The Serial Homicide Case of the Day, from "Hunting Humans, the Encyclopedia of 20th Century Serial Killers" , by Michael Newton
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Yukl, Charles William
A child of divorce, Charles Yukl was 31 years old and married, self-employed as a piano teacher in New York City, when he claimed his first victim in 1966. On October 24 of that year, police responded to a homicide report at Yukl's apartment house, where they discovered the body of 25-year-old Suzanne Reynolds. A student of Yukl's, she had been beaten, stripped and stabbed to death before the teacher "found" her in a vacant flat, investigating after he "noticed" the open door on his way upstairs.
Arrested and charged with the murder next morning, Yukl confessed under questioning, before his attorney arrived at the jail. Months of wrangling over constitutional issues led to a plea bargain in February 1968, with reduced charges of manslaughter earning Yukl a sentence of seven to fifteen years in prison. A model prisoner, Yukl was released on parole in June 1973, two years before the expiration of his "guaranteed minimum" sentence. Objections from the state were overruled, with Yukl cited as "a good risk for parole." He waited fourteen months before he killed again.
On August 20, 1974, the nude and strangled body of Karen Schlegel, an aspiring actress, was discovered on the rooftop of an apartment house in Greenwich Village. She had been dead twelve hours when a janitor discovered her remains, but authorities had no difficulty selecting a suspect. Charles Yukl was a tenant of the house where Karen died, and he confessed to luring his victim with an advertisement placed in a theatrical magazine. Upon arrival, Karen Schlegel had been strangled with a necktie, stripped, and carried to the roof where she was found.
Psychiatrists found Yukl competent for trial, and he was formally indicted on September 6. On June 3, 1976, he managed to strike another bargain with the state, accepting a sentence of fifteen years to life in return for his guilty plea. This time, however, there would be no premature parole. On August 22, 1982, the killer hanged himself in prison with a shredded mattress cover, and his death was ruled a suicide.
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