Investigation Discovery’s ‘Folks Journal Investigates: The Freeway Phantom’ follows a serial assassin who often called themselves the Freeway Phantom. They operated in Washington, D.C between April 1971 and September 1972, and had been concerned all through the killing of a minimal of 6 minor black girls.
One of many prime suspects who the investigators thought was the involved serial killer was a person named Robert Elwood Askins who had a pathological hatred for ladies. So was he actually the Freeway Phantom? Let’s uncover out.
Was Robert Askins Freeway Phantom?
Robert Elwood Askins was a 19-year-old scholar and member of the science membership at Miner Academics School in Washington, D.C. in December 1938. He reportedly had a pathological hatred in course of ladies which resulted in his committing fairly just a few crimes in opposition to the selection gender. On December 28, 1938, Robert, fueled by his hatred, served cyanide-laced whiskey to five intercourse staff at a neighborhood brothel. The merciless act resulted all through the shortage of lifetime of 1 intercourse employee, Ruth McDonald, 31.
Simply 2 days later, Robert stabbed to lack of life Elizabeth Johnson, 26, on the identical brothel. Nonetheless, he was caught this time and arrested for the homicide he devoted on December 30, 1938. He was subsequently arrested and he revealed his pathological hatred for ladies all via his interrogation session with laws enforcement officers of the Washington Police Division. The authorities determined to position him beneath psychological assertion at Washington, D.C.’s Gallinger Hospital.
Whereas being admitted at Gallinger, Robert was concerned in a violent incident the place he tore off his restraints and assaulted 3 of the hospital orderlies with a chair prior to he was lastly caught and subdued. He was positioned on trial and it was reportedly realized that Robert used to work as an informant for the native police, serving to them in catching intercourse staff. Robert was declared criminally insane in April 1939 and was saved beneath assertion on the St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast, Washington, D.C.
Robert was launched in April 1952, and he as quickly as additional strangled one completely different lady, Laura Cook dinner, 42, to lack of life in late 1952. Accused of fairly just a few completely completely different related types of assaults, he was indicted for the homicide of Laura in 1954. He was furthermore tried for the murders he devoted in 1938 after being decided that he was sane whereas committing them. Nonetheless, Robert claimed that he was trying to commit suicide by ingesting the cyanide and certainly not trying to harm others.
A jury refused to consider Robert’s claims and he was convicted of second-degree homicide and handed a sentence of 20 years to life. However the conviction was overturned 4 years later, in 1958, on grounds of a permitted technicality. He labored as a laptop computer technician and was as quickly as additional charged with the rape and abduction of 1 completely different 24-year-old lady inside his Washington, D.C. dwelling in March 1977. A D.C. police detective bought a search warrant to search around his residence after interviewing Robert and located dirty girls’s scarves, pictures of minor girls and youthful girls, a knife utilized in an unrelated crime, and an essay from a lady.
However most definitely basically a very powerful piece of proof they discovered was in a desk drawer of Robert’s rowhouse and located courtroom docket paperwork the place the phrase ‘tantamount’ had been used. This was essential on account of detectives had discovered the utilization of this beautiful unusual phrase all through the uncover by Brenda Woodward’s physique, an alleged sufferer of the serial killer normally usually known as Freeway Phantom. The investigators realized that Robert incessantly used this phrase as an try to “stress the significance of issues associated to his work.”
Detectives furthermore interviewed Robert’s colleagues on the Nationwide Science Basis to assessment that he incessantly used the phrase in his speeches. The police had been capable of get one completely different warrant in April 1977 that allowed them to search around Robert’s automotive and police experiences state that they obtained two buttons and a gold earring beneath his backseat. Nonetheless, police might certainly not uncover any bodily proof that tied him to the homicide of 6 girls attributed to the serial killer normally usually known as Freeway Phantom.
Is Robert Askins Dead or Alive?
Robert was convicted of two abductions and rapes in Washington, D.C., by the use of the mid-70s, and was given a life sentence. He was contacted fairly just a few occasions by the press and investigators over time concerning the Phantom Freeway killer however denied any involvement all through the serial killings. As per experiences, he acknowledged that he didn’t have the “depravity of thoughts required to commit any of the crimes.”
As per many consultants and investigators concerned all through the case, afterward, Robert certainly not fitted the profile of the serial killer. He died on the Federal Correctional Establishment in Cumberland, Maryland on April 30, 2010, on the age of 91.