Carroll Edward Cole / A Life of Murder and Mental Madness

Carroll Edward Cole | Serial Killer

Carroll Edward Cole
Carroll Edward Cole

Carroll Edward Cole

Born: 05-09-1938


American Serial Killer

Crime Spree: 1947–1980

Death: Execution by Lethal Injection on 12-06-1985

Carroll Edward Cole was an American serial killer who was executed in 1985 for killing at least fifteen women and one boy by strangulation between 1947 and 1980. He confessed to a total of 35 murders.

Carroll Cole was born in Sioux City, Iowa, the second son of LaVerne and Vesta Cole. In 1939, Vesta moved his small family to California and soon after left to fight in World War II. While his father was away, Carroll’s mother, who was emotionally abusive toward him, had several affairs and oft times took him along to her rendezvous, threatening to beat him if he ever told his father. Vesta tormented young Carroll by dressing him as a girl at home, while at school, he was teased about his “girl’s name” by his peers.

Carroll Edward Cole

By age 8, Carroll Edward Cole had taken all he could handle. He finally retaliated against one of his classmates, a boy of the same age named Duane, by drowning him in a lake in Richmond, California. The death was regarded an accident by authorities, until Cole confessed to it many years later in an autobiography he wrote in prison. During a press interview Cole said of this event, “I was primed, I had made the mental commitment I was going to get even with my mother and things just built up and built up and, over time, became an obsession.”

As a teen, Cole committed several petty crimes and was frequently arrested for drunkenness and minor thefts. After high school, he joined the U.S. Army, but was given a bad-conduct discharge in 1958 for stealing pistols. In 1960, Cole attacked two couples parked in cars on a lover’s lane. Soon afterwards, he called the police in Richmond, California, where he was living, and told them that he was plagued by violent fantasies involving strangling women.

Mental Hospitals

Carroll Edward Cole spent time in various mental hospitals over the next three years. At the last of them, Stockton State Hospital, a Dr. Weiss wrote: “He seems to be afraid of the female figure and cannot have intercourse with her first but must kill her before he can do it.” Weiss approved Carroll’s release in April 1963, despite hospital staff having diagnosed Cole with antisocial personality disorder.

Upon his release, Cole moved to Dallas, Texas, where his brother Richard was living. There, he met and married an alcoholic stripper named Billie Whitworth, though this didn’t change his perspective towards women. After two years, the marriage ended when Cole burned down a motel after convincing himself that Whitworth was having sex with men there. As a result, he was arrested for arson. Upon his release from prison, Cole attempted to strangle an 11-year-old girl in Missouri. He was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison.

After the sentence was up, Cole ended up in Nevada, where he attempted to strangle two more women. Once again, he checked himself into a mental hospital. The doctors there noted his murderous fantasies but still elected not to detain him and he was given a ticket back to San Diego.

The Serial Killer

Carroll Edward Cole’s first victim as an adult was Essie L. Buck, whom he’d picked up in a San Diego tavern on May 7, 1971. He strangled her to death in his car and drove around with her body in the trunk before eventually dumping it. Just two weeks later, he killed an unidentified woman and buried her in a wooded area. He later claimed that they had proven themselves unfaithful to their husbands, and so reminded him of his adulterous mother.

In July 1973, Cole married barmaid Diana Faye Younglove Pashal, who was also an alcoholic. They argued and fought frequently, and Cole regularly went off on his own for days at a time. He would commit murders while he was away, including one woman he allegedly cannibalized to a degree.

In September 1979, Carroll strangled his wife to death. A suspicious neighbor called the police eight days later, but although they found Pashal’s body wrapped in a blanket and stuffed in a closet, they decided that she had died because of her heavy drinking and Cole was released without charge after questioning.

Carroll Cole soon left San Diego and started moving around again. In 1979, Cole met Marie Cushman at a bar in Las Vegas. That same evening, the two went to a motel where they had sex. Carroll then strangled her to death. Following the murder of Cushman, Carroll returned to Dallas.


On November 12, 1980, Detective Gerald Robinson of the Dallas police department, found the body laying dead near Bryan Street. It was 6:00 am. The victim was nude from the waist down, her slacks tossed haphazardly into the nearby shrubs. Drag marks and wounds on the body suggested that the victim had been hauled across the gravel after she had been murdered.

The driver’s license of Wanda Roberts was found near her body. She was 32 years old and lived close by. She was also a frequent client to the local bars and honky tonks in the immediate area. Her autopsy showed she had been drinking heavily on the night of her murder so the authorities knew where to start their investigation.

Enter Eddie

Moving through the bars near Bryan Street, investigators soon learned that Wonda had left the bar around 2:00 am. They also discovered she had left with another frequent custom. His name was Eddie. No last name was known. It was of little help, but the name Eddie was filed and the investigation moved on.

On November 30, 1980, Sally Thompson’s sons arrived home around midnight. Their 43 year old mother was obviously there because the lights were on and the TV could be heard. But the door was locked against them. They began knocking on the door to get her attention and to let them in. After several minutes, the door did indeed come open. However, it was not their mother who opened the door.

A strange man stood in the doorway, disoriented and reeking of whiskey. Sally’s boys pushed passed the stranger and immediately found their mother face down on the floor, her jeans and underwear twisted down to her ankles. The boys quickly left the house and, using a neighbors phone, called the law.

The authorities arrived to find the stranger still in the house. He was arrested with no resistance.

Carroll Edward Cole

Carroll Edward Cole identified himself and revealed that he lived just two blocks down. He said that he had met Sally at a local bar and had taken her up on her offer for sex at her place. He added that when he began undressing her she had suddenly collapsed to the floor. Carroll was detained while an autopsy was performed.

Paramedics at the scene had found no signs of violence against the woman and suggested an overdose. The medical examiner ruled the death indeterminate and Carroll Cole was released.

Detective Robinson was reviewing the Sally Thompson file and realized that Carroll Cole’s middle name was Edward. He also noted that his address was actually a half way house for felons on parole. Another mental note made was the fact that it was only two miles from where Wonda Roberts had been discovered.

A call to the half way house revealed that Cole had arrived in Dallas on October 8, 1980, just two days after he had been released for mail theft. He had lived there on the night of Wonda’s murder, one month later. A background check revealed a long criminal record, including the 1967 felonious assault on a adolescent girl. Carroll Edward Cole was brought in for a few more questions.

The Confession

During the interview, Detective Robinson was suddenly called to go to a crime scene. But, before the detective could move, Carroll spewed out a murder confession. He described the murder of a woman he had met at a Dallas bar.

Detective Robinson realized that Cole was describing someone other than Wonda or Sally. This murder apparently took place on November 9,1980. Checking the records, it was discovered that a 52 year old named Dorothy King had been found dead in her apartment on November 11. Her death had been noted as an overdose. Detective Robinson decided it was time to dive deep into Carroll Edward Cole and started the interview over. He began with “Now tell me about the woman at the bar.” Carroll replied, “Which one?”

From The Mouth of A Killer

Carroll began talking and detective Robinson began taking notes. It would literally take hours. First Carroll admitted to killing Dorothy, Wanda and Sally. The MO was easy to spot. A pickup at a nearby bar. A promise of sex and a dead woman when it was all said and done. Pretty cut and dry. But it didn’t stop there.

The three Dallas murders were not where this serial killer’s story began. There were in fact six more that needed revealed and that would take the detective back to 1971. The MO basically the same, with a little molestation tossed in after death in the beginning years.

The first was Essie Buck, the tavern owner who was stripped and strangled and tossed away outside the city limits of San Diego, California. That was May of 1971. The second was Bonnie O’Neil who was dumped behind a shop where Cole had worked in the day. It was August of 1979. A month later, Carrol confessed, was his own drunken wife. He had strangled her to death, wrapped her in a blanket and stashed her body in her own closet before he up and drove away.

And On He Rambled

Las Vegas was another city that had a few secrets Cole needed to mention. There, he confessed, was Kathlyn Blum. She was the part time prostitute that he had strangled to death before dumping her body in a residential area sometime in May of 1977. And in 1979, sometime in late November, Marie Cushman would die at the Casbah Hotel and be left abandoned on the bed she had been strangled in. His final victim was a woman named Myrlene Hamer. Like the others, she had been strangled. Her body, discovered in August of 1975, had been dumped in a field near Casper, Wyoming.

Carroll Cole was arrested and booked in Dallas on three counts of first degree murder. His trial would begin on April 6, 1981.

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Silent Rage

Silent Rage is the true story of American serial killer Carroll Edward Cole. “Eddie” was raised by a sadistic, abusive mother he came quickly to loathe and would spend a lifetime acting upon that hatred.

He would accomplish his first murder before he was ten years old and would go on to murder at least 14 women. Sexual attacks, necrophilia and cannibalization would accompany him on his killing spree through California, Texas and Nevada.

Backed by 32 weeks of exclusive interviews with Carrol Edward Cole and years of exhaustive research, Michael Newton paints one of the most chilling true portraits of the development of a sociopathic personality ever made available to the public.

Newton traces Cole’s gruesome career across four decades, until Cole’s execution by the state of Nevada. (Amazon)

Carroll Edward Cole Tells His Tale

In court, Carroll Cole told a tale of an adulterous, abusive, sadistic mother who used him as her whipping post from a very early age. She was a woman Carroll soon came to loathe, giving rise to a morbid obsession with unfaithful women. “I think I murdered her over and over again through these women,” he stated.

While in court, Carroll, surprisingly, volunteered that there were a few more women he needed to speak on, although he could remember very little of the murderous events. There were two more women in San Diego and one in Oklahoma who he had murdered on Thanksgiving day in 1977.

The woman in Oklahoma was ghostlike in Carroll’s mind, as he could not really remember much about the event. He did not recall her name but did remember that her body parts were scattered all around his small apartment and evidently he had cooked and consumed parts of her flesh.

Sentenced To Death

Although the prosecutor stressed that Carroll was exaggerating his act of cannibalism in a bid for an insanity plea, the jury had obviously heard enough. They deliberated for less than 30 minutes before returning a guilty verdict on three counts of murder. He was sentence to 25 years minimum.

However, Vegas was wanting him too. On February 15,1984, Nevada formally announced their intent to extradite Carroll Cole and charge him with capital murder. On March 30, Carroll waived extradition and Las Vegas detectives collected him on April 9, 1984. Carroll’s penalty hearing convened on October 12,1984. He was sentenced to death.

Carrol was transferred to Nevada’s state prison on November 6,1984. He was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on December 6,1985, the first ever to die by this method in the state of Nevada.

Carroll Edward Cole

Carroll spent his time on death row writing his autobiography and granting neurosurgeons the right to study his brain after death in the hopes that someone could finally explain his violent life. On December 4, he was moved into the ‘last night cell’ and put under suicide watch.

On December 6,1985, at 1:43 am, Cole was escorted into the execution chamber. At 2:05 he was strapped to the table and the iv needles were put in place, the lethal concoction of fluids began flowing through his veins. At 2:07, his body convulsed and then he was still. Carroll Edward Cole was pronounced dead at 2:10 am. He was 47 years old.

His last words were “It’s all right.”

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source: | wikipedia | murderpedia | crimelibrary |

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