Ed Gein’s Trial
While excavations began at the farmstead, Eddie was being interviewed at Wautoma County Jailhouse by investigators. Gein at first did not admit to any of the killings. However, after more then a day of silence he began to tell the horrible story of how he killed Mrs. Worden and where he acquired the body parts that were found in his house. Gein had difficulty remembering every detail, because he claimed he had been in a dazed state at the time leading up to and during the murder. Yet, he recalled dragging Worden’s body to his Ford truck, taking the cash register from the store and taking them back to his house. He did not remember shooting her in the head with a .22 caliber gun, which autopsy reports later listed as the cause of death.
Eddie showed no signs of remorse or emotion during the many hours of interrogation. When he talked about the murders and of his grave robbing escapades he spoke very matter-of-factly, even cheerfully at times. He had no concept of the enormity of his crimes.
At first, everyone assumed that Eddie Gein had been running a murder factory. But during his confessions he made a claim that seemed, at first, almost too incredible to accept. He wasn’t a mass murderer at all, he insisted. Yes, he had killed two women-Bernice Worden and the tavern keeper Mary Hogan, whose preserved, peeled-off face had been found among Ed’s gruesome collection. But as for the rest of the body parts, Eddie revealed that he had gotten them from local cemeteries. For the past twelve years, ever since his mother’s death, he had been a grave robber, turning to the dead for the companionship he could not find among the living.
Although he was only officially linked to two murders, a couple of “fresh” vaginas were found in his house that could not be matched to his known victims or any cemetery records. He was also suspected of killing his brother.
His condition was attributed to the unhealthy relationship he had with his mother and his upbringing. Gein apparently suffered from conflicting feelings about women, his natural sexual attraction to them and the unnatural attitudes that his mother had instilled in him. This love-hate feeling towards women became exaggerated and eventually developed in to a full-blown psychosis.
On January 16, 1958, a judge found Gein insane and packed him off to Central State Hospital, at Waupun, Wisconsin. A decade later, Ed was ordered up for trial, with the proceedings held in mid-November 1968. He was judged competent to stand trial. Although considered fit to stand trial, Eddie was found guilty, but criminally insane. He was first committed to the Central State Hospital at Waupon, and then in 1978 he was moved to the Mendota Mental Health Institute where he died in the geriatric ward in 1984, aged seventy-seven. It is said he was always a model prisoner – gentle, polite and discreet. He died of respiratory and heart failure in 1984. He was buried in Plainfield cemetery next to his mother, not far from the graves that he had robbed years earlier.