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Episode 160: Interview with a Vampire

Roderick Ferrell and Heather Wendorf were best friends at school in Eustis, Florida before Rod moved with his mother to Murray, Kentucky. In Kentucky, he began dressing in black and talking about vampires. When he visited his friends in Eustis over Thanksgiving of 1996, he said he’d formed a vampire cult and got four of them to leave home and join him: Heather Wendorf, Scott Anderson, Charity Keese, and Dana Cooper, all teenagers. But Rod’s car was too cramped to fit all five, and they needed money, so before they left, on November 25, 1996, Rod and Scott broke into Heather’s parents’ house, intending to steal their 1993 Ford Explorer and some cash. Richard Wendorf, 49, was lying on the couch watching television. Rod tells the detective how he attacked Mr. Wendorf with a crowbar and “smacked the fuck out of him until he finally quit breathing so yes, I’m admitting to murder…. it took him about twenty fucking minutes to stop breathing, I swear, I thought he was immortal or something.” When Ruth Wendorf, 54, emerged from the shower, Rod says he was going to let her live, but “she clawed me, clawed me, spilled fucking scolding hot coffee on me, pissed me off” so he killed her, too. “I just took the bottom of the crowbar, and kept stabbing it through her skull and whenever she fell down I just continually beat her until I saw her brains falling on the floor.”
After four days of driving through four states, the teenage vampires ran out of cash, so Charity Keese called her grandmother and asked her to wire money. Her grandmother called the cops, who tracked down the teenagers and arrested them in the parking lot of a Howard Johnson’s in Baton Rouge. Ferrell, 17, pleaded guilty and was, for a while, the youngest person in the United States on Death Row. His penalty was later reduced to life without parole.