The Hacker: A paranoid drug dealer out on an all night binge with a young man he believes to be a police informant. What could possibly go wrong?
The Vampire of Paris: Meet Nico Claux, mortuary assistant, S & M enthusiast, cannibal, and wannabe vampire.
From Sandra, To My Killer: A young girl is found brutally raped and murdered. The identity of her killer will stun an entire community.
A Passion for Evil: When Snuff movie aficionado, John Madden, decides to indulge his darkest fantasy, no one is safe – not even his 12-year-old niece.
Justice Takes Its Time: A journalist researching the biography of a long dead sports star stumbles upon the solution to a decades-old murder mystery.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrel: A serial philanderer meets his worst nightmare, a lover who refuses to be shunted aside. His solution to the problem will shock you to the core.
Blood in the Snow: A brilliant but troubled environmentalist turns his ire on the people he believes are destroying the Alaskan wilderness – with horrific results.
A Dangerous Woman: Breaking up is never easy, breaking up with a woman like Shirley Turner could get you killed.
The Man Who Killed Halloween: When 9-year-old Timmy O'Bryan dies in agony on Halloween night, the police are stunned at where the clues lead.
Jill the Ripper: The murders were reminiscent of those committed by Jack the Ripper just a couple of years earlier. Could Mary Pearcy really have been the Whitechapel fiend?
Click the "Read More" link below to read the first chapter of
Murder Most Vile Volume 13
Ely, Minnesota lies close to the Canadian border in a region known as the Vermilion Iron Range. It is a small town (population circa 3,500) set within an area of rugged, natural beauty. Once this was iron mining country and the opencast mines that scar the landscape still bear witness to that past endeavor. But the pits are long abandoned now, victims of the general decline in the American steel industry. These days, Ely derives most of its commercial revenue from tourists and outdoor enthusiasts who come for the fly fishing, hiking, kayaking and in the winter months, skiing and snowmobiling. Ely however, harbors another claim to fame, one of a somewhat darker hue. In 1975 it was the scene of a particularly brutal murder.
Roy Wahlberg Jr. was born and raised in Ely. His parents, Roy Sr. and Myrtle, ran the Ely dairy and the family was both well-known and well-off. Neither Roy Jr. nor his sisters Judy and Joan lacked for anything during their childhood. Roy however, was his parent’s undoubted favorite. Those who knew the family said that Myrtle doted on him and that his father exempted him from any form of punishment. The girls, 9 and 12 years old at the time of Roy Jr.’s birth, would later say that they were almost invisible to their parents after he arrived.
Yet for all of this parental indulgence, Roy grew up to be a polite and respectful boy. At school he was a somewhat insular kid, who played the French horn, did well at his studies and had few friends. After graduation he was accepted at Concordia College in Moorhead. A bright future was expected.
But it was in Moorhead that Roy Wahlberg’s life first began to veer off the rails. Freed from the constraints of home, he started taking drugs and then dabbling in Satanism. Within a year he was back in Ely, living with his parents and working in the family business. Or at least, that is what he did by day. By night he was an altogether different beast, a drug dealer supplying the local teens and twenty-somethings with LSD, speed, cocaine, PCP and prescription tranquilizers; a handsome and broodingly dangerous young man who attracted a small army of male hangers-on and female admirers; an addict who partook freely of the drugs he was peddling and often became paranoid and violent under their influence.
No one bore the brunt of Roy’s rages more than his long-suffering girlfriend, Roxanne Ahlstrand. Roy, she’d later tell investigators, was “a sweet guy, a nice guy,” most of the time. She had no issue with his drinking and drug use and even turned a blind eye to his many dalliances, often with underage girls. But if there was one drug that she hated him taking it was LSD. Under its influence he’d become argumentative, paranoid, often violent. On more than one occasion he’d trashed her apartment and broken the windshield and mirrors on his truck. Another time, he’d drawn a revolver in a crowded bar and fired into the ceiling.
Still, despite his copious drug use Roy tended to keep it together during the week, when there were early morning milk deliveries to be made. It was on the weekends that he really let rip and Saturday, March 8, 1975, was no different.
Roy was due to attend a party at Roxanne’s trailer that evening but even before he arrived he’d been drinking and drugging heavily, consuming beer, rum, cocaine and marijuana. Then much to Roxanne’s annoyance, he did some LSD at the party. As a result an argument broke out between them and Roy stormed out, taking Roxanne’s sister Brenda with him. He then drove into Ely, stopping off at a local watering hole, Legion. Also in the bar that night was a recent high school graduate named Jeff Goedderz. It was Goedderz's 19th birthday and he was celebrating.
No one remembers whether Goedderz and Wahlberg spoke to each other at the bar that evening. Indeed, it is uncertain whether they even knew each other. Wahlberg in any case, only stayed for about 15 minutes before leaving. It was now 12:40 a.m. Over the next two hours he’d wander aimlessly on a drink-and-drug-fueled sojourn, losing Brenda Ahlstrand en route but hooking up with two friends, Richard Murto and Daniel “Red” Nelson. It was while cruising the streets with Murto and Nelson that Wahlberg encountered Jeff Goedderz again.
According to Wahlberg’s version of events, he and his friends were driving in his truck when a car flashed its lights at them. Wahlberg pulled over and approached the driver (Goedderz) who held up a bottle of banana liqueur and asked if he wanted a drink. Murto, Nelson and Wahlberg then got into Goedderz’s gold-colored 1970 Plymouth Duster and they sat drinking from the bottle until it was empty. Then they started talking about where they could get more booze as the bars were all closed by now.
Goedderz suggested visiting a girl named Liz, who he had met earlier that night. But he couldn’t remember the way to her house and they soon gave up on that quest. They then went to Red Nelson's residence where they picked up a bottle of vodka. Still dissatisfied with their stash, they woke another friend, Roy Tuomala, and raided his refrigerator for beer. Then they drove to the Wolf Lake Resort and sat drinking in the car. They also did some cocaine, although Goedderz declined to participate. Eventually, they headed back into town.
By now Murto had passed out and Wahlberg said that they should drop him off at home. The car was also running low on gas, so Nelson drove to the Holiday station where they pumped $1 worth of fuel and Wahlberg went in to talk to the manager, who he knew from his milk delivery route. From there, Goedderz took the wheel, driving them back to Wahlberg’s truck where he dropped them. They did not see him again. That at least, is what Wahlberg would later tell investigators.
On the afternoon of March 14, 1975, police responded to a report of a 1970 Gold Plymouth Duster that had been left unattended in the parking lot of the Ely Co-Op for several days. The officers immediately suspected that something was wrong when they spotted a puddle of dark liquid frozen in the snow beneath the vehicle. It looked like blood and its source was soon revealed when one of the officers popped the trunk. The corpse of a young man lay inside, his hair matted with blood from severe wounds that had cracked open his skull and exposed his brain. Additionally, there were cuts and slashes to the face, arms and neck, and his jaw appeared to be dislocated. Two of his front teeth had been knocked out. His left thumb was missing and had apparently been severed as he tried to ward off the vicious blows. Yet for all the savagery of the attack, the pathologist would later reveal that Jeff Goedderz had died of blood loss. He had been alive when his killers placed him in the trunk.
And it did not take the police long to identify two possible suspects. Several witnesses had seen Wahlberg and Nelson with Goedderz that night. Pulled in for interrogation Wahlberg stuck steadfastly to his story, insisting that Goedderz had been alive when they’d parted. Wahlberg’s co-accused however, was not made of such stern stuff. Facing the prospect of life in prison, Red Nelson quickly struck a deal with prosecutors agreeing to plead guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder. It was only due to his confession that the truth of that dreadful night was revealed.
Nelson’s story mirrored that of Wahlberg up to the point where they dropped off Richard Murto. After that, Nelson said, Goedderz crept into the backseat and fell asleep. As they continued driving around Wahlberg began talking about Goedderz, telling Nelson that Goedderz was a police informant out to gather information about their drug operation. Nelson was quite used to Wahlberg’s paranoid rants about the police but this time Wahlberg was particularly forceful. Goedderz, he said, was a narc sent to gather intelligence on them. Why else had he refused the drugs they’d offered him? In his drunk and drugged up state, it all made sense to Nelson. When Wahlberg insisted that Goedderz had to die, he readily agreed to participate in the murder.
With the decision now taken to execute Goedderz, the would-be killers drove to Nelson’s house where they picked up a hunting knife and then to Wahlberg’s truck where he had a brand new hatchet, recently stolen from a hardware store. With these weapons in hand, Wahlberg instructed Nelson to drive towards a remote area of the Echo Trail. Jeff Goedderz, oblivious to the terrible fate that awaited him, slept peacefully in the back seat.
Wahlberg soon found the spot he wanted, instructing Nelson to back the car into a logging road. There he and Nelson got out and relieved themselves before waking up Goedderz and asking if he wanted to do the same. The young man had just unzipped his fly when they attacked, Nelson from the fore, Wahlberg from behind. Blow after blow rained down on the defenseless Goedderz. The knife penetrated his face and neck; one thrust delivered with such force that it dislocated his jaw and knocked out his front teeth. Meanwhile Wahlberg was swinging the hatchet, cleaving open Goedderz’s skull and exposing his brain. When Goedderz threw up a hand to protect himself the blade sliced clear through his thumb and severed it. His last words before he collapsed to the ground were “Help me.”
With their victim now lying bleeding out in the snow, the killers acted quickly. First they threw their bloody weapons into the trunk and then lifted Goedderz and pitched him in too. Next they drove into Ely and put the Duster through a carwash before abandoning it in the parking lot of the Co-op, where it would be found six days later.
On April 13, 1975, the police found the probable murder weapon on a county road east of town. The hatchet was consistent with the wounds that Goedderz had suffered and also had traces of blood that matched the victim’s type. This of course was in the days before DNA technology but it was nonetheless powerful evidence, especially as a tape player and speakers that had been removed from Goedderz’s car were found nearby.
The case against Wahlberg was strong, if circumstantial. But the State had erred in failing to insist on Red Nelson’s testimony as part of his plea deal. Still, the prosecutor was confident of a conviction. And so it proved. Seventeen months after the night on which he hacked Jeff Goedderz to death, Roy Wahlberg appeared before a jury of his peers and was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He entered the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Stillwater in June 1977.
But the story doesn’t end there. While incarcerated, Wahlberg enrolled in an inmate education program and obtained a bachelor's degree in computer programming. He was soon training other prisoners and being held up as a poster boy for rehabilitation. In 1982 he secretly teamed up with a data analyst named Barbara Hansen to form a corporation called Digital Dispatch Inc. This of course was strictly forbidden and could have resulted in future parole applications being denied. But with Hansen fronting the business, the authorities were none the wiser.
Wahlberg meanwhile, was making bank. Digital Dispatch was immensely successful and when Wahlberg anticipated the need for virus protection and wrote the world’s first anti-virus program, profits went through the roof. By the time he was released in July 1993, Roy Wahlberg was a millionaire.
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