Former police officer and suspected serial killer commits suicide after arrest.

The case of John Baughman.

Dani Hendrix

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John Earl Baughman was born October 4th, 1941. He murdered his two wives, and was accused of killing a former friend and police officer. Baughman was a once a police officer as well and was sentenced to death for the murders. However, he hung himself while on death row.

Image taken by Tamara Gore from Unsplash.

Who was John Baughman?

Baughman was born in Illinois but his family relocated to Chicago shortly after. Baughman was raised in the city by his father (Bill Baughman) who worked on railroads, and his mother (Letha Baughman) who was a book keeper. Baughman’s mother grew up as an orphan and lost her first son in infancy. Baughman had two sisters, but little is known about the family relationship.

Baughman served two tours in Vietnam as a Marine infantryman in his 20s. He was given the nickname “bottles” because he would sometimes wear thick glasses.

After serving in the Marines, he became a police officer in Illinois. At that time, he married his first wife, Gertrude who went by “Trudy”. They married on July 17th, 1964. After a few years, they have three daughters.

Some time during their marriage, Baughman left the police force and worked as a security guard and also did electrical work for a company called Datagraphics Inc. He also worked for a time at a Honeywell, a company for aerospace and technology.

While there is a limited amount of information regarding the kind of person Baughman was prior to the murders, he was reportedly a very controlling husband and father.

The murders

First (alleged) murder: A police officer named Sgt. Dean Pence was found dead on July 26th, 1970. His body was found near Prestwick Country Club in Will County. He had been shot with a .38 caliber revolver and was only 28-years-old at the time of his death.

Sgt. Dean Pence was a long time friend of Baughman's. However, there were many rumors that Pence was having an affair with Baughman’s wife, Trudy.

Baughman was initially a lead suspect in this case but there was not enough evidence to charge him for the murder.

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Dani Hendrix

I love writing true crime and fascinating stories about humans. You can find me on Instragram at @restless_dani if you would like to connect.