Henry Mansfield Howard
America's First Serial Killer, The Beast of Chicago, The Devil in the White City, The Torture Doctor, The Arch Fiend JudsonHerman Webster Mudgett (May 16, 1861 – May 7, 1896), better known as Dr. Henry Howard Holmes or H. H. Holmes, was an American con artist and serial killer, the subject of more than 50 lawsuits in Chicago alone. Despite his confession of 27 murders (including some people who were verifiably still alive) while awaiting execution, Holmes was convicted and sentenced to death for only one murder, that of accomplice and business partner Benjamin Pitezel. It is believed he killed three of the Pitezel children, as well as 3 mistresses, the child of one of the said mistresses and the sister of another. Holmes was executed on May 7, 1896, nine days before his 35th birthday. Much of the lore surrounding the "Murder Castle" along with many of his alleged crimes are considered likely exaggerated or fabricated for sensationalistic tabloid pieces. Many of these factual inaccuracies have persisted due to the combination of ineffective police investigation and hyperbolic tabloid journalism, which are often cited as historical record. Holmes gave various contradictory accounts of his life, initially claiming innocence and later that he was possessed by Satan. His propensity for lying has made it difficult for researchers to ascertain the truth on the basis of his statements. Since the 1990s Holmes has often been described as a serial killer, however, Adam Selzer points out in his book on Holmes, "Just killing several people isn't necessarily enough for most definitions [of a serial killer]. More often, it has to be a series of similar crimes, committed over a period of time, usually more to satisfy a psychological urge on the killer's part than any more practical motive." and "The murders we can connect him [Holmes] to generally had a clear motive: someone knew too much, or was getting in his way, and couldn't be trusted. The murders weren't simply for love of bloodshed but a necessary part of furthering his swindling operations and protecting his lifestyle."
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