Between 1984 and 1988, it was very dangerous to be a young man living in Kansas City. Robert Berdella, or Bob the butcher as many now know him was a deranged owner of an occult art shop called Bob’s Bizarre Bazaar. He was also fascinated with imparting torture and pain and watching his victims die. The sad part is that he photographed his gruesome tortures and murders. During the four years of his killing spree, all neighbourhoods, Kansas were put on alert with people forced to live in fear. It wasn’t until April 1988 when a naked man with a dog collar on his neck rushed out of Berdella’s house, shouting for help that authorities managed to uncover the murders. Here is a look at the shocking facts revealed about Bob’s killing streak.
Bryson is remembered as the survivor that told one of the most shocking tales ever heard in the history of serial killer investigations in the US. Kansas City police received a strange call on the Easter weekend of 1988, saying that a naked man was wearing a dog collar in the neighbourhood. The man had leapt out of a second-story window of 4315 Charlotte Street and had signs of torture all over his body. The victim was later discovered to be 22-year-old Christopher Bryson, a male prostitute from Wichita. He narrated that he was picked up on March 29, 1988, and taken to Berdella`s house. He was then hit with a metallic bar and bound with ropes before the butcher injected him with drugs.
Berdella then gagged the victim’s testicles with electric shocks, swabbed his eyes with ammonia before continuing to rape him. Bryson chose to cooperate with the torturer in the hope of avoiding further pain. Bryson, managed to convince Berdella to tie his hands Infront, giving him a chance to burn through the ropes using a matchbox before jumping through the window. Thanks to his harrowing tale, the police invaded the home, digging the backyard and ransacking the house for evidence.
Larry Wayne Pearson
Larry Pearson is believed to have been Berdella’s first victim. He lived in Wichita in 1984, where he did odd jobs and got arrested at one time. Bob Berdella paid Pearson’s bail and got close to him, getting him to work at his shop and even live in his house. Berdella, however, started sexually assaulting the 21-year old, which caused him to bite his penis at one point. Berdella had, however, already chained Pearson to his bed by the time he went to the hospital, putting the latter through six days of intense torture. He finally killed him by suffocating him with plastic bags and strangling him with a piano string.
The Murder Of Todd Stoops
Todd Stoops fell in the trap of Berdella on June 17, 1986. He was a male prostitute who had known Berdella for many years and decided to accompany him to his Charlotte Street house for lunch, where he was drugged and held captive for several weeks. During this period, Stoops was raped and subjected to “experiments” to convert him into a sex slave. The horrific experiments included everything from electroshock, injection of drain cleaner in the throat to attempted eye gorging. Stoops died from shock and blood loss, after which Berdella kept his body in the basement for at least a week before dismembering it and dumping it in the city trash collection. Berdella later said that he found Stoops attractive, which is why he kept him alive that long.
He Preferred Prison Over Death
Bod Berdella always wanted to go to prison. He kept a record of different stages of his tortures both as a trophy to his “art” and as evidence for when he was finally caught. He fantasized about being imprisoned. Through the weeks of hearings, Berdella gave an elaborate confession asked the judge to give him a life sentence which was granted. He was sent to Missouri State Penitentiary, where he proved to be a troublesome prisoner as he wrote lots of letters accusing wardens of mistreatment. In one of his last interviews, Berdella reflected on the media coverage of his crimes, which he termed “dehumanizing, which is the least you would expect from a serial killer.” Death caught up with him in 1992 when he succumbed to a heart attack
The Torture Diary
Robert Berdella is one serial killer whose murders shocked even law enforcement. The level of graphic details Berdella kept during the torture and murder of his victims was sickening. Over 200 pictures taken into evidence of the victims detailed several stages of torture with notes and graphic explanations of the chemicals and tools used, and the type of sexual assault inflicted. In his journal, the details and photos of the murder of 27 people were discovered by the authorities, although Berdella himself confessed that there were at least 86. Books about death and torture were also found in his house, including lots of other details of how tranquillizers, bleach, and other chemicals would affect different parts of the human body. He was the perfect definition of inhumane.
Paul Howell, Jerry Howell’s dad, treated Robert Berdella as a fellow merchant, which explains why Jerry trusted Berdella enough to accept the offer of a drive to a local concert. Jerry was also a local male escort, although it is difficult to understand why Berdella killed him considering his closeness to the victim’s family. But then, a killer is just a killer, and so Berdella proceeded to drug and imprisoned Howell Jr in his house for an estimated 30hrs torturing him. Like Pearson, Howell died from suffocation, which Berdella caused by gagging him with plastic bags. Berdella’s testimony proved impossible for the jury to listen to when he started describing how he had hung and cut Howell’s body into small pieces before dumping it in trash bags.
Walter James Ferris
On September 26, 1985, Walter James Ferris called Berdella and requested to stay at his Charlotte Street House. Berdella happily accepted the poor man’s request only to turn him into one of his many victims. He subjected Ferris to one of the most harrowing tortures imaginable, including shocking him with a whole 7,700 volts of electricity. The torture was so intense and horrifying that at the end of his life, Ferris could only last 10 to 15 seconds of consciousness at a time, according to Berdella’s diary. Berdella said he got bored with him when he became too weak and just decided to suffocate him before dumping his body just like the other victims.
Robert Sheldon became Berdella’s most famous victim because, unlike the earlier victims, Berdella decided to keep his head as a souvenir. He was killed in 1985 after Berdella accepted to host him at his house for a “few days,” which turned into four days of intense torture. Unlike other victims on this list, Sheldon was not raped, perhaps because Berdella was not sexually attracted to him. During the four days of torture, Berdella attempted to destroy his nerves using a piano string and injected him with different chemicals as Berdella tried to see how his body would react. After four days, Berdella decided to suffocate Sheldon and dispose of his corpse in the street trash bins. He then put his head in a freezer as a trophy.
The death of Mark Wallace is the least documented of Berdella’s murders. In his confession, during his 1988 trials, Berdella admitted to killing the young man. He confessed that he spent a limited time torturing and experimenting on Wallace’s body, which led to a charge of second-degree murder, which most people considered too lenient. Neighbours said that Wallace worked in Berdella’s yard, explaining why he sought shelter in Berdella’s garage during a June thunderstorm. Berdella then invited him inside then drugged him before tying him up and starting his demonic experiments on him. He died from a combination of drugs, a suffocating plastic gag, and a hypodermic needle inserted in the back.
Bob Berdella was a rather typical serial killer inspired by a movie, although people ignored the warning signs, which led to the worsening of his condition. Based on his own confession, Berdella said that the film the Collector, based on a crime novel by John Fowles, was his inspiration. The Collector was the story of a shy young man, Fredrick Clegg, who was obsessed with a pretty girl called Miranda Grey. He later decided to kidnap, rape, and torture her. The Collector is also known to inspire other serial killers, including Christopher Wilder, the “Beauty Queen Killer,” and Leonard Lake. Before switching to human beings, Berdella used to capture and torture animals, especially dogs. He was expelled from Kansas City Institute after killing a dog as part of his art project.