You wouldn’t be going around talking about taking these stupid shop courses if I was. It’s like God gave you something man, all those stories you can make up. And He said, “this is what we got for ya kid, try not to lose it.” Kids lose everything unless there’s someone there to look out for them. And if your parents are too fucked up to do it, then maybe I should!
Chuck Riley (20) and Marlene Olive (15) of San Rafael, California, believed they were in love when they plotted to kill Olive’s parents, steal their money, and run away to Ecuador together. Chuck Riley was an obese drug dealer; Marlene was an obnoxious high schooler with a taste for marijuana and platform shoes. Together the odd pair hatched a plan so horrid even seasoned police officers could hardly bring themselves to speak about it in court.
On June 21 1975, Marlene Olive rang Chuck screaming ‘Get your gun! The bitch has to die today!’. Chuck complied and travelled to the Olive family home, carrying a revolver and a hammer. Naomi Olive - Marlene’s mother - was upstairs sleeping when Chuck entered the bedroom. He attacked Mrs Olive with the hammer as she lay prone on the bed, hitting her skull so hard her left temple collapsed. She had not been dead long when Jim Olive came home with Marlene and discovered Naomi’s beaten corpse; as he crouched before his wife’s body Chuck came out from behind the bed and shot Marlene’s father four times in the chest at point blank range. The callous couple then piled the two corpses into Chuck’s car and drove out to a remote picnic area that was equipped with a coal barbecue pit. Marlene doused her parents bodies in gasoline and then set them alight, hoping the intense heat would render them unrecognisable.
Marlene and Chuck were arrested after just four days when a workmate of Jim Olive became concerned over his absence from work. Police were unconvinced by Marlene’s weak assertions that her parents had run away, and a thorough search of the picnic area revealed charred human remains in the barbecue pit. Jim and Naomi Olive had been so badly burnt they could only be identified through dental records.
The press immediately dubbed the killer pair 'The Barbecue Murderers’. Since Marlene was only fifteen she was charged as a juvenile and sentenced to three-to-six years in a reform school. Chuck Riley was tried as an adult and was initially sentenced to death, but this was commuted to life in prison. He was released in 2015 after serving nearly forty years behind bars.