It is not uncommon to hear of murderers collecting trophies from their victims. Psychologists theorize that this phenomena is likely because killers like to prolong the thrill of their exploits. By taking a small memento to remind them of the crime they are able to relive that fantasy again and again. For murderers these souvenirs are indicative of a great accomplishment, much like many of us may collect newspaper clippings or small trinkets to remind us of our academic or athletic achievements. Some killers may collect jewelry or personal items of their victims, but others like to truly capture the memory of the kill with photographs of their crimes. Listed below are five of the most haunting photographs taken by murderers shortly before killing their victims.
Just moments before slaying her boyfriend, Travis Alexander, Jodi Arias decided to take a few tongue-in-cheek photos of Alexander in the shower. This final photo of Alexander alive was just one of a group of photos taken that day. Other photos show portions of Alexander’s bloody body, what appears to be Arias dragging the body, and of Alexander’s shower ceiling. Arias claimed that they were victims of a home invasion on the day of Travis’ murder, but the pictures spoke louder than words. The jury found Arias guilty of first degree murder in May of 2013, but to date have been unable to decide whether she should receive the death penalty or life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Regina Kay Walters
Described by investigators as a sexual sadist, Robert Ben Rhoades had been picked up at an Arizona truck stop when witnesses heard a woman screaming from the back of Rhoades’ big rig. The woman had been subjected to severe torture, apparent from her numerous welts and injuries sustained to her breasts and genital areas. Also found in his truck was a “rape kit” containing various torture instruments and S&M gear. It was clear that Rhoades was a serial rapist, but investigators had no solid evidence that he was a murderer. Keen detective work lead them to a barn in Illinois where the body of an unidentified young lady had been found. After speaking with local police it was determined that a 14yr old named Regina Kay Walters was the victim. Several key pieces of evidence linked the crime to Rhoades, including cutting the victim’s hair short and shaving off her pubic hair. The biggest piece of evidence, however, would be the photo of Ragina in the barn looking terrified. It is believed that she was murdered after this photo was taken. Rhoades would later be sentenced to life in prison by the state of Illinois.
Harvey Glatman, nicknamed “The Glamour Girl Slayer”, lured beautiful young models to come to his home with the impression that he was going to be photographing them. Glatman did indeed photograph the girls, though the photo shoot did not go the way the girls had in mind. He described the events that led up to the murder of his first victim, Judy Dull, with little remorse. Glatman and Dull arrived at his Melrose Ave. apartment where he proceeded to take photos and rape Dull. Glatman drove Dull into the desert, leading her to believe that he was going to rape her again and then allow her to go free. As promised, Glatman did rape Dull again, but instead of allowing her to go free he used rope to bind her hands and feet, then wrapped the rope around the young mother and pin-up girl’s neck, pulling it tightly until she finally expired. He dumped her body into a shallow grave in the desert sand. Dull’s body would go unidentified until a fourth victim of Glatman’s was able to escape and tell the police what had happened. The photo of Dull shortly before she would be strangled is just one of many photographs Glatman had of his victims.
Unknown Victim of the Candyman
Perhaps one of the most chilling photos is a Polaroid of an unknown boy bound next to a box of torture instruments discovered in the personal possessions an accomplice of pedophile and serial killer, Dean Corll, by a documentary filmmaker. Corll, better known as “The Candyman” within the Houston, TX area, was responsible for the murder and torture of at least 27 young boys in the early 1970’s. Corll spent an unusual amount of time cruising around in his van with his two teenage pals – Elmer Wayne Henley and David Brooks. Exactly what the trio were doing wouldn’t be fully revealed until 1973, when Henley shot and killed Corll in self-defense. Henley told investigators that he and Brooks were paid $200 to lure young victims back to Corll’s home. Within the home a room was found and is believed to have been where most of Corll’s crimes were committed. Inside of the room the floor had been completely covered with plastic, there was a board with attached handcuffs, a wooden box with what appeared to be airholes drilled into it, ropes, and sex toys. Both Henley and Brooks were convicted for participating in some of the murders. Neither Henley nor Brooks could identify the boy when questioned about the photo.
This graphic photo of Todd Stoops’ horrific torture at the hand of Robert Berdella is just one of 200 photos investigators found in Berdella’s house of horrors. Along with the photographs, a number of torture devices, occult literature, as well as human skull and bone fragments were also recovered from Berdella’s Kansas City home. Berdella is known to have tortured and murdered at least six men, including Stoops, and recording detailed logs of their horrific ordeals. He claimed that he did try to save some of the men after their torture by giving them animal antibiotics, but they did not make it. The bodies of Berdella’s victims were never recovered. The only evidence prosecutors had in building a murder case against Berdella was his full confession. Sentenced to two consecutive life terms, Berdella only served four before dying of a heart attack.