The Serial Homicide Case of the Day, from "Hunting Humans, the Encyclopedia of 20th Century Serial Killers" , by Michael Newton
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Miller, Benjamin Franklin
Between 1967 and 1971, black residents of Stamford, Connecticut, were intimidated by a string of murders claiming female victims , four of whom were strangled with their own brassieres. Police reported that some of the victims were junkies, and three were known prostitutes, but the killer's apparent selectivity did nothing to calm a community under siege. By the summer of 1971, black citizens were ready to accuse police of negligence - or worse - in their long-running search for an elusive strangler.
Rose Ellen Pazda, 29, had been the first to die, reported missing on August 4, 1967, her skeletal remains recovered during April 1969. Donna Roberts, age 22, was found on May 3, 1968, the day after her disappearance from Stamford. The third victim, 21-year-old Gloria Conn, was strangled to death on September 7, 1968, with her body recovered next day, 200 feet from the spot where Roberts was found. The killer took three years off before strangling 19-year-old Gail Thompson, on July 10, 1971. Six weeks later, on August 22, he returned to claim the life of 34-year-old Alma Henry, her body discarded like so much rubbish.
Thus far, all the victims had died or been found within a quarter-mile radius of the Riverbank-Roxbury Road overpass. Four of the five were from Stamford, with one reported missing from nearby Mount Vernon, New York, and police found evidence of a car backing into the places where bodies were found, indicating that the killer hauled his victims in the trunk.
Accumulated evidence put homicide investigators on the trail of Benjamin Miller, a Darien post office clerk and self-ordained street preacher who spent most of his time with black congregations after his own church expelled him. Described by his former pastor as "almost a fanatic," Miller had moved to Connecticut from Illinois at eighteen years of age, in 1948. Employed at the post office for ten years, he talked religion on the job but otherwise ignored his fellow workers, keeping to himself whenever possible.
Committed to Norwalk's Fairfield Hills Hospital on February 17, 1972, Miller found detectives waiting when he checked out a month later. Arrested on March 17, he was charged with all five of the Stamford "bra murders," his apprehension restoring a measure of peace to the troubled community.
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