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The Killing Season - Websleuths

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  1. #1
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    MO - KC's Bob Berdella: Westport shopkeeper, torture-killer of 6

    By his own admission, 39-year-old Robert Berdella was a strange character. The owner of Bob's Bazaar Bizarre in Kansas City, Missouri, Berdella carried business cards that advertised that he had "poison" in his head. Around the house, he showed a milder side, helping his Hyde Park neighbors establish a local community crime watch program. His strange behavior on the job was written off as so much advertising hype -- until the afternoon of April 2, 1988.

    That day, a neighbor of Berdella's stepped outside to find a naked stranger crouching on his porch. The 22-year-old wore nothing but a dog collar, buckled around his neck, and he blurted out a tale of sexual abuse that sent Berdella's neighbor racing for the telephone, to call police.

    According to the victim, he had been held captive in Berdella's home the past five days, subjected to repeated sexual assaults before he finally clambered through a second-story window and escaped.
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    Robert A. Berdella (Murderpedia)

    ---
    Bob Berdella's confirmed victims [between 1984 and 1987] were Caucasian males aged 18–25, five of whom he had known prior to their kidnap and murder while one, Mark Wallace, Berdella had not known. After getting them to his house, he would get them drunk and/or drug them with "traditional" sedatives or animal tranquilizers and keep them restrained in his basement. Over the course of anywhere between a night and several weeks, he would torture and sodomize them, documenting the process with a camera and keeping a detailed log, before eventually killing them by asphyxiation, sometimes using a plastic bag. He claimed to have administered antibiotics to his victims to keep them alive longer. Afterwards, he would drain the blood out of their bodies by placing them in a bathtub and cutting slits in them. He would then dismember them with kitchen knives and a chainsaw and leave the body parts in trash bags to be picked up by garbage men. He occasionally kept body parts such as the heads as trophies, burying them in his backyard.
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    Robert Andrew "Bob" Berdella (Wikipedia)

    Much more at the links, and across the internet. Berdella was, to my knowledge, the only serial killer with whom I had chance to converse -- in his Westport shop as I passed through the mood around him was one of darkness, long before the facts emerged of his off-hours activities during those years. His presence was noteworthy and its effect, even on hot summer Kansas City days, can be said to have been chilling.

  2. #2
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    I lived in Kansas City during this time frame. But I don't remember what became of Berdella himself. IIRC there were stories of him bringing in Chili and Soups that he had made at home to share with shopkeepers at the Flea Market. The Flea Market Restaurant was known to have the best Burgers in KC. The restaurant owners nearly lost the business from the press and fallout from this case.

    JMO's
    Last edited by jggordo; 08-20-2015 at 06:10 PM.

  3. #3
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    I found this article that is kind of a summary with some details that were not released at the time. Because he confessed and plea of guilty, a lot of it wasn't released because it was pretty grisly and out of respect to the families.

    JMO's

    http://www.kansascity.com/news/speci...cle704522.html

  4. #4
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    I wish I could better describe the atmosphere of that small shop and the feeling of doom one got from even yards away, looking up toward the front counter, the register, Berdella -- usually with one or two hangers-on, younger guys with him.

    My friend lived about four blocks from Westport so usually we'd walk; but, come summer and temperatures of a hundred or so degrees, it was car a/c time and parking was best on the street behind Bob's Bazaar Bizarre.

    We'd cut through his building -- in the street door and out the inner one which onto the commons area and the other shops there. Berdella was not pleased, even when we'd feign interest in something among his rows of oddities.

    Once another friend bought something -- something like a wallet made of snakeskin with a skull embossed upon it and with a biker chain. So up we strolled to pay. There was an uncomfortable silence.

    I'm usually especially good in tight situations, talking to unfriendly people and coming out of it enlightened. Not so that time. One may as well have been talking to a chasm in deepest space. Money exchanged, purchase taken; and out the inner door we went.

    What was it? That sort of thing never happened to me. But it did. And when, a couple years later, the whole deal went down in its naked terror and its unspeakable pain -- when the papers were full of the story I was not really a bit surprised.

    For there was a negativity clinging to Berdella, some grim harbinger of his darkling life and horror home; I'm certainly no seer with special gifts of observation. But no, I was not really a bit surprised.

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