Colorado is known as one of the most beautiful states in America. It offers the visitors and residents a magical landscape of mountains, high plains, plateaus, canyons, rivers, and forests. However, the state is also known for some unforgettable Colorado serial killers. It’s no secret that some of the most gruesome killings of all time took place here.
The most remembered of these today are the JonBenet Ramsey murder, the mass shootings at Columbine High School, and the Aurora Theater. Colorado murders also included those of Alferd (also spelled ‘Alfred’) Packer, the infamous killer Ted Bundy, and the kidnap and murder of well-known Coors Beer family member, Adolph Coors III.
JonBonet Ramsey’s Gruesome Murder
The JonBenet Ramsey murder tugged at the hearts of all Americans. The six-year-old beauty pageant queen was found dead the day after Christmas, 1996. The young girl was found dead in the basement at the family residence in Boulder, Colorado. The girl’s body was discovered by her mother, Patsy, along with a ransom note. The note demanded a payment of $118,000 for the safe return of JonBenet. Initially, her parents were suspected of the murder.
This all changed when DNA at the scene was determined to belong to an unknown male who was not a member of the Ramsey family. No one has been charged and tried for JonBenet Ramsey’s murder.
Columbine Mass Shooting
Colorado saw 13 people murdered on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School. The deaths included 12 students and one teacher in Littleton. The Colorado serial killers were two students, Dylan Klebold, 17, and 18-year-old Eric Harris. The murderers had previously made home videos before committing the act, telling about their plans and apologizing to their parents for what they planned to do. The two murders killed themselves, with gunshot wounds, in the school library, following the massacre.
Although SWAT teams got into the school 47 minutes after the first shots were heard, it took five hours to get the school under control. The murdered students ranged in age from 14 to 18. The teacher was 47. In September 2007, The Columbine Memorial was dedicated adjacent to the high school.
James Holmes, one of the Colorado Serial Killers
James Holmes was another of the Colorado serial killers. He murdered 12 people and injured 70 others. The grizzly site was at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, 2012. Nearly three years later, Holmes was found guilty of all the 165 counts brought against him, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The youngest person murdered was six years of age and the eldest was 51. It was reported that Holmes legally bought the guns at two different stores. He bought 6,000 rounds of ammunition online. Holmes bought a ticket for the midnight showing, to see “The Dark Knight Rises,” at the Century Aurora 16 Multiplex Theater.
He entered the theater and then exited through a rear door where he went to the parking lot to retrieve his armaments. He left the door propped open so he could return. The movie had been running for 18 minutes, and it was just after midnight when Holmes threw two tear gas canisters into the audience. After they exploded, he started shooting. Following this, Holmes surrendered to police outside the movie theater. Although Holmes received the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, the judge formally sentenced him to 12 life sentences, one life term for each person he murdered. His sentence also included 3,318 years for the attempted murder of the victims he wounded as well as for rigging his apartment with explosives.
Alferd Packer Controversial Cannibalism
Alferd (also spelled ‘Alfred’) Packer, a prospector, was another of the Colorado murders. However, his act of terror involved only one actual murder; instead, he became famous after he confessed to eating his dead travel mates while they were all trapped in the San Juan Mountains. This happened in February 1874. It was reported that he killed one prospector in self-defense. He then began to consume the corpses of those who had already died. Packer’s cannibalism became one of the West’s longest-lasting murder mysteries.
Packer reported that a few days after separating from the main group of 15, his gold-seeking group then numbered six, and they briefly continued to search for gold. However, the snow became overwhelming. They ran out of provisions, which forced them to take their rawhide moccasins and cook them. The six also found wild rose bushes. They gathered the buds from the bushes, stewed them, and ate them.
Following this, Packer began dining on the bodies of the deceased prospectors. Eventually, Packer arrived at the Los Pinos Indian Agency. He was worn down but still in reasonably good shape. There he ran into one of the original gold seekers who questioned him where he got his spending money to buy a $70 horse. Packer told him the group’s oldest member, Israel Swan, had died from hunger and exposure. Packer, suffering from hunger, told the other prospector that he ate Swan. After he was arrested, Packer later told the court that he was stranded in the snow for 60 days. He said he had no choice but to live on the flesh of the dead men. He was sent to prison for 17 years. The Denver Post then petitioned to have him released.
Today Packer’s memory remains alive in Lake City, Colorado. “Al Packer Days” are held each year. You can buy a Packer Burger at the Cannibal Grill. There is also a historical marker that designates the Alferd Packer Massacre Site. In 1968 students in Boulder, at the University of Colorado, renamed their student union restaurant the Alferd E. Packer Memorial Grill.
Infamous Colorado Serial Killers: Ted Bundy
Ted Bundy is another one of the Colorado serial killers. However, his life ended in January 1989 as he was put to death in a Florida electric chair. He was another of the Colorado serial killers. Bundy was jailed in Colorado for the murder of a 23-year-old nurse in Aspen. She was just one of the many young women he killed. Previously he had been in Utah, where he was serving time in prison for assault and kidnapping. Bundy provided quite a trail for Colorado law enforcement.
During his incarceration in 1977, he escaped from the Garfield County jail. He was returned to custody; about six months later, he escaped once again. Bundy was eventually captured in Florida. However, before his capture, he had already attacked and murdered other victims. Bundy finally confessed to killing 28 women, although others estimated his number of murders was much higher.
Coors Family Murder
Another of the infamous Colorado murders was Adolph Coors III. The grandson of the Coors’ beer founder and chairman of the brewery was kidnapped, February 9, 1951, while on his way to work. He was held for ransom. The ransom note was addressed to Mrs. Coors III and gave the location of Adolph’s car. It warned her if she contacted authorities that he would die. If she cooperated, he would live. The kidnapper demanded $200,000 in ten-dollar bills and $300,000 in twenty-dollar bills. He warned that there would not be any negotiating. His attacker was Joe Corbett, a former Fulbright scholar. Police quickly found Coors’ International Travel All on a bridge. When searching the vehicle, his hat, glasses, and a bloodstain were discovered.
Coors’ wife, Mary, received the ransom note the following date. The search for Coors and his assailant became the greatest FBI effort since the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. On September 15, 1960, one of Coors’ shirts was discovered, as well as his skull, in a remote area close to Pikes Peak. Corbett was freed from prison in 1980 after serving 20 years. However, at age 80, the killer took his own life with a gunshot to his head.
These Colorado murders might have placed a temporary stain on the state, even so, today it remains the magnificent state it always has been.