Frank “Frances” Spisak was a transexual living in Cleveland, Ohio. For many years he lived as Frances, dressing up in women’s clothing and adorning makeup in order to match the gender he felt inside, but there was another side to Frank/Frances Spisak. This dark side would fully reveal itself in 1982, when Spisak decided that he wasn’t a woman, he was Adolph Hitler.
Spisak ditched his fashionable shoes and makeup, choosing instead to dress in ill-fitting suits and grew out a Hitler-style toothbrush mustache. Taking notes from the man he idolized, Spisak began making plans to start a race war in Cleveland. He wanted to “cleanse” the city of the “evil” minorities he believed were plaguing area.
This plan Spisak devised would begin in 1982. Reverend Horace Rickerson was using the restroom on Cleveland State University’s campus when he encountered Spisak. Spisak made sexual advances towards the Reverend and when he declined Spisak shot him.
That summer a man named John Hardaway had been waiting for a train to arrive. Spisak shot the man seven times. Miraculously Hardaway managed to survive the attack.
Coletta Dartt, Spisak’s only white and female victim had been leaving the Cleveland State University restroom when he began shooting at her. Spisak missed and Coletta was able to push him out of the way and escape.
Two weeks later, Spisak targeted a campus maintenance worker named Timothy Sheehan. Spisak believed the man may have witnessed the murder of Reverend Rickerson. Spisak shot him to death.
The final victim of Spisak’s “hunting parties” would be 17-year-old Brian Warford, who had been attending G.E.D. classes on the CSU campus. Warford was shot in the head and died several days later.
Authorities caught up with Spisak several weeks later, when neighbors reported that he was shooting out of his apartment window. Spisak told police that his actions were based on his hatred of jews, blacks and homosexuals.
Spisak went to trial in 1983. Spisak insisted that he was addressed as “Frances,” the name he had used when he was living as a transexual, and carried a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Each day throughout the trial Spisak would greet the jury a Nazi salute prior to the proceedings.
It didn’t take long for a jury to find Spisak guilty and he was sentenced to death. Spisak appealed this ruling based on his diagnosis of bi-polar disorder, which had gone untreated until he was required by the courts to undergo a psychological evaluation.
These appeals went on for years, eventually leading to Spisak to earn the title of the longest serving prisoner on death row. He was finally executed in February of 2011.
For his final words, Spisak chose to read a passage from the book of revelations in German. Spisak, who was not fluent in German, stuttered and stumbled through the reading of the passage causing snickers from the witness panel, which included some of the victims’ families, and forcing one family member to yell out, “Speak English, you fool!”
With his final dying breath Spisak yelled out “Heil Herr!” A phrase that sparked much confusion, since it is not one used in the German language.