Caleb Fairley (born October 21, 1973) is an
American murderer from Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania.
On September 10, 1995, Fairley was working alone at
Your Kidz & Mine, a children's clothing store owned by his parents in
Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Just before closing time Lisa Manderach (born
September 30, 1965) and her 19-month-old daughter Devon (born February
4, 1994) entered the store.
Fairley locked the doors to the store when he
realized that they were the only customers present. He then attempted
to sexually assault Ms. Manderach. When she attempted to resist him,
he became enraged and strangled her to death. He also strangled Ms.
Manderach's infant daughter. After the murder he sexually assaulted Ms.
Manderach's corpse, before going to an Electric Hellfire Club concert
that he had been planning to attend that night.
Arrest and trial
Unbeknownst to Fairley, Lisa Manderach had told her
husband exactly where she was going. When she did not return he
contacted local police, who found her car parked outside. A search of
Your Kidz & Mine revealed stacks of pornography stained with what
appeared to be blood and long black hairs consistent with Manderach's.
Similar hairs were found in the store's vacuum cleaner. Also present
was a large damp spot on the carpet that was later determined to be
saliva. The police also noted that peepholes had been drilled into the
A search of Fairley's room in his mother's house
revealed an extensive collection of pornography and a black sweatshirt
that depicted an image of a vampire attacking a young woman that bore
a striking resemblance to Lisa Manderach. Based on this, detectives
began to suspect that upon seeing Manderach in the store, Fairley, an
avid fan of vampire culture, thought of his sweatshirt and took
Manderach's appearance as a sort of supernatural message. He then
proceeded to act out his fantasies upon Manderach and her daughter.
When police questioned Fairley, he was wearing a
thick coat of makeup on his face. When detectives told him to wipe it
off, his face was covered with obvious scratch marks. When this was
pointed out to Fairley by authorities, he said that he had received
them in a mosh pit while attending an Electric Hellfire Club concert,
at a local club called the Asylum. When hikers discovered Devon
Manderach's strangled body dumped on a hill at Valley Forge National
Park, Fairley was charged with murder. Fairley entered a plea bargain
in which prosecutors would not seek the death penalty if he would show
them the location of Lisa Manderach's body.
Fairley was tried in April 1996 and convicted on
two counts of first-degree murder, for which he received two life
sentences. He is currently incarcerated at a state correctional
facility in LaBelle, Pennsylvania.
You have a Friend in Pennsylvania
By Katherine Ramsland
Lisa Manderach was three weeks short of her
thirtieth birthday when she went for a quick errand to Your Kidz &
Mine, a new children's clothing store in Collegeville, Pennsylvania on
September 10, 1995. She took her daughter, Devon, only nineteen months
old, and that was the last time anyone saw either of them alive. The
details of this case are from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Since Lisa's husband knew where she had gone, he
sent the police to the store, where they found her car parked outside.
They searched the premises and found a stash of pornography, stains
that looked like blood, long black hairs consistent with the missing
woman (including a few in the vacuum cleaner bag), and peepholes
drilled into the dressing rooms. Caleb Fairley, 21, had been minding
the store for his mother. When located, he presented an even better
suspect: His face was covered with fresh scratches. He said he'd
gotten them in the scramble of a "mosh pit" at a local club called the
Asylum, but a doctor's examination indicated they were from
fingernails. He was arrested.
By that time, Devon's body had already been found
by hikers, strangled and dumped on a hill at the Valley Forge National
Park, but Lisa was not with her. Fairley's defense attorney cut a
smart deal: take the death penalty off the table and my client will
tell you where he dumped the murdered woman. The DA accepted it,
because the sooner they found her, he knew, the more likely it was
that they could get evidence to ensure that Fairley never walked out
of prison. Even so, the decision haunted him and drew quick criticism.
Some people believed that Lisa would have been found quickly without
Fairley showed them where he had placed the body
behind an abandoned industrial building in a wooded area of King of
Prussia. From the exposed position, it was assumed that Lisa had been
sexually assaulted. She was taken for an autopsy.
The media was quick to learn about Fairley's dark
background. He'd played Dungeons & Dragons, had groped or
propositioned women, was known to read pornography avidly, and
collected vampire paraphernalia. He'd also joined the Asylum, a
members-only nightclub that resembled a padded cell and catered to
people who dressed in Goth-style clothing and sported dramatic make-up
as part of the vampire subculture. The place regularly hosted vampire
live action role-playing games, such as Vampire: The Masquerade (and
club members interviewed by the media pointed out that they were being
unfairly stigmatized because of one person's sickness). Overweight,
Fairley had often been a target of ridicule, especially from girls at
school, and tended to keep to himself. He'd once been close to his
younger brother, who had accidentally shot himself when he was four,
and Fairley had told some people that he felt empty and lost.
After his arrest, a stain on his shirt was tested
and found via DNA analysis to be a match for Lisa Manderach. Stains at
the store on different carpets matched mother and daughter, and tissue
found underneath Manderach's fingernails matched Fairley's DNA.
Prosecutors surmised that Fairley had tried to rape Lisa after she
entered the store, she had struggled and scratched him, so he had
strangled her. (He had so much as admitted that her resistance had
made him blindingly angry.) He then killed Devon and took both bodies
to remote areas to dump.
Fairley was tried in April 1996 and convicted on
two counts of first-degree murder. He received two life terms. Those
acquainted with him could hardly believe that he could have harbored
such violence, but his indulgence in pornography and vampire fantasies,
coupled with his frustration over his helplessness around women, is
all too often a formula for such violence of opportunity.