Carroll Edward Cole

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Carroll Cole was born May 9th, 1938 in Sioux City, Iowa. A scant nine years later, the first of his 16 confirmed victims would be killed. There have been many serial killers over the course of history to examine, but Carroll had two unique aspects that made me want to write about him specifically: he was one of the youngest serial killers ever (based on the date of his first kill), and he is a prolific example of how grandly the legal system can fail not only society, but a single individual.

Cole grew up with a deep hatred of women. This hatred was bred by his mother, whom often took young Cole with her as she had extramarital affairs with men while his father was fighting in World War II. After his father’s return, Cole continued to be beaten and belittled by his mother. She even forced him to dress in frilly skirts and petticoats for the amusement of her friends.

At age nine, he drowned a playmate who made fun of his name, calling him a sissy. He escaped punishment when careless officers dismissed the murder as an accident. In adolescence, Cole accumulated numerous arrests for drunkenness and petty theft. He joined the US Navy after dropping out of high school but was discharged for the theft of pistols, which he used to fire at cars along the San Diego highways. Back at home in Richmond, California in 1960, he used a hammer to attack two couples parked in their car on a darkened lover’s lane.

Finally, alarmed by violent fantasies that would not let him rest, Cole flagged a squad car down in Richmond and confessed his urges to police. Carroll surrendered voluntarily and spent the next three years in institutions where he was regarded to “pose no threat to others”. Discharged in 1963, he moved to Dallas, Texas, and married an alcoholic prostitute. In 1970, he once again surrendered to authorities—this time in Reno, Nevada—confessing to his desire to rape and strangle women. He was transferred to a state hospital, where Dr. Felix Peebles notated his...
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