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Serial Killer Index Short List
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Serial Killer Index
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  HILL Clarence 1929 1984 USA ... ... ... 6
1938 1940 NJ
 : ... ... ... ...
Verdict/Urteil: Life
In serial murder, as in American society at large, blacks have always constituted a statistical minority. Only in the 1980s have their numbers been significant, but every generation has produced some interesting cases, bold exceptions that defy the rule. In the 1940s, Jake Bird and Jarvis Catoe did their part to raise white hackles, but they were assisted by the efforts of a grim soul brother in New Jersey. Duck Island, in the years surrounding World War II, consisted of a dreary landfill on the Delaware River, in Hamilton Township, near Trenton, New Jersey. Devoid of any residential or commercial value, it became a "lover's lane," where trysting couples came by night to grapple in the dark, professing love -- or its facsimile -- in breathless whispers. In the period from 1938 to 1942, the lovers did not have Duck Island to themselves. The first attack took place on November 8, 1938, when 20-year-old Vincent Tonzello pulled his car off the Duck Island road, to spend a few pleasant hours with Mary Mytovich, 16. Next morning, when patrolmen reached the scene, Tonzello lay dead in the car, riddled with buckshot; his date was found nearby, gravely wounded. Before she died in a Trenton hospital, Mary described the attack. A black man had approached the car, she said, shooting Tonzello when Vincent rejected a demand for money. The assailant then dragged Mary from the car, raped her, shot her, and left her for dead. Eleven months later, on October 3, 1939, Frank Casper and Katherine Werner were killed near the same spot, in almost identical fashion. A junk dealer, prowling Duck Island for saleable refuse, found Casper dead in his car; Werner's body lay nearby, partially buried in garbage, one arm severed by a shotgun blast that had cut her down as she ran from the car. The scene changed slightly for the third attack, in 1940. Ludovicum Kovacs, 25, and Carolina Maroconi, 24, were parked off Cypress Lane, several miles from Duck Island, when close-range shotgun blasts snuffed out their lives. Again, no clues were left behind that might identify the stalker. Police would document three more attacks in 1941 and '42, but the killer had lost his touch and all six victims survived. A piece of the murder weapon, carelessly dropped at the scene of a shooting in 1942, eventually led detectives to question Clarence Hill in January 1944. A father of two, Hill had been drafted into the army eighteen months before, and was stationed at Fort Dix, in New Jersey. Detained there for questioning by military authorities, Hill confessed to the series of murders and assaults on January 28, 1944. Considering the link between his own confessions and the deathbed testimony of his victim, Hill was brought to trial for killing Mary Mytovich. Convicted on December 29, 1944, he was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment.
Copyright 1995-2005 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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