The Eyeball Killer

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Warning, the crime scene photos in this case are extremely graphic. I’ll add them at the very bottom, so be careful scrolling to the bottom if you do not wish to see.

Dallas, Texas
In August of 1933 Charles Albright was born, and the woman who’d brought him into this world gave her baby up; within weeks he was adopted by a grocer named Fred Albright and his wife, a schoolteacher by the name of Delle. While they say that Delle definitely doted on her son, she was also very strict, domineering even; Charles was often punished in cruel ways for the most petty of sins. If he wouldn’t take a nap, Dell would tie her son to the bed; if the boy didn’t finish all of his milk, mother would lock him in pitch black room. It is thought that Charles resented his mother and the woman who had given him up; it’s possible this is where his deep seeded hatred for women began.

It’s thought that Charley’s fascination with eyes stems from his childhood. As a young boy Charles and his mama would roam the city in search of dead animals; the pair were very much into taxidermy. Mother and son would find a suitable corpse, bring it home, gut the animal, stuff it up, and sew it back together. Since eyeballs will rot, a taxidermied animal’s eyes are supposed to be removed and replaced with fake ones, but these eyes are a bit pricy. Mrs. Albright had been a thrifty woman and, to the dismay of her son, refused to fork over the cash for those fancy taxidermy eyeballs; young Charles was forced to sew buttons on his deceased pets instead. This was very bothersome to the boy, and it’s believed that this is how that eyeball fetish came to be.

There is no denying that Charles was a super bright young man who not only skipped one grade in school, but two! It is impressive, and he was intelligent enough to be successful in anything he attempted, but Charles just couldn’t seem to stay out of trouble with the law. By the time he was a 13 he already had himself a criminal record, yet at just fifteen years of age he had managed to graduated from high school and enroll in college. At sixteen Charles was again arrested for theft, and spent a year incarcerated.

After his release Charles took pre-med courses at an Arkansas college, but he was found to be in possession of stolen property and expelled. At this point Charles figured, why actually work to get a degree when you can simply lie about having one? He forged all the necessary papers and voila! The crook found himself a job at a school where he taught biology classes and even coached a football team! Charley wed his college girlfriend and that union produced a daughter, but the marriage didn’t last; the couple officially divorced in 1974. Charles continued to get in trouble here and there throughout the years but he was very cunning and usually managed to receive probation. As an example, in 1981 the pervert even molested a friend’s 9 year old daughter; for stealing this little girl’s innocence, a crime to which he actually plead guilty, Charley again merely received probation! It’s despicable, and insane that no one bothered to stop this train wreck in it’s tracks!

Mary Lou

On December 13th of 1990 a sex worker named Mary Lou Pratt was found deceased. She was partially unclothed, arms lifted up above her head with her shirt shoved way up so that Mary’s breasts were exposed. The woman had been sexually assaulted, shot in the head, and her eyes were gone. They’d been cut out, but not in the way you’d expect; these eyes were removed with such precision that investigators were sure that their killer must be some sort of a doctor or have some medical training at the very least!

Susan

When police were called to another crime scene two months later, it must’ve felt like deja vu! The next victim, a sex worker named Susan Peterson, was discovered in close proximity to the first. This corpse was posed in the exact same manner as the first: her arms were way up above her head, shirt lifted and breasts exposed. Susan, too, had been sexually assaulted, shot in the head, and her eyes had been removed just as carefully as her predecessor’s. Tragically, police were certain that this victim must have known her killer. Days prior to her death Susan had confessed to police that she knew precisely who had been responsible for Mary’s murder, but for whatever reason she refused to name the man. Truth be told she was probably afraid, and who could blame her? Women in this profession very often grow disillusioned with police, which is part of the reason why they make such great targets for serials.

Shirley

Anyhow, a month after Susan’s murder, on March 19th of 1991, there was another victim; this one’s name was Shirley Williams. Shirley had suffered the same injuries as the others, but her death was much more brutal. She had bruises about her face, and her eyes had been ripped out with such force that a sliver of metal from an xacto blade was left in the otherwise empty socket! Near this corpse lay a bright red condom.

Police soon realized that the only way they were likely to catch their killer would be to enlist the help of the women working in the local Red Light district. While speaking with these ladies, investigators noticed that one man was brought up time and time again; Charles Albright was known to be violent with his dates, at least one of the women claimed she’d narrowly escaped one encounter with her life. Charles seemed fixated on pretty eyes, he had a seething hatred for “hookers” and once stated that he’d kill them all if he could, plus the man had been friendly with one of the victims. After hearing all of this, police were able to secure a search warrant.

Inside Charley’s home investigators found several firearms, an abundance of xacto knifes just like the ones used to remove the women’s eyes, and bright red colored condoms – but that’s not all! Charles had mannequins and masks throughout his home, it’s said that he was obsessed with their blank, dead eyes; at least one source states that there were dolls with their eyes removed. In a barn out back were rows of dead animals preserved in jars!

Charles was arrested and originally charged with multiple murders, though he was convicted of murdering only Shirley. Today he is serving life in prison, and while incarcerated he passes the time by drawing eyeballs which he hangs on the walls of his cell.

*Before doing in depth research for this case I had been lead to believe through documentaries that police could only pin 3 murders on Charles, which is not true! There is a much lesser known victim from 1988. The modus operandi from Rhonda Bowie’s slaying is much different from the rest; she had been stabbed 30 times (overkill) yet her eyes remained intact. It seems to me that either this earlier murder isn’t connected to the others and a killer got away, or it was the same murderer but he hadn’t found his signature yet.

Maybe Charles didn’t plan to kill Rhonda; it’s possible he became enraged by something, stabbed her to death, and discovered he enjoyed killing. If this is the case, are there other murders which could be contributed to Albright? While it’s not unheard of for a man in his mid 50’s to begin killing, it’s not the most common thing, either.

Lastly, there is another possibility which must be addressed: many do believe this man to be completely innocent of all charges. It’s impossible to deny the fact that the evidence used to convict Charles was circumstantial, relying mostly on fiber evidence; there was no DNA or anything truly concrete which tied him to these serial killings. Charles’s girlfriend even swears that he was with her during the times of the murders so he couldn’t possibly be guilty. But you know, that seems a likely story, doesn’t it? How many spouses have been in denial and covered for their lovers? The thing is, this one could prove that Charley had had no access to a vehicle during two of the murders. Now I’m not in any way saying that Charles Albright is innocent, especially when you look at those drawings of eyeballs which he keeps in his cell, but I can understand why some people think that might be the case.

Stop scrolling now if you do not wish to see the crime scene photos!

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