I’ve been carrying around a print-out a Denver Post story about the Denver Spiderman for almost 20 years looking for the right project to base on it.
The second I decided to write Hunter Dane Investigations, I knew Hunt would investigate this mystery. It took 5 books to be ready.
Phillip Peters,73, was killed Friday, Oct 17th, 1941. The story in the Post appeared in February of 1960 as an interview with police chief James Childers who was captain of detectives at the time of the slaying.
The killer, Theodore Coneys, was 61 years old when arrested, 6′ tall and weighed 75 pounds. There were gallon cans of human excrement in the attic and the smallest detective was sent up through the 7″x15″ space but was overwhelmed by the smell and vomited.
Coneys had lived secretly in the attic for a month before Peters came home unexpectedly and found him raiding the fridge. Coneys killed him. Mrs. Peters was in the hospital at the time. So he stayed in the house. She came home and he stayed. He reported that he’d sneak down at night and stand over her in the dark watching her sleep.
Daytime nursing help and neighbors reported strange sounds and sightings. Police would respond and find nothing. The access panels were found and would not open and a deemed too small for a person to pass through.
The nurses quit and widow moved out. The house was closed up, the water turned off. The killer continued to live there. In the attic. The neighborhood did believe the house was haunted. News reports referred to the “Ghost Killer” of Phillip Peters.
After he was finally found by detectives, he was so pale and emaciated, fearing light, the cops said only a spider could have lived the way he did and he was dubbed the Denver Spiderman.
Coneys died in prison about twenty years later, in his eighties. Below is the full story and well-worth the time to listen to.
A THIRTY MINUTE NARRATED ACCOUNT OF THE CASE AND THE KILLER’S LIFE. APPARENTLY TAKEN FROM POLICE AND NEWSPAPER ACCOUNTS AND THE KILLER’S 50-PAGE PLUS STATEMENT.