View Full Version : Mother : The Helper
11-25-2008, 08:30 PM
Few may have heard of the serial killer from California, Gordon Stewart Northcott.
Northcott is considered the murderer of as many 20 people in the late 1920's. He tortured and then buried children in the desert.
One thing....his Mother, Sarah, was Gordon's little helper. She got life in the slammer for the murder of a local boy.
Its post-WM, to be sure....but could there have been a family mother...one even as close as dear old mama....who could have aided and abetted Jack The Ripper?
We know there are a hell of a lot of man/woman duos...but this is the first time I have ever heard of a mother helping her killer son.
11-26-2008, 11:32 PM
Archive for Sunday, October 31, 2004 (http://articles.latimes.com/2004/oct/31/)
During the 1920s, Boys Became the Prey of a Brutal Killer
By Cecilia Rasmussen (http://articles.latimes.com/writers/cecilia-rasmussen)
October 31, 2004 (http://articles.latimes.com/2004/oct/31/local) in print edition B-3
When a convicted rapist was recently charged with murdering 10 L.A. women, some longtime residents were reminded of a grisly case from the 1920s.
On Feb. 2, 1928, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies found a burlap bag containing a headless body in a La Puente ditch. A male teenager had been shot through the heart with a .22-caliber rifle.
In the next few months, three more boys vanished: Walter Collins, 9, of Mount Washington disappeared in March on his way to the movies; two Pomona brothers, Nelson and Louis Winslow, 10 and 12, went missing in May while walking home from a model yacht club meeting.
In September, federal immigration authorities received a call from a Canadian woman. She said her nephew had kidnapped her son and was holding him at a Riverside County chicken ranch.
When investigators arrived at the ranch in Wineville – now known as Mira Loma – they found Stanford Wesley Clark (http://topics.latimes.com/politics/people/wesley-clark), 15, and his sister Jessie (who had alerted her mother to the situation). But the accused kidnapper, Gordon Stewart Northcott, and Northcott’s mother, Sarah Louise, had fled.
Stanford Clark told authorities that Northcott had kidnapped little boys and, after molesting them, killed them with an ax, poured quicklime over their remains and disposed of them on the ranch. As for the body in La Puente, he said Northcott had killed a young Mexican ranch hand, dumped the body there, brought the head back to the ranch and smashed the skull.
At the ranch house, authorities also found a Pomona Public Library book checked out to one of the Winslow brothers, clothing identified as theirs and a note one of them had written to their parents. Don’t worry, the note said, “we are fine.”
Clark eventually admitted to participating in the murder of one of the Winslow brothers, saying Gordon Northcott had forced him.
Gordon and Sarah Louise Northcott were captured in Canada and held without bond. While they awaited extradition, Clark led investigators on a hunt from the Riverside farm to the Northcott family home in Boyle Heights and to a cabin Gordon Northcott rented in Saugus. Officers found traces of human blood and bloodstained axes with strands of human hair.
But the most appalling discovery was beneath the chicken coop: graves filled with bones, quicklime, bits of blood-soaked mattress and a .22-caliber rifle and bullets of the type used to kill the Mexican teenager.
In December 1928, three months after his arrest, Northcott was taken to the chicken ranch in handcuffs. Police reported that he initially said nine boys had been killed there, but admitted killing only five. In a written confession that day, he owned up to just one, believed to be the Mexican ranch hand: “I killed Alvin Gothea on the ranch on Feb. 2, 1928. No self-defense. Gordon Stewart Northcott will plead guilty to the above charge in Riverside County tomorrow.”
Northcott’s mother, who said she would “do anything” to protect her son, confessed to killing Walter Collins with an ax. She was sentenced to life in prison.
Northcott was charged with killing Walter, along with the Winslow brothers and the Mexican youth. His trial began in January 1929 amid heavy security. Women were excluded from the jury because the judge believed the crimes were too heinous for the fairer sex to be exposed to. (They were admitted as spectators, however.)
Retired Superior Court and appellate court judge John Gabbert, now 95, was then a student at Riverside City College. “I waited around the courthouse a long time to get a seat,” he said in a recent interview. Northcott “was a very self-possessed guy, not overawed by the trial at all. During breaks, he kidded around with the prosecutors. He was as much at home in the courtroom as any attorney but didn’t know what he was doing [legally]. He was a conniving, smart guy, in a limited way.”
Northcott toyed with investigators, sending them on wild goose chases for bodies with hand-drawn maps that never led to anything. He fired three attorneys in succession, took over his own defense, growled obscenities at the prosecutor, Deputy D.A. Earl Redwine, and even put himself and the prosecutor on the stand. Playing attorney and witness at the same time, he asked himself questions and answered them.
Redwine portrayed Northcott as a pathological liar and a sadistic degenerate – fearless, defiant, foulmouthed and full of bravado. Northcott’s conduct underscored Redwine’s case.
At one point, smiling benignly at the jury, Northcott accused the sheriff of plotting to kill him and of stealing his legal papers. He alleged that his family members were “liars” coerced into testifying against him. Moreover, he said, the judge wasn’t giving him a “square deal.”
At times he hinted that there were more than four victims.
Northcott had his mother brought from Tehachapi State Prison to testify on his behalf. Her startling testimony was that her husband, Cyruss George Northcott, had had intercourse with their daughter, Winifred, who gave birth to Gordon Stewart Northcott.:tape:
Winifred married and had more children, including Stanford Wesley Clark.
Northcott’s father testified that his son had bragged of killing many boys and that he had seen evidence of the carnage before much of it was destroyed with lye and fire. He even testified that he had bought the lye.
When Redwine asked the haggard, gray-haired Sarah Louise Northcott how many husbands she’d had, she couldn’t remember. Nor could she recall the names of her five children. She shrieked at the prosecutor, “The next time I get married, it won’t be to a man like you.”
After a 27-day trial and two hours’ deliberation, jurors convicted Northcott of three slayings – all but young Walter Collins. Northcott was sentenced to death.
The teenager who first revealed the killings, Clark, was sentenced to the Whittier State School for Boys for his role in one murder. After his release, he returned to Canada.
On Oct. 2, 1930, the date fixed for Northcott’s execution, he began screaming and trembling. His hands shook as San Quentin guards strapped his hands together. “Will it hurt?” he asked.
He requested a blindfold so he wouldn’t have to see the gallows. He had to be dragged up 13 stairs to the noose, pleading with guards, “Please – don’t make me walk so fast.”
Just before the trap was sprung, Northcott hollered, “A prayer – please, say a prayer for me.”
Prison Warden Clinton T. Duffy later wrote that Northcott told him he’d killed “18 or 19, maybe 20” young men and boys. Duffy wrote a book about the death sentences he’d carried out, “88 Men and 2 Women.”
After Northcott’s execution, in his cell Duffy found a crudely drawn map of the ranch, which had acquired the newspaper nickname “murder farm.” In one margin, Northcott had written, “I am not guilty,” but he had drawn coffin-shaped boxes and written, “If you will look here you will find what you want.”
11-26-2008, 11:44 PM
Finding this serial killer as I did is pretty bizarre....and like I believe,nothing is coincidental.
From reading Wilf Gregg's book on serial killers, I came across the Northcott character....and since it mentioned an accomplice....his mother...it intrigued me since the WM may have seen an intimate family member being completely in the know as to the machinations of Jack The Ripper/The Whitechapel Murderer.
It now appears that there is a film being made on this sordid episode. I had no idea. The ever present wife of Brat Pitt is slated to appear in it.
But what really knocked me for a loop is that a man who I,along with others, met at the 2006 Ripper Convention has written a book on the crimes !!
Jeffrey James Paul.
James Jeffrey Paul, a freelance writer in Raleigh, North Carolina, has researched and worked on a biography of Gordon Stewart Northcott, the serial killer and pedophile who lived in Riverside County in the late 1920s for over 15 years. His book is called “Nothing Is Strange with You: The Life and Crimes of Gordon Stewart Northcott”. He expects that the book will be published in the fall prior to the premiere of Changeling.
James Jeffrey Paul Says:
July 20th, 2008 at 12:49 pm (http://www.angelinajoliewatch.com/the-real-life-villian-from-the-changeling/#comment-35594)If you want to see photos of Christine Collins, her son Walter, and Arthur Hutchins Jr., the “changeling” himself, go to http://www.lapl.org (http://www.lapl.org/) and go to the “photo collection.” Then enter the keywork “Northcott” and over a hundred related photos will pop up.
Dan–Thanks for the free publicity! I’m not sure yet when my book will be published. I do have, as I said, some “good news” about the whole affair that I’ll be able to tell you in a couple of weeks.
James Jeffrey Paul
Small world gettin' smaller.
11-26-2008, 11:48 PM
Partial identification of the lifeless body of a small boy seen in the rear of an automobile in Glendale Sunday night as that of Walter Collins, 10 years of age, who has been mysteriously missing from his home at 217 North Avenue 23 since March 10, last, yesterday spurred...
Canadian born in 1908, Northcott would later claim that his father sodomized him at age ten. The old man finished his life in a lunatic asylum, and one of Northcott's paternal uncles died years later, in San Quentin, while serving a life term for murder. A homosexual sadist in the mold of Dean Corll and John Gacy, by age 21, Northcott was living on a poultry ranch near Riverside, California, sharing quarters with his mother and a 15-year-old nephew, Sanford Clark. For years, Northcott mixed business with pleasure in Riverside, abducting boys and hiding them out on his ranch, renting his victims to wealthy Southern California pedophiles. When he tired of the boys, they were shot or brained with an ax, their flesh dissolved with quick lime and their bones transported to the desert for disposal. Only one was ever found - a headless, teenage Mexican, discovered near La Puente during February 1928 - but homicide detectives identified three other victims. Walter Collins disappeared from home on March 10, 1928, and Northcott's mother was convicted of his death, but evidence suggests that she was acting under orders from her son. Twelve-year-old Lewis Winslow and his brother Nelson, 10, vanished from Pomona on May 16, 1928, and Northcott was later condemned for their murders, despite the absence of bodies. Gordon might have gone on raping and killing indefinitely, but in the summer of 1928, he visited the district attorney's office, complaining about a neighbor's "profane and violent" behavior. The outbursts reportedly upset his nephew, who was "training for the priesthood" by tending chickens at age 15. Under investigation, the neighbor recalled seeing Gordon beat Clark on occasion, and he urged detectives to "find out what goes on" at Northcott's ranch. Immigration officials struck first, taking Clark into custody on a complaint from his Canadian parents, and the boy regaled authorities with tales of murder, pointing out newly-excavated "grave sites" on the ranch. Detectives dug up blood-soaked earth, unearthing human ankle bones and fingers on September 17. They also found a bloodstained ax and hatchet on the premises, that Clark said had been used on human prey, as well as chickens. Northcott fled to Canada, but he was captured there and extradited back to Riverside. His mother claimed responsibility for slaying Walter Collins, but Clark fingered Gordon as the actual killer. Convicted on three counts of murder, including the Winslow brothers and the anonymous Mexican, Northcott was sentenced to death. Spared by her sex, his mother received a life sentence in the Collins case. Marking time at San Quentin, Northcott alternated between protestations of innocence and detailed confessions to the murder of "18 or 19, maybe 20" victims. A pathological liar who cherished the spotlight, he several times offered to point out remains of more victims, always reneging at the last moment. (Northcott also named several of his wealthy "customers" at the ranch, but their identities were never published.) Warden Duffy recalled his conversations with Northcott as "a lurid account of mass murder, sodomy, oral copulation, and torture so vivid it made my flesh creep." Northcott mounted the gallows on October 2, 1930, finally quailing in the face of death. Before the trap was sprung, he screamed, "A prayer! Please, say a prayer for me!" His mother subsequently died in prison, of old age.
11-26-2008, 11:52 PM
Here's the 20 year serial killer...
11-27-2008, 12:00 AM
an interview with J.J.Paul...who at one time was a member of Casebook.
02-18-2009, 09:46 PM
In the recent film, The Changeling" which Nina and I enjoyed for its subtlety and focus on the victimized mother of one of Northcott's victims...I didn't see the issue raised about this coterie of L.A. pedophiles or mentioned in passing once.
I now wonder if this was all some sort of defense ploy and perhaps there really were no "L.A. pedophiles" frequenting the ranch.
By the way, I found one article from September 1929 in which the father of Northcott speaks to the press and tells them that his son would be ordinarily seen in feminine attire until his late teens.
I think that some of the facts are somehow out of whack here, such as the underlined:
For years, Northcott mixed business with pleasure in Riverside, abducting boys and hiding them out on his ranch, renting his victims to wealthy Southern California pedophiles
I am not sure that Northcott lived in that area for "years". I'll look into it unless someone else cares to pitch in here.
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