Serial killer Carroll Edward Cole was born on May 9, 1938, and was the first person executed by lethal injection in Nevada, on December 6, 1985. Cole was convicted of 13 lust homicides, but by his own admission, the full number was more like 34 or 35. The Carroll Cole case is very significant as a demonstration of the failure of the criminal justice system. While there were numerous instances of malfeasance in the case, the true culprit was a system that lacked contemporary technology. Cole committed dozens, if not hundreds, of crimes, in addition to the murders, throughout the United States. He was convicted in numerous local, state and federal jurisdictions, but was commonly a first offender because of the lack of a central depository of criminal behaviour.
Carroll Edward Cole was the third child of Laverne and Vesta Cole. The Great Depression forced Laverne Cole to move his family west in search for work. While the West Coast was the goal, Laverne found work in Richmond at the Kaiser Shipyard. Laverne joined the armed forces with the United State’s entry into World War II. Vesta enjoyed the ‘company’ of other men during her husbands absence, and would require Carroll to visit their home while she participated in extramarital affairs. Carroll was sown to secrecy under the threat of severe beatings. Best was physically and emotionally abusive of Carroll. She would dress him up in one of his sister’s frilly dresses, refer to him as her little girl, tease him about his feminine name, and make him serve refreshments to guests she invited to the family home. Vesta, in violation of California law, also refused to send Carroll to school. At an early age, a young female acquaintance aggressively knocked Carroll to the ground and sat on his face. When Besta observed the activity she pulled the girl off of Carroll and then proceeded to strike him in the face as if he was the aggressor rather than the victim. In a rage, Carroll crawled beneath the porch where he found and strangles a puppy.