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 Tidings and salutations, bibliophages.  Thank you for joining me on True Crime By The Book where every other Tuesday we meet up to talk real crime one page at a time.  I’m your host, Tasha Pierce. First of all today, I’d like to thank Hipyoungy and JenBrad1211 for their five-star reviews. My first 2, so yay!!  And if you’d like to help the podcast, please head over to iTunes/Apple Podcasts, anywhere and drop a review.  I would certainly appreciate it. Now… Today, we will be discussing Charmer: The True Story of a Ladies Man and His Victims by Jack Olsen. It was narrated by Kevin Pierce (no relation), who teamed up with Olsen on many of his works.  His narration lends the right mix of charm, gravity and sincerity to the words on the page.

Jack Olsen is the award-winning author of thirty-three books published in fifteen countries and eleven languages. A former Time bureau chief, Olsen wrote for Vanity Fair, People, Paris Match, Readers Digest, Playboy, Life, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, New York Times Book Review and others. His magazine journalism appeared in thirteen anthologies.  Olsen’s journalism has earned the National Headliners Award, Chicago Newspaper Guild’s Page One Award, commendations from Columbia and Indiana Universities, the Washington State Governor’s Award, the Scripps-Howard Award, and other honors. He was listed in Who’s Who in America since 1968 and in Who’s Who in the World since 1987. The Philadelphia Inquirer described him as “an American treasure.”

Olsen has been described as “the dean of true crime authors” by the Washington Post and the New York Daily News and “the master of true crime” by the Detroit Free Press and Newsday. Publishers Weekly called him “the best true crime writer around.” His studies of crime are required reading in university criminology courses and have been cited in the New York Times Notable Books of the Year. In a page-one review, the Times described his work as “a genuine contribution to criminology and journalism alike.”  Needless to say, there will be more of his books featured here on the podcast.

The Goodreads synopsis goes like this:

In a tree-lined community near Seattle, young women and girls were drawn to George Russell, Jr. They crowned him “cool, ” trusted him as their protector, and took him to their hearts. And why not? An articulate young African American, he was a cheerful companion, flashy dancer, and urban sophisticate. He had good looks, professional parents, rich friends, a beguiling style and smile. George was a local favorite. Then, bodies started turning up – in a nightclub parking lot, in a quiet, out-of-the-way house, and in a tastefully decorated apartment. The victims, attractive young females, had been bludgeoned to death, violated sexually, then outrageously posed like gallery sculptures. Seasoned investigators were sickened by the cold brutality. A prosecutor described the bodies as “the killer’s collected works of art.” No one suspected George Russell. He offered the police helpful clues and even put the finger on a pal. When frustrated detectives ran out of leads, they came close to giving up on the case. In this riveting examination into the mind and life of a vicious killer and his deceptively charming persona, Jack Olsen tracks Russell’s thirty-year psychological decline, which culminated in a shocking killing spree.

This week we are visiting Mercer Island.  It is situated between Seattle and Bellevue in Washington State. It was described as upper suburbia- a place where executives and professionals put down roots.  A place where poverty means driving last year’s Mercedes. Six miles of land that was home to around twenty thousand people. Unbeknownst to Mercer Island, a career criminal would soon grip the community and shake it to its core.

When I got into the book, I didn’t know much about George Waterfield Russell, Jr.  I’ve been a fan of true crime since I was 11-years-old when Alton Coleman held my hometown, Gary, Indiana, hostage in the summer of 84.  In Charmer, we meet Russell as a boy about the same age as I was when I learned that monsters live amongst us. He was wise beyond his years.  He would talk to anyone. His conversation was so mature that it was easy to forget you were talking to a child. He was cautious as well- he’d get a person to talk and talk without disclosing much about himself. He was guarded that way.  His family was among only a handful of blacks who lived on Mercer Island. He lived with his mom Joyce, a college professor; his stepfather, a dentist; and his baby sister. From the outer appearance, he seemed to have an ideal home life. Upon further investigation, we soon learn that George was a neglected and lonely boy.

He never had any really close friends as a youth. He was more like an accessory- kinda like TV shows that have a white ensemble cast and one black guy on the periphery of the group. George was always on the periphery.  In his family, he watched his mom and stepdad fawn over Erica, his sister. He didn’t receive that type of attention from either of them. His stepfather often pointed out that George wasn’t his son.

 At school, he wasn’t popular- he was just “there”. Because he was so often left to his own devices, George started to get into mischief.  This wasn’t cute Dennis the Menace type stuff, though. He was prone to lie about anything, often exaggerating the type of family life he thought he deserved.   In 1970, he and two other 12-year-olds broke into a neighbor’s home and made toast. Okay, I know that sounds a little funny. I couldn’t imagine coming home and actually finding the three bears in my kitchen eating toast.  This could easily be mistaken as a prank, but in reality, it was premonitions of things to come. That same year he also began peeking into people’s homes. He was caught by police who decided to punish him by having him do odd jobs at the police station.

 George soon became fascinated with law enforcement. He was interested in all aspects of fighting crime and the people who dedicated their lives to doing it.  The Mercer Island police also liked having George around and they hoped by feeding his curiosity they could keep him out of trouble. He became a fixture around the station- answering phones, being a gopher, and studying the intricacies of being an officer.  He even began telling people that he wanted to be a cop when he grew up. He was a charming and likable kid, just needed a little supervision. 

Unfortunately, George’s mom and stepfather began experiencing relationship problems and she decided to leave the home they shared.  I was baffled when it was revealed that she took the child she shared with her husband but left George behind. Of course, George said she gave him the option to go with her but he refused.  History shows that his mom likely abandoned him. She had pawned him off on various relatives while she went to college. He stayed with a litany of relatives- aunts, grandmothers, basically anyone who would have him.  This had to make George feel alone in the world, being shipped from one household to the next. After hearing how his mother so callously left him with a man who never wanted him, I almost felt sorry for him. It seems that George Russell didn’t want sympathy- he had his mind set on something else entirely.

I feel like I say this every week, but I can’t cover the entirety of the book in just 30 minutes.  So, let’s fast forward to an adult George. It is important to note that he committed plenty of crimes between high school and adulthood.  He was able to escape those brushes with the law with a slap on the wrist. A week or two in jail, maybe a month here and there. He wouldn’t serve long, and then he would be back on the street looking for new trouble to get into. He was arrested once, and when he thought that his crime would have him potentially looking at a lengthy prison sentence, he escaped from the jail. This was an embarrassing situation for the Mercer Island police.  There was an all-out manhunt for George- dogs, helicopters, a mini task force. It was incredible that the Mercer Island police were having extreme difficulty locating a black fugitive on a white island, but that was the case. He was on the run for two weeks. When George was finally captured he told one officer that he wasn’t caught. He pretty much gave up. He couldn’t ever admit that he was wrong; he never could be fooled. This little adventure was George’s first felony charge.  He spent 10 months on ice.

So, far we’ve learned that George was a liar, was abandoned as a child, and was neglected- he also shared a number of other traits that could be an indicator of his personality type.  Those are a lack of guilt, empathy, and deep emotional attachments to others; narcissism and superficial charm; and dishonesty, manipulativeness, and reckless risk-taking.  According to the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy,  a person with all of those traits is likely to have antisocial personality disorder- also known as psychopathy.

Upon release, George went back to Mercer Island.  He was as secretive and manipulative as ever- kind of a “street psychologist”.  He knew who to pursue and who to avoid; who to steal from and who he shouldn’t cross. He kept different groups of friends and they remained separate.  He had multiple lives, in a way. He could never stay out of trouble, but he would work off smaller transgressions by flipping on local drug dealers. He even had convinced one of his groups of acquaintances that he couldn’t be arrested because he worked with the cops.  

George was finding himself increasingly alone in this period.  He burned bridges with his old school friends by stealing from them, his street friends by turning full-time snitch, and the community at large by being a known petty criminal.  The last resort on Mercer Island was the younger crowd. This is when 28-year-old George began running around with a group of girls who were looking forward to entering the 10th grade.  Everyone knows the guy- he is the only one old enough to buy beer, he brings the weed, life of the party. Those guys who never grow up. Big fish, small pond types.

Well, he began to hang out at the homes of these young girls- sneaking in late and tipping out early.  He would talk with them, really act like he cared. He asked questions and gave advice. He knew all the kids in their circle and could gossip with them all night.  They would hug and cuddle in bed together- but nothing sexual ever happened.  

UNTIL- one of the girls developed a crush on George.  She began to display the classic signs of a 14-year-old being jealous and lovesick.  It wasn’t obvious to all the other kids, but George recognized it- because he is old and pervy as hell.  Then he began to work on grooming this kid into a long term sexual relationship. She had recently given her life to God- so that was the hook that George used to lure her in.  I’ll save you the lurid details of his repeated sexual abuses of her. In usual George fashion, he eventually was caught with a stolen TV and stolen scratch-off lottery tickets.  That landed him a 30 day stay in jail. His behavior while there extended his stay for 7 months. While he was locked up, the young lady discovered that she was pregnant. She had just turned 15 four days earlier.  She knew there was no way she could properly care for the baby, so she used $130 of her babysitting earnings to have an abortion. Even though she and George remained in contact through letters and occasional phone calls, his spell was beginning to fade.  She realized that it was really weird that this adult man was dating her. She wanted to experience dating someone her own age, who could be her boyfriend all the time, not just late at night. She finally recognized George for the loser he was. I think at this point in the story, I was so excited for her that I pumped my fist.  It’s unfortunate that she went through all of that, but she came out on the other side. On May 18, 1987, he got out of jail. She saw George a few times but her behavior was distant. Eventually, he got the hint and exited her life.

Now, back on the streets of Mercer Island, George had to exist.  He would sleep in parked cars, warehouses, people’s garages. Five weeks later, he was squatting in a warehouse.  The owner called police and George spent 5 days in jail. He was trespassed from most of the businesses in the area- Denny’s, gas stations, stores.  He was essentially ostracized.  

He still kept a group of younger friends who he could manipulate into allowing him to crash at their places until they kicked him out- usually for stealing.  He couch-surfed until his penchant for “borrowing” things reared its head, then out he went. He didn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it of. So, he picked up his bag and moved on to Bellevue.

In Bellevue, he was known to frequent a nightspot called The Black Angus.  He would post up at a booth close to the DJ, buy drinks and dance the night away.  He continued to keep details about his life very secretive as he got to know the other regulars in the establishment.  George was a reasonably attractive guy and he would flirt and be flirted with. He absolutely had no love for the black girls, though.  He hardly would interact with any black women. It’s not hard to imagine why. I tend to think they reminded him too much of his mother. Most of the time, he kept his encounters with the women he met at Black Angus confined to the night club.  Then, he met a young lady named Mindy Charlie.  

Mindy was a young divorcee.  She married her high school sweetheart at 17 years old and by the time she was 20 he up and left.  One year later, in 1988, she was involved with an aspiring actor named Chris who turned out to be jealous, abusive, and an alcoholic.  After a huge blowup on Christmas Eve, he destroyed her 6-foot aluminum Christmas tree. She finally had it with him- be an asshole all year round but DON’T ruin Christmas.  She bought him a ticket to LA and sent him packing. That relationship ended up costing her a total of $5000. Then, in the summer of 1989, she met George in the Black Angus.  This pretty, naive and vulnerable girl was just his type.

The street psychologist in George picked up on the unconscious signals that Mindy was sending. Before long he had effectively swept her off her feet.  They started off dating. Before long he was spending nights, cooking dinner, making breakfast in bed. He would surprise her with gifts and kept her home spotless.  She was so taken she didn’t even realize when George had moved in. He paid his portion of rent on time for a time. He was a perfect boyfriend until he wasn’t. That facade couldn’t last forever, Before she knew what happened he had morphed into a controlling, manipulative monster.  He was emotionally abusive, secretive, and selfish. George had picked up on her insecurities and weaponized them against her. There was a constant hot and cold with him- he would ignore her for days on end and then suddenly start communicating again. He would “borrow” her car for hours on end, leaving her to wonder where he was.  He told her that he was an “undercover narcotics officer”, but he never had money. She would occasionally find trinkets, jewelry, and what-not around the apartment, he would snatch it up and say “It’s police evidence”. He choked her after one argument, punched her after another. She was finally seeing him for who he truly was. This George was the one who could strong-arm children out of their possessions, who could steal from the people he called friends, and who would ruin another Christmas for Mindy.  That’s right, Christmas was Mindy’s favorite holiday. She confided in him the terrible things Chris, the ex, had done on Christmas 1988. And this piece of crap did the exact same thing to her for Christmas 1989. When she dared question him, he picked up her aluminum Christmas tree and speared it at her. After the shock wore off, Mindy sat in a heap and began to pick up the shattered pieces. While scripting this, I witnessed an act of domestic violence. I heard yells, so I looked up. This young man tackled a young lady and began pummeling her like she was an opposing quarterback.  I didn’t have my phone on the balcony, but I leaped up and yelled, “Heyyyyy”. He saw me and ran. This young lady was one of the 24 people per minute who are victims of domestic violence in the United States. That being said, I’ve been one of the 24 myself. Please, realize that you are worth so much more than this kind of treatment. If you have been a victim of domestic abuse and are in need of help, please call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233  or visit the

  There had been a rash of burglaries in Mindy’s neighborhood.  The perpetrator broke in and stole small items of little value.  The Mercer Island police noticed that the burglaries on the island had slowed down tremendously.  They also knew that George would occasionally slip in and commit a crime, just to keep them on their toes.  George really wasn’t in it for the spoils, he was in it for the sport. The feeling that he could enter someone’s home while they were sleeping, rummage through their belongings, and essentially hold their lives in his hands.  He could kill them while they slept. He wondered if his victims ever thought about that. It was through his benevolence that they were still alive. Others wouldn’t be so lucky.

 I believe I’m going to stop here with Jack Olsen’s The Charmer, but fear not!  There will be a second episode to conclude this story. In fact, the second episode will be available tomorrow!  I hope you all will join me for part two- and bring along a friend.  If you have feedback, comments, or book suggestions, I’ll direct you to my email  Please subscribe to True Crime By The Book on Stitcher, Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts, and many other podcatchers.  I would also appreciate ratings and reviews on your platform of choice. Thanks for listening. Hasta manana, bookworms!

 Tidings and salutations, bibliophages.  Thank you for joining me on True Crime By The Book where every other Tuesday we meet up to talk real crime one page at a time.  I’m your host, Tasha Pierce. Today, we will be concluding our discussion of the book Charmer: The True Story of a Ladies Man and His Victims by Jack Olsen.  Last week, we learned that George Walterfield Russell, Jr. grew up on Mercer Island. He was a troublemaker all his life, and his petty crimes were little more than a nuisance.  Over the years, George’s crimes had begun escalating. His burglaries taking on a perverse and voyeuristic tone. He began to study the movements of the Green River Killer with a little too much intensity. He spoke of Ted Bundy with a sort of reverence. He read a book by a woman about Bundy.  He raged about how she knew nothing about Bundy- how dare she judge his hero. He pondered out loud about why there weren’t any Black serial killers (which of course was not true). When we left off, he had ramped up to physically abusing Mindy, his girlfriend of 5 months. Today we will find out how much further George ultimately goes.

In time, Mindy got sick of George’s abuse.  He assaulted her and ransacked her apartment.   She reported it. He was arrested Feb. 12, 1990, and soon out of Mindy’s life for good.

He still had the Black Angus.  There was a waitress, GB, that dared to spot his bullshit and she was very vocal about it.  George began to harass and attempt to intimidate her. She wanted him to be banned from entering, but the owner was reticent because of George’s popularity with the regulars.  After talking with a female friend- who also was a Mercer Island cop- GB learned that George had a warrant out for his arrest on a parole violation. The next time he showed up to the Angus, she tipped the police.  They dispatched a female black officer, who made the arrest. We already discussed how George felt about black women. This was the tipping point for George. He had been humiliated by a woman for the last time.  

After threatening the life of GB, George was eighty-sixed from the Angus.  The ban was initially for two weeks but after an employee meeting, the ban became permanent.  George knew exactly who was most wanted him to be barred from the Angus. That knowledge further fueled his extreme misogyny. 

Mary Anne Pohlreich was 27 years old.  She moved to Bellevue to study computers and was working as a telemarketer.  She shared an apartment with a friend. Mary Anne had a strict Christian upbringing, and she was kind of relishing her newfound freedom.  She began frequenting a night spot- not the Black Angus, but a place called Papagayo’s. There she would sip drinks with friends, chat with other partiers and dance the night away.  On Friday, June 23, 1990, she got dressed and hit the club with a couple of her girlfriends. Liquor flowed, music played, and dancing ensued. In fact, Mary Anne had personally requested MC Hammer’s song “U Can’t Touch This” at least 5 times.  She was having a lot of fun and I’m pretty sure that more than a few of you can relate to the club scene in the 90s. There came a point that her friends were ready to go home, but Mary Anne was not ready to call it a night. She still had a Long Island Iced Tea in front of her and she wanted to finish her drink.  They left without her. That would be the last time they saw Mary Anne Pohlreich alive. There is a little speculation involved in determining the timeline from that point. According to a toxicology report, she was highly intoxicated. It is thought that she was offered a ride home and was attacked in the vehicle she was riding in.  Her cause of death was manual strangulation. There was blunt force trauma to the head by a heavy object, and she had sustained other injuries from being savagely beaten. She had also been raped after death. Her body was then disposed of near a dumpster behind the Black Angus. She was posed nude with her legs crossed, arms folded. There was a pine cone placed in her hand and a plastic lid covering one eye.  A bartender who left work at the Angus reported that there was definitely nothing near the dumpster at 3:30 a.m. That would mean that the perpetrator put Mary Anne’s body out there around 4 a.m. or later.

Bellevue had a very low crime rate, so this murder was bizarre for a number of reasons.  This was a particularly heinous crime and the staging of the body just added an extra layer of depravity.  Where there is staging, there is often a message. But what was the message and who was the intended recipient?  The police began their investigation by retracing Mary Anne’s steps from 9:30 p.m when her friends left the club until 4 a.m. They spoke to patrons, bartenders, and bouncers at Papagayo’s, many of whom stated that they were not sure if they had seen her or if she had left with anyone.  Those who had remembered seeing her weren’t sure when she left. One person wanted to know what happened to her and if the police had any leads. The police had hoped to get some ideas from the last place they knew Mary Anne was seen alive. They had zero leads to share with the public.  As the Mary Anne Pohlreich case continued to unfold, the unthinkable happened. There was another woman murdered.

On August 9th, police were called to the home of Carol Beethe.  Carol was 34 years old and the mother of two daughters. She was a divorcee but had a boyfriend. Carol was a bartender at the Cucina Cucina restaurant.  Carol got home shortly after 2:15 a.m. After her shift, she had spent an hour or two chatting with her boyfriend then another hour with a friend talking about her upcoming vacation plans.  At 4:30 a.m., her daughter heard movement in the house and saw the light from a flashlight. She assumed it was her mother’s boyfriend and went back to sleep. At 8:30, the girls got up and noticed their mother wasn’t awake.  One daughter went to her mom’s door and knocked to no response. She tried to open the door, but it was locked. She then went outside and around to the sliding door, which was open. Upon entering the bedroom, she was confronted with a horrific sight.  This description is extremely graphic, but I thought it important to detail the scene that this poor child saw. Carol was lying on her bed, legs spread. She was nude, except for a pair of red heels. There was a rifle with the barrel inserted in her vagina, the stock between her legs. Her left arm was bent up towards her head, right arm bent down towards her hip.  There were a pillow and a plastic bag over her face. The perpetrator had smeared blood down both of her legs. She was beaten with some type of weapon about her head and face. The assailant kneed and punched Carol so violently that her ribs were broken and her liver was lacerated. She had no defensive wounds, which means she was blitz attacked while she slept. This is the condition the monster who had killed her left for the children to find.  Her terrified daughter raced from the room and called her father. He came over and looked at the scene then called the police.  

When the police arrived and saw the level of violence coupled with the staging there was a sense of dread.  What were the chances that the murders of these two women WEREN’T related? A town that has so few murders that it doesn’t even have a homicide division suddenly has TWO bodies and zero leads. 

Well,since it appeared that there was a repeat offender on the loose, the police began looking at what the victims had in common.  There really didn’t seem to be any similarities besides them both being white and pretty. One was killed in her home and the other was apparently killed somewhere else and dumped at a popular hangout.  The police began to interview friends, family, and acquaintances in order to spot a pattern or a suspect. Incredibly, before they got very far with the Beethe case, there was yet ANOTHER murder of a pretty, young white woman.

Andrea Levine was 24 years old and lived alone in a basement apartment. On August 30, she got home from meeting her boyfriend at about 1:30 a.m.  She apparently did some packing for a trip she and her boyfriend had planned, then prepared for bed. At approximately 5 a.m., her landlord- who lived upstairs- got up to let his dog out.  That was when he spotted a figure lurking outside the home. The figure appeared to be a man and when he saw the man of the house he took off running. The landlord initially gave chase but then went home to phone police.  The police came and performed a search of the property, but didn’t check on Andrea’s apartment. The following Monday the landlady noticed an odor coming from Andrea’s apartment. She entered the apartment and was shocked by what she saw.  

Andrea was on the bed with her legs spread.  She had a sex toy inserted in her mouth, and the book, “More Joy of Sex” tucked under her left arm.  Her right arm was extended above her shoulder. She had sustained a ferocious attack, being cut or stabbed 263 times.  She was also beaten about the head with a metal bar.  

What makes a killer pose a victim? Psychology Today states:

FBI profilers may encounter deliberate alterations of the crime scene or the victim’s body position at the scene of the murder. If these alterations are made for the purpose of confusing or otherwise misleading criminal investigators, then they are called staging and they are considered to be part of the killer’s MO. 

On the other hand, if the crime scene alterations only serve the fantasy needs of the offender, then they are considered part of the signature and they are referred to as posing. Sometimes, a victim’s body is posed to send a message to the police or public. For example, Jack the Ripper sometimes posed his victims’ nude bodies with their legs spread apart to shock onlookers and the police in Victorian England. 

In the crimes we are discussing, the posing and staging seem to be a part of the killer’s fantasy.  He isn’t attempting to point the finger in another direction, he is achieving a perverse thrill and is attempting to shock the unfortunate soul who stumbles upon his work, and to punish or degrade the victim.  

The staging, the frenzied attack, the type of victim- there was little doubt that there was a serial killer on the loose, and he was escalating.  Bellevue police knew they were out of their league on this one, so they called the Seattle police for an assist.

What did these victims have in common?  After investigating the lives of these three victims, it became apparent that the only similarity outside of their race was they all frequented Bellevue’s nightspots.  Mary Anne was last seen alive at a nightspot, Carol worked as a bartender and sometimes met friends at the Black Angus, and Andrea was known to hang out from time to time.  In two of the crimes, a home invasion was a key component. From that, they gathered the perp was a skilled cat burglar. There were small items of jewelry taken in both home invasions, and Carol was known to keep Crown Royal bags with silver dollars and other change.  Those were missing as well. A sexualized crime expert offered a profile of the killer that included him being a white male, but when local cops heard of the break-ins and petty thefts they had one suspect in mind.

On January 10, 1991, George Waterfield Russell was arrested on outstanding warrants.  When he was interviewed by police concerning the homicides, he divulged that he was acquainted with all three victims.  Three victims who seemingly had nothing in common suddenly were linked to one individual. This was not a coincidence. It also wasn’t a coincidence that the day Mary Anne Pohlreich was killed, George had “borrowed” a friend’s truck to make a quick run. When he kept it until after five the next morning, the friend was pretty pissed off.  Not only that, but it reeked. George told him that he had thrown up to explain the smell. There was no coincidence that George had been to Andrea Levine’s home previously with her boyfriend, then returned alone asking her for a ride. She told her boyfriend to tell George never to come to her place again. It was absolutely not a coincidence that Carol Beethe and GB, the waitress who got George banned from the Black Angus, were good friends.  He thought the two ladies were gossiping about him after his first verbal altercation with GB. And if somehow you still aren’t convinced of George’s involvement, here are some more non-coincidences:

  1. The truck George borrowed was searched and Mary Anne’s blood was found under the floor mats
  2. George began cutting out articles about the murders, saying the killer would “never be caught” and referring to the victims as whores and skanks
  3. George sold one of his friends a ring that belonged to Andrea Levine
  4. George took another friend into a wooded area to collect some money that was owed to him and returned with Crown Royal bags filled with change
  5. “Negroid” hairs were found at the crime scenes (this was pre-DNA, but the hairs were consistent with George
  6. George was a VERY skilled voyeur and burglar- he had been doing it since he was a child on Mercer Island.  
  7. Remember the bar patron that asked if there were any leads in the investigation? That patron was GEORGE!

The evidence was more than circumstantial- it was damning.  I will recommend that you read the book for details of the trial of George Waterfield Russell.  Just know that this piece of trash is off the streets for good. On Oct. 22, 1991 he was sentenced to forever. Forever ever, for ever ever.  I’m sure that he would have been sentenced to death if that were an option at the time of his murders.  

George broke the mold in a few ways- he crossed the racial divide as a serial killer, which is unusual until you take into account that George “acted white”. His crimes were sexual and sadistic- even before his first murder, I believe there was gratification in breaking into people’s homes.  He took things from the scene of the murders but I don’t think they were trophies. It was just like 12-year-old George, breaking into a home and eating toast. He was hungry, so he took food. In the case of 31-year-old George, he needed money, so he stole their stuff. He wanted to be special, he thought black serial killers were unicorns.  Truth is, black serial killers usually kill black people. Since he didn’t live around Black people, he didn’t know that. I believe George would have continued to murder had he not been caught. This would not have been a Golden State Killer or BTK kind of maniac. He would have killed and killed and killed some more. I do recommend that you read the book.  I also watched the Investigation Discovery show Most Evil’s episode about Russell and looked up certain facts on Murderpedia.  

That’s it for Jack Olsen’s Charmer.  I had a book chosen for next week’s episode, but I had to return it because I just couldn’t get into it.  The audio was shitty, and so was the story. I have a backup plan, however, so I’ll be working hard to get that out next Tuesday.    If you have feedback, comments, or book suggestions, I’ll direct you to my email  Please subscribe to True Crime By The Book on Stitcher, Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts, and many other podcatchers and share the show with a friend.  I would also appreciate ratings and reviews on your platform of choice. Thank you all for listening. Later bookworms!

Author: Sinister Silhouettes

I host a podcast about murder and stuff. Oh, and conspiracies. I'm also on a "spiritual journey" so pardon me if I get serious and introspective. Did I mention sci-fi? I LOVE sci-fi.

2 thoughts on “Charmer”

  1. I was in King County jail in 1985-86 going to trial for multiple armed robberies. I was celled up with George Waterfield Russell . This was around the time we moved from the old jail to the new one via the skywalk. George had a black guy in there that wanted to beat his ass ,but i fought the guy instead because i thought Russell was such a skinny little whimp. I should have let that brother have him. At the time i believe that he was in for stealing a purse in a burglary. One of Russells female friends at the time began to come to my trial. After my conviction and incarceration at Monroe 1986-1992 she contacted my prison counselor and obtained a visiting form ,all unknown to me . I began visiting the attractive Mercer Island girl and we went so far as to arrange a marriage in Monroe so that we could have conjugal visits. This was around end of 1990 or early 1991. Anyway we came to the point of finalizing our wedding plans and then soon after the young lady just disappeared with no reason ever given. I didn’t put it together until years later that this would have been around the time that Russell was being identified and taken to trial for murder. She must have been doubting her sanity after that all came to light.

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