As he moves around his cell in the Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois, the older man with one eye closed and the other open in a crazed expression looks more like a millenarist beggar than like the murderer of over fifty men and women between the 1970s and the 1990s.
He fits well in a prison where half of the inmates are imprisoned for murder and belongs to the twenty percent of those serving life sentences: he’s doing two of them.
If some vigilante killed him and he came back to life, he’d still have to spend that one behind bars for the horror of his crimes.
This man is Robert Ben Rhoades, a killer with a consistent modus operandi: he would stop and pick up hitchhikers, runaway teens, or prostitutes from the United States roads, then torture them for days and kill them when he got tired of his victims.
Don’t turn your face away, and hop along as we review ten horrible facts about the story of Rhoades, accurately nicknamed the “Truck Stop Killer.”
10 The Early Years
Not much is known of his early life, except that his mother raised him while his father, a soldier, spent the years away as part of the American forces stationed in West Germany.
But not all was normal in this typical family. The young Ben was arrested at sixteen years and then again at seventeen, the first time tampering with a vehicle; the second for public fighting.
His father, though, was in more serious trouble: he was arrested in 1964 for molesting a twelve-year-old girl and committed suicide before the police could bring him to trial.
9 The Crimes Begin
Ben was meanwhile entering the Marine Corps, from which he would be dishonorably discharged on account of participating in a robbery.
He would later try to join the police but was rejected on account of this past dishonorable discharge. Hopping from job to job, he found one that suited him perfectly: long haul trucker.
During this time (the late 1970s, early 1980s), it’s most likely that his murders began, as he repeatedly married and divorced in a clear pattern of using these relationships as valves to release his sexual frustration. After a point, it seems, this wasn’t working anymore.