Crime: Slaughter in the College of Beauty

Last summer's macabre mass murders in Chicago and Austin seemed irresistibly fascinating to Robert Benjamin Smith, 18, studious, reticent high school senior in Mesa, Ariz. (pop. 50,000). Three months ago, Bob Smith began to concoct his own nightmarish schemes for multiple murder. After toying with several other likely sites, he settled on the Rose-Mar College of Beauty, a mile and a half from his home, because of the number of potential victims—student beauticians and housewife customers—to be found there.

His plan was to bind the women, tie plastic bags over their heads, and watch them while they suffocated. After mulling...

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