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Waco siege cult leader David Koresh on Murder Made Me Famous

David Koresh
David Koresh led the Branch Davidians in Waco

This week Murder Made Me Famous turns the spotlight on cult leader David Koresh.

David Koresh was born Vernon Wayne Howell in 1959 in Texas, where he was brought up by his 14-year-old single mother for several years before being taken to his grandmother’s place for three years. His mother returned and married, but despite being in a fairly stable family and having a half-brother he described his childhood as lonely.

He later dropped out of High School and when he was 22 Koresh got a 15-year-old girl pregnant. After this he found god and became a born-again Christian with his mother’s church the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

However, he was eventually thrown out of the church for making advances on the pastor’s daughter. This led him to Waco, Texas, where he joined up with the Branch Davidians. After a year or so with the group Koresh began to claim that he was a prophet and was involved for years in a bitter power struggle with the group’s leader.

Eventually Koresh and his followers took over and returned to Waco, but their troubles were not over. In 1993 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided Mount Carmel Center, where the group were based. Four agents and six Branch Davidians were killed and the FBI moved in to take control of what soon became a siege.

After 51 days of talks the FBI decided to assault the building to clear the Davidians form it. A fire broke out and Koresh died alongside 80 Branch Davidians in the fire that broke out.

A medical report indicated that the FBI fired not shots but that 20 people, including five kids, were shot and several had been stabbed to death. Koresh himself is thought to have been shot dead by his right-hand man, Steve Schneider, who then killed himself.

Murder Made Me Famous airs on Saturdays at 9:00 PM on REELZ.


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