In 1977 and '78, New York homosexuals were terrorized by a series of "bag murders," in which six male victims were mutilated and dismembered, their remains wrapped in black plastic bags and dumped in the Hudson River. Some of the grisly fragments washed up on the New Jersey shore, others coming to ground near the World Trade Center.
Police traced items of recovered clothing to a shop in Greenwich Village, catering to gays, and distinctive tattoos identified one of the victims as a known homosexual. Lacking identities and confirmed cause of death in several cases, the crimes were not officially classified as homicides, but were listed as CUPPI's -- circumstances undetermined pending police investigation.
A solution in the case derived from evidence collected in an "unrelated" case. On September 14, 1977, film critic Addison Verrill was beaten and stabbed to death in his New York apartment.
Charged with the slaying, Paul Bateson, a 38-year-old X-ray technician, confessed to meeting Verrill in a Greenwich Village gay bar. After having sex at Verrill's flat, Bateson crushed his victim's skull with a metal skillet, afterward stabbing Verrill in the heart.
Convicted of the homicide on March 5, 1979, Bateson drew a term of 20 years to life in prison. While in custody, awaiting trial, Paul Bateson bragged of killing other men "for fun," dismembering their bodies, and dropping the bagged remains in the Hudson River. Detectives satisfied themselves of Bateson's guilt, but he was never charged, and the "bag murders" -- that later inspired the movie Cruising -- remain technically unsolved.
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial
Killers - Hunting Humans
Dismembered gay men "for fun".
New York police detective John Sullivan
leads murder suspect Paul Bateson following the latter's arrest for
murder, New York, New York, September 23, 1977. Bateson was tried (and
later convicted) for the murder of film critic Addison Verrill;
following a jailhouse confession, he is also the prime suspected in six
additional murders of homosexual men, the deaths of whom inspired the
(Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images)