There are some stories of people’s lives that are so sad and tragic that even Capricorn Research feels reluctant to write an article about them. In my defence however, the whole point of astrology is that it can help give us some understanding and insights into why things happen and how the relationships between some people can have shocking and terrible consequences. But if your own astrological make up is more sensitive than mine it might be best to stop reading at this point.
Richard Baldwin was an American homicide, age 16 when he beat his 15 year old girlfriend, Beth Brode, to death with a baseball bat.
Richard was not ordinarily a troublemaker and had been voted the quietest male student at school the previous year. However when Beth told him that she was not going out with him any more, he reacted violently.
The astrology of this horrifying story has many similarities with other so called crimes of passion, where one partner murders another. For more details of this see the article Is There Such a Thing as a Crime of Passion
A theme that does tend to come up in these cases is that the murderer often does not have a classic killer’s chart. There are usually some pointers but nothing like what would be required to finger them for such a despicable crime.
However when their chart is seen alongside that of their victim, the synastry is extremely powerful and it appears to be this that triggers a sudden act of violence that is instantly deeply regretted. Its often followed by the murderer themselves taking their own life or at least attempting to, as was the case with Richard Baldwin.
Capricorn Research would defy any astrologer to pick out this chart as someone who would commit murder.
With the Sun conjunct Jupiter in Taurus in the 10th, Venus exactly conjunct the Midheaven and Leo rising we might be thinking of a future captain of industry, someone who would be extremely successful in his chosen career.
The Moon in Pisces in combination with these factors would endow him with a gentle sensitivity together with the noble dependability and strength of character of the Taurus / Leo.
There are obviously a couple of issues that may raise eyebrows. The exact opposition between the Sun and Uranus, points to a sudden, unexpected event in his home life that would have a powerfully unsettling impact on his career.
Also Richard’s Mars is conjunct Saturn in Cancer in the 12th house, an unfortunate aspect in any case suggesting that his actions will cause trouble in his home life. It is this one that could under certain conditions indicate time spent in prison.
This Mars / Saturn conjunction is in square aspect to Venus in Aries, so this raises the possibility of a link with his love life. But even the most intuitive astrologer would struggle to come up with anything more than a young man with a great and promising career spending time in prison, perhaps because of some financial fraud that possibly involved his wife.
No astrologer would suggest that he might beat his girlfriend to death with a baseball bat. Unless that is, they had seen the chart of his girlfriend.
If we take a superficial reading of Beth’s chart, it does not seem to obviously point to the tragedy that occurred. The Sun in Libra, Moon conjunct Venus in Virgo with Sagittarius rising, points to a popular, outgoing person with good natural social skills. Indeed she was a pleasant, upbeat girl, a cheerleader as suggested by these placings.
One of the problems with a chart where all the planets are contained within half of the Zodiac is that there are no oppositions. As most of Beth’s planets are contained within a couple of signs there are not many squares either so its tempting to read it as being somewhat short of tensions and challenges, particularly taking the Sun, Moon and Ascendant signs into consideration. Move on nothing much to see here.
This would be a big mistake, however.
Firstly in Capricorn Research’s study sample of 533 Murder Victims, Libra is by some way the most common Sun sign with a score of 56, 126 % of the expected figure and 8 more than its nearest challenger. For more information see Is There Such a Thing as a Victim Mentality
Secondly when a chart does not have many challenging aspects, this does not indicate a life without conflict, it merely means that the ones that are there would be emphasised more than if the chart was full of them.
An example of this would be the chart of Adolf Hitler, one that convinced many astrologers during the 1930s that he could not possibly be the threat that other people believed him to be. The one challenging aspect that he did have, Mars square Saturn became much more prominent in his life and had a powerful impact on the world, precisely because it was the only one. For more information see Adolf Hitler – Only Got One Aspect
Beth Brode had no oppositions and two square aspects, but all the trouble would be caused by one of them. This was the Sun conjunct Pluto in Libra in square to Mars in Cancer in the 8th house.
Mars square Pluto is the most threatening and violent of all planetary aspects and this threat is given far more emphasis in her life because it is aspecting the Sun.
The fact that the aspect runs from Cancer to Libra suggests that home life and relationships would be the arena for the violence. Also the fact that the Mars is in the 8th, indicates that this violence could result in her death.
At this point, I feel the need to point out that this does not mean that everyone with Mars in Cancer in the 8th square a Sun / Pluto conjunction would be beaten to death by their boyfriend. This is not how astrology works.
It is a series of symbols that have to be applied to the particular situation that the person finds themselves in, but it remains true that among the range of interpretations appropriate to this combination, violent death is a possibility.
The other square aspect in Beth’s chart is the one between the Moon / Venus conjunction in Virgo and Neptune in the 1st house. What this indicates is that relationships ( Moon / Venus ) are not what they seem and cannot be relied upon ( Neptune ).
Even with all this, its still a stretch to say that it points to the actual outcome. But when we look at the two charts together we can see that the difficult points in Richard and Beth’s charts come together in a way that could trigger it.
Richard and Beth both have their Mars in conjunction with each other in Cancer, so his Mars / Saturn conjunction square Venus in Aries is in conflicting tension with her Mars square Sun / Pluto in Libra.
Of course the event itself would still have to be triggered by powerful transits. When we look at Beth’s chart and see the Sun / Pluto / Mars thing it would be tempting to look for a renewal of that relationship. However Pluto moves so slowly that it would only be now, nearly 23 years after her death that it would make its next connection.
So if not Pluto, what then ? Whenever Capricorn Research hears of an incident in the early 1990s the first question is how does that tie up with the Uranus / Neptune conjunction of the time ?
If Pluto is not around to do its damage, it requires two heavyweights to do it instead. In November 1992 when Richard killed Beth, Neptune was at 17 degrees and Uranus at 15.20 of Capricorn.
This places Neptune and Uranus in square to Beth’s Sun / Pluto conjunction with the Neptune / Sun contact being extremely close.
Of course this also means that Neptune was square to Richard’s Mars, triggering all his astrological troubles.
So Uranus, the planet that causes the second stressful aspect in Richard’s chart ( via its exact opposition to his Sun ) joins with Neptune, that performs the same role in Beth’s chart ( in square to her Moon ), to hit the biggest aspect of tension for both of them.
Capricorn Research does not normally look at the transits of the faster moving planets. This is not because I don’t believe they work, just because their life span is of such short duration that its generally not worth bothering with them when we are looking at important life changing events.
What these faster planets can do however is produce a finer trigger for the energy involved in the transits of the slower ones. On that basis, its interesting to note that at the time of the murder, Mars was at 26.58 Cancer in exact conjunction with Richard’s Saturn.
The comparison of people’s charts in relationship is called synastry. It is probably the most common reason for people seeking the services of an astrologer. In crimes of passion like this, it is the most important tool to understanding the situation.
It provides a way of seeing how things can go so tragically wrong for a couple of nice middle class kids.