On August 13, 1961, Cary Stayner, the serial killer convicted in the grisly murders of four women near Yosemite National Park was born. In 1972, Stayner's childhood took a tragic turn when his younger brother Steven, then seven, was kidnapped while walking home from school in the family's hometown of Merced, California. Steven's abductor, convicted child molester Kenneth Parnell, held him captive for seven years before he managed to escape and return home.
On August 12, 1964, Charlie Wilson, part of the gang who pulled off the 1963 Great Train Robbery, one of the biggest heists of its kind, escapes from Winson Green Prison in Birmingham, England. Several men broke into the maximum-security facility to free Wilson, who remained on the loose until 1968.
On August 9, 1969, members of Charles Manson's cult kill five people in movie director Roman Polanski's Beverly Hills, California, home, including Polanski's pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate. Less than two days later, the group killed again, murdering supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary in their home.
Bruce Reynolds, mastermind behind the Great Train Robbery
On August 8, 1963, a gang of 14 thieves rob a royal mail train headed from Glasgow and London making off with over $7 million in stolen money. The mastermind of the Great Train Robbery was Bruce Reynolds, a known burglar and armed robber. He was inspired by the railroad heists of the Wild West in America.
On August 7, 1998, a massive truck bomb explodes outside the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Minutes later, another truck bomb detonated outside the U.S. embassy in the capital of neighboring Tanzania.
On August 6, 1890, the electric chair is first used at Auburn Prison in New York against William Kemmler, who had been convicted of murdering his lover, Matilda Ziegler. Electrocution as a humane means of execution was first suggested in 1881 by Dr. Albert Southwick, a dentist. Southwick had witnessed an elderly drunkard "painlessly" killed after touching the terminals of an electrical generator in Buffalo, New York.
On August 5, 1998, Marie Noe is arrested at her Philadelphia home and charged in the smothering deaths of eight of her children, who all died between 1949 and 1968. Each of the eight infants was reportedly healthy at birth, but later died when home alone with Noe.