Nebraska, Wyoming, and the Charley Starkweather Murders Part 1

About the murderer Charley Starkweather and his journey through Nebraska and Wyoming, history of the murders.


The Murders: An absolute stillness clung to the one-story frame house where Marion Bartlett lived with his wife, Velda, and their 2 daughters. It was much too quiet behind the neatly printed note on the front door which warned: "STAY AWAY. EVERYBODY IS SICK WITH THE FLU. MISS BARTLETT," far too quiet not to rouse some neighborly curiosity and concern here in the run-down part of town, the Belmont section of Lincoln. And concern it was, late in January, 1958, that led some relatives of the family to look in and see if they couldn't be of some help.

There could be no help for the parents, each shot through the head and hidden in an out-building. Neither would the younger of the daughters need aid. She was dead as a result of a savage clubbing. Fourteen-year-old Caril, the offspring of her mother's 1st marriage, was nowhere to be found.

By the time that the Lincoln police had finished piecing together what had happened at the Bartlett home; by the time that the populace of Lincoln, Nebr., was beginning to feel the clammy tap of Fear's finger on its shoulder; by the time the APB had gone out for the pickup of Charles Starkweather and his girl friend Caril Fugate; by then, that duo was beginning to play a long game of chicken with the law and the Fifties' culture, whistling down Highway 77 in Charley's rebuilt '49 Ford, their only company a radio, a .38, a .22 rifle, and a .410-gauge shotgun. They were headed toward Bennet and a place to hide, on the 1st leg of the 525-mi. demolition derby in which 10 were to die.

It was an early evening in winter when the Ford got stuck traversing the muddy road to the farmhouse of Starkweather's old friend August Meyer. Impossibly stuck. When a high school couple out on a date stopped to lend a hand, Charley shot them both and took their car, also a Ford, but not as old as Charley's, and good enough to carry the couple the rest of the way to the farmhouse that Charley's friend owned. There, ostensibly for his guns and ammunition, Charley murdered Meyer and then he decided to return to Lincoln.

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