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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan • Page 125

Detroit, Michigan
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SPLURGE IP THERE'S ROOM IN YOUR TOY CHEST, HEAD FOR THE NEAREST YACHT BROKER No one else has visited him for the last several years except his woman, whom he met many years ago when she worked at the prison where he lived. They have been serious about three years. He hasn't seen his brother, Danny, since the late 1960s, and wants never to see him again. Sue took up with Danny after Steppenwolf went to prison, and he disowned them both. In 1976, on his birthday, Steppenwolf married Danny's ex-wife, Kathy, a childhood friend of both brothers.

Danny is serving four life sentences at the Huron Valley Men's Facility, for raping and killing four women in 1972. It was Danny's crime that persuaded Larry it was time to get rid of the Ranes name: "It represented everything bad. The way I was brought up. The family. All those circumstances." In 1972, after the state Supreme Court overturned his conviction on a legal technicality, Larry Lee Ranes agreed to plead guilty to first-degree murder and go placidly back to prison, on two conditions: if he could be sent to the Ionia Reformatory, considered easier time than Marquette, where he had been for six years, and if he could change his name to Monk Steppenwolf.

The first name, he says, "represents the hermitage part, the secret, inner me, that is studying, trying to comprehend what is going on in the world and in me and in everybody else. There's a monk inside of me." "Steppenwolf' is the title of a 1929 Hermann Hesse novel. It is the tale of Harry Haller, a "strange, wild, shy" man who calls himself the Steppenwolf. Haller is disgusted with life and yearns for death as a release; he is confused by his human instincts for warmth and love and his animal instincts for power and savagery. Steppenwolf, the convict, first read Steppenwolf, the book, in 1967.

Ten years later, he tried again but found it sad and boring. I asked him to read it once more. He said to me when he was through: "I met myself in a dark cave." In red pen, he annotated a paperback copy, marking Psychiatrists would later suggest he was subconsciously trying to kill his father, by his son's definition a drunken, ugly man who ran around on his mother, beat her and made his young sons drink whisky and fight for nickels and dimes he threw on the floor. They would fight, he remembers, until only one was left standing, or until one broke into furious tears, losing by default. His father left the family when Larry was nine, moved to Florida and took a job as a gas station attendant.

"I've tried to use a lot of their theories to understand myself, those quaint, ever-so-perfect explanations," Step-penwolf says. "And they just don't wash in the final analysis. "The bottom line is that I didn't give a damn. I didn't care. My world was destroyed.

I had nothing whatsoever in this world that I thought was of any value. When you don't care and your world is gone, it's just a matter of time before other people's worlds become unimportant to you." It has been decades since he loved Sue. But he can remember how he once felt about her and her children and their home. "I almost don't wanna call it love now. Cannibalism is what it was.

God, that family was a feast for me. I had starved all my life. That's what it represented, and I had to devour the whole thing. "Was I mentally ill? If a dog with rabies bites you, is it wrong? It's diseased. And I think you can be rabid in the pursuit of happiness." 0 one knows I Monk Steppen-wolf, and he knows hardly anyone, and lat is how he prefers it.

When his mother and sister visited him in March, they talked, he says, "of trivialities." He believes bis mother is getting senile and wanted to see her son once more before she dies. She still sends him $10 checks for his birthday and Christmas; he still calls her twice a year or so. "Occasionally I say I love her. The problem is I've never felt it inside." ((Mil, from Page 13.) him up as he hitchhiked in Kalamazoo. Ranes had robbed Smock, put him in the trunk of the car, then shot him in the head after Smock ignored his orders to lie quietly.

Ranes confessed to Sue, "as much as her hysteria would allow." She called her mother; a friend came over; someone called police, as Ranes waited, expectantly. Seven hours after his arrest, during an interview with a psychiatrist, he casually mentioned that after killing Smock and washing the blood off the trunk with a Coke, he drove to Elkhart, and fatally shot a gas station attendant. The psychiatrist asked if there was anyone else. "Yes," he said. "There was that Air Force guy, I think it was Paw Paw.

I was robbing the gas station he worked at." "Anyone else?" said the psychiatrist. "Yes, some guy running a gas station in Kentucky, South Carolina or Tennessee, about a month ago." "Anyone else?" "Some guy by Las Vegas. He picked me up while I was hitchhiking." In all, there were five dead men over as many weeks: three gas station attendants, two men who picked up Ranes hitchhiking. He robbed each first. From the last man, Smock, he got $3, a watch and the teacher's shiny, expensive shoes, which Ranes was wearing when he was arrested.

Each time, he told the psychiatrist, he used the loot to buy steaks and booze. "It sounds crazy," he says now, "but I visualized it as a last supper. Before I died, this world owed me a last supper, which constituted my concept of a happy day: a steak dinner and get drunk." Each time, though, he changed his mind about suicide and killed someone else instead. "I turned myself in to get killed," he says. "I didn't turn myself in to do time, all right' I thought they had the electric chair.

Somebody told me they had the electric chair at Jackson Prison they called it Jacktown that it was in the basement of Jacktown." The Cobalt 5 Condurre 269. 3 dent. They'll first drive the boat, they'll look at fab MX glance, the em rics. They will be ca ImJ -A blem on a tered to." New this year is the Cobalt boat resembles the famous Cadillac trade 27-foot Condurre 269, mark, with crossed laurel branches around a flourished "You would CTer compare a Cobalt to a Cadillac," says Tim Kent, owner of Aggressive Yacht Sales in Mt. Clemens.

"But it has been compared to a BMW or a Porsche." A 30-foot Condurre 300, the top of the Cobalt line, complete with stereo, television, VCR and wet bar, starts at around $100,000. And that includes The Treatment: "If someone wants to buy a 30-footer," says Kent, "we'll fly them down to the factory (near Wichita, they'll meet the sales manager, the product manager, the presi- somewhat more affordable, with a base sticker price of $70,000. Part of the appeal is sheer power: The 269 achieves speeds of 60 m.p.h. with two Chevy V8 engines. Imagine being propelled across Lake St.

Clair by the horsepower of two muscle cars. Cobalt boats, which are built to offshore racing specifications, are known for their labor-intensive, quality construction. And then, of course, there is the toy factor. "People who would buy this boat are people who believe the one who dies with the most toys wins," says Kent..

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