Myra by Marcus Harvey - The work measures 9 by 11 feet (2.7 by 3.4 m). At first sight, it resembles a greatly magnified version of a black and white photograph printed in a newspaper. It was made using casts of an infant’s hand to build up a mosaic of black, grey and white handprints, creating a reproduction of the iconic police photograph of serial killer and child murderer Myra Hindley with bouffant peroxide blonde hair taken after her arrest in 1965
Serial killer Richard Ramirez is photographed after being arrested. The killer is wearing his trademark shade - black - and later commented to writer Philip Carlo that dressing all in black was one of his biggest aids while he was hunting for victims.
“When you’re wearing black shoes’ black socks, black jeans, and a black shirt, nobody - and I mean NOBODY - can see you. You’re as good as invisible. I liked that, because once it got dark I became even darker. I became Death” - Richard Ramirez
I apologize for the terrible quality in this… I’m far too lazy to bother with a scanner right now, but I felt the need to share this. Upon opening Derf Backderf’s brand new graphic novel My Friend Dahmer, I found this photograph of Jeffrey Dahmer.
Above the picture a quote reads:
“When I was a kid, I was just like anybody else” - Jeff Dahmer.
If you’ve been reading what I’ve been writing about working with Ed Kemper, you know that I was reluctant, at first, even to meet him, because of the horror of his crimes and their vicious impact on a community that I was part of.
What I came to appreciate about working with Kemp and dealing with our time together afterwards, was the fact that he did not seem to gloat over his actions or take perverse pride in what he had done; rather he had, of necessity I’d guess, developed a respect for his inner turmoil — the rage that drove him to commit those anti-human acts. What Garcia Lorca wrote about as “el duende” — the inner demon & well-spring of creative expression — is also the combination to a lock on darker capacities.
If you remember a conversation I wrote about earlier, the first question I asked Edmund Kemper was: “How does it make you feel when people come from all over the world to interview you?” To which Kemp answered: “How would you feel if people came from around the world to talk to you and all the EVER wanted to talk about was the 13 worst things you EVER did?” I realized that even though my hit-singles were not in the same league with cutting my mother’s head off and shoving her voice box down a garbage disposal, on a human level, what he asked me to think about made me feel bad. This man who had, unquestionably, done terrible things; was now facing the rest of — what could be and has turned out to be — a long life in prison to contemplate the evil forces that drove him to commit unpardonable acts.
It is sad that Ed Kemper will never be released from prison, but it is not unjust. Kemper’s demonstrable capacity to commit otherwise unimaginable horrors is undeniable. The risk of Kemp’s liberty would be too great, yet, in the same breath, it must be acknowledged that Ed Kemper has used his life sentence in the service of his prison community while he did work that benefited the community at large.
Imperfect criminal justice systems execute the innocent along with the guilty — Kemper’s case does not fit that rubric. However, Kemper’s execution would have done nothing to change the unpardonable acts of his past, while it would have precluded every decent, useful and beautiful that he has done in prison. Considering the lives of his victims, Kemper’s execution could not fairly have been called an injustice, but considering the life he has lead in prison, it would have been a mistake. However, it is Kemper's remarkable art work that, ultimately, confirmed my faith in the futility of the death penalty.
Because of powerful forces beyond his control Edmund Kemper is too high-risk to be on the street, but in 41 years of incarceration, he has been a model prison-citizen, an effective functionary and a very interesting artist, whose ceramic designs have amazed me and astonished my friends for almost 35 years. The cup Kemp mailed to me, almost 35 years ago, continues to delight me every day.
NOTE: Above is my photograph of an amazingly intricately-glazed, slip-cast cup. It was made on the dock near my home in the South of France. Below it is my photograph of Ed Kemper making that cup, in his house in California State Correctional Facility — Vacaville.
Photograph of writing left on the back of Charity Nava, who was a victim of serial killer Rory Enrique Conde. The writing read “THIRD. I will call Dwight Chad 10. See if you can catch me.” He would go on to kill three more prostitutes before being caught. He was found guilty of six counts of murder in total and sentenced to death.
Serial killer Ian Brady is photographed with his beloved Tiger Cub motorbike in the early 1960’s.
Brady never learned to drive a car, and instead his girlfriend Myra Hindley would drive the rental van they would hire to cruise for suitable child victims. When Hindley passed a possible victim Brady would pull up beside the van and flash his headlights: a sign that she should pull over and offer them a lift.
Serial killer Edmund Kemper is photographed with police investigators at his body dump sites.
Kemper was a highly organised serial killers who chose his body dump sites carefully and well before the murders; because of his job with the Highway Department, Kemper had intimate knowledge of all the isolated roads and lonely tracks in the Bay Area. His body dumping sites were all isolated and far away from busy roads, though Kemper often marked the spots where he scattered his victims body parts so he could return to them later on.
Serial killer Martha Beck is photographed as she breaks down and weeps. Beck was one half of the Lonely Hearts killers. Together with Raymond Fernandez they killed at least 4 people who they met through lonely hearts advertisements. Beck was executed on the same day as her lover Fernandez on the 8th of March 1951
Serial killer Richard Chase is photographed wearing the .22 handgun he used to kill four people with. Despite suffering from severe delusions and periods of extended psychosis, Chase kept his pistol religiously clean and always remembered to carry spare clips of ammunition and a cloth with him. It was the only possession he looked after.
John and Sarah Makin were commonly known in Australia as ‘baby farmers’; In the 1890′s, after having 10 children themselves, they turned to caring for illegitimate children for payment. Taking care of Horace Murray in 1892, his Mother who was unable to care for him sent child support payments to them. But when she requested to see the child, many different excuses were made; The address she was given for a home in Sydney was abandoned and the family was nowhere to be found.
They were brought to the attention of the police when a young man was unclogging a pipe from the backyard of the house they were living in. Blocking the pipe were the remains of two infant children.
When this was brought to trial, two of their daughters testified against them, recalling the clothing and the fact that one day they came home without Horace, leaving them with no explanation so as to where he had gone.
Before the sentencing the judge spoke to the pair:
“You took money from the mother of this child. You beguiled her with promises which you never meant to perform and which you never did perform having determined on the death of the child. You deceived her as to your address and you endeavored to make it utterly fruitless that any search should be made and finally, in order to make detection impossible, as you thought, having bereft it of life, you buried this child in your yard as you would the carcass of a dog… No one who has heard the case but must believe that you were engaged in baby farming in its worst aspect. Three yards of houses in which you lived testify, with that ghastly evidence of these bodies, that you were carrying on this nefarious, this hellish business, of destroying the lives of these infants for the sake of gain.”
They were both sentenced to hang by the gallows in 1893. After 2 appeals and a plea for clemency, John Makin was hanged just 5 months after the initial trial. Sarah’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and hard labor. After a hard campaign, her daughters managed to get her released on parole in 1911, she served 19 years in prison. She died in her home in 1918.
The acts of these two people led to the 1892 Children’s Protection Act.
Serial killer Andrei Chikatilo photographed above demonstrating how he committed his murders. After his confession Chikatilo was transported across the country to different crime scenes to show detectives the methods he used to commit the murders, including how he would stand in order to avoid being splashed by blood. He used female dummies in place of his victims and was reportedly incredibly accurate with the details of each crime, not only where the bodies had been dumped, but also times, dates and even down to what the victims had been wearing at the time of the murders.