Richard Clarey signed drawing
Richard Clarey signed drawing
Raised in West Germany by American parents working abroad, Clarey was the product of a troubled childhood exacerbated by the use of drugs.
In 1977, at age sixteen, he left Wiesbaden for the United States, living briefly with an aunt in Oregon. The relationship didn't work out, and Clarey spent the next two years drifting aimlessly through the western half of the country, living off the proceeds of burglaries, armed robberies, and drug sales before he settled in Kalamazoo, Michigan, during 1979.
By the spring of 1984, he craved a change of scene. On April 15, he killed 35-year-old Robert Baranski in Kalamazoo, dumping his victim in Lake Michigan and stealing Baranski's car for the trip across country. Clarey made it as far as New Buffalo, 50 miles to the southwest, before piling his stolen vehicle into a ditch on April 17.
Approached by tourists from a nearby rest stop, he shot Floyd Holmes and Dean Bultema, killing both men before he slipped across the Indiana border. Arrested later that day, while hiding in a garage at La Porte, Clarey was returned to Michigan for trial on murder charges. Defense attorneys blamed the killer's crimes on nightmares generated by his childhood.
Clarey was obsessed, they claimed, by dreams of German Nazis who demanded that he kill Americans. He wore a swastika tattoo upon his chest, together with the likeness of a German helmet on his arm, committing himself to do "as much damage as he could" to blacks and other ;minorities in his cross-country ramblings.
Ignoring the psychological argument, a jury in Berrien County deliberated one hour before convicting Clarey of dual murder charges on December 20, 1984, imposing the mandatory sentence of life without parole. In February 1985, Clarey sat for interviews with a psychologist, Dr. Leonard Donk, who diagnosed the subject as a schizophrenic sociopath.
In the course of those interviews, Clarey confessed to numerous slayings -- "more than 100 but less than 150" -- dating back to the age of fifteen. He recalled feeling "excited and detached" during the murders, but details on most of the cases remained vague.
Donk explained that it was "very difficult to tell" where fantasy left off and stark reality began for Richard Clarey. "I suspect he's killed more people than he's been charged with," Donk said. "How many more, I wouldn't even want to speculate on." (Authorities were able to rule out at least one case: the victim, named by Clarey, was alive and well.)
On February 12, 1985, in the midst of his second murder trial, Clarey pled guilty, but mentally ill in the slaying of Robert Baranski, facing another maximum term of life imprisonment.
In October 1986, he joined another inmate in a foiled escape attempt, commandeering a truck and crashing it into a fence at the prison near Ann Arbor. Clarey's bid for freedom was foiled when the fence held and the truck's engine stalled. He remains in custody today.
The artwork measures 9x12, and is signed, Clarey 2016, with his inmate number. The drawing has a slight crease and slightly bent corner on the bottom right.