Claims He Killed 3 S.D. Women, Many Others : Death Row Inmate Won’t Appeal Dec. 6 Execution


Carroll Edward Cole, a former San Diego resident now on Death Row in Nevada for murdering five women, says he won’t appeal his Dec. 6 execution because “I just messed up my life so bad that I just don’t care to go on.

“Everything is in motion and I’m not going to change my mind,” Cole, 47, said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. “That’s not to say I’m not scared, don’t get me wrong.

“I don’t consider myself brave or courageous or noble. I’m in my own way, even though scared and nervous, sort of at peace, too.”


Cole, convicted in Texas of strangling three Dallas women in 1980, was extradicted to Nevada, where he was convicted of the 1977 slaying of Kathryn Joan Blum of Las Vegas and the 1979 strangulation of Marie Cushman of Las Vegas. He was sentenced to die by injection on Dec. 6.

He has confessed to 13 murders, including the five convictions, and told a psychiatrist he killed 35 people, all but one of them women. Three of those deaths occurred in San Diego, including that of Cole’s estranged wife. But San Diego police have ruled out murder in each of the cases, saying the deaths were related to alcohol abuse.

San Diego police spokesman Bill Robinson said Wednesday that investigations after the deaths of the San Diego women, and a subsequent probe after Cole’s confessions, indicated that in each case there was no foul play involved. Cole lived here intermittently for several years in the 1970s.

Cole made the confessions after his arrest in Dallas. Diana Cole, 35, was found naked in a closet at her home in the 3800 block of 45th Street in September, 1979, but a coroner’s investigation ruled that her death was due to an overdose of alcohol. Cole also told Dallas authorities that he had killed Bonnie Stewart, 39, who lived on the same block as Diana Cole, in August, 1979. Stewart’s nude body was found in the 3600 block of Fairmount Avenue. The coroner said her death was caused by cardio-respiratory failure due to liver disease.

In the third death, in May, 1971, the nude body of Essie Louise Buck, 39, of La Mesa, was found by a child in a Poway field. The coroner did not determine a cause of Buck’s death, although she was found by officials to have had an abnormally high level of alcohol in her blood.

“In none of the cases could we link Cole to these deaths,” Robinson said. “We ruled out murder in each of the cases and did not change our determination after our interviews (with Cole) in Dallas.”


In the only press interview he has given, Cole said Tuesday he killed women as revenge against his mother, who he said abused him as a child and forced him to conceal her sexual liaisons with other men from his father.

Cole, 5-foot-6 with dark good looks, said most of the murders followed heavy drinking bouts in bars where he picked up his victims and usually were committed after having sex with them.

“I don’t think I ever had any gratification,” he said. “I was just left empty.

“In a way, a part of me wants people to understand without condoning what has happened. But mostly I want something to be done about these serial kinds of crimes because they are so unnecessary.”

Cole said he would like to see a telephone hot line set up so that people like him can get help.

“I wonder how many other people are out there doing the same things and their crimes going undetected,” he said. “Things are getting so bad out there, people going around killing people.

“And I just don’t believe in that. I never did, even though I did that. With me, it was something that got completely out of hand.”

Cole said he committed his first murder as an 8-year-old when he drowned a playmate known only as Duane, in Richmond, Calif., because the boy had made fun of him. The death was ruled an accident by authorities, he said.

At that point, “I was primed,” Cole said. “I had made a mental commitment I was going to get even with my mother, and things just built up and built up and became an obsession.”

As a teen-ager with a string of juvenile arrests in the mid-1950s, Cole joined the Navy. He was given a bad-conduct discharge in 1958. He said his urge to kill women grew so strong that in 1960 he flagged down a police car in Richmond and told the officers.

Committed to Napa State Hospital, Cole said he was diagnosed as emotionally unstable but was put into therapy groups where “I couldn’t relate, and that just set a pattern where I wouldn’t say anything.”

Released after 90 days, Cole drifted from place to place working as a carpenter, warehouseman and trucker. He drank heavily and checked into three or four other mental facilities until 1963.

“I’m the person who slid through the cracks in the medical and psychiatric system,” he said.

Cole said he then married an alcoholic prostitute who died while he was serving time in Missouri for attempting to kill an 11-year-old girl.

Cole’s parents died a few years ago, but he said he hasn’t contacted his brother and three sisters.