The lipstick killer

Posted on: 12th May 2023


Tell me about their home , school , and neighborhood.

Where are they from? Siblings? Age? Year crime/crimes occurred?

What crimes did they commit?

What sentence did they receive?

Did they start in Juvenile Court system or Adult Court system?

Which perspective do you believe is the reason why they have committed their crime/crimes? Individual, sociological (social factors) , or developmental . Give supporting details.

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The lipstick killer

            William George Heirens, often described as the Lipstick Killer, was a serial killer in the United States. Heirens was born on November 15, 1928. Heirens was born in Evanston, Illinois, but spent much of his upbringing in Lincolnwood, a Chicago neighborhood (Leyton,347). George Heirens was born to Luxembourg-to- Luxembourg immigrants, and his mother, Margaret, was a stay-at-home mom. He had one younger brother. Heirens was in an impoverished household where his parents regularly argued, driving him to wander the streets to escape their wrath. He turned to crime, finally admitting that he did it to have fun and relieve tension (Leyton,349). He never attempted to resell anything he had stolen. After a famous note scribbled in lipstick at a crime site, Heirens earned the title “Lipstick Killer.”

            Heirens was arrested when he was 13 years old for having a loaded gun in his possession. Several stolen guns, furs, clothing, cameras, radios, and jewelry were discovered in an unused storehouse on the rooftop of a neighboring building during a subsequent search of the Heirens’ residence. Heirens acknowledged 11 thefts and was sentenced to six months at the Gibault School for Wayward Boys. He was charged with theft immediately after and sentenced to three years at the St. Bede Academy, where he excelled (Leyton,351). He was an excellent student with high exam scores, which enabled him to graduate from high school at 16 and join the University of Chicago. He worked as an usher and lecturer a few nights per week to pay his bills, but he also began burglary. He was popular with girls, according to a classmate.

            The first murder committed by Heirens occurred at 4108 North Kenmore Ave. On June 5, 1945. Josephine Ross, who was 43 years old, was murdered. Her head was covered in a garment, and she was found stabbed. Numerous black hairs were discovered in her hand, suggesting that she fought the killer. On 3941 Pine Grove Ave, December 20, 1945, Heirens committed his second murder. Frances Brown, a divorced woman, was murdered. She was discovered in her bedroom and stabbed multiple times. Brown’s cleaning lady informed police that the radio was turned up loudly and her door was open the day she was murdered. The third murder committed by Heirens occurred on 5943 North Kenmore Ave. It was on January 7, 1946, evening. Suzanne Degnan was the unfortunate victim (Keatley,243). She was abducted from her bedchamber. When her parents couldn’t find her, they dialed 911. Police arrived at the crime location and discovered little evidence other than a ransom letter left by the offender asking for $20,000 and instructing them not to contact the police or the FBI.

            On June 26, 1947, Heirens was arrested. He was subsequently held captive for nearly six days, unable to eat or drink. To get Heirens to crack, the cops tormented him and abused him. He was intoxicated on narcotics and never admitted to the crimes (Keatley,245). He eventually admitted that he was forced to kill and steal by an imaginary figure named “George.” Fingerprints that matched Heirens’ were later discovered on the door and a ransom letter. He was arrested at the age of 17. He was taken to juvenile court. Symbolic interactionism perspectives are practiced in the story of Heirens. Symbolic interactionism is a perspective that helps individuals comprehend someone else’s viewpoints and contributes to society’s smooth operation (Keatley, 245). It encourages social growth by promoting similarity. Mr. Heirens claimed in interviews that his mother had raised him to think that sex was filthy. He claimed that he would cry and vomit whenever he kissed a girl. He admitted that one of the reasons he broke into people’s homes was to play with women’s undergarments.


Work Cited

Keatley, David A., and David D. Clarke. “Crime linkage: Finding a behavioral fingerprint using the “path similarity metric”.” Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 35.2 (2020): 240-246.

Leyton, Elliott. “A Study of William Heirens.” Serial Murder. Routledge, 2018. 345-354.

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