American Ripper: The Enigma Of America's Serial Killer Cop by Patrick Kendrick
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American Ripper: The Enigma Of America's Serial Killer Cop by Patrick Kendrick

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American Ripper is the true story of Gerard John Schaefer, a Florida Law Enforcement Officer who was a prolific serial killer in the late 1960's early 1970's. The decade that was thought to be filled with "Love, Peace and Happiness," became a new dark age, breeding more serial killers than any other time in U.S. history, including Charles Manson, the Zodiac Killer, the Son of Sam, John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy, who was held in the same prison as Schaefer and whom he both idolized and resented for the recognition his crimes brought him; a recognition Schaefer never received.

This book chronicles Schaefer's life, education, his career as a cop, and his path to become a sadistic murderer. Based on empirical, extensive research that includes reviews of the case's investigation and subsequent trial, interviews with families of victims, numerous police and attorneys involved with the case, forensic doctors, and the killer himself, the author attempts to discern how Schaefer became the antithesis of what a lawman should be. Schaefer's metamorphosis can never be rationally explained, but reviews of the case's transcripts, the killer's psychiatric evaluations, and the author's own experience with Schaefer help paint a picture of an unfettered mind that fed on its own darkness.

The case also reveals an incredible and inborn weakness of then-law enforcement, a lack of shared information, and an inherent and global disbelief that monsters, such as serial killers were so abundant. Much has changed since the so-called "hippie generation," but a time that should have been filled with hope became an era that was infested with enigmas such as Gerard Schaefer.

Patrick Kendrick is the best-selling author of Extended Family and the award-winning Papa's Problem.