A look inside the bizarre world of serial killer groupies - CBS 5 - KPHO

A look inside the bizarre world of serial killer groupies

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Douglas Clark Douglas Clark
Ottis Toole Ottis Toole
Police shared this artwork from serial killer Ottis Toole, who police believe killed 6-year-old Adam Walsh. Police shared this artwork from serial killer Ottis Toole, who police believe killed 6-year-old Adam Walsh.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

If you type the phrase "serial killer addresses" into an Internet search engine, you'll get some disturbing results.

A number of websites list the prison addresses of convicted killers, and police investigators told FOX 12 there are plenty of people -- serial killer groupies -- writing to convicted serial killers.

Portland police homicide detective Jim Lawrence said he once investigated a Portland man who corresponded with two convicted serial murderers.

Lawrence showed FOX 12 some of the correspondence, including a letter he said the Portland man wrote to serial killer Douglas Daniel Clark.

Clark and a partner were known as "Sunset Strip Killers." 

The pair were convicted for a series of killings in Los Angeles. The letter to Clark included an illustration of a hand with the phrase,  "Who knows what these hands will do, what they'll do 20 years from now."  

"He really seemed to put a kind of hero worship behind this serial killer, and it was a kind of morbid fascination," Lawrence said.

Lawrence also showed FOX 12 violent artwork the man received from serial killer Ottis Toole, convicted of killing six people in Florida in the 1980s. Police believe Toole also killed 6-year-old Adam Walsh in 1981. The sketch depicts a decapitated head.

Criminal psychologist Dr. Frank Colistro said serial killers often radiate a perverse charisma that groupies find attractive.

"A lot of them get caught up in the drama that's associated with these people forever," Colistro explained.

And the list is long for love behind bars, for killers who've been married in prison.

I-5 killer Randy Woodfield, who was convicted for murder and attempted murder and suspected in dozens of other crimes in the early 1980s, has been hitched twice at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and Scott Peterson all have had loyal female followers.

"The Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez, convicted of 13 brutal murders in California in the 1980s, had groupies who called themselves, 'the women in black,' who attended his trial.

"You do get a lot of inadequate, insecure women," Colistro said. "In a sense, they're the perfect boyfriend, the perfect husband. In a sense, you can do a relationship light, so to speak."

Then there are groupies who want to befriend the notorious. Lawrence said some write to convicted killers for profit, to potentially sell the letters online. He said others have a bizarre admiration for the killers.

Lawrence said he interviewed the Portland man who wrote the detailed, expletive-filled letters after out-of-state police discovered the man's relationship with killer Ottis Toole.

"So they contacted us and I had a little chat with him," he said.

He said it turned out the man was trying to get letters and artwork from Toole to sell online.

Colistro, however, said there are some people hoping to become copycats.

"They'll study the M-O of the offender and they'll start to duplicate it," he said.

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