Best Local Legend (2006)

Serial Killer Gerard Schaefer

Known as the "killer cop" and a "sex beast," Gerard Schaefer, a good Broward boy, passed through almost every local institution during the 1960s and 1970s while secretly indulging his extracurricular passion: abducting and killing young women. During his time as a student at BCC and FAU, a teacher at Plantation and Stranahan high schools, an FPL security guard, and a Wilton Manors cop, Schaefer allegedly abducted and murdered a string of Broward County "whores" and "sluts," ranging from 9-year-old girls to 20-year-old women. But no good local legend worth his snuff limits himself to murder: Schaefer is said to have been a childhood crossdesser and an avid Everglades marksman and to have enjoyed raping the decomposing bodies of his victims. He was eventually up for two consecutive life sentences for the deaths of 17-year-old Susan Place and 16-year-old Georgia Jessup of Fort Lauderdale, the only two women who he was ever convicted of killing and mutilating. The remains of the rest of his more than 20 alleged victims were never found, aside from their personal effects and, in one case, teeth, discovered in Schaeffer's house. Unabashed, Schaeffer wrote gruesome short stories from the Florida State Prison in Starke that described the detailed slaughters of young girls. He got his own in 1995, when he was hacked to death by a fellow inmate. But South Florida's homegrown serial killer lives on forever in local lore. An oak tree in Port St. Lucie is rumored to have held the decomposing, hanging remains of his mutilated victims.

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