Jerry McFadden was a serial rapist and murderer who prompted the “biggest manhunt in Texas” history

Jerry Walter McFadden is escorted by cops
Jerry Walter McFadden, who nicknamed himself Animal, was executed by lethal injection in 1999. Pic credit: Portland Police Dept.

On May 4, 1986, 20-year-old Gena Turner, 19-year-old Bryan Boone, and 18-year-old Suzanne Harrison were on a day trip to Lake Hawkins, about 100 miles east of Dallas when a savage murderer attacked them.

Jerry Walter McFadden shot Turner and Boone execution-style with a .38-caliber pistol. He also raped and sodomized Harrison before strangling her with her panties.

The killer who liked to call himself “The Animal” had a long and disturbing criminal record. He’d been sentenced to 15-years in prison in 1973 after being convicted for two rapes but was released on parole in December 1978.

He was arrested again in 1979 after kidnapping and raping an 18-year-old woman at knife-point but was paroled once again in 1985.

The police were quick to collar McFadden after the 1986 murders; several witnesses had spotted him in the area, and he was discovered with ammunition that matched the ammo used in killing Turner and Boone.

McFadden prompted a massive manhunt

Before his murder trial, McFadden managed to escape from jail, prompting “the biggest manhunt in Texas history,” which involved 1,200 officers. He took a female prison officer as a hostage and remained on the run for three days before he was recaptured.

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At this trial, he was found guilty, and despite the pleas of his daughter for the jury to spare his life, he was sentenced to death.

McFadden was executed by lethal injection on October 14, 1999. However, that wasn’t quite the end of McFadden’s criminal record.

Police discovered McFadden had killed in 1979

The killing of 20-year-old Anna Marie Hlavka on July 24, 1979, had gone unsolved for over thirty years. Hlavka was found dead in her apartment in Portland, Oregon; she had been strangled with the electric cord from her clock radio.

Police finally got a breakthrough in 2011 when they recovered unknown DNA from the crime scene. Using new investigative technology, investigators were able to trace a family tree from the unknown suspect’s DNA.

Based on DNA submitted to genealogy websites by relatives, police were able to zero in on McFadden. Police now believe he was also responsible for Hlavka’s death.

More murders on Investigation Discovery

Follow the links to read about more horrific murders profiled on ID.

Steven Zelich, aka The Suitcase Killer, preyed on women in online chatrooms across Wisconsin and Minnesota. In 2012 he killed 19-year-old student Jenny Gamez, and in 2013 he murdered 37-year-old Laura Simonson; he left their bodies in suitcases at the side of a highway.

Did New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez murder his friend Odin Lloyd in 2013? This NFL star had just signed a contract worth $40 million; why would he throw it all away, did he think himself above the law?

Southern Gothic is Monday at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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