Posts Tagged ‘ murderabilia ’

Murderabilia Law Passes House

Bill that would prevent criminals from profiting from crimes passes House

By Charles Geraci The Herald Journal

The Utah House of Representatives has unanimously supported a bill sponsored by Providence Rep. Curt Webb that is intended to keep criminals from profiting from their crimes.

Webb told The Herald Journal on Friday he is “extremely pleased” with Thursday’s vote.

 “The House is often kind of the litmus test. There’s so many of us in there, so many opportunities for people to express concerns,” Webb said. “For it to be a unanimous vote, I think, says a lot about the bill and the importance of the principle involved, which is that criminals should not profit from their crimes.”

The bill, “Notorious Criminal Activity Amendments,” changes the state’s existing “Son of Sam” law, nicknamed after a serial killer who terrorized New York City in the late 1970s. Some speculated at the time that David Berkowitz was being offered large sums of money from publishers in exchange for his story.

Other states have “Son of Sam” laws – designed to prohibit criminals from profiting off their crimes, such as through book deals and movie rights – but Webb said some have been challenged in court on constitutional grounds.

“They were challenged in court based on the freedom of speech issue – that you can’t tell somebody that they can’t do that, and you can’t sue them for what they say. So then (states) started to re-craft these laws … in such a way that people can say what they want to say and their speech is not restricted by law,” Webb explained recently. “But if they or their families benefit financially or in any other way profit from it … then those profits are essentially confiscated and used to pay reparations to the victim that may have been granted in court. Then the balance goes to (the Crime Victim Reparations Fund).”

Webb believes the legislation will pass “constitutional muster” if it is ever challenged.

The bill requires any entity or person who contracts with the convicted individual to pay any profit owed to the fund. Any profit already received must also be remitted to the fund. The Utah Office for Victims of Crime will pay any restitution still owed to the victim, and any remainder will go into the fund.

Webb’s bill was introduced in the Senate on Friday.

I am wondering about gray areas. If the wife, ex wife or child of a killer writes a book how are they affected by this law?

I do not think it is fair to punish someone like Melissa Moore (daughter of Happy Faced Killer Keith Jesperson) for being born and having him as a father. She wrote a book about her life and what it was like at home with Jesperson.

I hope that the lawmakers consider the fact that the families of the killers are victims as well and that they do not punish them in an attempt to punish the actual criminals.

Louisiana Serial Killer’s Art For Sale

BY KORAN ADDO Westside bureau January 30, 2012



Convicted serial killer Derrick Todd Lee has artwork for sale online with at least one drawing selling a day afterit was posted on the site.

A colored pencil drawing of a panda bear eating bamboo is selling for $75 and another colored pencil drawing of two swans against a sunset backdrop,which is listed as “out of stock,” were both posted on, a crime memorabilia website started by Jacksonville, Fla., husband and wife,Eric and Jessika Gein.

The site offers certificates of authenticity for the locks of hair, artwork,Christmascards and other personaleffects provided to the site by convicted killers.

But, without an explanation, Lee’s drawings and a letter he wrote — that was on sale for $30 — were removed Friday from the website’s main page. The drawings, however,were still available on the website’s online store Sunday evening.

Although a disclaimer says the cannibals, mass shooters and serialkillers promoted onthe website don’t profit from the items they submit, records from aninmate services website, called JPay, show that since January 2010 co-founder Jessika Gein has sent installments totaling $700 to at least six convicted murderers nationwide,including a $20 payment to Lee earlier this month.

During a telephone interview last week,Gein denied sending money to inmates. She also said she has never directly corresponded with Lee. Prison authorities, however, said they have records disputing those claims.

Louisiana doesn’t have a law preventing inmates from profiting from their notoriety, but authorities at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola launched an investigation Wednesday into whether Lee violated prison policy by mailing items he knew were going to be sold,and whether he expected to profit from their sale.

Lee, 43, was sentenced to death in 2004 for the first-degree murder of 22-year-old Baton Rouge resident Charlotte Murray Pace. He is also serving a life sentence for the murder of Geralyn DeSoto, 21,of Addis. Authoritieshave identified him as a suspect in the murders of five other south Louisiana women between 1998 and 2003.

May 31 will mark the 10-year anniversary of Pace’s murder. Her mother, Ann Pace, reacted Friday to Lee’s most recent pursuit.

“It’s like we can never be rid of him. Like he reaches out from some dark place and stabs you in the heart. Who in the name of heaven buys these things,” she asked. “It’s like it sucks the breath out of you and takes you back to such a dark place.”

Jessika Gein,29, who said she used to work in real estate,and her husband, Eric, 42, a graphic designer, launched in 2008 after years of corresponding with inmates.

The couple’s shared interest inthe macabre led them into what’s she called “murderabilia”or the murder memorabilia industry, she said. They run their website full-time.

“A lot of serial killers enjoy doing art. It’sa nice outlet for them,” Gein said. “We found out there’s a strong market for this stuff. We have a very broad range of customers: doctors, lawyers, soccer moms; you name it.”

Gein said she and her husband each correspond with about 50 inmates at any given time.

“I genuinely have an interest in these people,” Jessika Gein said. “I have questionsto ask them. If they seem like a person I’d like to get to know, I’ll pick up a pen and write to them.”

Gein said a friend of Lee’s approached her a few months ago, offering to sell the killer’s artwork. She declined to say how much she paid.

Gein said she knew the artwork was authentic because it arrived signed and dated by Lee in an envelope with Angola’s address on it. The envelope also had a death row stamp on the front, she said.

Gein posted the items on her website two weeks ago. The drawing of the swans sold in one day, she said.

Jessika Gein said she and her husband don’t put too much thought into how their business affects crime victims.

“I’m not really thinking about the victims. We don’t go out of our way to advertise our website; it’s for certain people who are looking for the kinds of things we sell,” she said. “We’re not out to hurt feelings,but feelings do get hurt.”

Angola WardenBurlCain said investigators spoke to Lee on Thursday after learning his artwork had been posted online.

Lee admitted mailing his drawings to Gein, but indicated that he didn’t know they were going to be sold, Cain said.

Lee, one of 80 offenders on death row at Angola,spends 23 hours a day in his cell. Death row inmates are given sketch pads, colored-pencils and glue to keep themselves busy. They are allowed — with some restrictions — to mail their drawings and letters to whom they choose, Cain said.

“It looks like the website scammed him; they’re horrible people,” Cain said. “He was being nice because she was flirty. He didn’t have a clue they were going to be sold. This is appalling to us because we have to think of the victims. Victims trump in our business.”

Col. Bobby Achord, head of  investigations at Angola, said Gein sent Lee a Christmas card in December to which the inmate responded, hoping to establish a penpal relationship.

Identifying herself as Jessika Miller, Gein sent Lee another note on Jan. 5 with a picture of a blonde woman and wired $20 to his prison account using JPay.

A portion of Gein’s letter to Lee reads: “I’m sorry to hear about you not being able to send pictures, some people have to ruin it for everyone, I guess… I’m glad you took the time to write me back! I’d like some of your art you speak about. Thanks for letting me know that you can accept JPay. I sent $20 to your account.”

Lee mailed his drawings to Gein shortly after receiving the note, Achord said.

While Lee may have violated state Department of Corrections rules,there is no Louisiana law preventing him from earning money from his drawings.

A deadline also has passed for Lee’s victims’ families to seek compensation through the state’s victims reparations statute.

East Baton Rouge Parish First Assistant District Attorney Prem Burnssaid the statute allows relatives of murdered victims to apply for up to $25,000 from a convicted offender within one year of the conviction being finalized,or once the state Supreme Court denies a defendant’s first application for appeal.

“There really isn’t any law in Louisiana stopping someone like Derrick Todd Lee from doing this,”Burns said. “It’s offensive and I would think one of our legislators would want to address this.”


I agree that convicts should not be able to profit from their crimes. I am still against banning all murderablilia, I just do not know how regulations would work or what kind of nets can b put into place to make sure the killers are not making the money.

I also think that the law restricting how long a family has to collect or file for compensation from a criminal has to be changed. 1 year is way way to short. Actually there should never be a deadline. A judge should set the compensation and it should have to be paid off, no time limits.
As far as Lee being taken advantage of, ha! I hope that was not supposed to make me feel bad for him.

Dorothea Puente, Serial Killer Dies At 82

Dorthea Puente

Dorothea Puente, boarding house operator who killed tenants, died at age 82 on Sunday March 27, 2011.

Her macabre story, including allegations that she buried several victims in the yard of her Victorian-style home a few blocks from the state Capitol, made headlines across the country.

At 64, Puente was tried for nine murders after police unearthed seven bodies around her home. Two more bodies, including that of a former boyfriend found in a box in the Sacramento River, were discovered later. After a five-month trial, jurors deadlocked in 1993 on six of the murder charges.


Puente ran a boarding house during the 1980s and cashed the Social Security checks of her elderly and mentally disabled boarders. When tenants complained, they were killed and buried in the yard. Puente maintained her innocence, claiming that they died of natural causes, but was found guilty and imprisoned. In 1998, she began exchanging letters and recipes with Shane Bugbee who later published her recipes in the 2004 book.


Crime Library Story

Another example showing that serial killers come in many shapes, sizes, sexes and ages.

Many people found humor in her being able to release a cookbook from prison. It was not looked at, by many, as murderabilia. I a unsure why, maybe her age?

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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