Just when you think you’ll never love another serial killer, your mom mentions she went to school with one MISS PATTY COLUMBO! Never heard of her? Neither had I, but she’s worth Googling a time or two. Who is she? Let me sum up:
Partricia Columbo was a nineteen year old girl from my hometown of Elk Grove Village, Illinois. She was living with a thirty-seven year old married man her father was not too fond of and the Reader’s Digest version is that she and her boyfriend [Frank Deluca] decided to pay the family a nice little visit one night . . . with a shotgun. They needed the inheritance money and daughter dearest was blissfully unaware she’d been written out of the will. Frank shot Daddy in the back of the head, then pretty Patty beat him with a bowling trophy and stabbed his chest with a lit cigarette. They surprised Mommy in the bathroom and shot her between the eyes, killing her instantly. Patty didn’t need to, but she slit her throat anyway. Then they went to see her thirteen year old brother, Michael, where Frank shot him and daddy’s little angel stabbed him 87 timed with a pair of sewing scissors.
Or something like that.
Personally I have no idea how she thought she was ever going to get away with this, so I decided to write her myself and ask for an interview. I know it’s long, but I hear she doesn’t get much mail these days; they get bored in the pen and just adore long letters! I tried my best not to offend her, but what can you say to a person who slew her whole family without hitting some sort of nerve? I still tried my best! I sincerely hope this one writes back!:
Dear Patty Columbo (or TRISH, as I’ve heard you now prefer),
Hey, lady! What’s happening in the slammer? My name is Brianne Sloan and I am a writer in St. Augustine, Florida. I am quite excited to be writing you, as I love serial killers in a freaky sort of abnormal way. It’s actually quite disturbing to people at times, but I can’t get enough! Night Stalker?! Old Bundy Buddy?! Grandfather Albert, Ed Gein? Rodney Alcala (now HE’s a fun one, I gave up dating *forever* because of him!)? Paul and Karla? Myra and Ian? David Berkowitz, Jeffrey Dahmer??? I LOVE THEM!
Mention the Zodiac Killer, I get goose pimply all over!
This has been going on for years, but in twenty nine years of America’s Most Wanted and murder documentaries on the Discovery Channel, you were never mentioned to me! Not once! All those sleepless nights I spent Googling the Unibomber and John Wayne Gacy? Anthony Larette?! In all those years, my MOTHER never saw fit to mention PATTY COLUMBO to me! The “serial killer” she went to high school with! The one who slaughtered her entire family just a few blocks from our house!
The story came up while we were having drinks with a cousin she hadn’t seen in twenty years, they just started talking about you like it was the most natural thing in the world! WHAT?!? My mother KNEW a serial killer?! PERSONALLY!? And she never told me?!? Even in the face of my raging serial killer obsession?
I have to tell you, Patty~ I was almost offended!
(please don’t be disturbed by the term “serial killer”, it’s just what they call a person who murders three or more people in a relatively short period of time; ONE NIGHT seems “relatively short” to me!)
I grew up in Elk Grove Village, my Mom went to school with you. Her name was Susan McCoy and you worked at Walgreens with her sister. She’s Kathy Groh now, but she used to be Kathy McCoy and your boyfriend was her boss. Small world. We lived on Cumberland Circle West, in a split level ranch with the exact same layout as yours~ two bedrooms upstairs, laundry room downstairs, my Grandma complained every day she did the wash! I still wear my Mom’s ELK GROVE HIGH, CLASS OF ‘75 shirt!
We have a lot in common, Miss Columbo. I have a little brother myself and I’ll admit there have been days when I have indeed wanted to stab him 87 times with a pair of sewing scissors . . . or a fork . . . or a pair of needle nosed pliers, or whatever was handy. Also the brother of one of my uncles (not a blood relative) murdered his parents and dumped them behind a Domino’s; I think we’ve all been there!
And YOU might be my new best friend!
* * *
Let me explain: I have been planning and outlining a book on how I was sucked into an imaginary “relationship” with a coldblooded sociopath and how it took me two years to detatch the whiny leech (something YOU may also understand, the dangers of letting someone like that into your life; you have to poison the well and trick them into leaving YOU if you ever want your freedom back, it’s like giving a dog flea medication) and I announced a book project on my blog. I was so very excited about it, but I soon found out he’d been married only a month before I ran that article . . .
So NOW I look like a crazy bitch!
I’ve decided to hold off on that project, I believe it’s the only HUMANE thing to do. I have morals, I have manners and the unsuspecting bride obviously has no idea about what she married or what kind of sick and twisted family she’s married into; I’ll let her have at least the honeymoon phase before I start exposing her new husband as the antichrist. It’s the least I can do for that poor girl, she will be miserable for years to come~ it’s inevitable, I can’t bring myself to ruin what precious little happiness she is ever, ever going to have. I decided to write a book on something a bit more PLEASANT . . .
Like PATTY COLUMBO and her *own* psychopath boyfriend (who seems a lot like my guy, to be honest) . . . who plotted for eight months to brutally murder a whole family in the middle of the night, in a sleepy Chicago suburb where nothing fantastic or exciting EVER, EVER happens!
TA DA! That’s where YOU come in!
I want to tell the REAL story. I have been reading everything I can on you for a little more than a month now and I am beyond, beyond fascinated~ this is some prime time stuff! I have Googled you in every possible manner, seen all the pictures! I read Women Behind Bars, Love’s Blood and everything . . . but nothing told me what I really wanted to know.
I don’t want to know about the murders themselves, I’ve looked at those from every angle, upside down and backwards; from the bowling trophy to the cigarette burns to setting the thermostat to 97 degrees to hasten decomposition, I’ve read it a million times. There’s nothing new there and if there is, the world will never know; you say you can’t remember that night and if you secretly can, you’ll never admit it. Even a killer has pride! Though certainly you remember PLANNING it!
A nineteen year old murderer? My god! How does that HAPPEN!?
(SO, *SO* MUCH MORE INTERESTING THAN AMY FISHER!)
* * *
Look, I’ll level with you~ when I was nineteen, I TOO committed a crime. I didn’t plot for eight months, but I plotted for about eight minutes and stole a pair of jeans and a bra from the Dillards in the Avenues Mall. It was all together worth about thirty bucks and hardly, hardly worth the events that followed, but I still remember seeing that cop waiting for me before I got to the exit. In that one moment, all was lost~ I simultaneously had the impulse to run, cry and throw my arms around the arresting officer! In a second, I felt my heart deflate and all hope just wooshed out of it! THIS is why:
Shoplifting was the kind of thing teenagers did all the time with little to no consequences. No nineteen year old thinks of themselves as an ADULT yet, but all the same, next I knew I was sitting in BIG GIRL JAIL! Before a judge in handcuffs and shackles! In an inmate sweatshirt . . . and PIGTAILS!
I think that’s kind of the same thing.
Like me, you probably didn’t realize how BAD what you were doing was, the finality or the enormity of it and you certainly didn’t realize you were going to get caught. You obviously weren’t aware you’d been written out of your parents’ will and I guess you just saw a means to an end. Their life insurance policy was probably only worth about a hundred thousand dollars, but instead of just going out to MAKE a hundred thousand dollars, you tried to do it the hard way (or the easy way, depending on how you look at it), butchered your innocent family, signed your life away and ended up nowhere with nothing. That’s a lot like how I still had to pay for the clothes I stole, even though I did not get to keep them.
I think that’s everybody’s story. In some way.
My Grandma is still in Elk Grove Village, I’m planning a visit in the near future. If it’s all right with you, I’d like to set up an interview. I can write circles around anyone who has written anything on you (pardon the bragging, I’m just trying to get you to work with me) and I absolutely BELIEVE in your story. I’m not interested in any raunchy child molestation scenes and I could care less about any sexual congress you ever engaged in with a German Shepherd, all that is irrelevant~ WHAT could possibly drive a girl to plot and scheme for almost a year to murder her entire family? In the WORST, WORST way imaginable? With your slimy boyfriend, who was twenty years older than you, VERY married and to be honest, not even CUTE?! Not even for the seventies?!
I’m interested in the planning phase, how in the world you ever thought you’d get away with this. “Normal” people can’t just go around signing murder contracts and planning hits! They just CAN’T! Even the planning phase is peculiar, who plans that kind of crap? Let alone actually carries it out? What on earth HAPPENED? I even want to try and tell the story in a first person narrative, so the reader can personally relate and get inside a killer’s head. It hasn’t actually been done before and I may need to fictionalize it for convenience, but I still would like to talk to you~ I have no idea what could drive anyone to do a thing like that! Can’t even grasp the concept!
I am enclosing a stamp so that you can write back if you like, if I haven’t offended you to the point that you’ll never talk to me in a million years. If not, you can use it write someone else, but FACT: You plotted and schemed for a year to kill your whole family. FACT: You’re serving a life sentence and have been denied parole more than a dozen times. FACT: EVERYBODY (and I mean EVERYBODY!) knows it, there isn’t a thing you can do about it.
And FACT: I haven’t judged you.
Under all the lies and blood and evil, there has to be a person. I’d like to talk to her.
Thank you for reading! Please let me know!
P.S. Isn’t this how Basic Instinct started?