Serial killer Bruce Mendenhall to stand trial in 2007 murder

Mendenhall transferred to Indiana to stand trial in new case
Convicted serial killer, Bruce Mendenhall
Posted at 6:24 AM, Oct 14, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A convicted serial killer locked up in Middle Tennessee is now about to stand trial out of state for yet another murder.

Bruce Mendenhall has been locked up for more than a decade and is about to stand trial again for yet another victim.

NewsChannel 5 has learned the now 70-year-old Mendenhall was just transferred from the state prison in Only, Tennessee to the Marion County Jail in Indianapolis.

He will now be prosecuted for the 2007 murder of Carma Purpura.

She is one of as many as nine victims allegedly killed by the former long-haul trucker from Albion, Illinois.

The body of the 32-year-old mother of two was found in 2011 and DNA has linked Mendenhall to her murder.

He is already serving life in prison convicted in other murders in Middle Tennessee.

Over the years, Mendenhall has written letters to NewsChannel 5's Nick Beres — always denying that he's a serial killer.

But in his last letter, he did talk about the Purpura case, expressing surprise her body was found. That statement may become part of this latest case against him.

"I didn't know her body was found. I'm glad for the family," he wrote. But he didn't admit to killing Purpura. "All I'm guilty of is trusting a cop," he wrote.

The cop he mentions is retired Metro homicide detective Pat Postiglione, who caught Mendenhall in his big rig at a Nashville truck stop.

"Then I asked him, 'are you the person we've been looking for?' and he just looked at me and shrugged his shoulders and then his response was, 'if you say so,'" testified Postiglione during Mendenhall's first trial back in 2007.

Police found what is believed to be the murder weapon and a blood splatter in the cab of the rig. That blood evidence linked Mendenhall to Purpura, and to this day is used for comparison to other unsolved murders.

At prior trials, prosecutors did not seek the death penalty against Mendenhall — in part because there were no clear aggravating circumstances. But now, with prior murder convictions, he'd qualify for the death penalty if convicted in Indiana.