Archive for November 20th, 2010

Crime does pay.

A dishwasher convicted of the serial rapes and slaughters of seven Springfield women is trying to sell a bag of his hair online to murderabilia buffs for $35 — even as his body count continues to rise and outraged relatives of his victims call on authorities to step in and stop him.

There is no law in Massachusetts preventing vicious criminals from profiting from their mayhem.

Serial Killer Alfred J Gaynor is selling a bag of his hair online for $35.00 Article here

Like many people I thought that “Son of Sam” laws made it illegal for murderers, especially serial killers to make money off of their crimes including their story, crafts made in prison and personal items. I never really thought about all that would go into those laws but it just seems like common sense, you can not or should not make money off of the fact that you killed someone.
It seems, though, that you can.

I have never been a murderabilia fan. I do not collect art or letters from serial killers. I have been aware that it is for sale for a long time. I just always thought that the people who sold it and profited from it were the “fans” or “collectors” that received it from the criminal. I thought that maybe they did ‘pay’ for these ‘gifts’ from the killers, but not directly. I thought it was more like they made some kind of ‘friendship’ with the killer and in that process gave them ‘gifts’ over time, not payment for goods, gifts. Perhaps they sent them a bit of money so that the killer could buy cigarettes or extra soap from the commissary.
I did not think there were set ups where (example:) Jeff Dahmer could have Joe Public sell his painting online for $500.00 and Dahmer (again an example, I know he is dead) gets all the cash expect for small fees. Or even a 50/50 split. I just thought that somehow that was watched and stopped if it was caught. I also thought that there were restrictions on ow much a prisoner could have in his account.

I did not know that in some places it was still legal for the actual murderer themselves to profit directly. Without even trying to make it seem like he was not selling. I did not think that there was anywhere that a killer could come out and say “Hey, want my hair? Pay me and I will send you some.

Yes, I do see a difference. A private person who has not killed anyone who writes to a killer and gets a letter or painting or whatever who chooses to sell that item is just one curiosity seeker selling to another. I can relate this to people who collect other types of ‘strange’ art or even autographs. It is not something that I am into, but it does not make my skin crawl. I do not think that should be illegal even though some people might be upset or not like it. If that is the case, do not buy it.

(Video interview with a serial killer item collector / seller. He runs Serial Killer Central.)

The actual murderer getting direct monetary gain from his murder is very disturbing and I do not think that should be allowed. I am just not sure how to regulate it.

“Andy Kahan, a nationally recognized anti-murderabilia crusader, said the “third party” assisting Gaynor is based in Montreal and “is one of the main wheelers and dealers as far as murderabilia goes.

“They let (killers) know they have a business perhaps both can profit off of, and that’s how it begins. If there’s money to be made, these so-called entrepreneurs are going to find it.” – from the article above

I do have to admit that I do think that if Johnny the Killer is sending his stuff to his wife who sells it to try to support the kids I see that as a strange morally grey area. Do we punish the wife and or kids for his actions? (Like Boston Strangler, Albert De Salvo who wanted to make sure his wife and kids were cared for. He thought selling the story would help as well as her collecting the reward money.)

I am wondering if the families can sue the murderers. Even in cases where the money is being put into the commissary fund for the prisoner, can the families sue to get compensation from that? In cases where we know that it is a direct profit deal?

I do know that trying to figure out if Johnny the killer is sending his art, letters, or hair for direct profit would be hard especially if it is done with people on the outside that ‘support’ them and know the system. I guess passing the laws would be difficult and there are so many grey areas. There would have to be so many checks and balances to make sure there was no abuse. I wonder if it would really be possible to do.
(I had a friend in prison and I sent him money at Christmas time. He sent me a card for my birthday not long afterwards. I guess the prison officials could have interpreted that however they wanted to and made trouble for him or made it hard for us to stay in contact if they wanted to.)

I am not sure what the answer is. I know that it is very disturbing to think that someone who kills for the joy of killing can then go to prison and then get more joy by making money (in the case here) selling their hair just because they are known for killing. It is complicated.
I think that if or federal when laws are passed we need to make sure that not only the killers and sellers are monitored but also that the system is monitored to be sure that there is not abuse by officials. The laws would leave windows open for dishonest or abusive officials.

A Crime Library Article on the pros and cons of murderabilia.

An article from the Texas Tribune about a Senator trying to ban muderabilia sales. article on Son of Sam laws.

Wikipedia article on Son of Sam Laws.

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