For the first time, award-winning investigative journalist M. William Phelps reveals the identity of “Raven,” the serial killer who co-starred with him on Dark Minds—and tells the story of his intriguing bond with one of America’s most disturbing killers. In September 2011, M. William Phelps made a bold decision that would change the landscape of reality-based television—and his own life. He asked a convicted serial killer to act as a consultant for his TV series. Under the code name “Raven,” the murderer shared his insights into the minds of other killers and helped analyze their crimes. As the series became an international sensation, Raven became Phelps’s unlikely confidante, ally—and friend. In this deeply personal account, Phelps traces his own family’s dark history, and takes us into the heart and soul of a serial murderer. He also chronicles the complex relationship he developed with Raven. From questions about morality to Raven’s thoughts on the still-unsolved, brutal murder of Phelps’s sister-in-law, the author found himself grappling with an unwanted, unexpected, unsettling connection with a cold-blooded killer. Drawing on over 7,000 pages of letters, dozens of hours of recorded conversations, personal and Skype visits, and a friendship five years in the making, Phelps sheds new light on Raven’s bloody history, including details of an unknown victim, the location of a still-buried body—and a jaw-dropping admission. Eye-opening and provocative, Dangerous Ground is an unforgettable journey into the mind of a charming, manipulative psychopath that few would dare to know—and the determined journalist who did just that. DANGEROUS GROUND: My Friendship With A Serial Killer-M. Wiliiam Phelps
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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You are now listening to true murder, the most shocking killers and true crime history and the authors that have written about Gacy, Bundy, Dahmer, the night stalker Dgk every week, another fascinating author talking about the most shocking and infamous killers, crime, history, room murder with your host journalist and author Dan. This is Nancy good evening for the first time award. Winning investigative journalist M, William Phelps reveals the identity of Raven the serial key. Who co starred with him on dark mines and tells the story of his intriguing
bond with one of America's most disturbing killers in September two thousand and eleven. William Phelps made a bold decision that would change the landscape of reality based television and his own life. He asked a convicted sir Killer, to act as a consultant for his tv series under code name, Raven the murderer shared his insights into the minds of other killers and helped analyze their crimes as a series became an international sensation, Raven became Phelps, unlikely, confident, ally and friend in this deeply personal account Phelps traces, his own families, dark history, It takes us into the heart and soul of a serial murderer. He also chronicles the complex relationship to develop, with Raven from questions about morality, to Ray thoughts on the still unsolved, brutal murder of Phelps sister in law.
The author found themselves grappling with an unwanted, unexpected, unsettling connection with a cold blooded killer. Drawing on over seven thousand pages of letters, dozens of hours of Requ good conversations, personal and Skype visits and a friendship. Five years in the making felt sheds new light on ravens bloody history, including details of an unknown victim, the location of a still body in a jaw dropping admission, Bing and provocative danger. Ground is an unforgettable journey into the mind of a charming, manipulative psychopath. That few would dare to know and the determined journalist who did just that is dangerous ground, my friendship with a serial killer with Journalist and author and tell producer of M William Phelps welcome back to the program and thank you very much for greenness Interview M, William Phelps.
Dan. How you doing thank you call me Matthew good to be back. Thank you very. Thank you very Matthew for joining us once again, this I've called one of your, if not your most important book. I just incredible journey If you were going to take us on this evening as you've taken me in reading of this book dangerous ground. You talk about this book being somewhat of a hybrid, so tell us why this is a hybrid in in what way is it a mix of styles of two crime and memo? Well, yeah, it's a hybrid because I you know I never set out to write this book. This book kind of developed as I got to know, raven aka, Keith, Jesperson, happy face killer, better and better and I realized that, having access to a serial killer such as just move,
interested me one hundred percent, that I could ask anything I wanted. So over the course of many years, so I interviewed him any kind of screw into this uh. Collection of information that I needed to do something with, and so what do I do with it and what I decided was and ever since dark my area. An idea in two thousand and eleven. I believe it started. People been asking me about my sister in law's case. You know she was five months pregnant. She was thirty six years old. She was strangled to death with a pillowcase over her head telephone cord around her neck and my brother subsequentially died several years later and think about that off. Please ask me how I got into true crime. Writing my journey and people ask my own story, so I figured this was a great awper.
You all those stories and those kind of use of use story as the backdrop for it. So the first section of the book is called friends. The second section is called family in the third section is called faith and you know, the friends is is a loose term, but you know I talk about our relationship there and in the middle I talk about his family. His background him, as that and me as a child that we go back and forth and then the end is faith. That's how I lost and how I he has had faith in me to tell his story now. You talk about first contacting them, in September two thousand and eleven, so it was just a little bit about how you wrote him what you included in that to convince him and what was his response tells a little bit about that correspondence. Initially,
well. It started when the first season of dark minds. We had a killer on the show that we refer to as thirteen that was his code name and and that guy was not raven. He was not just person, he was a other guy that I won't name because it's it's not my guy. If you will John Kelly John Kelly, my friends is psycho, Well, that was on the show with me, and that was his guy well at the end of that season, Kelly said. We should develop your own guy. You know an so, in late two thousand and ten. I started writing two different serial killers and John Kelly's wanted suggested. Really jespersen Joel Rifkin a couple others- and I and I wrote to these guys and I began to get letters back and just Jespersen just struck me, is a kind of Guy Bill Clinton and talk and talk and the the guy who really wanted to impress me
he knew my work. He had read my work and he was impressed by what I had done. He he really respected me as a writer and I started to receive an abundant letters and then we started talking on the phone, and I realized right away that you know he's the guy we need for the show not- there's, two things going on, though, in that you have him as a consultant. On the show, dark minds and tell us what you what his role was in terms of that involved with the the series for those that didn't see it, but also what was. Those unfolding beyond that or besides that at the same time. Well dark minds is the way it was pitched. Is the silence of the lambs meets catch me? If you can an what that means is when I created the show I want. I want
to look at unsolved serial killer cases. So there's many eggs unsolved serial killer cases throughout the United States, the Zodiac being one of the most famous you know the original night stalker case down in California, the Texas killing fields, Florida I mean I could go on and on and on, and I wanted to look at those cases and bring some exposure to the Cases of those a lot of those cases are just collecting dust and so way. I decide to show. Was I go out? I investigate. I do my own work. I I interview cops, I remember the victims and so forth, but then I go back to John Kelly, my forensic psychologists and kind of build approach with him at the God we might be looking for the the unsub of, as as we call them
And unidentified subject and and then we go to a serial killer on the phone we don't expose, who he is, we disguises voice and get his opinion after all, the the case that I'm looking at that particular would accept, and it is the way our next, it's no different, really, then use in Phil Simms from the New York Giants to comment on the giants game on Sunday CBS, and is it it? It's really the same concept. You know you're going to an expert in the field for expert analysis of what you're doing and and there's no better expert to qualified to help you catch a serial killer that a serial killer.
So that's that's the premise of the show and for your listeners you can go to Youtube and just Google dark mind and come up with probably fifteen of the twenty two episodes. We filmed an and you'll hear Ray and- and- and you know so I would ask him- you know to give an example Dan I would, I would say you know I'd- send him information about a killer and uh case and he'd look at. He got the victims. You look at the way, the body and look at all the everything and he'd related back to his own mind and what he would do a certain situation and he give that analysis and it helped. I believe it helps no You talk about this uh, the incredible amount of letters in pages of letters and the new missed calls. Then there was phone call so many that at certain times you
did not answer him, but it over this five year period, but tell us about your visit at the Oregon state penitentiary. In two thousand and twelve yeah the first time I went out and seeing him wow a for many reasons was- was a devastating experience. In many ways talking to him for about a year by then he had been consulting on dark minds the letters to me I can, I can even tell you how many during that year is seven more than seven thousand pages over the course of the five years I received from him is, bars letters go. I have probably fifty or sixty letters right now sitting on my desk in my office that are unopened that I just I can't keep up with the guy So I went out there and I was with my crew dark minds.
We were actually shooting in Oregon at the time, and I went out there and I sat with him You know and he's a map, this man, I mean it's sixty seven at the time he was over three hundred and you know we sat chair chair and mean inches away from each other, and I sat and I'm a pretty solid guy, I'm a big guy. An you know but he was just massive, an he's sitting there in front of Maine and his, two hands were on his knees and his hands were maybe I don't know eighteen inches away from in the. I had was those are the same hands strangled eight women. You know and here they are just in away from my own throat. So I said to him, I said I said I said I called
ray I you know I call them raisins or just percent. I said, could you kill me, could you kill me good at this time we had become he had he had. He had begun to really start to trust me I was is confident I mean he really really like to me at this time a year into it, and he said if I had to be said I would want to, but if I had to I I could, I could easily kill you If you were in the way, and so so you know thus began our personal relationship. There physical. We were right in front of each other and we just began to talk and I began to just develop them as a source and what did what? What was the devastating part about the day was not only everything he said, but when I left there I left I left the prison kind of in a daze. You know
and so me and my crew. We go down the street, we go to the Kinko's, we go to the coffee shop and someone broke into our vehicle and and stole my bag and I got stuck in Oregon. We were on our way to Vancouver. It was a nightmare, it just turned into a nightmare and it and and really damn. It goes back to something John Kelly, my friend psychologists, psychologist, tell me about before I embarked on this journey because John Kelly had been talking to serial killers for many many years. John Wayne Gacy many many famous serial killers heat interviewed and he said to me he said: Matt, listen, he said you're, a tough guy. You know, you're
wrong is solid. Your your you you're catholic. I mean you go that you, you not only are catholic, but you go to Mass four five times a week. You you know you you, you think you got control of everything, you've written thirty books about murders, you've written six, seven books about serial killers, he said, but let me tell you something: he said: if the devil knocks on your door and you let him in you better, be ready to dance with, because you're not he's going to get inside your head and I kind of laughed at Kelly in my own little funny way at at the joke around and I said, come on Kelly, you talking Bout Phelps man, I'm tough rock, solid knowns in a crack me, but boy. You read that book Dan and uh he broke me the raven broke me. You talk about that, but it's a it's a big process, and as John Kelly warned you is do not let your guard down and part of that you believed in not letting your guard down was to keep
your personal life to yourself right. How was it then that you did share this stuff. How explain, as you do in the book, the process that those lines get the professional lines in the personal lines get blurred as they did it's. You know the metaphor that just came out of me while I was I started doing this this. This media tour is that is that you know I live in Connecticut, so the Is that the water, whether it's August or July or September, the the water's freezing at sixty degrees, you jump. In that ocean, water and sixty degrees in its jarring. It shocks your body, but you know what happens after stay in it a while you get used to it now. The temperature of the water has not changed. You've just gotten used to it, and so so this what happened over the course of time I mean I was talking to this guy happy face so much I was. His letters and at one time
Prison decides; ok, you guys want to start skyping you're welcome to do that. So we start skyping So this guy is infected every part of my life and he you know. Here's an example. Is here's a small example 'cause Kelly always told me, John Kelly is said Matt. He said when you pick up that phone be ready psychologically, you always have to be M. William Phelps, when you pick up that phone, you can never be Matthew. He call Matthew. You can never be that guy that husband, that Father, you can't beat God you gotta be M, William Phelps, so here's an example of how it would go would be. Walking and talking about you know these clinical things, these these serial killer, stuff and an I'd say, listen man, I gotta go, my daughters got a volleyball game, I'll talk to you tomorrow or next week, or whatever bank hang up and I'd stop and I'd say if I slipped because the next time I would talk to him. This is how the conversation would begin.
How did that volleyball game turn out with your daughter and I get pissed and I'd say, listen man. He. You don't have the right to ask me about my personal life and he say but you invited it. You know you mentioned it, so I just thought it was ok. So little things like that begin to slip, and then you begin, you know that slips farther and farther until you realize it. So so that's how that went. You talk about the first year or more of the one issue that Raven harps about and wants you to do his bidding and we, Parts two and two re examining or re investigating this so tell us what he Wah what you to do about right, hi, Nina Bennett and what you do end up doing on his behalf. So one of the things he banged on about I mean obsessively I mean he musta rolled a thousand
pages about the case. He in the hundreds of hours of audio that I have recorded he I would half if, if not half a third, is about Tonya Bennett and Tony Bennett was his first murder. In or in state of Oregon, it was for murder. Overall, it happened in Portland Ann. What happens is with Tony Bennett is in one thousand nine hundred and ninety he kills time Bennett dump her body like near the Vista House outside of Portland, and two people were subsequently arrested for that murder tried and convicted. While he is now becoming the serial killer. So he's watching this process unfold as he's killing other people other women, he sees two people and put in prison for murder. He committed
an he's at first he's laughing about it. It's funny and wow I've gotten away with it not only have gotten away with it, but two people are in prison and then we fast forward to, I think it's one thousand nine hundred and ninety six, an he's arrested, he's put in prison for life and he's in his cell Ann uh. In article it comes out in the La Times a big huge article, I mean I I I don't know how many words it was, but it's eleven pages long or something internet pages long by berry, Berry Siegel. I believe that big time journalist big time, article about happy face in this Tony Bennett case and how two people could be wrongly convicted of this crime and and Jefferson read this article and he gets into the he claims he has
If any, that, all my God, not only were two people wrong or you know wrongly, accused a you know, convicted and tried and convicted and put away, but I believe the prosecutor and the cops knew that they had the wrong people and they still prosecuted them anyway, and if there's one thing about just person that he is obsessive about, it's the fact that he's admitted his wrongs, so everybody else must cough up in MID day their wrongs and if they don't he's going to do it for them, so he wanted me to re, investigate the entire Bennett case and write about it, an in proof that they knew that the cops knew. And that the prosecutor knew they had the wrong people, but they went ahead with it anyway and his attention at the time was all the cops fed them information in order for them to know certain details about the murder. You know
it, but the cops knew that they were. They were not the right people, so I said okay that you know I'll give you that promise. I I you know I don't have to. I don't have to promise you anything, but I I promised that I look into that and I will write about my finding. Whatever they are be prepared for what I find, and so thus I looked into it. I began to re interview most of the people involved and look at the case, and you know I I came to a conclusion. Yeah absolutely now you talk about other than the dark minds: consultation because that ends. Do you write about in three years and there's not a fourth season? You don't tell him right away that there isn't this fourth season plus. Why? But what are your other plans to do with this correspond? What else will you do with this correspondence? Well, yeah. It was
It was a tight rope for Maine. Knowing that. Well, first of all, I should say that that the Joe was so personal to Maine. The show was beginning to Fixed rides in cold cases. It was one of a kind show it it in actually the show my way through the show is created three tasks: task forces to re, investigate some, some of the serial killer cases and and not only that, but not you have twenty something cases that are reopen, that we're just collecting dust. That's good work and I was and it was uh. I rode in dangerous ground. In my book I write it was like a death to me when they canceled that show I mean the the general manager of id is the one who broke the news to me: 'cause he he knew how how hard it was going to be. All shows are ultimately cancelled, but I felt that I had more work to do. Nonetheless,.
I get over that and I think to myself. I think I can't tell him I gotta keep him going, because I need his help. I need his help on many diff Rent levels and one of the levels was, I wanted to maybe do documentary on all the stuff that I collected from him- I mean all the audio the Skype record- things I recorded all the all the Skype interviews on Gopro. I have you know in those will be coming out and I'm going to be. I'm going to be premiering of that video on Doctor OZ in September and an I actually just signed a deal for the rights to the book to to make a documentary with a with a big company and and so That was what I had in mind, but the other thing was, I didn't want to tell him, because I didn't want. Seem to come out and start saying he was Raven. That was one of the reasons too 'cause he was itching to get some notoriety out of this it really it really irked him that he couldn't he.
Take part in the notoriety of being raven. Here he is on tv every week national TV. I mean international, really the show air aired and I don't know twenty countries, so here he was, and he couldn't take credit for and for a serial killer. Not to be able to take credit for son is very you know, that's a blow to their ego. You know so so there were many different reasons why I didn't tell him right away You explore his early life. I've read other material, but you go into areas and get him to talk about areas that no one has ever. This is unprecedented territory. Definitely, and you talk about again, not making conclusions, but certain events and things in his background and his relationships with his father
Just tell us a little bit of give us a little glimpse of his early life and what you, I think, concluded to a certain degree on what was important and in that triggering a and his anger later yeah. I mean it really. When you look at the whole picture of his childhood, his early adulthood and his relationship with his dad, you see a picture emerge, You see it kind of a clear picture emerge of where the anger is is defeated. If you ask him, he blames dad for everything and he even says dad killed some and told him that story and that that made it okay
that got away with it. So he that's how we learned. You know. I don't know about that story. I mean you know it's in the book and it's in quotes from him and you know there's no one else to dispute it. 'cause by the time I got out. That was on my way out to talk to less jespersen his father. He had died had passed, so do that, but yeah I mean his childhood was one of you know he was the. He was the kid in the family, then everybody kind of pushed around. Every according to him that everybody kind of not only his siblings but his dad and people at school kind of made fun of because of his size. Kinda kinda said you know oh you're, dopey or stupid. You know, I think his brother started, calling Igor Ann in school. He was kind of ridiculed a little bit and he was always to blame for everything told me, you know he banged on about this, a lot that everybody
blame me for everything. My dad, my dad It would lie in about things and put the blame on me. Always my while always my fall, always my fault, so he You know what I look for, as as when I put clinical hat on, and I start to look at stuff as a serial killer expert in researcher. I think it I. I try to look for a couple of things and serial killers, a a directions and and sexual abuse, and I and and for for the life of me, I couldn't figure out his addiction because he wasn't addicted to drugs. He wasn't addicted to alcohol. Any of that and I'm like there's got to be an addiction there, because all serial killers are addicted to something sex. I thought maybe with sex for awhile and then it comes late gambling. He admits to me that he had a gambling addiction, the sexual abuse. I couldn't
get out of him really the idea that he was sexually abused, Nicholson wrote a book called I creation of a serial killer, in which he talks about about Jespersen, in which he talks about a neighbor kind of not necessarily sexually abusing him. But may you know sexually confusing him that sort of thing, but I didn't find no real outwardly sexual abuse, but the one thing that stood out in all of it to me was was really sobering in many ways, and he didn't really want to get too deep into it. He wrote me a manifesto one time of his life from the 1800s up until the day, his last murder, and at what I mean by manifestos. This was different from the letters he took three thick, two hundred and fifty page notebooks, and he wrote out his whole life. For me,.
And in all those seven hundred pages with ever they were in that that that that particular manifesto, I think he mentioned, is mother once- and I asked I said: do you realize you mentioned mother once in this whole thing, and I said that's that's very telling to me. Why you didn't have an answer for it, so I believe there's something deep seated there between them in this month. What it is, I don't know you also talk about his Ex wife rose and he thought. Maybe this ex wife was a focal point of a psychosis. Tell us a little bit about what he said. About his Ex wife yeah, I mean there's. Definitely something there. I don't know. If this story is, is, is a hundred percent accurate? But right what happens is you should you know they get they alternately, divorce and and that divorce is what sent him out of the house. Send him to go, live with Roberta Alice, another woman and then Roberta takes off
with a trucker while they're living together on him, but before he he he he takes off with before he leaves the house from his divorce. You know there's a couple years there where he is he's. He doesn't have sex with his wife is not having any sex with his wife, and he talks about that. Something that really bothered. You know an he talks about how rose would say things to the nature of when he made it advance should say: go, stick it in a keyhole, something like that or go masturbate, or something like that, and he didn't like that. He didn't take particular
He wasn't too particularly find of that kind of talk and he really developed some anger. Tord not only rose, but women in general. I believe from that, and so so we have this guy who's now divorcing, but he's living there and for the couple years there where he was having sex with his wife, he was getting prostitutes and what he, what he began to tell me was that he believed that rose and other women. He didn't like it when they used, and he said most women will use men Women would use me and he he really was angry about this and then there's a connection between his first victim, tiny about it, where he he she makes he claims she makes an advance at him at the bar. He brings her home they're they're in and he makes an advance at her and she tells him go. Stick it in a key hole, and he said that was that I snapped.
And I did stop, but if you look at all his victims, the way he described them to me you'll see that in each one of the cases he believes that woman used him in some way and and and that was it- I was it for her. We're going to use this as a break. Just to talk about are sponsor for this evening, which is zip recruiter. A friend of mine who listens to murder, just messaged me about four weeks ago, about him experience with zip recruiter, and he just started as a company in the past two years, and they were doing quite well. There's a small company with staff he had assembled from years of war being in the field. Now he said he tried to hire just one more employed around on his office, but over a
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why why these other murders happen, and he also talked about as you described in the book, how murder got easier and as you describe how his just got more brutal and more settlement, Mckay Matt Masochistic so tell us some of the revealing conversations that he begins to convey to you yeah. This is you know, and and- and this is a bit this gets into a bit of where the I spy begin to break down as you as you saw or read in the book throughout this process. I begin to experience bouts with things that put me in the er. I begin to experience. You know, sleepless nights. I begin to get on
medication you know. A lot of things start happening to me physically, spiritually psychologically, and it's all because of this I mean it is no other reason it just starts. It starts to work on me and I don't even realize it really then going back to the metaphor, the water- I just I'm kind of used to it. And in one of those instances it's it's Angeles, the breezes and the breeze was victim. Number or seven I believe an within just a breeze. I ask them, you know, I said, listen a You know the story about Uti in Angeles, a breeze to the bottom of your truck and dragging her down the highway for twelve miles. I said you know ones really ever asked you and I might digress a minute and say I was amazed at the questions that were never asked if this guy and he you know by other journalists, so I asked him. I said: listen, I said man
she said. Was she alive or was she dead when you tighter underneath that truck and he started laughing? He said it would make a much better story for you if she was alive, but I think she was dead and he would chuckle. You know and I'd say we talkin talking about, I mean Oh, oh What do you mean? What are you trying to say you know, are you are you? Are you trying to leave? ambiguous for me and he's like look, I think she was dead and he laughs you know, and and so it was images like that of perhaps a woman still life being dragon. If the truck that would wake me up in the middle of night and I'd be staring at my ceiling thinking. Oh my god, what is this woman go through? Would any of these women goals
I mean you know he was the kind of killer that you said the wrong thing, and that was it. You had. If you were a woman, you had these hands around your throat and he was strangling you to death and he was looking at you in the eyes staring into your face. You know, bitch, you should've never said that you know. Why did you say that he would justify it by blaming the victim? He would talk about karma. It was always karma these women crossed my path. They were meant to die. I was meant to kill them. You know that sort of stuff and that sort of stuff really began to bother me. You know, because I know it's all bullshit, that's what I know it? You know this. Guy is a cycle path and cycle paths. They don't care, I mean they have no empathy, you know they don't care, you know it. If you cross your path and they want you dead,
that now, during this five year period there isn't a becomes a point where you're not for lack of. Term you're, not shying away from asking him hard questions and, in fact, you're not shying away from condemning him. Ah ridiculing him as a killer uh. I found that one of the most incredible parts of this exchange between you two. What are the kind of things that you finally in frustration after hearing so much of, like you called is ridiculousness and just on and on and on what do you? What are the kinds of things you finally say to him in? It is kind of confrontation and what's his response back well, can we will? You know we talked about in just a breeze many times, and I and I would say I I you know one time I said to him. I said you know it.
Was she alive or was she dead? It's a simple question and he says to me: what kind of person do you think I am? I said: what do you mean? What kind of person do I think you are what he was saying was you know you don't think I tie at a live person underneath my truck and I said to him: you are an effing serial killer, so all bets off dude anything is possible with you, that's a fair question and I would hang up the phone. I would hang up the phone and he called act couple days and he'd say: listen, I'm sorry and I say, listen man. You know. If we're going to do this, we're going to do this, I'm not going to sit here and get angry with you on the phone you know and hang up on you that's not the way this is going to work. You know he. You know He had no trouble answering questions as long as the question didn't challenge him.
In a way that he felt betrayed a confidence between us. You know yeah so as long as he felt that his narcissism and his ego could could blossom during the answer he was fine, but when I hit him hard, you know he get mad. He get mad to talk to describe, I guess just to basis only in in one short story, basically encapsulate what just person was all about. You talk about the woman that he had no previously before that. He picks up again at a truck. Stop tell us a little bit about this 'cause. It does illustrate most dramatically the character of Jespersen. If you're you spot
with that Dan Julie, when Winningham, he picks her up an I believe they go even visit her mom and- and you know. He had dated her before When I order a few times they knew each other, so he picks her up on a Friday. I believe it is an she's in the truck with them and they're driving and and and Julie saying you know, listen, listen! Just I got a court date Monday and I'm I'm gonna get a d w. Why and I'm gonna get put in jail and you got to get me out. You get a bail me out. He said I don't have to bail out, I'm not bailing you out and that's you know, that's your problem And here we go with the with that trigger for him the trigger for him, was you know, you're using me right, that's the if he thinks you're using. If he thinks he's been
and use by a woman watch out. That's the switch that's going to flip, so she begins to really really naw Adam with this. You got get me out of jail. You gotta bail me out. Listen we're going together and she starts talking about. Let's get engaged and she's talking about all this stuff and he's like he's just listening and listening and listening and tell her. No. No, no! No! No, and this is not how going to going to tell you how it's going to go. You go to jail, then you're on your own. I gotta take this load of steel across country. I can't be Bob with you and she's. Like you, don't understand, you gotta get
me out of jail, and he goes. You know what I got a way to get you out of jail and he grabbed her by the neck and he brings her in the back of his cab and he strangled her to death, and then he looks at her and he says now you're out of that court date. You don't have to worry about it anymore, and so so there is there's. There's the cycle path. There's happy face the killer that he had had enough. He felt he was being used, and so this person had to die. That's his answer death. What does he you talk about just a characteristic of of Jespersen after the killing tell us about the is eating and sleeping habits. After that
yeah I mean in many instances the guy would kill the woman Strang alerted death, which is one of the most personal ways you can kill. Somebody is strangling them to death because it doesn't, it doesn't come off like it does in the movies it takes four hundred and fifty six minutes even for a guy his size. It takes a long time to strangle somebody. Def an it's very personal you're staring at them the whole time eh He would strangle a woman lever in the cab and one of those things was he'd like to go to burger King and Mcdonald's and get some fries in Hamburg and sit down and eat and then come into the cab and push her side and take a nap either dumper off on the side of the road or push your side and couple instance. He took a nap right near the body. I mean that you know that that exemplifies the type of person that he is he's a psychopath e does not care.
That stuff does not bother him in one instance which which, which actually I have a a Skype video of him described in this. In one instance, he brings that the the cheese burger that back into the truck any any any even says to where and when he was telling me this is, film I have it on so was laughing while he's describing the scene is like. I. I was telling her if she was a good girl. She could add some of this burger, but she wasn't a good girl and he laughed about it. So you know, and that's type type of stuff, where you know you on the journalism there you know and an Unlock I write a IRA is dangerous ground a right. You know objectivity, no such thing for a journalist who it is that's the that's all bullshit. You can stay objective to a certain point, but it object objectivity. I be sick too much
like when he would tell me stories like that, you know, and sometimes I would tell him, I would say man. You know you have no respect for the victims of your crimes. Even now, later after you've been arrested, and you need to show respect, you know he- he almost never called him by their names. They were always victim, one hundred and twenty three or it or they he would never personalize them. Now you see it this time too, as it as you go through this incredible process that you see this as a trade off that you need to continue with this for a Higher goal than obviously just a television series or another book or journalism itself, the institution you
higher goal and objective in continuing to talk to him so tell us how you do continue, despite the you're incredible pain in your in your literally in your guts, from talking to this guy. But what is your big goal? What would you like to with it. It's funny because Dan I had Doctor Katherine Ramsland, Yuma, add on your show, the chance. Nine all the crime shows she's written fifty books. I think I had Catherine was a friend read the manuscript for me for for a comment. You know for a blurred and one of the things she asked me was at you know, while she was halfway through was no. Why did you stay in this? What what why would you stay in this? If it's affecting you like that? We're going to go back to the metaphor that you know before you realize that you have Apple thermia in that cold, water and because you're
to the water at this point? You don't realize your body is, is is cooling off, so you get hypothermia. So that is a metaphor. One of the things that kept me in this was he had a couple of cases that I was real interested in from the very get go. One of them is a Jane DOE in Florida, and the Jane DOE in Florida is is a woman who he picked up in Tampa he strangles maybe five hundred miles into the journey. Three are miles of the journey and dumped her body along the I ten on the Panhandle of Florida. She's found a couple years later, when he's arrested, he admits to killing her tells them all the information he can about her. Her name was Sue Suzanne sins that he doesn't really now where she was coming from where she was heading Lake, Tahoe Reno. That area an you know, that's about all I know, and for two
twenty years, while he's in jail. Florida law enforcement is writing to him and they're saying. Can you help us 'cause? We can identify her. We put in, we put our dna into the cold, isn't the databases and nothing pops up in almost victims advocate I mean murder is affecting my family and I'm thinking. Poor woman is a box of bones in a forensic lab in Florida. Her whole legacies in number on a box. This woman needs to be in the ground in the town where she's from with her name on a tombstone, so her family members can moralize her and think about her and remember her that way and that kind of May
the sad excited drove me- and I said to Myself- I said I can maybe help here now. He would send me all the mail that he would get over the years he he he he sent me all. The letters from Florida law enforcement and he told me flat out he says I'm not help and and said you know. If, if I help them what's going to happen, is we identify her her family comes for it? They want to press the case. I end up in court in Florida and then I get the chair and then on that and there's one thing: serial killers do not like most serial killers that I've interviewed and I've written about I've, written seven books about they're, afraid of diet, they're afraid of death. No zero killers have no trouble doling out death, but boy you put it
in their doorstep in front of their face and they get scared, so he was afraid that the family, you know that he would end up and so he's like. I'm not helping them in the da that nobody will give me immunity. You know if I help so, I said to him. I said Well, let me see what I can do about that, and maybe me and you can work on it together, would be something we can do together. So I went behind his back and I started talking to Florida and I talked to them, for I don't know how long year, maybe six months before before he even knew, but to backtrack. Even or I after I told him that I was. Let me see what I can do. I waited a couple months and I got him on the phone and, I said, listen then I spoke to the DA in Florida and they gave me they gave me verbal confirmation that they look me in the eye to shoot. Many said we're not going to prosecute him for this case.
We just want to identify the woman and they gave me a guarantee that there's no way you'd be prosecuted for the case, and he goes really and I said, yeah yeah. It is guaranteed it and this time. I don't know four years into our relationship. He trust me one hundred percent. My word is gospel to him. Whatever I say to him, he does and he believes, and I lied was. It was a lie. I never spoke to. The prosecutor spoke to anybody and I'm like what do I care? If I lie? What do I care if he's prosecuted down there? I hope he is so. Thus begins what floor to try to do for twenty years now, I'm able to facilitate I'm able to fill us facilitate him who he is he's an artist at this point, he's become a really well
groomed well trained artist. I get him to start drawing a picture. He looked at her eyes. He strangled her death is one thing serial killers, you know, don't forget and that's their victims, Excuse me so then I tell him I said: listen, why don't I give Florida call. Let me, let me put you in contact with the friendly garlic artist has been trying to get a hold of you and try to work with you, because yeah do that, knowing that I had to talk to these guys for six months already and and and and it kind of saying: listen, I'm gonna get on the help you what he? What? What would you questions? We can ask them and I had gotten all the reports and I questioned him on everything and about this case Him not knowing that I had to reports and his answers were spot. You know he was telling the truth according to reports, so so I put it all together. I put I put a facilitated the whole thing and kind
acted as the lies and between the two and we came up with a composite, a really great picture that he drew from memory and in a composite made from her skull and boy. When we put the two together, they overlap in next so his memory in the skull matched in the last trip I made down the Florida really Palm Beach County sheriff's office. Lee actually actually gave me a replica of her skull, which sits on my desk Jane DOE, an exact replica, an yeah because of all the work I did in that case, so that was kind of driving me a little bit. You know that in another case it was kind of driving me to there could be some redemption in this whole madness for Maine. You know there could be something good that comes out of this.
Exactly now, as we mentioned, this is part memoir and is also very very personal story, as we had spoken in the introduction, tell a little bit about your brother, an addiction as you do. You talk about your current as well, and the effect this addiction had on your family and also about, of course, is his murdered. Wife Diane just tell us how on earth the raven just person helped you to come to grips with. This is a very personal.
Aspect of your life yeah. I mean that that that I appreciate the question I mean in many ways there's a major part of this book that is them an addiction memoir I mean my brother's addiction to it. Is there in the opening pages of the book in the prologue he's on NAFTA done, and it was opening pages, my addiction to alcohol, my sobriety Diane my sister in law, her diction with my brother to to drugs. The hard drugs and how even my grandfather, whom I never met his addiction to alcohol and how he died.
And how it all really manifests in our lives and and- and I I ii, you know, I got to say that if you're a writer and you write books for a living, whatever kind of books, you do right ultimately you're going to tell the story of your own life. It's gonna happen, you're gonna end up doing it and from the life of me. I never for one minute ever thought that when I told my story and it stared back at me, what would happen because when you when you when you remember something childhood trauma, a good memory when you remembered in your head and you think about it, it's there's a narrative of it in your head in news pictures in your head at the everybody goes through that. But let me tell you, Son Dan: you write it down on paper and.
We begin to think about it in a different way. As I wrote in the authors node in the book, I didn't sit down and dredge up memories to write this book. What I did was wherever I was at the time in the memory came in to my head about something that I want to include a noob. I wrote it on my I pad. I wrote it on my Iphone. I just wrote, notes about it. So so I wasn't forcing myself to come up with memories. As I sat down every morning to write, I I why I didn't want to do that lot of times. I would be in bed in the middle of the night I wake up in and I'd start writing about something. So so, through all of that, you know while, while I'm I'm writing that type of stuff, I didn't tell him about any of that stuff, but he kept asking. When am I going to help you with your sister in law's murder and I'd, be like man, you know, let's just keep that out of it. So how can you possibly help me with her unsolved murder and he said
I've been helping you with the dark minds cases I mean, I don't know those cases until you give me the information. I could maybe help you with hers, and you know what he was right. I mean he didn't know any of these cases until I sent them the research to look at and then he could analyze and comment on and so I broke down a little bit in and and begin to explain to him about her case, an What are family went through and all of that and revelation. We made made made a sobering point that, because of person she was. You know we're talking, one thousand nine hundred and ninety six murdered I mean here it is twenty one later and every freaking year we hear the same thing from the from the state police and the prosecutors many of these people. I know I have written books about, and I know
We have the same thing all were waiting for DNA. Will you waiting for DNA twenty years later it waiting for test to come back, I mean, and he said you just telling you that man, they don't care about your sister in law's case. Just like the girls I murdered, they don't care, they don't care there, sir, girls that they care about certain they don't and and in the book kind of I kind of put a name on it. I the Natalie Holloway effect. So if you're a blonde, scared blue eyed white girl with family who's got some money or whatever, and you go missing with Jesus. The satellite trucks are at your door and the case is everywhere, but if you're a hispanic girl from
you know Hartford CT or Worcester or you're my sister in law, from from Hartford and you're. You know, you're, not the most upstanding citizen. Forget it. Man, there's nobody, no satellite trucks at your house, helping you and he made that point to me clear and he was right yeah now, when you talked about the this book a book possibly about this correspondence in a documentary, it's interesting as you write what he immediately does and send you just to show you how of his interest yeah. That's that's! That's great, isn't it yeah? So I I tell him I tell him, you know I'm going to do a documentary, I'm going to do a book. He kept asking me and he's like yeah excellent. That's now now, you're speaking my language, you know a week or two later. What do I get it in the mail I get. I get this,
long letter and he sketches the whole thing out. He sketches each chapter or what which be in each chapter or how it should go, what I should do sketches out the documentary. So this is ok. This is what you need to interview that he just tries to take control of the whole process. An I get him on the phone and I'm like do you're, not writing this book. I'm writing a book about my experiences about you dark minds. I made a promise to you about the tiny Bennett case. That's going to be in it and it's going to be about my life. This is not not going to sketch out my book from it and I kind of heard the air come out of his Bellona little bit, but he went along. You know and he's like. Ok, whatever you want to do, Columbia, Heights, yeah Now you had two- and you speak about this in the book. Inevitably breaking this communication with him um
tell us how you did that or if you did, that I wish I could say that it's the complete but doing the media stuff. I, kind of kept him on the line added distance. Now I, speak to a maybe twice a month, instead of three or four times a week, five six times a week, so Speak to him, maybe twice a month now, if I need him, I can leave him a voicemail, believe it or not. If I need you know, suppose I need him tomorrow. I leave him a voicemail he'll call me an but one of the interesting things. Was when I went out there for that last visit that I write about in the book was when I get in the mail after I come back from him. I get up, I get a certified. You know letter notarized
He's giving me his body he wants to see, you know when he dies. He wants me to claim his body and I'm like. I don't want your body all. I wanted your brain and that might sound bizarre, but I want to donate the brain to the research. I talk about, and I support that's in the book. The research that's going on in England by Adrian rain that psychopaths are born so psychopaths are born the part rain, where, where you're supposed to have empathy, sympathy is not there, so I'm hoping that he can at least do one of these good things and and and give us some scientific research from from his brain. At the end, the end. You I just wanted to mention, to you add the confessional letter of the would be suicide. Note that he sensed his brother Bruce, which is just incredibly fascinating,
I want to ask you one last question: what in summation would you say was the most profound thing that you took away from this whole experience. All that you know that's a great question, I I mean the one thing that can, I confirmed is that the people under estimate the word cycle paths they underestimate. The lack of morality, sympathy, the lack of emotion, eight people under estimate. The fact that a cycle path cannot love. They cannot love and, and- and I experienced it for five years- experience that and basically a daily basis that lack of empathy that coldness without the person trying to be that person it's just who they are.
It's not any fault of their own, it's not any in, and look that might sound bizarre that might sound weird. That's the truth. It's it's of no fault of their own. It's this! This is who they are. You know. And yeah, and that was a revelation to me that you know that we want to blame the person you know and yes, we can blame them for the murders that this stuff, but for being who they are that's who they are. They can't change who they are. Yeah. Incredible And, as you write in this book of you've uncovered every scrap of information, you could possibly could in this correspondence annual research or And beyond that, to bring us the most complete portrait of one of the most frightening killers in American and all of two crime history. I want to thank you very much M, William Phelps Matthew for coming on and talking about dangerous ground
for those that might want to look at your other work. Do you have a website? You do have a website. Facebook page tell us how they might contact you or look at your other work. Yeah um M, William Phelps, dot com. That will put you in touch with my facebook and at M William Phelps for Twitter. You know you can just Google M William Phelps Facebook and get on my facebook. Facebook is where I do most of my communicating with people, and I'm very I talk to fans all the time. So fans know me as someone who's always communicating with them. So yeah you can find all my stuff there and uh Utah.
Talked about the documentary. Can you tell us the status of that so forth, beginning stages of that it would just sign in a deal and getting started and yeah it's going to be comprehensive. It's going to involved it's going to involve something we didn't talk about, which is in the book, and that is, I believe- and I think I've proven without a doubt that one of the victims he's on the books for Cynthia rose. He did not kill and a victim he did kill should still be buried where he put her. So that's going to be a major part of the documentary. Iba, is trying to find that that woman, I know where she is and and to show that he did not kill this. This woman Cynthia rose incredible, fantastic way, Matthew. Thank you very much for coming on and talking about dangerous ground, you're free chip with a serial killer. Thank you very much
I hope to talk to you again always budget Dan thanks for having me thank you. Goodnight. If you don't dispose of the unused or expired prescription drugs in your home, they might find a new one. They could end up lost, stolen or simply misused. Keep them safe, clean them out, take them back at the US. Drug enforcement administration's national prescription drug take back day Saturday October. Twenty sixth from ten am to two pm to find a collection site. Please visit the d e, a take back dot com, that's d, e, a take back dot com. Loyalty is all about being there day in day out
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Transcript generated on 2019-10-31.