As children we’re taught to trust the officers who patrol our streets and neighborhoods. We’re told, in our greatest times of need, an officer will lend a helping hand in setting things right.
And for the most officers, this is the absolute truth. They are there to protect and serve, caring for the citizens of their communities.
But every now and again, one officer will be revealed as a wolf in sheep’s clothing; a cruel and vicious being who hid his or her hideous nature behind the badge.
Author Stacy Dittrich tackles some of the worst cases of killer cops in her 2009 book Murder Behind The Badge: True Stories of Cops Who Kill. These eighteen (18) short stories feature:
At the time of this book’s publication, Drew Peterson seemed to have skirted any official accusations of murdering two of his wives. This book contains a (barely) 8 page summary on a case full of twists, turns, and innuendo BEFORE the recent international-headlining trial;
Bobby Lee Cutts, Jr., an Ohio cop who murdered his girlfriend and unborn daughter, in the presence of his toddler son, then dumped their bodies in a remote area. Mother and daughter wouldn’t be discovered for nine days then this dastardly daddy and protector of the people claimed it was all an “accident”;
Mansfield, Ohio, police officer Charles Oswalt still proclaims his innocence in the death of Margie Coffey, with whom he fathered a child. Prosecutors believe Oswalt feared being exposed as the father of the former prostitute’s child to his wife, colleagues, and community;
Ken DeKleine, an officer with the Holland, Michigan, police department, was outraged his wife planned to divorce him – and was having an affair with her therapist. The latter seems just a bit (okay, a lot) hypocritical considering his multiple affairs;
Collier County, Florida, Sheriff’s Deputy Royle “Roy” Kipp, Jr. couldn’t bear the thought of his wife divorcing him or, most especially, the affair she was having with his colleague Jeffrey Klein. Murdering his wife, Sandy, and her boyfriend in a fit of rage one night, Kipp later claimed it was self-defense;
The case of Indiana State Trooper David Camm seems it will never end. In 2000, prosecutors claimed he murdered his wife Kim Camm and two children at their Indiana home. Convicted on all charges, the ruling was later overturned. A second trial resulted in a second conviction and another overturn on appeal. What is the surprise that keeps David Camm from paying the price for the crime so many are convinced he committed?;
Kent McGowen managed to be hired by multiple law enforcement agencies despite repeated failures of psychological tests, the telling of outright lies, and complaints from other officers and citizens. Was anyone really surprised when he murdered a woman on his patrol route who had rebuffed his advances?;
When Laurie Bembenek‘s husband’s ex-wife is murdered in her Milwaukee, Wisconsin, home, all eyes turn to Fred Schultz’s new wife. Laurie swears she didn’t do it but all the evidence points directly to her. Did Fred frame his new bride?;
Antoinette Frank strong-armed her way into a position with the New Orleans police department and used the badge to commit petty crimes – until the day she murdered several members of a Koren family who considered her friends;
Fearful of being exposed by his homosexual lover, Officer Steven Rios of Columbia, Missouri, slashed Jesse Valencia‘s throat and left him to die in his East Campus apartment. What Rios didn’t know was that Valencia had shared their “secret” with enough people to put investigators on his trail;
New Orleans police officer Len Davis victimized residents of the Lower Ninth Ward he’d swore to serve and protect. Kim Groves filed stood up to the bully in blue and filed a complaint. Sadly, she would pay with her life for her bravery.
Was NYPD officer Richie DiGuglielmo defending himself or did a parking situation outrage him to the point of murder? That’s a question many still debate sixteen years later.
NYPD Officers Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa committed numerous crimes while working for the mafia, including abor racketeering, extortion, narcotics, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice, eight counts of murder and conspiracy to commit murder;
Prince George County Police Department officer Keith Washington suddenly found himself on the wrong side of the law when he shot two unarmed furniture deliverymen in his home. Washington said it was self defense, the surviving victim said otherwise. Who would a jury believe?;
Cara Knott‘s family knew she would have not stopped on the highway for anyone – except someone in authority, such as California Highway Patrolman Craig Peyer. When detectives investigated Cara’s death, they learned she wasn’t the only approached by this rogue officer;
Toronto officer Richard Wills was enraged when he finally ended his marriage but his lover Linda Mariani decided it was time to end their relationship;
NYPD Officer Charles Becker was the first (recorded) rogue cop to be sentenced to death for his multitude of crimes; and,
Martin County, Florida, Deputy Sheriff Gerard Schaefer deemed himself judge, jury, executioner of the women he deemed immoral and tried to plead insanity when finally made to answer for his crimes.
While Dittrich isn’t the most talented writer (nor the worst, by a long shot), she does have a knack for picking out the interesting stories. Murder Beyond The Badge is a good choice for those who enjoy short, to-the-point stories, especially about cops who kill.
Let me forewarn you, bluelights in the rearview mirror won’t ever be the same again!