Lemuel Smith was born into the least likely of bedeviled households on July 23, 1941. He was part of a strictly religious Black family living in Amsterdam, New York. His father was a minister, and both of his parents lived in the household. There were no reports of physical or mental abuse. There were no known reasons why Lemuel would have such a compulsion to kill, which according to him started as early as when he was twelve years old when he nearly smothered a nine-year-old girl to death.
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