At the defense table Richard Chase showed no emotion or reaction of any kind. In fact, he looked bored, with his sunken, opaque eyes having a lusterless quality. His weight had dropped to 107 pounds, with scarcely an ounce of flesh clinging to his scarecrow frame. (His jailers filed reports stating he would go days without touching even a morsel of food. They had also reported that Chase at times lasciviously joked about having women brought to his cell.) Chase took the stand in his own defense and did not attempt to deny the murders, though he claimed a foggy memory concerning some of the details. As Chase gave his version of the Griffin killing and some of the events that happened in his life around that time he seemed alert and responsive, though sometimes slow to answer. He rightly corrected his attorney once — “a psychiatrist is a doctor,” he said admonishingly. He appeared patient and seemed to handle the stress of testifying quite well. He did appear to show the influence of the various attorneys and psychiatrists with whom he had spent so much time; he freely and accurately used psychiatric and legal jargon like “delusional” and psychotic.” Chase’s account of what had happened between the time he purchased the .22 handgun and the Miroth murders was sketchy. He remembered driving around shooting his new gun but did not think he saw Ambrose Griffin at the time of the murder. He remembered talking to his former classmate Nancy Holden just before he shot Teresa Wallin. He said he had been wandering around, “semiconscious” when he shot Wallin. Some things about the murder he remembered, but other things he claimed not to recall. He did admit to drinking some of Teresa’s blood. Chase said that after several days in a “blackout,” on the morning of the 27th he drove to the Country Club Centre and parked. He had intended to shoot an old friend who he thought had become a political revolutionary and intended to kill him. But instead he went into his house and shot some other people. He denied sodomizing Evelyn Miroth, or even of removing her clothes. He thought is was possible he had cut her open and smeared blood on her body, but he couldn’t remember “for sure.” Chase openly admitted to shooting little David Ferreira. At the time, he said, he thought the baby was something else, but he did not say what. He decapitated the child, he said, to get its blood and left with the baby in a green bucket, intending to drink more of its blood. He had, he explained, started drinking blood after watching some “medical shows” on TV. He started with rabbit and bird blood, then dogs, cows, and finally humans. He finished his testimony by claiming to have been victimized by society. His trouble, he stated, could be traced back to his inability to have successful, normal sex relations with his girlfriends. Was he sorry for the murders? his attorney asked. “Yes,” Chase replied casually.
On May 16 Chase again took the stand, facing the same jury that had convicted him of murder and found him sane. “I beg for another chance to survive,” he said. “I hope to make compensation for the families. I am a good person, although weak in heart and mind.”