“I had decided to take the darker path, the evil path…I found that more exciting.“
- Rod Ferrell
Roderick Ferrell crept into the home of Richard Wendorf and Naomi Ruth Queen on November 25, 1996 to steal their Ford Explorer.
The house wasn’t a random selection. Ferrell was a friend of their younger daughter Heather. Ferrell was 16-years-old at the time and had just driven from Murray, Kentucky to pick Heather up. Three other teenagers were with him: Ferrell’s girlfriend Charity “Shea” Keesee, 16, Howard Scott Anderson, 16 and Dana Cooper, 19. The group considered themselves vampires and would cut each other and drink each other’s blood. Ferrell was the leader of the small group.
When Ferrell lived in Florida, he became close friends with 15-year-old Heather Wendorf. After moving back to Kentucky, the two would talk on the phone for hours. Wendorf complained about her life at home and said it was “hell.”
Ferrell had a plan to move to New Orleans with the group and marry his pregnant girlfriend. He asked Wendorf if she wanted to join them.
Ferrell, Anderson, Cooper and Keesee left Murray, Kentucky in Anderson’s Buick Skylark. Ferrell felt they needed a bigger car. Wendorf met the group that night and left with Keesee and Cooper to go say goodbye to her boyfriend.
Ferrell and Anderson snuck into Wendorf’s parents’ house through the garage. Rod Ferrell grabbed a crowbar in case they were caught and he needed to protect himself.
Richard Wendorf was asleep on the couch in the living room. Naomi Ruth Queen was making a pot of coffee.
When Rod Ferrell looked down at the sleeping man, he describes the following thoughts running through his head:
“I don’t know whether it was my conscience or not but it said by doing this you could utterly destroy your life and the life of others and then after all thoughts and consequences of not doing it came through my head one single voice came forth and said fuck it - simple as that - and that’s when I brought the crowbar down.”
Ferrell bludgeoned Richard Wendorf
to death and stole his Discover Card. Queen came into the living room with a cup of
When saw Ferrell, she asked him what he wanted, then threw the hot coffee in his face. She then grabbed onto him and scratched his face. Ferrell later told detectives that her nails were embedded into his skin and that she held onto him. Enraged, Ferrell bludgeoned Queen to death as she was still holding onto him.
With Wendorf’s parents dead, Ferrell and Anderson fled in their Ford Explorer. They went to meet up with Wendorf, Cooper and Keesee.
Keesee approached the Ford Explorer and noticed Ferrell’s T-shirt was bloody. Horrified, she went back to the Buick Skylark and told Dana Cooper that she thought Rod might have killed Heather’s parents.
The group piled into the Explorer. Ferrell showed the group the bloody crowbar and told them what he did. Wendorf and Cooper would later say that they were terrified of Ferrell, thinking that if he could beat Wendorf’s parents to death he would definitely be capable of doing anything to them.
The group continued their trip to New Orleans.
In the meantime, Wendorf’s older sister, Jennifer, returned home that night to find her parents dead and sister gone. Jennifer Wendorf told the police about Rod Ferrell and his vampire cult.
When the group ran out of money, Charity Keesee placed a call to her mother. Her mother agreed to wire her money but, of course, had no intention of doing so.
News of murders and of Rod Ferrell and his group had spread. Her mother called the authorities. Keesee was supposed to pick up the money at a Howard Johnson’s in Baton Rouge. The police were waiting for the group when they got there.
Ferrell made a full confession and said that none of the other members of his group were involved in the murders. Wendorf also insisted she had nothing to do with the murders and Ferrell wasn’t supposed to harm her parents.
Rod Ferrell pled guilty to two counts of felony murder and was sentenced to death. In November 2000, his sentenced was reduced to life in prison. Howard Scott Anderson was convicted of two counts of felony murder and received a life sentence. Charity Keessee and Dana Cooper were both convicted of two counts of third degree murder, robbery with a gun or deadly weapon and burglary armed with a weapon or explosives. Keesee received a 10-year sentence and was released from prison in March 2006. Dana Cooper received a 17-year sentence and was released in October 2011.