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William Scott DAY





Classification: Spree killer
Characteristics: Prison escape - Robberies
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: December 1986 - January 1987
Date of arrest: January 12, 1987
Date of birth: 1951
Victims profile: Mary Strobel / Robert Arzabalo-Alcoser / Evans Johnson, 55 / Billie Taylor / Stanley Robertson / ???
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife / Beating
Location: Tennessee/Florida/Louisiana/Arizona/Texas, USA
Status: Sentenced to three consecutive life terms in Tennessee

An habitual criminal and three-time escapee from the Michigan state prison at Jackson, by autumn 1986, at age 35, Day was serving a seven-year term for attempted rape and prison escape.

Transferred from Jackson to Ypsilanti's Center for Forensic Psychiatry in November, Day befriended Thomas Fortunato, a prison guard with fourteen years of service and a perfect record on the job. A short time later, Day asked Fortunato to assist him in escaping from the penitentiary; the guard, for reasons still unclear, agreed.

On December 3, 1986, Fortunato smuggled Day out of prison in a laundry cart, withdrawing $5,000 from his personal bank account and driving the fugitive to Louisville, Kentucky, for a wild night of touring singles bars and porno shops.

The odd couple checked into a Louisville motel on the night of December 5, and Fortunato woke next morning to find Day missing, along with all but fifty dollars of his money.

The bewildered officer turned himself in on December 12, and five months later pled guilty to aiding escape, receiving a sentence of two to seven years in prison.

William Day, meanwhile, was living on the highway, stopping only long enough to rob and kill.

On December 9, elderly Mary Strobel, matriarch of a prominent Nashville, Tennessee family, was found dead in the trunk of her car, outside the local bus depot. She had been strangled, with her throat slit for good measure. Day rolled on across country, leaving a trail of bodies behind him.

On December 23, Robert Arzabalo-Alcoser, a Mexican national, was beaten to death near the bus station in Tucson, Arizona.

Ten days later, in Marianna, Florida, 55-year-old Evans Johnson was killed in his jewelry store, his throat cut from ear to ear.

Fort Stockton, Texas, was the scene of mayhem on January 6, with tavern owner Billie Taylor murdered north of town; she was stabbed in the back, one side of her skull crushed by heavy blows.

On January 12, 1987, Day was stopped for speeding near Van Horn, Texas. Driving a pickup truck registered to Stanley Robertson, of nearby Valentine, the fugitive carried Robertson's I.D. but gave his name as "Thomas Wilkins," of Portland, Oregon.

Jailed on suspicion of auto theft, "Wilkins" saw the charges revised after officers visited Robertson's home and discovered his corpse, his throat slashed, skull crushed with a claw hammer found at the scene.

Confronted with the evidence, Day finally confessed his true identity, regaling officers with a recital of his crimes and tacking on a murder in New Orleans, for a final score of six dead in as many weeks.

Formally charged with Robertson's murder on January 14, Day was held in lieu of $200,000 bond. Eight days later, he was formally indicted in the Taylor case, while Nashville officers reported that a speeding ticket, written on December 9, linked Day with victim Mary Strobel.

Physical evidence and eyewitness testimony also confirmed Day's connection with the murders in Arizona and Florida, while investigation continues in New Orleans.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers




March 29, 1994


Davidson County. Ann Lacy Johns, Judge. (Interstate Compact on Detainers)

Jones, Wade, Cornelius, Jr.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jones

This is an appeal as of right from a judgment of the trial court authorizing the transfer of the appellant, William Scott Day, to the State of Arizona pursuant to the Interstate Compact on Detainers. The appellant contends that the trial court should not have authorized his transfer. He argues that the documents furnished by the State of Arizona do not contain sufficient identifying information to establish that he is the same "William Scott Day" who was charged with first degree murder and robbery in Pima County, Arizona, on February 3, 1987.

The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

In February of 1993, the State of Arizona sought the temporary custody of the appellant, an inmate confined in the Department of Correction, to try him for first degree murder and robbery. The Pima County Attorney's Office forwarded the requisite documents required by the Interstate Compact on Detainers. On March 3, 1993, the warden of the institution where the appellant was confined notified him of the request pursuant to the Compact.

The appellant filed suit in the Davidson County Criminal Court challenging Arizona's request. The pleading filed stated in part:

That the Request for Temporary Custody contained no determine whether Petitioner was person the Arizona charging document and therefore the subject of the Request for Temporary Custody.

This was the appellant's only challenge of the Arizona documents. Thus, the sole question presented is whether a request for temporary custody must contain sufficient information and data to permit the Department of Correction to positively identify the person requested as the same person that is in its custody.

The trial court gave the appellant an opportunity to present evidence in support of his claim. The appellant voluntarily opted to forego an evidentiary hearing. He relied exclusively upon the documents furnished by the State of Arizona to support his claim.

The Interstate Compact on Detainers does not require that a request for temporary custody contain information which gives a physical description of the individual sought, a photograph of the individual, his fingerprints, or other identifying information that would permit the institution where the inmate is confined to positively identify the inmate as the person sought. The only identifying information that the Compact requires is the name of the person requested. Consequently, the documents presented by the State of Arizona conformed to the requirements of the Compact; and the trial court correctly ruled that the Department of Correction was authorized to provide Arizona with the temporary custody of the appellant so that he can be tried for the offenses alleged in the charging instrument.







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