Pity these murderers didn't show their creative side BEFORE they killed folk.
Death row inmate’s online book sales draw anger
Texas prison officials are checking to make sure death row inmate Gerald Marshall isn’t profiting from sales of his two online books of prose and poetry, according to MyFoxHouston.
He wrote My Emotional Death: Living Texas’ Death row about his time spent on death row and he also wrote a book about poetry. He says writing helps keep him sane during his time in prison.
“I could sit back in my cell and do nothing,” said Marshall in an exclusive interview with FOX 26 News at the Polunsky prison unit in Livingston. “Or I could try to educate myself and do something.”
As the Chronicle reported earlier, Marshall was convicted of capital murder in November 2004 in the slaying of Christopher Martin Dean, 38, on May 18, 2003.
Dean, who was mentally disabled, was killed while working the graveyard shift at a Whataburger in the 1700 block of West Loop 610 North.
Police and prosecutors said Gregory O’Neil Love, who was the restaurant manager at the time, was involved a robbery scheme, but he was not present when the crime occurred. Love and Ronald Worthy, 26, and Kenny Earl Calliham, 23, were also charged with capital murder in Dean’s death.
Marshall, 29, claims he did not shoot Dean and that sales of his books, though small at this point, could help him hire an attorney for an appeal, according to MyFoxHouston.
Crime victim advocate Andy Kahan told the station that any profit from inmate book sales is wrong.
“Whether it’s one cent, one dime, one dollar, five dollars, it constitutes blood money,” said Kahan. “Whatever money he’s made, it’s irrelevant.”
Website sells 'murderabilia' outraging victims' families
May Martinez sits in her Jacksonville, Fla., living room, staring at the box full of her slain daughter's ashes and wishing she could afford a plane ticket to confront the teenager's killer.
Five miles away, Eric Gein is counting the cash he earns from selling that killer's "murderabilia" -- graphic letters, greeting cards, artwork and, even, her panties.
"The girl wins, no matter what," Martinez said Thursday of convicted killer Christa Gail Pike.
Pike is on Tennessee's death row for killing Martinez's daughter, Colleen Slemmer, in a brutal attack on the University of Tennessee's agricultural campus in January 1995. Slemmer was just 19; Pike, 18. The two were fellow students at the now-defunct Job Corps program in Fort Sanders, Tenn., and romantic rivals.
Pike, with the help of two fellow Job Corps classmates, lured Slemmer to a secluded spot on the campus and then subjected the Florida teen to a torturous attack, taunting her, beating her, slicing her with a boxcutter, carving a Pentagram on her chest and, finally, repeatedly bashing her head with a brick. Pike even took a souvenir -- a piece of Slemmer's skull.
The youngest woman ever sentenced to death in Tennessee, Pike has proved anything but remorseful. Just this week, authorities announced the arrests of two men, including a former guard at the Tennessee Prison for Women where Pike is housed, she allegedly recruited to help her escape.
In 2004, she was convicted of setting a prison fire to ensure she was temporarily housed with Knoxville, Tenn., killer Patricia Jones, whom she tried to choke to death as revenge for Jones' interest in Pike's prison paramour -- another East Tennessee ritual killer.
Pike has Internet sites devoted to her, books written about her and people like Gein who are drawn to and profiting either from her or, as Martinez alleges, with her.
"She sends him all this stuff to sell and make a profit," Martinez said in an interview March 22. "She's not supposed to be making any money but she is."
Gein denied in an interview the same day that he shares his profits with Pike. But he is unapologetic of his Serial Killers Ink website, through which he hawks what he dubs "murderabilia" he's obtained from dozens of killers nationwide.
"The items I sell, the letters from these killers, do indeed have social value," he said.
The forty-something Gein, who also lives in Jacksonville, says his fascination with killers began in his early youth.
"In a very strong and powerful way, I felt as if I could easily fit the mold," he told an online interviewer.
So, he began corresponding with killers, including the likes of John Wayne Gacy and Richard Ramirez, and, eventually, selling whatever they provided in return. He met Pike in 1997. She was, in his words, "a hottie."
In 2002, the pair planned to marry -- a marriage of convenience that would allow Gein the rights to Pike's story should she be executed. The romance fizzled, though, when Pike's execution was repeatedly delayed.
Now, Gein sells their love letters and anything else Pike sends him on his website. In those letters, Pike continues to fantasize about killing.
Gein says he has a "vast customer base," including professors, "psychologists, police officers and soccer moms." His prices range from $40 for a postcard from Pike to $250 for an "audio letter."
Martinez discovered Gein's website much like she found out her daughter's skull was being stored as evidence -- by happenstance.
"I'm always checking websites on Christa," she said. "I just came across it and was totally blown away."
She confronted Gein, who is pictured on one website brandishing a shotgun, tattoos covering his arms and a cigarette dangling from his mouth.
"He (said) he doesn't have to take it down. He can do what he wants," she said.
Gein accuses Martinez of "stalking" and says detractors of his website "remind me of socialism or, worse, Nazism."
With wounds still fresh over her battle with Gein and her years-long fight to have her daughter's skull, used as an exhibit at Pike's trial, returned to her, Martinez was not surprised to learn of Pike's alleged escape plot.
"A death sentence is not really justice," she said. "If they are going to put her to death, they need to do it now."
Pike's case is lingering in the state appellate court system. An execution date has not been set.
A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.
Who knew — or cared — that Johnson County’s most infamous serial killer once wore a pinky ring, sketched cartoons and dressed like Santa Claus for the Christmas holidays?
A disturbing auction site online is spreading the word to a subculture of “murderabilia” buffs everywhere: The Santa suit could be yours for $750.
And the seller will throw in snapshots of John E. Robinson Sr. putting on the outfit. The camera catches Robinson masquerading as just another family man — before he was convicted in the slayings of seven women and a disabled teenage girl.
From weathered passports to a pocket watch, a Stetson hat and “Hand Drawing of Panda Character,” more than 30 items were posted last month for sale on an auction website.
Marona-Lewicka, who still grieves in Indiana, said she would not call up the sites.
“I don’t want to touch it,” she said. “I like to remember everything that was best about my daughter.
“People who (are fascinated) about criminal action to the point they’re buying these things, I could see them going down the same road,” she said. “I think governments should look at this and try to stop it. I don’t know if there’s any possibility for me to stop it.”
But Gein noted that even the federal government tapped into the consumer demand in 2011 when U.S. marshals auctioned off the personal belongings of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. Proceeds went to his victims.
“The general public is what has made my website and others like it success stories,” Gein told The Star. “I can say, without a doubt, this industry will never be shut down. There are too many civil liberties at issue.”
Gein’s auctions began drawing media attention in 2009, after he offered items provided by Tennessee death-row inmate Christa Pike. She mailed him panties and signed her name to an image of bloody handprints.
The following year, in an interview with the Florida publication Folio Weekly, Gein denied paying inmates for their possessions or for the posted Q&A’s with killers on his website.
He also relayed a story of how he wrote to inmate Dennis Rader, Wichita’s BTK slayer, in an effort to win the serial killer’s favor. Rader sicced the FBI on him, Gein said.
This article is snipped, more at the link.
Oh, and for kicks, http://serialkillersink.net/
Online 'murderabilia' sales include some Va. criminals
Safely behind bars and deep in the warrens of Virginia's toughest prison, Richard Samuel Alden McCroskey III still has a presence in the outside world.
In 2009, he brutally murdered four people in Farmville, including his girlfriend. He pleaded guilty to two counts of capital murder and two counts of first-degree murder, and was sentenced to life in prison.
Now, McCroskey's prison writings can be viewed or purchased in a macabre corner of the Internet, where websites sell so-called "murderabilia" — personalized items from convicted killers.
"This was once an underground market that through the Internet has now come into mainstream America and across the world," said Andy Kahan, a victim advocate for the city of Houston who monitors websites that sell murderabilia. "This is an insidious and despicable industry that cheapens the lives of innocent crime victims."
But it's also legal.
Virginia, like many states, has a "Son of Sam" law that is primarily aimed at barring criminals profiting from their crimes via the media. The law is named for New York serial David Berkowitz, who referred to himself as Son of Sam.
But the Virginia law, like those of most states, does not address "murderabilia" sales because it does not prevent dealers and other third parties from profiting by selling property either owned or produced by felons, Kahan said.
Eight states — Alabama, California, Florida, New Jersey, Michigan, Montana, Texas and Utah — have passed "notoriety-for-profit" laws that make it illegal for inmates to ship personally produced items out of prison for sale, Kahan said.
However, because many items are sent to states without such laws, the laws have not been enforced, he said. "You can't enforce a Texas law when a Florida dealer is selling items," Kahan said.
An effort is under way to enact a federal law that would stop such interstate commerce by stopping inmates from sending personalized items out of prison via mail, he added. But it is unlikely a federal law could bar sales by third parties.
"That's who I wanted to go after — the dealers — because, quite frankly, I find them even as reprehensible as the killers themselves because they are living amongst us," Kahan said.
He said it is questionable whether a law could be written targeting murderabilia sales by dealers that would withstand a constitutional challenge under First Amendment rights.
But, Kahan said, "By going after convicted felons, we believe a federal law would severely restrict (inmates') ability to ship personalized items out via U.S. Mail, hence crippling their supply."
* * * * *
In one letter for sale on a murderabilia site, McCroskey asked for photographs of two of his victims, explaining, "I'd like to Put em in Photo Album for memories … lol."
Prior to the slayings, McCroskey, also known as "SykoSam," was an aspiring so-called "horrorcore" rap artist fascinated with death and mutilation.
Three of his victims, Emma Niederbrock, 16; Melanie Wells, 18; Emma's mother, Debra S. Kelley, 53, a Longwood University professor; were beaten to death as they slept. Two days later, McCroskey killed Emma's father, Mark Niederbrock, 50.
McCroskey's request for photos surprised Kahan, who spotted the plea.
"In the 12-plus years I've been monitoring this industry, this is the first time I've ever run across a particular defendant requesting pictures of his victims," Kahan said.
James F. Hodgson, a friend of three of McCroskey's victims, also was taken aback by the killer's correspondence when he learned of it last week.
"I thought that part of his sentence structure … where the death penalty was taken off the table, he would not publish or produce anything that remotely had anything to with the homicides," Hodgson said. "It's disconcerting when you think of the victims or survivors' perspective."
Prince Edward County Commonwealth's Attorney James R. Ennis said last week that he could not verify the authenticity of the letters. "I will look into these matters further as time allows. Until such time, I have no further comment," Ennis said.
One of McCroskey's lawyers, Cary B. Bowen, said he and Ennis "would be pretty disappointed if Sam started to do that."
"We had a gentlemen's agreement (and) it would be unfortunate (for McCroskey) to capitalize on such a situation," Bowen said.
Now an inmate at Virginia's maximum-security Red Onion State Prison, McCroskey declined to be interviewed.
* * * * *
Eric Gein runs a murderabilia website from Jacksonville, Fla., and is a longtime and unapologetic dealer featured in a recent episode of the show "Taboo" on the National Geographic Channel. The episode was titled "Living With The Dead."
"For about 15 years, this is what I do. This is my job, my career," said Gein, 43. "I understand the opposition against me because it's not for everyone. But it's history. It's dark history — but it's history.
"The McCroskey pieces might not be history, but the Manson items that we sell and pieces like that are definitely history. And they do sell — I make money," he said.
Gein — his public name taken from Wisconsin serial killer Edward Gein — first obtained and sold McCroskey's letters on his website.
Gein said public interest in what he does far outweighs the criticism and points to the television show as evidence.
He said he does not discuss finances but that his website averages around 1,000 hits a day.
"The hobby grows, and our profits increase every year as more and more people become interested in true-crime collectibles," Gein said.
He pointed to last year's sale of "Unabomber" Theodore Kaczynski items in an auction run by the U.S. Marshals Service, which raised more than $230,000 for Kaczynski's victims and their families.
"True-crime collectibles as a hobby is experiencing a huge amount of success," Gein said.
As for McCroskey, he said, "We contacted him; we started a relationship through the mail like we do with all the guys we do business with."
Gein said McCroskey did not receive any money from the sales and doubts he even knows the letters were sold.
Prices for McCroskey's letters ranged from $15 to $40 at Gein's website. A signed, 4-by-6 glossy color photo of McCroskey holding an inverted crucifix sold for $25.
* * * * *
McCroskey isn't the only notorious killer in a Virginia prison who has a presence on the Internet or has produced items that can be found for sale on the Internet.
A drawing said to be created by Beltway sniper Lee Boyd Malvo in 2004 is for sale on one of the sites for $125. Malvo, also at Red Onion State Prison, cannot be interviewed by the media because he is in segregation, and the website did not respond for comment.
"Periodically, there's items from him that I see pop up, but it's not like he's a generous contributor," Kahan said of Malvo, who appears to have one or more Facebook pages.
Larry Traylor, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Corrections, said inmates are not allowed to operate Facebook pages because they do not have access to the Internet. But friends and family may operate such sites, he said.
Virginia DOC policy prohibits an inmate from loaning, trading, selling or giving away personal property, but that generally means between inmates and within prisons.
The policy states: "When the offender bears the mailing cost, there is no limit on the volume of letters the offender can send or receive or on the length, language, content, or source of mail or publications except when there is reasonable belief that limitation is necessary to protect public safety or facility order and security."
Inmates are allowed to correspond with families, friends, attorneys, courts and other public officials and organizations so long as the correspondence does not pose a threat to the security of the facility or violate any laws or postal regulations.
Of the murderabilia phenomenon, Hodgson, who knew three of McCroskey's victims, said, "Most of us believe in the need to know and freedom of the press and freedom of information, but sometimes you wonder.
"Who are the consumers of this stuff — what's going on?"
A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.
Macabre site selling serial killer’s letters
A letter penned by a serial killer who is awaiting execution on Death Row has been place for sale on the internet for £395.
Charles Ng, formerly from Longton, near Preston, is currently awaiting execution by lethal injection on death row in California after butchering two baby boys, six men and three women in 1983.
Ng, born on Christmas Eve 1960, was raised in Hong Kong by a Chinese family, but came to school in Lancashire in 1977.
A pupil at Bentham Grammar School near Lancaster, he spent holidays with his uncle Rufus Good and his wife Bernie at their home in Station Road, New Longton.
Ng was convicted 13 years ago of murdering 11 people in a death and torture spree in America with the help of accomplice Leonard Lake and he is still being held at California’s San Quentin prison
Ng, now 51, and Lake filmed themselves raping and torturing their victims at Lake’s remote log cabin 150 miles east of San Francisco in 1983.
In 1985 Lake committed suicide after being arrested, and Ng was caught shoplifting at a hardware store in Canada.
Ng was charged and subsequently convicted of shoplifting, felonious assault, and possession of a concealed firearm and sentenced to four-and-half-years in a Canadian prison.
After a long extradition battle, Ng was handed over to the U.S. and was convicted of 11 murders in 1999. His $14m trial was one of the costliest in California’s history at the time.
The true crime memorabilia website, Supernaught.com, cites his letter, to someone called Nathan, is one if the earliest pieces of Ng correspondence ever offered for sale.
The site describes it as a one opage handwritten letter, dated December 8, 1989. It was written while he was in Canada awaiting extradition to the United States and in it the killer wishes his penpal Merry Christmas.
The webite is also selling envelopes hand signed by him for up to $75.
It isn’t the first time artefacts from Ng have triggered interest.
A few months ago the Evening Post revealed how a pair of origami butterflies were for sale for $90 on another grisly website.
A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.
Triple murderer's art show has victims seething
A Quaker-sponsored art show by a death-row inmate who murdered three people has sparked outrage among families of two Tucson murder victims.
The Pima Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends will show Danny Jones' drawings on Sept. 29 at their meetinghouse, 931 N. Fifth Ave.
In March 1992, Jones beat his friend Robert Weaver, 34, with a baseball bat after a day of partying. He then attacked Weaver's 77-year-old grandmother, Katherine Gumina, before dragging Weaver's 7-year-old daughter, Tisha, out from under her parents' bed and beating and strangling her. After loading up Gumina's car with Weaver's gun collection, Jones beat Weaver five more times, killing him.
Gumina died after spending 17 months in a coma.
Jones was convicted by a Mohave County jury in September 1993 and sentenced to death.
Jeanmarie Simpson said she and other members of the Quakers' Peace and Social Concerns committee were asked to sponsor Jones' work by his pen pals, George and Nancy Mairs.
The Quakers have a long history of being death-penalty abolitionists and "A View from Death Row" is a way to get their views out there, Simpson said.
"We want to illuminate the fact that he is a human being. He is not his crime," Simpson said. "He is an artist. He is a man with the ability to see beauty and to create beauty."
Simpson acknowledged that most people don't want to talk or think about those on death row, let alone look at their art.
"But we don't define other artists or ourselves by our lowest moments," Simpson said. "We don't even know what most people's lowest moments are."
As a longtime peace activist, Simpson said she is used to be being criticized. Already, nasty messages are being left on the group's Facebook page, she said.
Jones is a self-taught artist who uses pencil to draw Southwestern images and wildlife.
His work will not be sold at the exhibit, although he does sell his work at the prison in Florence, Simpson said.
Stephanie Brandt's 8-year-old sister, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, was kidnapped and murdered in September 1984. Her killer, Frank Jarvis Atwood, 56, remains on death row.
Brandt was stunned to learn of the exhibit.
In an email to the Star, she wrote: "We will never, ever, ever have the chance to know what kind of wonderful, beautiful things that his victims, Robert, Katherine & Tisha, would have created or brought into this world. And it is a shame and waste of human existence that instead of putting to use any ounce of good this murdering monster had, he wasted it by killing three people and now spends his life on death row waiting to be put to death for his CRIMES.
"His crimes DEFINE every bit of what he is. I am a victim, the other end of what he has done. And at MY lowest point, I have not murdered anyone, nor done anything close to the despicable acts that he carried out the day he made a CHOICE and killed three people," Brandt wrote.
Carol Gaxiola's 14-year-old daughter, Jasmin, was murdered in October 1999. The current executive director of Homicide Survivors said she noticed there is no mention of Jones' victims in the press release about the event and no mention of remorse. She was also appalled the release said Jones hopes to live.
"I can only imagine that his three victims - terrorized, brutalized and murdered - wanted to live also," Gaxiola said. "This man made a brutal and violent choice when he took three lives in such a violent and reprehensible manner. He should not be given accolades and be celebrated! If anyone should be remembered, it should be the victims."
Simpson has invited people to email her with "respectful" questions for Jones so that his answers may be recorded and played during the four-hour exhibit.
Her email address is [email protected]
Joe Taylor, a death-penalty-abolition activist, will speak at the exhibit as well as the Mairses and exhibit curator, Gene Hall.
The exhibit will be from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at The Pima Friends Meeting House, 931 N. Fifth Ave.
A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.
I hate American Friends. In the 20th Century, they were nothing but fronts for communist espionage in this country. They defended and apologized for Stalin, Pol Pot, and their ilk. Now, they trawl death row for murderers. If I was family and lived near that exhibit, I'd be there with a can of lighter fluid and a box of matches.
Obama ate my dad
Death-row inmate's art show is cancelled
A triple murderer’s art show has been cancelled because its organizers realized it was scheduled for the same day Tucson will observe the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.
The Pima Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends did not realize the significance of Sept. 29 when they scheduled death row inmate Danny Jones’ exhibit, said Jeanmarie Simpson, a member of the group’s Peace and Social Concerns committee.
When the group learned about the Day of Remembrance over the weekend, they voted unanimously to cancel the art show because it would be a “terribly disrespectful” to hold it the same day, Simpson said.
The group’s calendar is booked between now and March and since Jones’ execution date is unknown at this time, the decision was made not to reschedule the event, Simpson said.
Instead, Jones’ art work will be posted on a website next month.
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