People Who Have Met Murderers Are Sharing What They Were Like, And It's A Must-Read For True Crime Lovers
"He had served 12 years for murder. We were shocked because he was totally normal."
Note: This article shares details behind murder cases, which may be disturbing to read.
Instead of placing students in study hall, my high school had a replacement course for people taking more than one honors class. The goal was to offer them more one-on-one help, but we were usually paired with another struggling student. That's how I met Heather — or, as the media knows her and her former boyfriend, the Bali Suitcase Killers.
We went to middle and high school together but didn't really know each other well until we were paired as in-class study buddies. The most I previously knew about her was that her family was wealthy, she often took weeks off of school to go on vacations, and I saw her yelling at her mom in the hallway on more than one occasion. Otherwise, she was quite smart, charming with an extreme dose of self-confidence, and known for being overtly flirtatious. Then, in 2014, she was known for killing her mom.
1. "I worked with a guy who'd killed someone in a bar fight. He was big and mean and had a terrible temper, but for some reason, he took a liking to me. We'd banter daily. I'd tell him I'd sort him out if he didn't watch it. People looked on terrified, but he just laughed it off. I think me treating him like other workers and making him laugh made him feel like he belonged, because everyone was terrified of him and wouldn't joke or interact much with him."
2. "I once accidentally scratched a car in a parking lot. When I went to find the owner to sort it out, an old, sweet, tiny lady opened the door. She was really cool about the incident, told me not to worry about it, and I went on with my day. Found out later that this woman had apparently been part of several murders in the '80s where the victims had been chopped to pieces and stuffed into trash bags."
3. "An escaped murderer stayed in our student house after he approached us while claiming to be a former student who missed his bus. He was small, nerdy, and awkward. We laid down the law, telling him not to eat our food, just before we left him sleeping in the common room. It was sometime later when we found out he’d escaped that night and was convicted for murdering his parents."
4. "He was one of the nicest next-door neighbors I've ever had. He always went out of his way to be friendly and seemed genuinely interested in how you were doing. Turns out he was physically and emotionally abusive to his (much younger) wife, who had been in the process of leaving him for the last couple of years. He finally signed the divorce papers, shot her in the head, and then shot himself. She died, but he survived."
5. "I saw my dad's murderer in court. He smirked right at my younger brother when they made eye contact. I think that should say enough."
6. "When I was teaching, we had two boys in school who had very loving, supportive parents — both of whom were charming and funny. The father was a well-respected doctor, and the mother was a very doting and proud woman who was always looking out for her kids. Then one day we were told by the headmaster that the father had attempted to murder the mother. Not only that, but after he was arrested, the police looked into the death of his first wife, which happened 15 years earlier, and determined that her death was no accident and he had murdered her. You would never, ever have thought anything ill of him in a million years, and certainly, the shock of discovering his callous and deceitful actions over many years was palpable."
7. "My mom and her siblings actually encountered Cary Stayner right before his arrest. He fixed the clogged plumbing at a cabin they rented near Yosemite. Right after their trip, he was arrested and they all recognized him on the news. My mom said he was as plain as could be."
8. "My mum and uncle were looked after by a convicted murderer when they were growing up. My granddad used to be a police superintendent and was the arresting officer for this guy. The murderer did it, there wasn’t really a case otherwise, but Granddad thought he was a good guy who made a couple of bad choices, so when he was released from prison, my granddad employed him. This guy was mainly a babysitter but also did gardening, cleaning, etc., and was apparently really nice to everyone and an extremely hardworking person."
9. "I studied criminology as part of my A levels, and we had a group of ex-convicts come in. The person leading the presentation told us a story and asked us if we thought it was murder or not."
10. "Someone I went to high school with was a stoner, but he was always good to me and I never saw a violent side to him. He fell into the wrong crowd after high school and murdered someone in what sounded like a drug deal gone wrong. I'm still friends with him on Facebook, I think."
11. "I babysat for a couple before the husband ended up killing his wife. The husband would drop me off at home, and he was chatty and easygoing enough, but ever so slightly off. His eyes didn't light up when he smiled. He appealed on a TV show for info about his wife's murder, and I remember looking at my mom and her looking back at me. Neither of us really said anything, but we both knew that he absolutely killed his wife."
12. "My mom knew John Wayne Gacy. His best friend was her parents' upstairs tenant. He’d come over to dinner at their house, frequently. My grandparents thought the world of him. My mom said that she would take her younger siblings to a family friend's house if he stayed after dinner. She hated and feared that man. Both of them, Gacy and the tenant, made her skin crawl. She didn’t realize that Gacy was Gacy at the time of his arrest. A few years later, she said it made her sick when she realized it. She couldn’t believe her parents were that blind. She was grateful he never preyed on her family."
13. "I was in high school with a guy who shot his parents. He was a good guy as far as I knew. He was funny, didn't pick on anyone, and didn't get picked on. He seemed like a great guy, but I guess there were problems at home with his mother and stepfather."
14. "My mother worked at a federal prison. One of the pretty-notorious prisoners was held there before his execution by lethal injection. My mother said he was one of the most polite inmates ever to step foot in that prison. When they were doing count in the morning, he was always standing at attention and his bed was perfectly made. When she spoke to him, he always addressed her as 'ma’am' and treated her with the utmost respect."
15. "My best friend dated a girl who would go on to murder her roommate years later. There were times I had fun, lighthearted conversations with her, and even times where she was borderline charming, but she was also aggressive. She got into fights (physical and verbal), was very reclusive, irrational, and not emotionally well balanced. I never would’ve thought of her killing someone, but wasn’t at all surprised when I found out she had."
16. "My ex and I ran into her cousin and her cousin's husband at the grocery store once. Two weeks later, the cousin disappeared under mysterious circumstances. They found her body in the river a couple of weeks later. Turns out the guy had changed his name because of some attempted arson as a teenager. They were all smiles when we saw them at the store, and he seemed like a totally normal, middle-class suburban husband."
17. "My mom met Susan Atkins when she was in college. Susan, apparently, was very kind and had a pet cockatiel that mostly said religious things. My mom got to hold the bird."
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.