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9 Chilling Facts About Jerry Brudos — The Real Serial Killer From The Netflix Series 'Mindhunter'

Photo: Metro UK
Who Is Jerry Brudos? 9 Facts About The Real Serial In Netlix Series Mindhunter

Jerome Brudos, who became known as both "The Lust Killer" and "The Shoe Fetish Slayer" is one of the fascinating criminal personalities featured in the season one of the Netflix original series Mindhunter.

If you're passionate about true crime, you may have already binge-watched several or all episodes of the show, which is ostensibly about the real men and women of the FBI who invented our modern profiling techniques by recording conversations with some of the most infamous serial killers in the United States, then reviewing the conversations to identify their patterns of behavior. This complex and important work is still being used to this day.

Of course, like most historically based shows out there, this program takes some dramatic license with some details for the sake of the storyline, and this is totally understandable. But if you're a true crime junkie, it probably makes you a little itchy when you don't getting to see and know all of the facts about the way things truly happened. 

RELATED: 11 Awful Details About Cyntoia Brown, The 16-Year-Old Sex Trafficking Victim Serving A Life Sentence For Killing The Man Who 'Bought' Her 

We don't get to spend a large amount of time with Brudos as portrayed by actor Happy Anderson on the show, and in this case in particular, his real life crimes are even more disturbing to think about than they might be to watch on TV.

For the sake those of you dying to know more, here are 9 facts about Jerry Brudos you may or may not have learned watching Mindhunter on Netflix.

(Fingers crossed this will help you pass the time before season 2!)

1. He had a troubled relationship with his mother.

Jerome "Jerry" Brudos was born on January 31, 1939, in a small town known as Webster, South Dakota. His family moved often when he was a boy, bouncing between California, Oregon and South Dakota. Jerry was the youngest of two boys, and suffered from a devastating relationship with his mother, who heartbroken and furious that Jerry had not been born a girl, would dress him as one in order to humiliate him. 

Psychiatrists examining him later in his life believed his violent fantasies revolved around a desperate wish to take revenge on his mother.

2. His fetishes for wearing women's shoes and underwear began as a young child.

When he was just 5-years-old, Brudos found a pair of women's high heels in a junkyard. He brought them home to try them on, and when his mother caught him she humiliated him for it and destroyed the shoes. What could not be destroyed was his growing fascination with women, their shoes, and his burgeoning dark, violent fantasies about them both. He reportedly went on to steal a pair of high-heeled show from his first-grade teacher and was fond of stealing women's underwear from neighbors' homes.

High-heeled shoes and women's undergarments would go on to play a large role in his future murder spree.

3. He began transforming his violent fantasies into reality as a teenager.

During his teen years, Brudos began stalking local women he would then either knock down over choke unconscious before taking off with their shoes. At the age of seventeen, he threatened a woman at knife point, forced her to remove all of her clothes, and took photographs of her before he released her. Some reports indicate that he also beat her, while others say that he assaulted a second woman who rejected him. 

After his arrest he was sent to Oregon State Hospital's psychiatric ward for nine months. While there, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was allowed to attend school during the day, and managed to graduate high school along with the rest of his class in 1957. 


4. He was employed and "happily" married with two children.

Like other serious killers like John Wayne Gacey, his history of violent behavior and dangerous mental health condition did not keep him from forming relationships, at least on the surface. 

After spending a brief period of time in the U.S. Army and being discharged for his "bizarre obsessions", Brudos began working as an electrician. When he was 22-years-old, he married 17-year-old named Darcie Metzler, and the couple moved first to Portland, Oregon, where they had two children together, a daughter named Megan in 1962 and a son named Jason in 1967. Sources say "some of his friends described him as a devoted family man, who neither drank nor smoked, and rarely if ever used profanity."

5. His wife may have acted as an accomplice.

Reports indicate that Darcie was thoroughly brainwashed by Brudos.

She followed his orders that she stay at home wearing nothing other than high heels, and she was not allowed to enter either the garage or attic of their home without first making a request over an intercom system Brudos set up and awaiting his permission. 

As stated on a Facebook page called The Sinister Sisters:

"Obviously, Darcie knew something was going on, even if she wasn't sure he was the killer.... Either that or she was in complete denial. The authorities must have thought she was in on it, because they arrested and tried her as an accomplice. A neighbour even said she saw Darcie help Brudos carry a victim....however, the neighbour’s testimony was discredited and there was no other evidence to prove she was in on the murders.

She has always denied knowing anything about the killings and has since divorced Jerome, who’s by the way is now dead. She changed her name and moved, with their children, to an unknown location."

6. His murder spree took place over 15 months and claimed the lives of four women. 

As recorded on Wikipedia and verified on several other sites, between January 26, 1968 - April 23, 1969, Brudos killed or attempted to kill the following women:

  • "Linda Slawson, 19, a door to door encyclopaedia saleswoman who knocked on Brudos's door in January 1968. Brudos lured her to the garage while his wife and children were in the house, knocked her out with a wooden plank, and strangled her. He dressed her in different female undergarments and shoes he had stolen, arranged her body in provocative poses, and used a hacksaw to cut her left foot, which he kept in the freezer and used to model his collection of high-heel shoes. He disposed of the body in the Willamette River."
  • "Karen Sprinker, 19, abducted at gunpoint from a car park outside a department store in May 1968. Brudos was dressed in women's clothes during this attack. He brought her to his garage, made her try on his collection of undergarments and pose while he photographed her, raped her, and strangled her by hanging her from her neck in a pulley. He had sex with the body in several occasions and cut out the breasts to make plastic moulds. Afterward, he tied the body to a six-cylinder car engine with nylon cord and threw it in the Willamette."
  • "Jan Susan Whitney, 23, a motorist whose car broke down on Interstate 5 between Salem and Albany, Oregon, on November 26, 1968. Brudos offered to drive her to his home with the excuse of letting her call a pick-up truck there. While still in the car, he strangled her with a leather strap and raped her post-mortem. He then kept the body hanging from the pulley in his garage for several days, during which he dressed, had sex with and photographed it. This time, Brudos cut one of her breasts and made a resin mould of it that he used as a paperweight. Afterward he tied the body to a railroad iron and threw it on the Willamette along with Slawson's foot, which had rot."
  • "Sharon Wood, 24, attempted to abduct at gunpoint from the basement floor of a car park in Portland on April 21, 1969."
  • "Gloria Gene Smith, 15, attempted to abduct on April 22, 1969."
  • "Linda Salee, 22, abducted from a shopping mall car park on April 23, 1969. Brudos brought her to his garage where he raped and strangled her, and played with her corpse. He decided to not cut her breasts because they were "too pink", and instead drove an electrical current through the body in an attempt to make it 'jump', which failed. Afterward, he tied the body to a car transmission with a nylon cord and threw it on the Willamette."


7. His passion for photography helped lock him up for life.

Jerry was vain about his photography skills. He considered himself an artist, even if what he was photographing were the dead bodies of the women he killed. When a woman who escaped Jerry's clutches picked him out of a police lineup, authorities acquired permission to search his home. Inside of the garage he had made his studio, they found countless photographs of dead women in various states of dress and dismemberment, as well as some of their severed limbs.

This evidence would prove to be crucial when it came time to arrest and interrogate Brudos in connection with his murders.

8. His crimes caught up to him after he began stalking local sorority houses.

Brudos was finally apprehended in 1969 after three of the bodies had been found in the river. One local college girl interviewed by police described a date she'd gone on with a "heavyset man with light hair and freckles" who claimed to be a Vietnam War veteran, mentioned the dead women who had been found, and suggested that perhaps he would taking her to the river and strangle her as well. The police asked the woman to call him back and arrange a second date, but when Brudos arrived to pick her up, the police were waiting for him instead.

After a lengthy interrogation, Brudos confessed to all four murders, the two attempted abductions, and several additional assaults. He could only be tried and convicted for the three of the murders, as Slawson's body was never found and Brudos had neither taken photographs of her nor kept his "trophy" from her body. After pleading guilty, he received three consecutive life sentences, to be served in the Oregon State Peniteniary.

9. He died of natural causes at the age of 67.

Brudos wife Darcie was arraigned and charged with aiding and abetting in the murder of Karen Sprinkler. After being found not-guilty, she divorced Brudos, moved away, changed her name and the names of their children, and got a court order forbidding both children from ever visiting or writing to their father. 

Over the course of his years in jail, Brudos successfully managed to solicited a large collection of women's shoes catalogues from clothing manufacturers he wrote to. He was frequently beaten by fellow inmates, including one occasion on January 1, 1970, when he was "treated for rectal bleeding that was classified as being caused by hemorrhoids or 'other'."

Brudos died on March 28, 2006 from liver cancer after spending a record-breaking 37 years in prison, making him the longest ever incarcerated inmate in the Oregon Department of Corrections.

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the sex, love, and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.