Serial Killer Was Captured In Douglas, Wyoming 60 Years Ago Today
Today marks one of the most infamous anniversaries in Wyoming history. 60 years ago, on January 29, 1958, Charles Starkweather and his 14-year-old girlfriend were captured outside of Douglas after a two-month rampage that terrorized the country and later inspired the movie Natural Born Killers.
The killing spree began on Dec. 1, 1957, when Starkweather murdered a gas station attendant in Lancaster County, Nebraska. He would eventually claim ten more victims, including the family of his girlfriend, Caril Fugate.
After hiding out in Nebraska for several weeks, the couple eventually fled. Fearing that their stolen car would attract attention, Starkweather fired several shots at a traveling salesman who was parked on the side of the road near the Ayers Natural Bridge, between Douglas and Glenrock, Wyoming.
As Starkweather was moving the salesman's body, another driver was passing by and stopped to help. When Starkweather pulled his gun, the driver overpowered him and wrestled it away. During the struggle, a Natrona County Deputy Sheriff pulled up and Starkweather jumped back in his stolen car.
The chase continued into the Douglas city limits, where Starkweather plowed through a roadblock, dodging bullets while speeding through downtown at over 100 miles per hour. Finally, after a shot shattered his window and he ran out of ammunition, the country's most wanted serial killer pulled over just east of town and surrendered to authorities.
Two days later, Starkweather was transported from the Converse County Jail back to Nebraska, where he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
Fugate told police that she had been kidnapped by Starkweather and insisted that she wasn't complicit in the killings. Her controversial trial resulted in a conviction and she was sentenced to life in prison. After serving 18 years in Nebraska Correctional Center for Women, she was granted parole and released in 1976.
Along with Natural Born Killers, the story has inspired several movies, including The Sadist, Badlands, Kalifornia, Murder In The Heartland and Stark Raving Mad.