Caril Ann Fugate, Charles Starkweather's Accomplice, Hurt in Crash

Image: Caril Ann Fugate, Charles Starkweather's Accomplice, Hurt in Crash Caril Ann Fugate, left, and Charles Starkweather in 1958.

Wednesday, 07 Aug 2013 09:09 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Caril Ann Fugate, who at the age of 14 in 1958 was arrested in connection with 10 murders committed by her then boyfriend Charles Starkweather, is in critical condition after being injured in a traffic accident Monday night.

The driver of the crashed SUV, Fugate's husband, 81-year-old Frederick A. Clair, was killed in the accident, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Fugate is expected to recover and presently remains at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich.

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No other injuries were reported in the accident, which occurred at 11:53 p.m. on Interstate 69 in Tekonsha Township.

According to Calhoun County Sheriff Department deputies, Fugate's 1997 Ford Explorer went off the right side of the road before going back across two lanes of traffic and eventually rolling over several times in the median, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Fugate, who is now 70 years old, maintained her innocence over the past 55 years, claiming to have been forced to stay with Starkweather while he killed his victims.

Fugate, however, was found guilty by a jury in the robbery and murder of a 17-year-old boy.

Fugate was subsequently sentenced to life in prison; however the sentence would later be reduced to 30 to 50 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled mandatory life sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional.

Fugate was paroled in 1976 and moved to Michigan where she lived with a family that reportedly grew to like the convicted killer while watching her life story as portrayed in a television documentary.

The victims of Starkweather's blood lust, to which authorities at the time claimed Fugate was a willing accomplice, included her mother, stepfather and her 2-year-old sister.

Fugate's family still to this day believes she played a role in the murders, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Friends of Fugate dispute the claims that the 70-year-old willingly helped Starkweather commit his heinous acts.

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"What a horrible miscarriage of justice that has been done to her," said Linda Battisti, a friend and attorney from Cleveland. "I have always believed in her. . . We have developed a close friendship and my quest for many years is to show her innocence."

Starkweather, who was five years older than Fugate, was executed in an electric chair in 1959.

Related stories:

Gilgo Beach Serial Killer's 11th Victim May Have Been Found by Dog Walker

California's 'Night Stalker' Serial Killer Dies

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