These were the words that James Dempsey, the lawyer of Albert Fish - Serial Killer and Cannibal - responded with when asked about Fish's final statement before execution.
"I don't even know why I'm here".
Although Fish may have muttered those words, as a final way to prove he was insane, no one bought it, and two jolts of electricity were passed through him before he was pronounced dead at 11:09pm.
Albert Fish had been found guilty for the murder of 10yr old Grace Budd.
In May, 1928, Fish had seen a classifieds ad for a young man who was looking for work in the country. Fish took an interest in the advert, not because he wanted to hire the 18 year old Edward Budd, but rather because he wanted to tie him up, mutilate him and bleed him to death.
Fish was a serial killer, child rapist and cannibal. How easy would it be for him to take the young man with him, under the pretence of work, and then have his way with him?
On May 28, Fish knocked on the door to the Manhattan household of the Budd family and introduced himself as Frank Howard, a farmer from New York. At age 58, Fish put on the act of a kindly, grandfather figure, and the family quickly took a liking to him. He told Edward Budd that he was hired and that he had enough work for a friend too, if Edward knew anyone looking to make some money.
Fish left the house, but said he would be back in a few days time to collect his new employee.
When he returned he met Edwards ten year old sister, Grace. Instantly, Fish changed his mind on his intended victim, and on the spot concocted a new plan, this time to lure the young girl from the house.
After finishing his lunch, Fish told the family he had to leave to attend his niece’s birthday party. Just as he was at the door, he stood for a moment in thought, then asked Grace if she would like to come along. He told Delia that he would have her daughter home late in the afternoon, when he came to pick up her son to take him back to the farm. Delia was not sure about the idea, but her husband convinced her, saying it would be good for their daughter to go out and meet new friends.
The time for their daughter to be home came and went, and the following day Edward Budd was sent to the police station to report his sister missing. The Budd family were soon informed by the police that in their investigation, they could find no record of a Frank Howard or the farm, and that the address given to them for the party was fictitious.
A Families Worst Fear
Six years after Grace Budd's disappearance, and with the case having gone cold, no one was expecting a break in the mystery. However, in November 1934, Delia Budd received a letter, and due to the fact she was illiterate, she got Edward to read it for her.
(Warning, the contents of this letter are quite horrendous, scroll down to the next heading if you would like to skip it.)
"My dear Mrs. Budd,
In 1894 a friend of mine shipped as a deck hand on the Steamer Tacoma, Capt. John Davis. They sailed from San Francisco for Hong Kong China. On arriving there he and two others went ashore and got drunk. When they returned the boat was gone.
At that time there was famine in China. Meat of any kind was from $1 to $3 a pound. So great was the suffering among the very poor that all children under 12 were sold for food in order to keep others from starving. A boy or girl under 14 was not safe in the street. You could go in any shop and ask for steak — chops — or stew meat. Part of the naked body of a boy or girl would be brought out and just what you wanted cut from it. A boy or girls behind which is the sweetest part of the body and sold as veal cutlet brought the highest price.
John staid there so long he acquired a taste for human flesh. On his return to N.Y. he stole two boys one seven, one 11. Took them to his home stripped them naked tied them in a closet. Then burned everything they had on. Several times every day and night he spanked them — tortured them — to make their meat good and tender.
First he killed the 11 year old boy, because he had the fattest ass and of course the most meat on it. Every part of his body was Cooked and eaten except the head — bones and guts. He was Roasted in the oven (all of his ass), boiled, broiled, fried and stewed. The little boy was next, went the same way. At that time, I was living at 409 E 100 st., near — right side. He told me so often how good Human flesh was I made up my mind to taste it.
On Sunday June the 3rd 1928 I called on you at 406 W 15 St. Brought you pot cheese — strawberries. We had lunch. Grace sat in my lap and kissed me. I made up my mind to eat her.
On the pretence of taking her to a party. You said Yes she could go. I took her to an empty house in Westchester I had already picked out. When we got there, I told her to remain outside. She picked wildflowers. I went upstairs and stripped all my clothes off. I knew if I did not I would get her blood on them.
When all was ready I went to the window and called her. Then I hid in a closet until she was in the room. When she saw me all naked she began to cry and tried to run down the stairs. I grabbed her and she said she would tell her mamma.
First I stripped her naked. How she did kick — bite and scratch. I choked her to death, then cut her in small pieces so I could take my meat to my rooms. Cook and eat it. How sweet and tender her little a** was roasted in the oven. It took me nine days to eat her entire body. I did not f*** her though I could of had I wished. She died a virgin."
Judgement and Execution
Although the contents of the letter is nothing anyone ever wants to read of their own child, it did allow detectives to finally track, identify and apprehend Fish. He went on trial for Grace Budd's murder, and during the time of his apprehension, confessed to many, many others, although only some of those were able to be confirmed.
During his confession, Fish lead police to where they could find what remained of Grace Budd.
Fish pleaded insanity, claiming to hear voices from God telling him to kill children, and if God really did not want him to kill them, then he would have sent angels to stop him.
He was examined by several psychiatrists, after which Fish's lawyer James Dempsey stated that Fish was a psychiatric phenomenon, and that there was not a sexual fetish Fish did not enjoy or have experienced.
In the end, the jury had no doubt that Fish was insane, but still agreed he should be executed.
"I will never show it to anyone. It was the most filthy string of obscenities that I have ever read."
Albert Fish is buried in the Sing Sing Prison Cemetery.
This is a very brief look at Albert Fish and his crimes. For a more full account visit http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/notorious/fish/index.html