A Maryland native, born in 1933, Rees attended the state university at age 20, dropping out before graduation to pursue a career in music. On March 12, 1955, he was arrested on charges of assaulting a 36-year-old woman, dragging her into his car when she refused to enter voluntarily, but the case was dropped when his victim refused to press charges. Melvin's friends ignored the incident, if they were even conscious of it, viewing Rees as mild-mannered and intelligent, a talented artist who played the piano, guitar, clarinet and saxophone with equal skill. He had a taste for modern jazz, and his employment often took him on the road. On June 26, 1957, Margaret Harold was parked with her date - a young army sergeant - on a lonely lover's lane near Annapolis, Maryland, when a green Chrysler pulled up in front of their car. A tall, thin-faced man approached, identified himself as the property's caretaker, then produced a gun and climbed into the back seat. He demanded money from the couple, shooting Margaret in the head when she indignantly refused. Her date escaped on foot and called police, returning with an escort to discover that her body had been raped in death. Nearby, the search team found a building made of cinder blocks, a basement window broken, and they crept inside. The inner walls were covered with a mix of pornographic photos and morgue shots of dead women; the only "normal" photo was a college yearbook picture that depicted Wanda Tipton, a 1955 graduate from the University of Maryland. Under questioning, she denied knowing anyone who fit the killer's description. On January 11, 1959, a family of four disappeared while out for a drive near Apple Grove, Virginia. A relative found their abandoned car later that day, but no trace remained of Carroll Jackson, his wife Mildred, or their two daughters, five-year-old Susan and 18-month-old Janet. While police were beating the bushes in vain, a young couple reported that they had been forced off the road by an old blue Chevy that morning. The strange driver had climbed out, approaching their car, at which time they made good their escape. Two months later, on March 4, Carroll Jackson's body was discovered by two men whose car had bogged down in the mud near Fredericksburg, Virginia. Homicide detectives found the victim's hands bound with a necktie, a single bullet in his head. When they removed his body from the roadside ditch, another corpse was found beneath it. Janet Jackson had been thrown into the ditch alive and literally suffocated by her father's weight. On March 21, hunters stumbled across a grave site in Maryland, not far from the spot where Margaret Harold was murdered in 1957. The bodies of Mildred and Susan Jackson were unearthed by investigators, both bearing signs of sexual assault and savage beatings with a blunt instrument. A stocking was knotted around Mildred's neck, but she had not been strangled, police speculating that the tourniquet had been applied to coerce her participation in oral sex. A quarter-mile away, manhunters found a run-down shack with "fresh" tire tracks outside, a button from Mildred Jackson's dress Iying on the floor within. The case was still unsolved in May, when homicide detectives received an anonymous letter from Norfolk, naming Rees as the killer. A background search revealed his link to the University of Maryland - and a former close relationship with Wanda Tipton - but solid evidence was scarce, and no one seemed to know the traveling musician's whereabouts. In early 1960, the anonymous informant came forward with a recent letter from Rees, describing his latest job at a music store in West Memphis, Arkansas. FBI agents made the collar, and a search of the Rees home in Hyattsville turned up an instrument case with a pistol inside, plus various notes describing assorted sadistic acts. One such was clipped to a newspaper photo of Mildred Jackson. It read, in part: "Caught on a lonely road... Drove to a select area and killed husband and baby. Now the mother and daughter were all mine ..." Maryland officers finally linked Rees to four other sex-slayings. Schoolgirls Mary Shomette, 16, and Ann Ryan, 14, had each been raped and killed in College Park, near the University of Maryland, while 18-year-old Mary Fellers and 16-year-old Shelby Venable had been fished out of area rivers. Rees was not indicted in their deaths, but prosecutors felt they had enough to keep him off the streets, regardless. Convicted of Margaret Harold's murder, in Baltimore, Rees was sentenced to life imprisonment, then handed over to Virginia authorities for trial. Upon conviction of multiple murder in that state, he was sentenced to death and executed in 1961.