By Christopher Zoukis Image courtesy tower.com
His name was Caryl Whittier Chessman. Born May 27, 1921 in St. Joseph, Michigan, he died May 2, 1960 at San Quentin Prison, San Quentin, California. He was executed by the order of the State of California.
His life, though simple in one respect, that he spent most of it in one prison or another, was enormously complicated in many other respects.
The beginning of the end began in 1948. Caryl had just been paroled from prison when the police arrested him in Los Angeles. Supposedly, he was the “Red Light Bandit.” This person nicknamed the Red Light Bandit, whoever he was, used a red flashing light on his car to impersonate a police car. He would come up behind cars and turn on the red light. Once the cars stopped, he would rob the drivers and passengers or, if they were young and female, rape them.