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The Many Faces of Rage

Updated on December 6, 2012


Washington state has had its share of serial killers, and this is where this tale begins, ending on the east coast. This doesn’t necessarily mean that this is where Darren Dee O’Neall really started his killing spree, I don’t think we will ever know the full story. Serial killers generally begin slowly and work up to killing others for the excitement, and he was no exception. His fatal mistake was becoming cocky, feeling all-powerful and untouchable which led to his capture. Luckily, there were also exemplary and very bright people in the citizenry as well as the law enforcement fields that also led to his final capture. One of these citizens was the mother of a victim, Edna Smith. If it was not for her, the outcome could well have been very different.

The Early Years

O’Neall was born in Albuquerque, NM February 26, 1960, next to the youngest of four children. Darren always had a problem with discipline, especially when he grew older. He was a bright boy, but only did enough to be an average student. He was a drug user, a heavy drinker, but didn’t become a problem with the law until his twenties. As an adolescent, his fits of temper and rage could be uncontrollable, which accelerated to the point of threatening to kill people. One documented incident was where he attempted to shoot a brother.



He married for a short time and fathered a son in 1981. He had a shirt stint in the army, and was honorably discharged in 1982. He finagled a story to get his son and took him to Colorado Springs away from his mother, finally granting custody to his own mother, since he couldn’t raise the boy.

On went his pathological lies and fantasy life through Louis L’Amour books. He enticed women with his manly ways, his good looks, and talk about settling down in the great outdoors and becoming self-sufficient. It took a lot of women in from Washington to the Louisiana, where violence and death prevailed. He was always one step ahead of the law, and always seemed to readily find victims wherever he went as a drifter.

stolen mercury marquis
stolen mercury marquis | Source

Final Crime Days

His final mistake began in Harvey, LA, August 31, 1987. He boarded with a woman, eventually stealing her car and $2,000 cash. From there, he headed to Nashville, TN, where he met yet another woman. They drove to where she lived in Lakeland, FL in early September. There he became a drug dealer’s enforcer.

O’Neall was in the stolen mercury marquis from LA, and happened to attract the attention of a police officer. A short chase ensued and he blew out a tire after striking a curb. All occupants of the car were apprehended, but the plot thickened, as O’Neall was using one of his many aliases. He answered his charges in FL, then was extradited to FL, but law enforcement still had no idea who he really was.

What Cracked the Case

Due to the work of Kathleen Dremillion in the LA State Police Bureau of Identification on Feb. 3, 1988, she cracked the case wide open. She positively identified O’Neall’s fingerprints, who had been on the Ten Most Wanted List. Now his repetitive cycle of killing was finally broken.

He was finally extradited to WA to answer murder charges there, and was sentenced Feb. 6, 1989. In May on 1990, he was extradited to Portland, OR to answer kidnapping and rape charges on a 14-year-old girl that lived, the first victim that was known.


More Details

Another young woman, Wendy Aughe, was never found. O’Neall was charged only with the theft of her car. In OR, Lia Szubert’s murder didn’t have physical evidence to link him to the crime. Other homicides link O’Neall to more crimes, but no evidence. One of those is in CO.

Edna Smith and her family finally got to bury their daughter, Robin, but they had to wait a long time in order to do it. Her fiancé finally died due to grief during this fiasco. To this day, Darren O’Neall has not shown any real remorse for the violent deaths that were committed by his hands.


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    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Exactly, Anita. You never know what could be around the corner these days.

    • Anita Hasch profile image

      Anita Hasch 

      3 years ago from Port Elizabeth

      Terrifying story. Good to read, reminds you not to be too trusting.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      The weird thing is, that there are so many out there at any given time, tammy.

    • tammyswallow profile image


      7 years ago from North Carolina

      What a scary tale. Makes you wonder how many psychopaths we cross paths with in any given year. This guys sounds likes a real piece of work!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Teresa. These people have a short circuit, that could have been caused by a number of factors, but definitely not just one. They completely miss anything that has to do with emotion. All they care about is self-gratification.

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very interesting story aviannovice. I have always wondered what makes guys like this tick. I am glad one family received some sense of closure. Thanks for sharing!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Highland Terrier. It is a short circuit in the shadows of the mind.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Many people have been exonerated due to DNA testing. Can you imagine before that, all those people that died that were innocent?

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Jim. They are everywhere, and you might not even know the neighbor down the street leads a double life. Look at Dennis Rader.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You're right, shining, they are possibly heading to a future of crime with that trait. Many have been bed wetters and showed signs of great violence potential as kids. BUT there are also some that didn't develop until well in adulthood.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      CC, sociopaths HAVE no emotion. Their lives center only around themselves. They don't even have an imagination to fixate on horrors, it just happens naturally.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Martin, you're not even in the zodiac! How could they possibly even consider it? It is an experience, though, I'll say that.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Sure, Jackie. I worked with a murderer in Maine off a fish pier. I never knew it until I began police work and saw him on the FBI's most wanted list. That was about 4 years later.

    • Highland Terrier profile image

      Highland Terrier 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      I often wonder why people are this? Nature sure can get wrong.

      Interesting read.


    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      There really is no shortage of sicko's out there.... I hope with all the advances in crime scene identification, like the DNA, that they will be able to solve more and more of these cases and get these creeps in prison where they belong.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      7 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Interesting and chilling Deb. Sad that we seem to have more than our share of psychos in out society. Ted Bundy was from or spent time in Washington too. Every state seems to contribute.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      7 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I never heard of him but what a monster. My heart goes out to the Smith's as well as so many others we know of and the terrifying number we don't know about. Bad enough, but a 14 year old girl! and no remorse.

      It is rather disturbing the people who share our world. Mom and I were just discussing a case of a teenage boy here in town who did such a horrible thing to a puppy that I can't write it. The puppy survived needless to say. I immediately thought - very dangerous trait. Usually they are leading up to doing these awful deeds to humans.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      Wow...he was in Colorado Springs the same time I was born and growing up there. Scary stuff. Sociopaths often don't show emotion after what they've done and those people need to be away from society. Eek.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      The closest I got to a serial killer was when I was coming out of my mom's Nob Hill apartment. There were a number of police cars and lots of guns pointed at me. My mom runs out to tell the police I am not the Zodiac Killer.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      7 years ago from the beautiful south

      What a creep! I use to read true crime stories until they just got so overcoming. Lets you know though you can never really know anyone. Who would have ever suspected many of these sickos like Ted Bundy and also women who can kill just anyone without thinking twice.

      I never heard of this one either, thanks.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Glad to enlighten you, Billy. Another one that comes to mind is Gary Ridgway.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have no idea how I missed this guy, but I've never heard of him. Yes, Washington State has had a share of the idea why, but we have had two of the most prolific serial killers in history from here. Anyway, interesting read and completely new info for me.


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