cut myself shaving", but hospital staff discovered he had drunk the blood of birds. Chase had simply thrown the corpses of the birds out of his hospital room window. Staff began referring to him as "Dracula."

There were arguments as to whether Chase was schizophrenic or suffering from a drug-induced psychosis.

After undergoing a battery of treatments involving psychotropic drugs, Chase was deemed no longer a danger to society and, in 1976, he was released under the recognizance of his mother [ [Ressler, Robert. Whoever Fights Monsters. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992, p. 14.]

His mother decided on her own that her son did not need to be on the antipsychotic medication that he had been prescribed, stating the medication had made her son "a zombie". She weaned him off the medication and got Chase his own apartment.

Later investigation has uncovered that in mid-1977, Chase had been stopped by a Native American agent on a reservation in the Lake Tahoe area and arrested. He was wearing a blood soaked shirt and driving a truck containing guns and a bucket of blood. He convinced them that it was a misunderstanding involving an animal he'd hunted. No charges were filed.


On December 29, 1977, Chase killed his first victim in a drive-by shooting. The victim, Ambrose Griffin, was a 51-year-old engineer and father of three. After the shooting, one of Griffin's sons reported seeing a neighbor walking around their East Sacramento neighborhood with a .22 calibre rifle. The neighbor's rifle was seized, but ballistics tests determined that it was not the murder weapon.

On January 11, 1978, Chase asked his neighbor for a cigarette and then forcibly restrained her until she gave him an entire pack.

Two weeks later, he attempted to enter the home of another woman but, finding that her doors were locked, walked away; Chase later told detectives that he took locked doors as a sign that he was not welcome, but that unlocked doors were an invitation to come inside. He was later chased off by a returning couple as he pilfered belongings from their home and urinated and defecated on their beds and clothing.

Chase's next victim was Teresa Wallin. Three months pregnant, Wallin was surprised at her home by Chase, who shot her three times, killing her. He then had sex with the corpse, mutilated it, and bathed in the dead woman's blood.

On January 23, 1978, two days after killing Teresa Wallin, Chase purchased two puppies from a neighbor. He killed them and drank their blood.

On January 27, Chase committed his final murders. Entering the home of 38-year-old Evelyn Miroth, he encountered her friend, Danny Meredith, whom he shot with his .22 handgun. Stealing Meredith's wallet and car keys, he rampaged through the house, fatally shooting Evelyn Miroth, her six-year-old son Jason, and Miroth's 22-month-old nephew, David. As with Teresa Wallin, Chase engaged in necrophilia and cannibalism with Miroth's corpse.

A six-year-old girl with whom Jason Miroth had a playdate knocked on the door, startling Chase, who fled the scene in Meredith's car, taking David's body with him. The girl alerted a neighbor, who alerted police. Upon entering the home, police discovered that Chase had left perfect handprints and perfect imprints of the soles of his shoes in Evelyn's blood.

Chase returned to his home, where he drank David's blood and ate several of the child's internal organs (including the child's brain) before disposing of the body at a nearby church.


When police raided Chase's residence, Chase had made no effort to hide his crimes, and there was blood-caked evidence all around his house. Yet Chase maintained his innocence. "All I did was kill a couple of dogs." Chase said, going so far as to tell the police he'd be willing to plead guilty to animal cruelty. While there, the police found further evidence for Chase to stand trial.

In 1979, Chase stood trial on six counts of murder. In order to avoid the death penalty, the defense tried to have him found guilty of second degree murder, which would result in a life sentence. Their case hinged on Chase's history of mental illness and the lack of planning in his crimes, evidence that they were not premeditated.

On May 8, the jury in the highly publicized case found Chase guilty of six counts of first degree murder and Chase was sentenced to die in the gas chamber. They rejected the argument that he was not guilty by reason of insanity. The other inmates (including several gang members), aware of the graphic and bizarre nature of Chase's crimes, feared him, and according to prison officials, they often tried to convince Chase to commit suicide. [ [ Richard Chase - Profile of Serial Killer Richard Chase ] ]

Chase granted a series of interviews with Robert Ressler, during which he spoke of his fears of Nazis and UFOs, claiming that although he had killed, it was not his fault; he had been forced to kill to keep himself alive, which he believed any person would do. He asked Ressler to give him access to a radar gun, with which he could apprehend the Nazi UFOs, so that the Nazis could stand trial for the murders. He also handed Ressler a large amount of macaroni and cheese which he had been hoarding in his pants pockets, believing that the prison officials were in league with the Nazis and attempting to kill him with poisoned food. [ [ Richard Trenton Chase - Crime Library on ] ] Critics contend that Chase was putting on an act for Ressler in order to gain public sympathy and get his insanity plea reconsidered on appeal, thus avoiding the death sentence.

On December 26, 1980, a guard doing cell checks found Chase lying awkwardly on his bed, not breathing. An autopsy determined that he committed suicide with an overdose of prison doctor-prescribed antidepressants that he had been saving up over the last few weeks. [ [ Richard Trenton Chase ] ]

Fictional portrayals

The 1988 movie "Rampage" was loosely based on Chase's crimes.

Carey Burtt's underground short subject "The Psychotic Odyssey of Richard Chase" retells Chase's life story using Barbie dolls, not unlike in "".

Rapper Brotha Lynch Hung refers to himself as "Richard Chase mixed with Al Capone" in his 1997 album "Loaded"


ources and references

* [ Robert Ressler on profiling the Vampire Killer]
* [ Richard Chase at the Crime Library]
* [ Richard Chase Art and Livejournal Group]
* [ "The Psychotic Odyssey of Richard Chase" on youtube]

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