The Serial Homicide Case of the Day, from "Hunting Humans, the Encyclopedia of 20th Century Serial Killers" , by Michael Newton
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Siebert, Daniel Lee
Sherri Weathers, a hearing-impaired student at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, in Talladega, had missed a week of classes without explanation when her counselor phoned the manager of her apartment building for help on February 24, 1986. Weathers did not answer her phone, and the school was concerned that something might be wrong. The manager used her pass key and found Sherri dead in her room, along with her two small sons - five-year-old Chad and four-year-old Joseph. The bodies were piled together on Sherri's bed and loosely covered with a blanket.
When police arrived, the manager directed them to another apartment, occupied by 33-year-old Linda Jarman, another student lately missing from the Institute. Inside, patrolmen found her nude and lifeless on the bed, a television set and the woman's car apparently stolen by her assailant.
Investigation revealed that an Institute art teacher, one "Daniel Spence," had expressed a romantic interest in Sherri Weathers. Missing from class since February 20, "Spence" had turned up at the school several months earlier, offering to teach for free in hopes of gaining a permanent job later on. Fingerprints from the Talladega murder scenes identified "Spence" as Daniel Siebert, convicted of a Las Vegas manslaughter in 1979, presently sought in San Francisco on charges of first-degree assault. Detectives also learned that Siebert had been dating Linda Odum, a 32-year-old cocktail waitress reported missing on February 24. (Her naked, decomposed remains were found outside of Talladega on March 30.) Independent evidence also linked Siebert with the strangulation of a prostitute in Calhoun County, found around the time he disappeared from Talladega.
Highway patrol officers found Linda Odum's car abandoned near Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on March 3, 1986, and Siebert's fingerprints were lifted from the vehicle. Over the next six months, sightings of the fugitive were reported from Ohio, New Jersey, Nevada, Southern California, and Montreal, Canada. The first solid lead was delivered on September 3, when a Las Vegas friend of Siebert's reported a telephone call from the fugitive. Police were ready when the next call came, and it was traced to a pay phone in Nashville, Tennessee. Employees at a nearby restaurant identified Siebert's mug shots, and he was arrested next morning, when he arrived to complete some work on the restaurant's sign.
In custody, Siebert readily confessed to five murders in Alabama and various others spanning the continent. How many? "Maybe a dozen," he said. "Maybe more. I try to put those things out of my mind." He killed for purposes of sex and robbery, being careful to murder his victims after a San Francisco hooker survived a throttling and filed charges against him. In addition to the Alabama cases, Siebert was charged with the 1985 murders of 28-year-old Gidget Castro and 23-year-old Nesia McElrath in Los Angeles, both previously attributed to the elusive "South Side Slayer." He was also charged in the 1986 strangulation of 57-year-old Beatrice McDougall, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and authorities announced that they were checking other unsolved homicides in Arizona, California, Nevada and Florida.
On March 21, 1987, Siebert was convicted of Linda Jarman's murder in Talladega, receiving a sentence of death. Prosecution in other cases was held in abeyance, pending the outcome of his automatic appeal on the capital verdict.
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