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RG3423.AM:  Charles Raymond Starkweather, 1938-1959

Papers: 1958-1993

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska: Criminal

Size: 0.2 cu.ft.; 1 roll of microfilm


Charles R. Starkweather was convicted in the murder of Robert Jensen of Bennet, Nebraska in 1958.  Although Starkweather claimed involvement in a total of eleven murders between January 21 and January 29, 1958, he was convicted and sentenced to death for only the first degree murder of Jensen and for murder while in the perpetration of robbery.  Starkweather’s girlfriend, Caril Fugate, received a life sentence as an accomplice in the Jensen murder, although she claimed that she was Starkweather’s hostage during the week-long murder spree.

Beginning with the murders of Fugate’s mother, stepfather, and infant half-sister, the two allegedly killed seven others in Lancaster County, Nebraska, and one other person during their escape attempt in Wyoming.  Starkweather, after numerous appeals and stays of execution, was electrocuted on June 25, 1959.  Fugate spent eighteen years in the Women’s Reformatory at York, Nebraska before being paroled in 1976.  Upon parole, Fugate was given a new identity and an out-of-state residence.


The collection consists of manuscript materials arranged in two series: 1) Research materials for “Murder in the Heartland,” and 2) Newspaper clippings, 1958-1973.  The materials relate to the murders committed by Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate in January, 1958.

Series 1 – Research materials for “Murder in the Heartland,” consists of research materials compiled for the ABC-TV miniseries, “Murder in the Heartland,” (1993).  Included are transcripts of interviews conducted in 1992-1993 with people associated with the trials.  Interviewees include Jim McArthur, Ruby McArthur, Marjorie Carroll, Bill Kriefel, Paul Douglas, and Ninette Beaver.  Also included are photocopies of a few articles and notes on the timeline of the killings.

Series 2 – Newspaper clippings, 1958-1973, consists of one roll of microfilm containing newspaper articles about the Starkweather /Fugate murders and their trials and appeals.  The newspaper clippings trace the entire history of the Starkweather murders taken from Lincoln newspapers.  They include descriptions of the crimes, the discoveries of the bodies, the hunt for the criminals, investigation tactics, and the victims’ funerals.  Also included are reports on the progress of the Starkweather and Fugate trials, their appeals, and articles about Starkweather’s execution.  These newspaper clippings were loaned for microfilming by the Journal-Star Printing Co., Lincoln, Nebraska in January of 1974.  This collection does not contain the original clippings.

Note:  A large portion of the collection was removed because they were duplicates.  The bulk of these materials consisted of photocopies of the official trial transcripts.  The official trial transcripts are available in RG207, SG9.  Also removed were photocopies of appeals briefs (also available in RG207, SG9) and photocopies from the book, Starkweather: A story of mass murder on the Great Plains, by William Allen.


Series 1 – Research materials for “Murder in the Heartland”

Box 1


    1. Timeline of murders

    1. Interview transcripts, 1990s

    1. Misc. research materials

Series 2 – Newspaper clippings, 1958-1973

MF Roll 1: Newspaper articles about the Starkweather/Fugate murders, trials, etc., 1958-1973



Acc. 1993.0243

AIF/psw                 02-04.1980

TMM/tmm           03-30-2005; 04-26-2021