Murderabilia: Would you buy Charles Manson's hair or I-5 Killer's letters?
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -
Several websites are selling the personal items of notorious serial killers, including Pacific Northwest murderers like the I-5 Killer and the Green River Killer.
Dubbed murderabilia, the macabre memorabilia can cost from a few dollars to thousands of dollars. They are from some of the country's most infamous killers, like Charles Manson, Jeffery Dahmer and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.
Even behind bars, they have a following.
Through online websites, fans of serial killers can buy the killers' personal items, such as letters, art and even fingernail clippings. One site has a seven-inch lock of Charles Manson's hair for $550 dollars. Another site has listed handwritten greeting cards from Dahmer at $4,000 each.
The souvenirs of Northwest killers are also up for sale or auction.
Murderabilia from convicted killers Christian Longo, 'Green River Killer' Gary Ridgway, Ward Weaver and the 'I-5 Killer' Randall Woodfield can also be bought for a price.
Woodfield is serving a life sentence for murder and attempted murder, but police detectives have said Woodfield could be tied to as many as two dozen other killings up and down the West Coast.
FOX 12 showed some of the Woodfield items up for sale to Candee Wilson, the mother of a teen who police said was murdered by Woodfield.
"That's ridiculous, that's absolutely ridiculous," Wilson said.
Wilson's 17-year-old daughter, Julie Reitz, was found dead in her Beaverton home in 1981. Police said DNA linked Woodfield to Reitz's murder.
Now up for sale are letters, prison photos, even a key ring of a killer whale, all purported to belong to Woodfield.
"It didn't even occur to me that went on," Wilson said. "I think it's pretty sick, very sick, in fact."
And she's not alone. Victims' rights groups have been trying to shut these sites down for some time, but efforts to push national legislation have failed. Legal experts said while some may view the web sites as immoral, they're not illegal.
So who's selling this stuff?
The sellers are typically third parties, who police said often befriend the inmates and write them with profit in mind.
In some states, including Oregon, inmates can't profit from their crimes, but there's not a limit on how many letters an inmate can send as long as they can afford the postage.
"It's almost as criminal as the criminal themselves, it's like they're living vicariously through that criminal," Wilson said.
The site operators make no apologies for their business. One web site states they're not glorifying killers, but simply giving consumers a chance to own a piece of true crime history. One web site's slogan reads, "every man has to have a hobby."
As Wilson looked over Woodfield's items up for sale on several murderabilia web sites, she was outraged.
"Why would you buy this?" she asked. "I'd like to see them taken down, now that I know about this, I'd like to see a law prohibiting it on a national level."
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