Author Lauri Kallio’s book, “Confess or Die” Provides Additional Evidence That Alleged “Chicago Lipstick Killer” Teenager William Heirens Who Served 66 Years and Died In Prison Was Innocent and Wrongfully Convicted
July 11, 2021
William Heirens: His Day In Court, (Bonus Books 1991), written by Dolores Kennedy is the seminal book presenting a great deal of exculpatory evidence and proofs supporting the actual innocence and wrongful imprisonment of William Heirens, (arrested in 1946 at age 17, and known to the public as “The Chicago Lipstick Killer.”)
Based on Dolores’s investigation and her decades of work to prove Heiren’s innocent, in 2004 I began my own separate investigation which ultimately led to my own additional discoveries of new evidence which I believe connected and identified the real killer as my father, Dr. George Hill Hodel. (See updated reportage in Black Dahlia Avenger and the three Chicago Lipstick Murders chapters in Most Evil I.)
It was not until July 2021, (just a few weeks past) that I became aware of another book written on the Bill Heirens arrest, which supported both my and Dolores claims that Bill Heirens was in fact innocent of all three “Lipstick Murders.”
The book, CONFESS OR DIE, (Minerva Press London, 1999) was written by author Lauri E. Kallio and much to my amazement had remained unknown to me for the past seventeen years. The book published some eight-years after Dolores Kennedy’s.
How did author Kallio come to write about the Heirens investigation? Here is an excerpt from the Foreward of the book:
“When I initially met with Dolores Kennedy to outline the work I had done on the confessions and to get benefit of her more extensive knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the three murders, she told me that she was putting together a team to investigate whether or not Bill Heirens could actually have done the three murders to which he confessed. She asked me if I would be willing to be the confession analyst on the team and I agreed.”
In the foreword author, Kallio goes on to name the additional Heirens Defense Team members and the role each played in attempting to get to the truth of Heirens guilt or innocence. Those individuals were:
Jeb Stone, Chicago attorney who led the Heirens Defense Team.
Dolores Kennedy, journalist and Heirens victim advocate
Patricia Vader-Former director of the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty.
Elizabeth Biestek, Handwriting expert.
Art O’Donnell, attorney, legal expert.
Steven R. Schachte, Fingerprint Identification Expert
Ed McManus, a former journalist with The Chicago Tribune, media relations.
Laurie Kallio’s CONFESS OR DIE presents the defense team’s forensic and factual findings all of which point to the exoneration of teenager William Heirens as the “Chicago Lipstick Killer.”
I will not attempt to present all of the evidence in this blog and would recommend my readers obtain a copy of the book, if available? It appears to be out-of-print and may be difficult to locate.
The book’s focus is mainly on the many inconsistencies in Heiren’s “confession” showing that his statements were vague and in most instances completely contradicted the actual known facts. He simply did not know the answers and it becomes apparent that the questioners had to “fill in the blanks” and have him respond to “yes” or “no” questions. Despite the aid from detectives, much of what Heirens “confessed” to totally contradicted the known facts of the three separate murders.
Of particular interest to me was the author’s reporting of the Lipstick Killer in the other two murders (Ross and Brown) as described by eye-witnesses who saw him leaving the crime scenes.
In both of those separate 1945 murders, the suspect is described similarly as, “A Male 35-40, dark complexion, well dressed.” (Heirens, age seventeen, could not be mistaken for a man twice his age.)
In 1945 George Hodel fit the description perfectly and was: Male 37 years, dark complexion always well dressed.
Below are a few diagrams and original press articles from author Lauri Kallio’s excellent book:
(Chicago Coroner later confirmed had to have been skilled surgeon)
The daughter of victim Josephine Ross does not believe Heiren’s murdered her mother.
The evidence for innocence keeps piling up one upon another. Great find that ads to the material records.
Add Laurie Kallio to heroes Delores Kennedy & you….keep speaking out!! The tragic case of Bill Heirens is one of many as are the innocent on death rows. The gems in the rockpile (and they are few!) are those who speak out….constantly, forcefully! Think of my personal hero, Winston Churchill✌️!! “The Early Years” will reveal & educate on how to recognize predators! With your books & awaited miniseries, Steve, you have the floor!! Forge on….victory awaits!😎🌵
Thanks, partner. Much appreciated. Yes, we definitely need more Dolores Kennedy and Laurie Kallio’s in the world. Estimated 4% of the estimated 4M convicted prisoners in U.S. prison =160,000 men and women currently incarcerated that should not be there. Ouch!
When antisocial minds meet de Sade´s fiction horrendous strolls in satanic playgrounds may be the unfortunate result.
Kallio’s book is very expensive. Would you be able to ask the publisher to add a Kindle copy? Now that you have brought some light on it there may be many buyers. I’m not going to spend almost $40. though.
Her book is out-of-print and was originally published by Minerva Press on December 1, 1998. ISBN-10: 978-0754104400 300pages. No further info on the publisher or author.
I wish that I had a copy to share, but mine was borrowed and never returned. Let me look into this. And thanks to all of you for your interest in Bill’s case. Steve continues to keep it alive.
Is there any chance of clearing him even after his death?
It’s so painfully obvious the kid was railroaded. His only crime was unwittingly making himself a perfect patsy through his petty crimes. I can’t imagine the burden it must be for detectives and DA’s with a conscience when it comes to potentially sending a defendant to the death house. One would for sure have to be firm in the righteousness of their case. I never really considered how that would way on a mans conscience. Especially if some exculpatory evidence came to light after conviction and sentencing.pardon my straying off topic. .
Why is it that it is likely-innocent people who were clearly “railroaded” on flimsy, circumstantial, or fabricated evidence, who are kept in prison for life with no possibility of parole, or any possibility of a retrial, or judicial review of their convictions…… while some of the most vicious killers that were ever loosed on the population, are paroled after a decade or two?
While I am not completely convinced that Hodel was Suzanne Degnan’s killer (though it’s quite possible that he was, and we know he was fully capable of the deed), I am completely convinced that the Heirens kid was utterly innocent of either of the murders of which he was convicted. Yet he died in prison, as will Nancy Rish, who I am convinced knew nothing about her drug-dealer boyfriend’s plans to kidnap Steven Small of Kankakee, and ended up killing him. Heirens was a petty criminal who made a convenient patsy, and Nancy Rish was a not-too-bright young woman and single mother, who was judged guilty by association, and who can’t even win a new trial.
Meanwhile, Thomas Kokoraleis, one of four members of the notorious Ripper Crew that kidnapped, tortured, raped, and murdered 20 young women in the western suburbs of Chicago in the early 80s, was paroled a couple of years ago, after serving half of his 70 year sentence, even though he is not quite 60 years old. His brother was executed for the same crimes in 1999, and the other two members of the gang remain in prison, last I heard. This is not the first time I’ve heard of people convicted for especially brutal murders, released after a decade, or two.
Seems like political and social connections, or lack thereof, figure a whole lot more than any consideration of justice, which has to be deeply frustrating to the law enforcement community. Durst, like your dad, will probably get off, just as he has for other crimes. Nobody cares about the obscure middle-class women that the Ripper Crew destroyed, or will care about the poor, vulnerable women in the south side Chicago neighborhood that Kokoraleis lives in now, last I read., and no one cares about a young juvenile delinquent, or a confused and dependent young woman who associated with the wrong guy.
Thank you for caring, Steve.
Thank you Laura for speaking out so articulately on the injustice that plagues our “Justice System.”
So many innocent men and women through the decades. Thanks for your voice.