In October of 1941, Denver police had themselves a true locked room mystery. An elderly man named Philip Peters was bludgeoned to death inside his own home, behind locked doors and firmly latched windows. Philip's wife had been away, recovering in the hospital from a broken hip when the crime occurred. She would sadly return to a newly empty house ... or so she thought.
Mrs. Peters began to hear strange, unexplained noises in her home. The housekeeper, nurse, and laundress she'd hired to take care of her heard them too, and after seeing what appeared to be a spectral figure advancing through the darkness late one night, the entire staff simultaneously shit their pants and bailed. Mrs. Peters followed suit. That might have been the end of the story, had neighbors not still reported occasional noises and lights inside the supposedly empty house. Police set up surveillance, and after catching a glimpse of a strange man pulling back the curtains, barged into the house and apprehended a drifter by the name of Theodore Coneys.
Colorado Department of Corrections
The media dubbed him "the Denver Spider-man." Comics were different back then, we guess.
But Coneys wasn't some bored troll who got off on harassing a grieving old lady. You see, the reason Peters's body was found inside a locked house was that his killer had never left. Instead, Coneys had climbed through a tiny trap door in an upstairs closet and hid inside an attic cubbyhole ... for nine goddamned months.
In fact, Coneys had been living in his dusty abode for weeks before the murder. Coneys was a former acquaintance of Mr. Peters, and having stopped by for a handout and finding the house unlocked, he helped himself to some new digs. For the next few weeks, Coneys would sneak out of his hiding place when Peters wasn't home to steal food and probably fuck with the settings on the radio, the bastard. It was smooth sailing until Coneys got a bit too enthralled by a pot roast and Peters walked in on him in the kitchen. Coneys overreacted and bludgeoned Peters with his own gun before retreating to his attic cubbyhole so as to not get caught by, as he put it, doing "the obvious thing."
viaThe Denver City Page
"See, they expect the killer to try to get away with it, so I won't! That'll really mess with their heads."
Robin Warder is the co-owner of a pop culture website called The Back Row, and recently won a Best Screenplay Award for writing the short film Indefinite Late Fee.
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