True Crime: Dinner is Served

Imani Davis, Features/Digital Media Editor

People like murder. Generally, people dislike committing murder and being murdered —  but we have a morbid desire to hear about it. True crime as a genre has grown exponentially in the past few years. An article from The Everyday states that there are now over 2800 true crime podcasts to choose from. A new docuseries or investigation will incite a buzz that spreads around campus in a matter of days. So, of course, we’re buying into the overdone drama of true crime. Welcome to True Crime Chandler. Our first story is Katherine Knight, Australia’s Hannibal.

October 24, 1955. Katherine Knight is born as the youngest twin to Barbara Roughan and Ken Knight, with whom Roughan was having an affair. Roughan and Knight had moved away from their small town of Aberdeen after news of their adultery spread. Roughan gave birth to Katherine and her twin soon after.

Knight had a terrible childhood. Her father was an alcoholic and used intimidation and violence to rape his wife, who would then share intimate details of her sex life with her children. Knight also claims she was frequently sexually assaulted by several members of her family. In her high school years, Knight was remembered by her classmates as a bully who assaulted at least one boy at school with a weapon. She left school at 15 and proceeded to work at an abattoir twelve months later — otherwise known as a slaughterhouse.

Knight claimed this was her dream job. She hung her first set of butcher’s knives over her bed wherever she lived, so ‘they would always be handy if I needed them’.

Knight had several failed relationships and marriages, children, and instances of assault. She strangled her first husband on their honeymoon, stole an ax and threatened to kill people after placing her two-month-old child on a railway line, and slashed a woman’s face with one of her knives and demanded she drive Knight to see her ex-husband.

She was never convicted on any charges.

Back to the case at hand — and arm, and head.

John Price was Knight’s last relationship for good reason. In early 2000, a series of assaults ultimately culminated in Knight stabbing Price and him subsequently placing a restraining order against her for him and his children. On the same afternoon he placed the order, he told his coworkers that if he did not show up for work the next day, it was because Knight had murdered him.

Price arrived home that night to find Knight waiting for him. Price’s children had been sent over to a friend’s house. Earlier that day, Knight had videotaped her children making comments, which has since been interpreted as a crude sort of will.

At 6 a.m. the next day, a neighbor became concerned after seeing Price’s car still in the driveway. An employee from Price’s work was also called to investigate. They called the police after finding blood on the front door. Police arrived at 8 a.m., broke down the front door, and walked into Price’s bedroom. The officer was supposedly hit face first with a bloodied towel hung over the door. Price’s body was arranged with one arm over a large soda bottle with the legs crossed, a position that claimed to show Knight’s contempt for Price. He was decapitated and several parts of his body were also removed.

Upon closer inspection, it was not a towel hung over the door. It was a large piece of Price’s skin.

Two plates of stew were found plated with assorted vegetables and the cards with the names of Price’s children beside them.

Price’s head was staring up from the still-warm pot of stew.

Knight was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, becoming the first Australian woman to ever receive the sentence. Many psychiatrists considered Knight sane, though her legal team used psychiatric evidence that she experienced amnesia and dissociation at the time of the murder to argue an insanity plea. Two psychiatrists concluded that Knight suffered from a borderline personality disorder.

The culprit is clear, yet this still feels like a cold case. No reason for the murder was ever found by officials or offered by Knight — by all means, it could have simply been a passion killing. As gruesome and extreme as it was, one can’t help but wonder: what drives a person to commit such a crime?

What drives us to learn about it?

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