The general description of spree murder is two or more murders committed quickly without a cooling-off period. It is precisely the lack of a “cooling-off period” which puts the crime in a different category from serial murder.
A “short span of time” in the description usually lasts for seven days. Based on the definition, a spree killer commits at least two murders within the period.
On the other hand, a serial killer often, after a murder, enters a cool-off time, which may take weeks, months, and in some cases years before taking another life. Spree killers tend to be reckless, leaving apparent traces of crime behind them.
A timeless classic example of a spree murder case took place in Lincoln, Nebraska, from December 1957 to January 1958 when a young man Charles Starkweather (19), found himself in a twisted form of euphoria and killed 11 people in the rampage.
His girlfriend Caril Fugate (14) was a devoted accomplice in all of them except one. The victims included Charles’ friend, Caril’s own family, and random targets the couple came across on the run.
10 /10 A Visiting Sister
Barbara Von Busch, the elder sister of Caril, came to visit her mother Velda and stepfather Marion Bartlett in Belmont, a sordid part of Lincoln, on January 25, 1958.
Barbara was with her husband Bob when Caril met them at the door. Caril wouldn’t let her sister and brother-in-law in the house, telling them that everyone was ill and not seeing any visitor under a doctor’s order.
No one had seen the Barlett’s in days, and Barbara herself couldn’t help but wonder why. She and her husband left without seeing the parents nevertheless.
9 /10 Bodies Found
Two days later, the still-suspicious Bob decided he would check on the house without the authorities. Just one look inside the outhouse and chicken scoop confirmed his worst fears.
Velda seemed to have been shoved down the toilet opening, whereas Betty Jean was put in a box that had been previously used for garbage then thrown out to the outhouse.
Marion was discarded in the chicken scoop. Velda and Marion died of gunshot wounds to the head. Betty Jean died of a fractured skull; the three were killed on January 21.