||Tiny Quincy Street
in Chinatown was the setting for real life scenes in one of San Francisco's
most tragic stories of madness and murder. Three homeless men were attacked
in this area in the fall of 1998 by a 21 year old psychotic who believed
he was a samurai vampire compelled to slash the throats of his victims
and drink their blood. Known as the Vampire Slasher, Joshua Rudiger
of Oakland had a lifetime history of mental illness, including a diagnosis
of bi polar disorder and another of psychosis dating back to 1981. The
unwanted and unstable child was raised in a string of foster homes until
he was 15 when he tried to commit suicide by stabbing himself with a samurai
sword. Later, he was charged in a knifing and in a separate attack on a
friend with a makeshift bow and arrow, but failed to get the help he needed
because of the inability of the victims to testify against him. The knifing
victim died in prison in an unrelated incident while the arrow victim moved
and did not avail herself to authorities. Rudiger spent six months at Atascadero
State Hospital but was released in spite of the fact that he still insisted
he was alternately a ninja warrior or a 2,000 year old vampire. Less than
two weeks after the Oct. 16, 1998 Chinatown attacks, Rudiger murdered 48
year old Shirley Dillahunty as she slept in a doorway near the Women's
Building in the Mission. Dillahunty also led a tragic life, after disability
forced her to give up her livelihood as the operator of a successful Ocean
Avenue hair salon in the 1980s. Dillahunty lived on the streets and was
a familiar neighborhood figure in the area where she died. Rudiger was
arrested Nov. 11 when he attacked the third homeless man in Chinatown.
After his arrest, Rudiger confessed and announced he was the Vampire Slasher.
He fingered himself as the killer by identifying an Asian symbol left at
the crime scenes by both the Chinatown attacker and Dillahunty's murderer.
Rudiger pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity as defense lawyers detailed
to the jury his sad childhood from the time Rudiger was found abandoned
as a baby in a filthy bath tub. Rudiger was found guilty of second degree
murder in the death of Dillahunty and of assault in the Chinatown attacks.
He was ruled legally sane by the court during sentencing and was given
23 years in prison for the crimes.