EDMONTON — Deleted files found on accused murderer Mark Twitchell’s computer recount a brutal plan to lure middle-aged men to a suburban garage, kill them with a hunting knife and dump their remains in a sewer.
The text’s details, read Monday to jurors at Twitchell’s first-degree murder trial, eerily mirror the death of Johnny Altinger, who disappeared Oct. 10, 2008. His charred and dismembered remains were found in a storm drain two years later.
“The first words that I noted on the screen were: ’This story is based on true events. The names and events were altered slightly to protect the guilty,”’ read Const. Michael Roszko, a police computer expert who used powerful forensic software to dig the files out of the hard drive from Twitchell’s laptop. “’This is the story of my progression into becoming a serial killer.”’
Twitchell, 31, is accused of killing Altinger, 38, in a crime the Crown contends follows the plot of a slasher movie entitled “House of Cards” that Twitchell shot shortly before Altinger disappeared.
Roszko testified that he immediately telephoned homicide detectives when he discovered the file and read its contents.
The text of the files labelled SKconfessions recounts how the writer felt a rush of pure euphoria when he decided to become a serial killer, how he urgently wanted to explore his dark side and was excited about methodically planning crimes.
The writer says he is different from humanity and feels no empathy, sympathy or guilt. The text also speaks about the need to be deliberate and to be a convincing liar about his deeds.
The writer says it is fate that chooses his victims. He is simply following his grand design in the universe in an exhilarating new hobby he calls “play time.”
The files talk about using online dating to rope in victims. At first, the writer considered targeting men who cheat on their wives, likening himself to an avenger doling out justice to “trash.”
But then he decides he would draw less attention from police by targeting single men.
“I finally settled on middle-aged, single men who lived alone. For one thing, they would be easy to lead by their dicks. Easy to manipulate, easy to seduce under my fake female disguises. They were also the most likely targets to have the most spendable money in their bank accounts.”
He talks about buying a hockey mask and cutting out the mouth for dramatic effect. He also considers overalls and plastic sheeting to deal with the messy cleanup and a hunting knife and wild-game dressing kit suitable for gutting large mammals.
“It reduces the spatter caused by power tools. There is just something more gratifying about sawing through tendons and bone with your bare hands than using something else that takes the fun out of the work.
“I picked up a well-crafted hunting knife with an eight-inch blade. I would use this weapon to cleanly and simply slice open a gash in the victim’s neck, allowing them to bleed out quickly and with no pain. I’m not a torture guy. The noise level from the screams is not my thing at all.”
The files also explain how the writer found the perfect crime scene — a detached garage in a quiet suburban neighbourhood on Edmonton’s south side. It would be perfect for luring the victim, making the kill and disposing of the body.
The author boasts about the disposal site.
“The sewer. Of course. How obvious. No one ever goes down there.”
The Crown has already entered into evidence Twitchell’s books and DVDs about Dexter Morgan, a fictional TV character, who works as a Miami police blood spatter expert and moonlights as a vigilante serial killer.
Justice Terry Clackson of Court of Queen’s Bench cautioned the jury to weigh the evidence carefully, saying it would be wrong to convict Twitchell based on whether they find him to be repulsive, immoral or bad.
“He is innocent until proven guilty,” the judge said.