Brudos was born in Webster, South Dakota. His mother had wanted a girl, and often ignored and belittled him. He had a fetish for women's shoes from the age of five. He spent his teen years in and out of psychotherapy and state hospitals. He began to stalk local women as a teenager, knocking down or choking them unconscious, and fleeing with their shoes.
At age 17, he dug a hole and kept girls as sex slaves. Shortly after he was found out and taken to a psychiatric ward of Oregon State Hospita] for nine months. There it was found his sexual fantasies revolved around his hatred and revenge against his mother and women in general.
Brudos suppressed his obsessions long enough to graduate from high school and become an electronics technician. In 1961, he married and settled in a Portland, Oregon suburb. It was at about this time, however, that he began complaining of migraine headaches and "blackouts," relieving his symptoms with night-prowling raids to steal shoes and lace undergarments.
Between 1968 and 1969, Brudos bludgeoned and strangled four young women. The only initial evidence was witness sightings of a large man dressed in women's clothing. Brudos kept trophies from his victims, such as amputated breasts and a foot. After committing a murder, he would dress up in high heels and masturbate.
Police investigation and interviews of local coeds led them to Brudos, who confessed to the murders in detail. He was charged with three counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
While incarcerated, Brudos had piles of women's shoe catalogues in his cell, he wrote to major companies asking for them, and claimed they were his substitute for pornography. He lodged countless appeals, including one in which he alleged that a photograph taken of him with one of his victim's corpses cannot prove his guilt, as it is not the body of a person he was convicted of killing.
He died in prison in March 2006.
In popular culture
- Brudos is the subject of the book Lust Killer by crime writer Ann Rule.
- John Water's 1981 movie “Polyester” portrays a disturbed teenager named Dexter Fishpaw with a serial foot stomping fetish. It is alluded that he uses pictures of shoes as a pornographic aid.
- The American band Macabre made a song about Brudos, titled "Fatal Foot Fetish", which is featured on the 2003 album Murder Metal.
- An American Deathcore band by the name of Through the Eyes of the Dead uses a quote by Jerry Brudos in the end of the song "Truest Shade of Crimson" off of their 2005 release "Bloodlust".