Updated: Nov 21, 2020
Boy, oh boy. Good ol' Rodrick... Where to start?
Rod Ferrell was a 16 year old boy from Murray, Kentucky whose delusions led him to lead a ritualistic cult and brutally murder a fourteen year old member's parents in their home. He was the youngest person to be on death row until his sentence was reduced to life in prison with no parole.
Rodrick did not have an easy life growing up. He was born to his then-16-year-old mom, Sandra Gibson on March 28th, 1980 in Murray. His father abandoned him to serve in the military and was never a part of his life. His maternal grandfather allegedly sexually abused when he was around five years old according to federal court records, however no criminal charges were ever pursued.
Sandra and Rod did not have a stable home life, bouncing back and forth between living with Sandra's parents and public housing. Sandra worked as an exotic dancer and sex worker to make ends meet. Sandra introduced Rod to vampires and the macabre from a young age. They bonded over Dracula films and Vampire: The Mascaraed comic books. Sandra was far from the ideal mother, and had a questionable and "complex" relationship with her son, as Rod himself described. At the age of thirty four, she was even caught writing disturbing "love letters" to a fourteen year old boy:
”I longed to be near you, for your embrace.” “Yes . . . to become a vampire, a part of the family, immortal and truly yours forever. I only hope that one day you will once again return to Murray. You will then come for me and cross me over. And I will be your bride for eternity and you my sire.” - Sandra Gibson
The rest of the Vampire Clan's members came from equally depressing and disturbing situations. The most notable members being Scott Anderson, Rod's "right-hand man", Chasity Keesee, his then-sixteen-year-old girlfriend, Dana Cooper, a friend along for the ride, and Heather Windorf, Rod's "Damsel-in-distress" and victim. All of them took comfort in being able to belong to a group of outsiders and like-minded people while growing up in a place that is generally unaccepting of anything non-traditional.
The gang's meet up spot was called the Vampire Hotel, which was a dilapidated structure in the middle of the woods near Kentucky Lake in the Land Between the Lakes. It was here the clan threw parties, used psychedelic drugs, and took part in various types of rituals.
Hearing stories from Heather about suffering abuse at the hands of her father struck a chord with Rod. After Heather had to move away, Rod became obsessed with the situation and ended up racking up hundreds of dollars in long-distance phone bills for the Windorf family. The final straw for Rodrick was when Heather's parents finally cut her off from the phone. It was then he rallied his group to go on the fateful "rescue mission" to save Heather from her parents and run away to New Orleans to start their very own vampire family and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan.
On November 25th, 1996, Rod and the gang made the 750 mile drive from Murray, Kentucky to Eustis, Florida. After she had been picked up and their vehicle had broken down, Heather made a deal with Rod in which she would use her keys to unlock her home so that her family's vehicle could be stolen, and the clan could complete their trip to New Orleans. In exchange, Rod agreed to perform the "turning" ritual in which she would consume his blood and officially be a vampire forever. The ritual took place early that morning in a Eustis cemetery. Rod consumed a significant amount of LSD before Heather admitted to drinking Rodrick's blood from a self-inflicted razer blade wound. The group departed to retrieve the car from Heather's house shortly after.
Upon arriving at the Windorf residence, Rodrick and Scott entered the house through the garage to find Mr. Windorf peacefully resting on the living room couch. After many moments of silence and deliberation, Mr. Windorf awoke to his skull being violently smashed in by Rodrick and the crowbar Rod had brought in with him. Mr. Windorf suffered from more than 22 blows to the face.
Hearing the commotion, Mrs. Windorf entered the living room from the kitchen horrified at the sight of her husband being beaten to death by intruders. In an attempt to interrupt the despicable act, she splashed scalding hot coffee into the face of Rodrick, who retaliated with a crowbar blow to the face. The blow was so hard it severed her brain stem, killing her instantly.
…By that time, you know, it was pretty obvious, I had blood on me and a crowbar in my hand, I was fixing to say, yeah, I want to have coffee with you, son of a bitching smartass, but anyway then that’s when she lunged at me, cause I was actually going to let her live, but after she lunged at me I just took the bottom of the crowbar, and kept stabbing it through her skull and whenever she fell down I just continually beat her until I saw her brains falling on the floor, cause that pissed me off…” - Rodrick Ferrell's confession regarding the murder of Ruth Windorf
Afterwards, Rodrick and Scott proceeded to ritualistically burn their victims and dance around their bodies as they lay dying on the living room floor. Before leaving, they stole valuables such as jewelry and credit cards before leaving in the family's Ford Explorer.
The bodies would be discovered by Heather's 17-year old sister, Jennifer, when she returned home from work that night. Heather was unaware her parents had been murdered until later, assuming everything had gone to plan.
Murder warrants were put out for the group of teens on November 27, and after four days of evading law enforcement, were finally captured by the police on November 28th after they tracked a phone call made by Chasity when she had called her grandparents asking for money.
Scott Anderson received two life sentences in prison. The amount of his involvement in the murders has come under question, though he claims he never touched Mr. or Mrs. Windorf. He claimed he had attempted and failed to calm a raging Rodrick, who proceeded to "go crazy" and bash their skulls in with the crowbar.
At first Rodrick completely denied the accusations, claiming he was being framed by rival vampire gang. Eventually, with an overwhelming amount of evidence piled against him, he pled guilty. He received two charges of first degree murder, robbery, and burglary and was sentenced to death. This made him the youngest American to ever be on death row.
Scott Anderson received two life sentences in prison. The amount of his involvement in the murders has come under question, though he claims he never touched Mr. or Mrs. Windorf and attempted and failed to calm a raging Rodrick, who proceeded to "go crazy" and bash their skulls in with the crowbar.
Charity Keesee and Dana Cooper made plea deals in exchange for reduced sentences. Charity was sentenced for ten years (released 2008), and Dana for seventeen (released 2015). Scott's sentence was recently changed in 2018 to 40 years, crediting the 22 years he has already spent in prison. By the time Scott Anderson is released in 2032 he will be 51 years old.
In 2000, Rodrick Ferrell's death sentence was changed to life in prison after the Florida Supreme Court ruled defendants must be 17 years or older at the time charges are filed in order to be able to be executed. To this day, Rodrick remains at the Tomoka Correctional Institution serving out his life sentence.
It's truly terrifying what people are capable of. Would Rodrick have committed these terrible deeds had he not been subject to so much trauma and torment?
Interview With A Vampire - MSNBC - Oct 22, 2014
How 'The Vampire Clan' Went From Teen Blood Rituals To Killing Parents - oxygen.com - Feb 8, 2019
10 Dark Facts About The Vampire Cult Killer Rod Ferrell - Listverse - Dec 4, 2018
Human Monsters: Rod Ferrell, The Vampire Cult Killer - rabrewster - Dec 18, 2018
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