"I just started shooting, that's it. I just did it for the fun of it. I just don't like
Mondays... I just did it because it's a way to cheer
the day up.
Nobody likes Mondays."
Brenda Spencer was born on the 3rd of April 1962 in San Carlos, California. As a Middle American child growing up in the seventies she was the typical teenager, she wore her hair long and her dresses even longer. Throughout her elementary education Brenda was an all together normal pupil. Her only claim to fame comes from a six-hour episode that changed the lives of an entire community and determined Brenda’s grim future.
I Don’t Like Mondays
On a chilly Monday morning of 1979, January the 29th to be precise, Brenda decided not to go to school. She wanted to do things differently for a change and cheer up the day for herself and for all, in this case meant the children in the Cleveland Elementary School across from her house.
She dressed as normal and patiently waited for her single father to go to work. When he departed Brenda unpacked and loaded a .22 calibre rifle that was a Christmas gift from her dad, then she stationed herself at an upstairs window. By this time the children where arriving and Brenda let loose a volley of bullets. For the next twenty minutes Brenda kept the teachers and the children, even the crossing guard under cover. By the time she finished shooting she had managed to wound eight children, a police officer and kill the principal Burton Wragg and the school caretaker Michael Schucar.
In the following six hours she happily spoke to the police and the press, answering questions and ignoring pleads. The comments Ms. Spencer made at the time where along the lines of "I don’t like Mondays, this livens up the day," "I wanted to have some fun," and when asked if she was aiming for anyone in particular she said it was random but that she rather liked "blue and red jackets."
After hours of futile attempts to reason with her she decided to call it day and end the fun. She walked outside calmly, laid down her gun and went back inside to wait.
During the ten month trial she plead guilty to all charges: two counts of first degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon, she is currently serving a 25 years to life sentence in prison.
Life after the fun
In the last few years Brenda has resurfaced in the media, mainly after a shocking crime has been committed (e.g. Columbine Shootings and the Oklahoma City Bombing), she has also been trying to move the waters for her early release since the early nineties.
In 1993 she was subject to her first parole hearing and even though she did not appear personally she took the opportunity to send a written statement. The statement included allegations that the authorities had conspired against in various ways such as putting her on mind-altering drugs during the trial and for two years after. According to Brenda she did not know what she was doing during the trial and only in 1992 did she realise that she had pleaded guilty. She also claimed that she did not shoot the children and stated that the police were firing and had killed the two victims of the tragedy. She also claimed she was going to file a federal rights suit to prove her statement. Said case was never filed and she was denied parole. Five years later she was again denied parole since she seemed to show no insight or regret for her actions. Her third hearing was on April 17, 2001 and even though Brenda did appear she had a new attorney but again was denied freedom and remains incarcerated. She was 16 when she brightened up the day, she is 39 now and freedom does not seem to be on the cards, especially in California where parole for convicted murderers is rare.
Brenda’s father Wallace Spencer remarried shortly after the shootings to a young girl who was Brenda’s cellmate whilst she was being held at juvenile hall. They have a child together who was enrolled in Cleveland Elementary. They still live in the same house.
The school is now a Hebrew day centre.
Norman Buell, father of Christy Buell, a nine-year-old pupil of the school who was shot twice believes that she has paid her dues. Christy refuses to comment on the subject.
Yes, I’ll mention the song.
Note from the Author
I orginally set out to do a complete biography about Brenda Spencer, to focus on her as well as what she did, but due to the nature of her crime I was unable to procure any relevant information relating to her life before that day. I apologise for this lack of detail and would appreciate any feedback or information on this.