Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Stamford "Bra Murders"

This blew my mind when I read about this serial killer..
Lord knows how many times I've driven up Riverbank Road, crossing the overpass near the intersection of Riverbank and Roxbury Road..

Well.. I found in all of my historical article hunting that in the 1960s a preacher strangled five different women in a time span of just over three years- and dumped their bodies in an embankment near this overpass. They were known as the "bra murders", because victims were found with bras wrapped around the heads, used for the strangulation.

I was reading a state's report on the case, and was shocked to have read this part:

"C. Robert Lupinacci

The State's file on Lupinacci, which is included in the present record, included the following information. Lupinacci was considered a "sex nut," was known to patronize black prostitutes, and referred to blacks disparagingly. The bodies of three of the women allegedly killed by Miller had been found within 100 feet of the spot where Lupinacci was arrested; Lupinacci's car had been seen near the murder scenes several times. In addition, in 1967, Lupinacci had been seen in bars in the vicinity of Port Chester, New York, which is near Stamford; Rush, just prior to her death in 1967, also had frequented bars in Port Chester. In 1968, employees at the Hotel Hazelton had seen Lupinacci there; Kahn, killed in 1968, was a resident of that hotel. Lupinacci had been seen cruising the Stamford area on the night Kahn was killed. In 1971, Lupinacci worked at a motel at which Thompson, killed in 1971, resided. Lupinacci was known to sell pornographic playing cards, and in the trunk of his car police found a pornographic deck with the queen of hearts missing; a similar card had been found near Thompson's body. Thompson was last seen alive in a vehicle resembling Lupinacci's car, and such a vehicle was seen near the scene of Thompson's murder. A vacuum sweeping of the trunk of Lupinacci's car revealed negroid limb hairs. In August 1971, Henry was last seen alive on Grey Rocks Place in Stamford. Lupinacci was a member of a club then located on Grey Rocks Place.

A local police officer reported that during the investigations of the deaths of Thompson and Henry, Lupinacci had inquired about the location and duration of police stakeouts related to those investigations. In addition, Lupinacci had commented that not all of the victims had been strangled with brassieres, a fact that was not known to the public.

Because of the similarity between the crimes of which Miller was accused and the act in which Lupinacci was caught, the detectives who investigated Lupinacci turned over complete reports of the information gathered to Gormley. In June 1972, Bundock had moved for the production of all exculpatory information in the possession of the prosecution. Gormley, agreeing that Bundock could have free access to the State's file on Miller, never formally responded to Bundock's request. The State did not offer access to its file on Lupinacci and never turned over to Bundock any of its information on Lupinacci."

So, why has nothing ever been done about possibly examining him as a formal suspect? I'm believing that this guy is the actual killer, but they seemed to have just swept him under the carpet?

"But when the undisclosed facts possessed by the prosecution are added to the fact that Lupinacci was arrested in the act of attempting to strangle a black prostitute in the very area where the other victims had been found strangled, we conclude that the withheld information is sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome of both Miller's decision to forgo any challenge to the State's assertion that he was the murderer and the decision of a rational factfinder as to whether the identity of Miller as the murderer was established beyond a reasonable doubt."

"C. The Materiality of the Withheld Evidence

There is no question in this case that the State withheld the results of its Lupinacci investigation from Miller and Bundock. Both state courts so found. Nor can there be any question that the information gathered was favorable to Miller, in that it suggested that the murders might have been committed by Lupinacci rather than Miller. Indeed, the state appellate court found that the Lupinacci materials were "clearly" and "obvious[ly]" exculpatory of Miller. Thus, the only issue in the present case is whether there is a reasonable probability that disclosure of those materials would have affected the outcome of the proceedings, i.e., whether they are sufficient to shake one's confidence in the outcome of the Miller proceedings."

I didn't even hear about this guy until reading that docket... Nothing mentioned about him before in newspaper archives. Crazy!


Many of the articles are for sale and are not free for viewing, but I'll link all my resources anyways:

Court Docket - Benjamin F. MILLER, Jr. Appeal

Argued Jan. 19, 1988 - Decided May 20, 1988

Killing of Woman Found Near Parkway Under Inquiry
May 05, 1968

Body of Woman Found Near Road
Jul 11, 1971

Possible Tie In Slayings Probed
STAMFORD (AP) -- Police said Monday that the slaying of 17-year-old Gail Thompson of Stamford over the weekend may be related to three so-called "bra murders" here in 1968 and 1969.

Woman Strangled at Stamford; 5th Victim There in 3 1/2 Years
STAMFORD, Conn., Aug. 23 -- For the fifth time in the last three and a half years, the body of a woman strangled with a brassiere has been found near the Merritt Parkway here.

Police Seek Clue to Stamford Murders
STAMFORD, Conn., Aug. 28 -- The state and local police, already baffled by the murders of four young black women here, are puzzling now over the murder of a fifth last weekend.

Minister Held in 5 "Bra Murders"
- EXCELLENT article-

Lay Preacher is Charged with 5 Slayings
March 18, 1972

Suspect in Bra Murders Ordered Free
May 26, 1988 - and see this..

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