A VENOM IN THE BLOOD by Eric van Hoffman


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Grim, grisly, graphic recounting of the sex-and-murder exploits of Gerald and Charlene Gallego, the only recorded husband-and-wife serial murder team in US history. Written by a former police officer, attorney, and judge, the nearly incredible story is told with a wealth of brutal details--but also provides chilling insight into the twisted psyches of the two protagonists. Gerald Gallego seems to have been born with ""a venom in the blood."" His father was executed for murder when the boy was nine years old; soon after, Gerald was involved in a life of crime. When he met Charlene Williams, Gallego had been married seven times polygamously and had been having incestuous relations with his daughter since she was ten. Charlene herself was a spoiled middle-class young woman with a reported IQ of 160. Not long after the two married, Gerald began displaying signs of impotence, possibly because he had caught his wife in a lesbian affair. Charlene suggested that sex coupled with violence might be the answer. The two began prowling shopping malls and country fairs in their van, picking up unattached young women, driving them to isolated spots, then sexually assaulting and murdering them. Eventually, ten women were killed. It was only when the Gallegoes abducted and murdered a young college couple, and when the license number of their van was noted, that they were apprehended. Charlene turned state's witness in exchange for a reduced sentence; Gerald was sentenced to death. He is still appealing the sentence. Van Hoffman does a workmanlike job of reporting, though occasionally a disquieting hint of voyeurism creeps in. For those with strong stomachs, at any rate.

Pub Date: July 25th, 1990
Publisher: Donald Fine