Serial killer provided a glimpse into warped mind

MIAMI — Robert Frederick Carr, state inmate 055664, was quietly buried in a North Florida prison cemetery with no family to claim his body.

His dark legacy, however, is not forgotten.

Michael Von Zamft, the lawyer who defended Carr: "He was very charming. Carr didn't look scary. He was very slight. Wispy hair. I could see how teenagers would get a ride from him. He didn't look threatening.

Ed O'Donnell, the man who prosecuted Carr: "It was really an unusual experience to listen to him describe how well-planned his crimes were, and how controlling he could be over others. These kids had a lot of chances to get away and wouldn't because he had control."

David Simmons, the detective who arrested Carr: "In my 33-year career in law enforcement, Carr ranks as the most dangerous child sexual predator-murderer I ever investigated."

Edna Buchanan, the journalist who chronicled Carr: "He was about the most evil person I ever met. . . . It was such good news that he is no longer on the planet."

Carr, 63, died July 6, after admittance to a North Florida prison medical center. His cause of death has not been determined, says the Alachua County Medical Examiner's Office.16-year-old hitchhiker Tammy Ruth Huntley.

A fourth victim, Rhonda Holloway, 21, was later unearthed in a remote part of Connecticut. Carr also admitted to raping more than a dozen more boys and girls.

The strawberry blonde television repairman was caught only after a Metro police officer stumbled onto him trying to rape a housewife.

He later led O'Donnell, Simmons, Detective Charles Zatrepalek and deputy medical examiner Dr. Ronald Wright on a cross-country trip to dig up corpses.

Carr said he was born evil.

In 120 hours of tape-recorded jailhouse interviews, he told Buchanan of his troubled childhood: killing baby chickens with a stick; letting men pay him for sex when he was about 11; stealing cars as a teen.

As an adult, he married in Connecticut.

`While I had sex with my wife I would fantasize about raping somebody else," he told Buchanan, who later wrote "Carr: Five Years of Rape and Murder."

Between 1973 and 1975, Carr was imprisoned for a rape in Connecticut and paroled. He later claimed he wanted to stay in prison for psychiatric treatment.

While in Miami, he would troll Biscayne Boulevard in a car with the inside door handle dismantled so victims couldn't escape.

He kidnapped Mark and Todd, who were hitchhiking, from North Miami Beach on Nov. 13, 1972, manipulating them into an extended road trip and later raping, strangling and burying them in Mississippi and Louisiana.

"What he did to those children was truly unprintable," said Simmons, now a sergeant with Miami Gardens police. Four years later, Carr did the same to hitchhiker Tammy, also from North Miami-Dade.

After he was arrested for the attempted rape in 1976, he confessed to Simmons and Zatrepalek.

With an uncanny memory, he led the four men to the remote spots in Mississippi and Louisiana where Mark, Todd and Tammy's skeletons were buried.

"A 10-day odyssey," Simmons remembered of the grave-digging trip.

"It was amazing. Some of these things happened years before we went out there," said O'Donnell, now a defense attorney.

Carr later plead guilty - against Von Zamft's advice - and received a life sentence, in part because he cooperated with investigators. To his attorney's chagrin, Carr was talkative with detectives and with reporters.

"I don't have any fear of death. I've seen enough of it to know," Carr said shortly after his confession. "It's peaceful. It's like sleep."

His time in prison was not peaceful.

Carr was booted from a state mental hospital because he was hoarding wire cutters and pliers. He sent letter after letter to the detectives, Buchanan, O'Donnell and even his ex-wife.

He rambled, angrily. Carr claimed he and the Manson cult killers from California would soon embark on bus tour to teach public safety.

Simmons saved the letters for years - he figures he received two or three monthly for a decade - before throwing them away. Buchanan called the prison to have the letters stopped.

None knew of his death except O'Donnell. He's not sure why but he received a mail notice from the prison.

"Now," Simmons said, "his maker can decide his everlasting punishment."